Phuket Town Tourist Attractions
Phuket Town lying on the south-east coast of the island on a picturesque bay, was built in the mid-19th c. to replace the old town of Phalang, destroyed by the Burmese around 1800. The influence of Chinese immigrants is evident in the two-story, brick-faced houses decorated with wood carvings. Also typical are the arcaded passages, which allow walks to be taken protected from the rigors of the weather, and the ceiling-high displays in the shops to be admired. Around the town center stand a number of houses with very beautiful gardens, built by rich Chinese and Malaysians, who made their fortunes from raw rubber and tin.In little more than ten years - in 1980 Patong Beach was opened up to development - Phuket has changed from a lonely island with dreamy beaches to a playground of mass tourism with all the problems which come with it. The main resorts present the usual picture with hotel blocks, exotically furnished restaurants, pleasure parlors, and "chicken bars"; the airport is the "turnstile" of the south and, with 2.2 million passengers a year, Thailand's second largest. For the native population price increases have been high, with only investors from Bangkok and abroad profiting from the boom. It is recognized that the influx of tourism must be checked and channeled: whether those responsible for ecology at TAT, in the province's government and in local trade will gain the upper hand against short-term economic interests remains to be seen.
Phuket - Chinese Temples
The oldest and most beautiful Chinese temple on Phuket, Put Yaw in Ranong Road, documents the great influence of its Chinese-descended population. The main temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of grace.
Phuket - Festivals
The inhabitants of Phuket know how to celebrate festivals. Songkhram Festival, the old Thai new year festival, is celebrated particularly loudly - and damply. Apart from their new year festival (Jan./Feb.), the Chinese celebrate the Vegetarian Festival during the first nine days of the ninth lunar month (usually mid Sept. or Oct.). A special spectacle can be seen each evening at this festival: entranced people run barefoot over hot coals or pierce their cheeks with lances, without injuring themselves.
Phuket - Governor's Residence
The old governor's residence near Put Yaw Temple is the seat of the province's administration. Built in the 1920s in the colonial style, the stucco decoration and the capitals on the pillars in the entrance portal are remarkable. The residence was used in the U.S. Vietnam war film "The Killing Fields" as the Cambodian governor's palace. Opposite stands a Portuguese-style building constructed in 1916 and now the province's law court.
Phuket - Markets
Locals purchase their everyday requirements and stop for a chat at the lively market in Rasada Street. Further east in Rasada Street is the local bus station. Further interesting markets, held daily, are to be found in Ranong Road and Ong Sim Phai Road.
Phuket FantaSea is a theme park offering a Las Vegas style show featuring pyrotechnics. The show highlights the history and culture of Thailand including myths and legends.
Map of Phuket Town Attractions