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Phuket – a rainforested, mountainous island of the Andaman Sea, home to some of Thailand’s most popular beaches. Well, that’s the way it’s described on the official Phuket website. And let’s face it, that’s what most of us have in mind when we think of Phuket. An exotic, albeit “touristy” paradise home to many high-end seaside resorts, restaurants, and spas. But on our recent trip we discovered Phuket Old Town and it was incredible. So I thought I would share with you all the five best things to do in Phuket old town.
Old town Phuket is a historical area of the region, famous for its museums, architecture, hotels, shops, and restaurants. Visitors can easily spend a full day or even two days exploring this fun and exciting section of Phuket. We travelled here in July which is the peak of monsoon season. We didn’t have the best weather, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Had it not been for the lousy weather, we may not have decided to venture into the old town and we would have missed out on all the amazing things to do in Phuket old town. We likely would have spent all our time on the beach if the weather played along. So, here’s something I thought I would never say: Thank you to the rain for pushing us to explore the city.
Here are the top things to do in Phuket old town.
1. Soi Romanee
Soi Romanee is a colourful and lively street located in the heart of the old town. It’s THE instagram spot to be. There are so many cute little Sino-Portuguese style shop-houses, cafes, and restaurants along the street – plenty of chances to snap those IG shots. Full of colourful renovated buildings, this street is so beautiful.
In the past, Soi Romanee was a red light district for Chinese labourers who came to work in the tin mines. But today, it’s one of the most attractive and romantic lanes on the island. This was my favourite spot and is definitely one of the top things to do in Phuket old town.
2. Always Summer
Always summer is the cutest little cafe found on the main street of Phuket old town. There’s a cute little juice bar on the street side, but if you want to grab something small to eat there are a few small tables as you walk inside. There’s also an outside garden area with a few tables and several small market stalls.
At the back of the property you will find another small little cafe called Auntie’s Bowl. We were here on a Sunday and it was closed. But it’s usually open during the week and they specialize in smoothie bowls and juices.
3. Rush Coffee
If you’re looking for a trendy coffee shop, add Rush coffee to your list of things to do in Phuket old town. Located in Soi Romanee street, Rush coffee is a hit with food bloggers and influencers because of its stunning white and wooden interiors, pretty indoor plants, and natural light. The coffee here is top-quality and there’s also a great working space for digital nomads.
4. The Memory at On On Hotel
One of my favourite things to do in Phuket old town, is to visit the famous hotel from the opening scenes of the movie, “The Beach.” You know, where Leonardo Dicaprio stayed. Located on the famous Phang Nga Road, the Memory at On On Hotel has been renovated since the movie was shot in 2000, and has blossomed into a stylish, bright midrange hotel in Phuket old town.
The hotel has been open since 1929 and is the oldest hotel in Phuket. For the past few decades it was known for having cheap but dismal backpacker rooms. But extensive renovations have changed all that. The lobby has been transformed into a chic and welcoming place, the rooms are bright and inviting, and there’s a central courtyard that opens up to the sky.
5. Sunday Walking Street Market
We first arrived in Phuket old town in the morning and explored the area. We did a full circle and by the time we got back to the main street at about 3 pm, the Sunday market was being set up. All along Thalang Road between the junctions with Yaowarat road and Phuket road, for about 400 metres, you can find a selection of food stalls, entertainers, stalls selling arts & crafts, clothing, bags, accessories, and lots more.
Only opening after the heat of the day, the old town night market has a special festival feel to it. Local markets are usually a great place to find some great bargains and some interesting souvenirs. Set in a picturesque part of the old town, Walking Street is as much of a cultural attractions as it is a fabulous night market.
Where To Stay in Phuket
Since we visited Phuket for a full month, we stayed in an apartment located in Kathu district. It was a little far from the main areas – the location wasn’t ideal. But the apartment block included a swimming pool and gym. It was the perfect place for us to relax and gain a little bit of routine for the month.
If you haven’t yet signed up on Airbnb you can follow my link here and get £33 off your first home booking. You will also get £12 to use towards an experience worth £40 or more. We did a tour to Phi Phi island which was absolutely incredible and highly recommended. There are also tons of other things to do in Phuket.
Thailand Visa Requirements
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand and need help with visa information, I would suggest checking out iVisa.com. The visa process can be very time-consuming, not to mention confusing, and iVisa strive to make the whole process simpler for travellers by taking care of all the nitty gritty details.
Just follow my iVisa application link here and you can do a quick check to see what is required and proceed with an application if necessary.
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