Phuket is a big island in the south of Thailand and even though its reputation amongst travelers is not the best, Phuket has a lot to offer depending on the area of the island where you decided to stay. That’s why Phuket old town is a must-visit. There are definitely areas that look like just another place in the west, but there are many more places where you will not find many tourists, so chose your spot according to your expectations cause Phuket has a lot to offer.
The west coast of the island is the most touristy part and where all the beautiful beaches are located. But on the other side of the island, things turn out to be less touristic and the feeling of being in Thailand is more authentic. One of those places is Phuket city, many times referred to as Phuket town. That’s where the local community is, where you will find the young Thais and way more Asian faces than Caucasians.
The most popular place to visit in this part of the island is Phuket old town. I was living in Patong and there was a local bus, aka, Songthaew, connecting the beach to the town for 30bh. Therefore I went to the city many times as I enjoy the colorful vibe of the old town and the many nice coffee shops in the area, very attractive for a remote worker.
Phuket old town
So, this is the most intagrammable place in Phuket, Phuket old town and specially Thalang road. This road is filled with history, as the colonial era buildings stand out in different colors and its architecture it’s lovely. The street itself is not that long, but I spent there a lot of time because I enjoy its colors and every detail of the old houses too much. I am that person that stops and stares at each building for 5 minutes trying to find every possible detail and analyzing why those colors are so attractive to my eye. They mix a variety of colors that make such a beautiful color palette. For me, as I am a design and architecture lover, the street is a delight. It is filled with little cute shops and pleasant cafes. This area is such a vibe as each corner is a great set for photography, that’s why I call it the most instagramable place in Phuket, as in the same street you can have so many different pictures. This is because each house makes a beautiful photoshoot set.
Around that street, there are many others with cute buildings, and I would highlight Soi Rommani street with beautiful pink houses. So photogenic!!
I would recommend having a walk on the streets around and being enchanted with the colorful buildings you may find around the corner. I was surprised to find a Sino-Portuguese building and knowing that some Portuguese have been here in the past and left some legacy.
Phuket Sunday walking market
This street is a must-visit on a Sunday night, as there is a night market along the full length of the street that stretches for several meters with lots of food options and a great number of people enjoying the best street food in Phuket old town. On the Sunday walking market, you will also find other things for sale such as souvenirs or clothes, etc. There are some performances on the street too, like live music and entertainment. The street is closed to traffic during the Sunday walking market that should be ready to visit at 6 pm or even 5 pm, not sure… you will definitely not be bored here and if you want to do some shopping in Phuket, I would really advise this area of Phuket town, during the Sunday walking market or just during the day.
Another greater place for shopping is the Chillva market which is open every day except on Sundays, probably because the Sunday walking market acquires much attention. Chillva market is way bigger than the Sunday walking market and it is definitely the place to shop in Phuket, Asian style. Please note that it is only open during nighttime. If you want a very foreigner experience you can go to the shopping mall like Central Phuket Floresta or Central Phuket Festival.
In Chillva market you will find many food options and a greater quantity of local shopping selling from shoes to underwear, makeup, or any fashion accessory you might think about. There is this cute little corner at the market with a waterfall and a surrounding lush green area that is so beautiful. Just stroll around and try to find it near the bathrooms. There will also be live music and you can spend a few hours in this place and enjoy Thai culture as the majority of people here are locals.
If I was to compare Phuket old town to another place, that would be Penang, in Malaysia. same colorful and vibrant vibe.