Colouful streets, rows of Sino-Portugese shophouses, atmospheric dining establishments and a vibrant atmosphere makes Phuket Town a site worth exploring. Steeped in culture, this bustling city is home to a variety of intriguing travel attractions – just perfect for vacation makers with a thirst for cultural immersions during their sojourns.
Venture into a small alley off Rassada Road, and you will find yourself in the bustling Amulet Market of Phuket Town. Stalls line the alley, each displaying myriad amulets. A row of shops stand behind these stalls, selling a vast collection of amulets and Buddha images. The amulet market draws a large crowd of customers from various countries in the region, as well as from Australia and the United States.
Take a glance around, and you will catch sight of a sizable crowd wearing amulets. Some don it for good luck and protection, while others believe that the amulet brings luck in specific aspects, such as love, work, education and health. Do exercise caution before buying any amulets here – you would have to be an experienced collector to know an authentic amulet from a reproduction.
Travel back in time with an exploration of this stately Sino-Colonial mansion – the only one in Phuket that is open to the public. Constructed by Phra Pitak Chinpracha in 1903, the ground floor of the home is converted into a museum, while his descendents reside on the upper levels. Most of the rooms are set-up as if its residents still carry out their daily activities there. A poke around in the kitchen will bring to sight huge stoves, clay pots and brass pans, while other common areas feature old family photographs, vintage Italian floor tiles and original furniture imported from Europe and China.
For travellers keen on discovering the history, architecture and culture of Phuket, this is a spot that is not to be missed. It takes an hour to complete a tour of the museum, so a trip here can be easily scheduled into your travel itinerary for Phuket’s Old Town.
JUI TUI SHRINE
The popular Jui Tui Shrine is a must-see for travellers keen on discovering more about Chinese culture. This temple takes center stage during the annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival, drawing a large crowd of devotees and visitors.
Step inside, and you will set sight on multiple altars and statues of Chinese gods, and discern a heady smell of incense hands in the air. If you are keen on discovering what the future holds, try out the fortune sticks. A bamboo cup containing a bunch of fortune sticks is shaken repeatedly until one of the sticks drops to the ground. Each stick has a number marked on it, and querents proceed on to obtain a fortune paper with a matching number, which will have their fortunes written on it.
Colourful Sino-Portugese shophouses line the charming street of Soi Romanee. Keep your eyes peeled for red Chinese shrines set on the exterior walls of the shophouses – these shrines were set up to make it convenient for the shopowners to conduct their daily prayers before entering or leaving their homes. Keep your evening free for a stop by Glasnost, a favourite hangout in the area. Decorated with an array of alluring antiques, the pub stands out from the rest for its unique decor. Jam sessions are held on the fourth Sunday of each month, so musically-inclined vacation makers along Soi Romanee can stop by for a night of jazz and blues tunes.
THAVORN HOTEL MUSEUM
If you have a spare afternoon, make a brief stopover at Thavorn Hotel Museum. Poke around the interiors, and you are likely to chance upon interesting curios and hidden gems amidst the museum’s rather eccentric flea market-esque setting.
Decorated with ornate touches, Thavorn Hotel must have been the talk of the town in its heyday. However, the faded lobby, adjacent to the museum, now projects a dejected air. The dimly-lit interiors of the museum houses a collection of Phuket and Thai memorabilia, ranging from antique toys and clothing, to tin-mining equipment and black-and-white photographs. Travellers will find more informative displays at other museums on the island, but the quirkiness of this attraction makes it a worthwhile spot for a quick exploration.
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