Category Archives: Phuket Island


Shopping in Phuket

If you love shopping then you are going to love Phuket, a place that can only be described as a shopaholic’s paradise. The island offers bustling open air markets, noisy and vibrant night markets, food markets, local shops and world class western style shopping centers as well as up-market specialist shops. When you add to that list the traditional handicrafts, fabulously priced houseware goods, antiques and jewelry there is a good chance that a bigger suitcase will also be on your shopping list.

The Ocean Plaza Patong is a must visit shopping destination for those who love to shop until they drop. It is one of two shopping malls along the Patong beach Road. Historically this was something of a haberdashery store, but today it sells just about everything imaginable. The plaza has two levels of shopping and offers affordable brand name goods including women’s wear, menswear, children’s clothing, accessories, leather goods, home interiors, stationary, cosmetics and gifts. The store also sells OTOP (One Tambon One Product) goods that are based on Thai culture and tradition using local recourses. The store also has a games zone for children and plenty of Asian restaurants.

central-festivalThe Central Festival in Phuket is fully air conditioned and can be found just outside Phuket Town. This shopping mall is known as the shopping hub of the island with more than 120 outlets selling just about everything there is to sell, anything you can’t find here is probably not worth having. It is very easy to spend an entire day at the Central Festival so make sure you leave plenty of time if you are serious about shopping. As well as the shops this mall has a cinema where you can catch the latest movies and a wide range of international restaurants. The underground parking is free of charge, if you don’t have wheels that there are plenty of taxis to be found at the main entrance.

premiumoutletIf you are looking for bargains then head to the Premium Outlet Phuket where as well as Thai brands you can get great deals on Guy, Laroche, Hush Puppies, Nike, Adidas, Pierre Cardin, Warner Bross, Lacoste and Van Heusens, up to 70% off deals can be found here.
The Phuket Weekend Market can be found just outside Phuket Old Town on the Chao Fa West Road, not far from Central Festival. This fascinating market sells all kinds of secondhand goods, pirated items, curios and animals as well as some great local foods. This may not be the kind of place that you would go to actually buy anything but it is really worth a look just for the curiosity value.

jungceylonDowntown, the Jungceylon Shopping Complex has changed the face of shopping in Patong. The two main stores here are Big C supermarket and a gleaming Robinsons, an upper end department store. There are over two hundred other shops here to enjoy that sell shoes, DVD’s, cosmetics, sunglasses, brand name clothes, mobile phones, electrical goods and so the list goes on. There is also plenty in the way of entertainment here with a five room cinema and a 16 lane bowling alley so this is certainly the place to head to on the odd wet day.

Shopping in Karon and Kata is a lot more laid back that Patong but just as much fun. Here you will find many plazas, boutiques, bazaars and fresh markets. These are both family friendly shopping destinations with ultra hospitable storekeepers.

Old-Phuket-TownPhuket old town is worth a look for shopping. It has some great secondhand book shops, off the wall items like coconut shredders, garden accessories, wedding dresses and hardware stores. This is also the place to find textiles, Japanese, Burmese, Chinese and Thai artifacts and antique shops.

banzaanmarketBanzaan Market near Jungceylon was designed by Chinese and Western Architects and is a very clean shopping centre that sells meat, seafood, fish, vegetables, fruit, clothes, shoes, toys and gifts.

indymarketThe Phuket Indy Market is a popular place for youngsters to gather, this market offers street music, food and affordable goods such as jeans, shoes, bags and handmade key rings.

And finally the Talad Kasnet Night Market has to be worth a mention. This market is right behind Robinsons in Phuket Town and is where you can find the best Thai, Chinese and Muslim foods and a myriad of vendors selling stir fry, spicy salad, noodle soup and wok prepared dishes. The sights, sounds and smells draw many hungry shoppers here.


Phuket Old Town

008The old town of Phuket has a lot more personality than most provincial capitals in Thailand. Rich in history, this part of Phuket has shrines, Buddhist and Chinese temples, old shop houses and even a red light district.

The town was constructed with riches gained from the islands boom in the tin industry, many Sino-Colonial mansions, once occupied by Phuket’s tin barons still, stand today as a reminder of the towns wealth some one hundred years ago.002

The best time to explore Phuket’s old town is early in the morning or later on in the afternoon, when the heat of the day has subsided. There are plenty of quaint cafés and restaurants in this area where you can take some refreshments and watch the world go by.


0016A fine example of a Sino-Colonial mansion can be found at 98 Krabi Road. Baan Chinpracha will give you a unique insight into how wealthy families in Phuket used to live as well as a unique opportunity to meet Jaroonrat “Daeng” Tandavanitj, who inherited the building from her late husband’s father who was the eldest son of the original owner Phra Pitak Chinpracha who built it in 1903. Most of this interesting house is open to the public, you will be able to explore two upstairs bedrooms, the kitchen and the ground floor where you will discover vintage Italian floor tiles as well as many items of the original furniture imported from China and Europe. Perhaps the most attractive feature of the house is the central inner courtyard that opens out onto the sky. In Sino-Colonial style houses the inner courtyards represented the heart of the house where women would chat, cook and wash their clothes and being open topped this area was also a useful way to bring a cooling breeze into the house during the stifling summer months.

One of the most attractive and best maintained Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket is the Thai Hua Museum on the Krabi Road. Once a Chinese language school the building now plays host to a Museum, exhibition space and function hall.  Like Baan Chinpracha, the Thai Hua Museum has an open air inner courtyard, it also has a lovely garden. A trip to the museum is a great way to discover the history of Phuket through many different angles and explanations. 009

Another interesting building is the Phuket Provincial Hall. This public building was erected in the 1910’s and can be found in the administrative quarter. It was gazette by the Fine Arts Department in 1977 and was the first building in Phuket to receive a national conservation award.





Another building that acts as a reminder of the affluent days of tin is the police station with its clock tower that stands across the road from the chartered bank at the corner of Phuket and Phangnga road. Both were built in the early 1900’s. The police station is now earmarked by City Hall for an urban heritage museum.

0013A wonderful mix of nationalities have made Phuket there home, Thai’s, Malays, Indians, Chinese, Eurasian and even  Nepalese as well as a unique mix of Hokkien Chinese and Thais called Baba. The Baba community heritage can be found in the architecture, dress and way of life in Phuket old town.

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Neglected for many years the core of the town including Rasada Road, Phang Na Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road and Krabi Road are now being renovated. No visit to Phuket would be complete without a visit to this unique, historical and very interesting area.


Next destination: Phuket Island

Phuket also known as the pearl of the south is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. It neighbours the provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi, but being an island it shares not land boundaries with them. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and is located on the west coast in the Andaman sea and is connected to mainland Thailand by two bridges.

Phuket Island

Phuket has a rich and colorful history. Pre tourism the island found its wealth through tin and rubber. It was one of the major trading routes between India and China and found itself often mentioned in the ship’s logs of Portuguese, French, Dutch and English traders.

Phuket, formerly known as Thalang, is a name derived from the word bukit in Malay that means hill. The name Thalang was derived from the old Malay Telong that means cape. On European navigation charts the island is marked as Jung Ceylon.

Old Phuket

The Dutch and the English, and after the 1680’s the French all competed for a part of the tin industry in Phuket during the 17th century. In 1680 the French East India Company paid a visit to the island and left with a full cargo of tin. The Siamese King Narai, wished to reduce Dutch and English influence on the island and named Rene Charbonneau, a French medical missionary, the governor of the island, a title he held until 1685.

In 1785 the island was attacked by the Burmese, Francis Light of the British East India Company and one of the first to arrive on Penang Island in Malaysia, witnessed the Burmese preparing for the attack when he passed the island. The attack resulted in a month long siege of the capital, but by March 13th 1785 the Burmese were forced to retreat from local forces assembled by Than Phu Ying, the wife of the recently deceased governor and her sister Mook. The women both received royal titles for their efforts.

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Phuket went on to become the administrative centre of the tin producing southern provinces and in 1922 it became a province in itself.

Phuket is a very mountainous island. It is estimated that the island has a total area of around 576 square kilometers. The island is 536 miles from Bangkok and forest, rubber and palm oil plantations cover around 60% of the land.

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The islands sandy beaches can be found on the west coast where the most popular tourist destination of Patong can be found. This area has colourful nightlife and cheap shopping. Other popular areas include Karon, Kata and Kata Noi beaches. Kamala, Surin and Bang Tao beach to the north are less developed and popular with families and those looking for a more peaceful island experience.

08There are many islands to the southeast, including Bon Island, just a short boat trip away. There are several coral islands to the south of Phuket, the Similan Islands lie to the northwest, and Phi Phi Islands to the south east, popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.

Phuket enjoys a tropical climate, with a dry season from November to April and a rainy season that runs from May to October. The average annual temperature is between 29 and 33 degrees.

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Phuket international airport is located in the north of the island that services scheduled and charter flights from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

phuket airport