Khiri Travel Insider Tips – Phuket
Give your clients insider information so that they can avoid the crowds, make discoveries and have a rewarding travel experience. This month we find the hidden artistic and cultural gems of Phuket town with Gonzalo Gil Lavreda, Phuket Branch Manager, Khiri Travel Thailand
Despite being a major world destination, Phuket still has much to offer visitors committed to art, culture and the finer things in life. We all know that over the years there has been major economic growth on the island. This has meant overdevelopment in some areas. How to get around it? Easy. Just find those great little spots that are overlooked.
So let me introduce Phuket town, one of the most charming and lovely small cities in Asia. I love Phuket town – from the unique Sino-Portuguese architecture (a legacy of the prosperous Chinese tin miners of the last century), to the delicious local eateries. It’s a must-visit place on the island. It escapes me how so many people come to Phuket and never visit the town. Although, I see this is changing slowly. There will still be some time before Phuket town is considered a ‘destination’. This is why now is such a great time to visit.
The traditional shops are all still there, from old-style printing shops, to traditional Chinese pharmacies, barbers, ironmongers and textile retailers. There are colorful and peaceful shrines to spend some time reflecting, and great little cafes to stop and take a break. In short, Phuket town is a great place and one that has so far escaped the mass tourism found in other parts of the island.
One of the most remarkable things about the town is its art galleries. While there are art shops all over the island (in Surin, Bang Tao, Kata and Rawai), the galleries in Phuket town are open mostly for Thai buyers. Prices are remarkably good. Take a stroll down Phang Nga Street, near the On On Hotel in the old town center, and you will find plenty of galleries.
Painters, sculptors, and all kinds of handcrafts can be found. Most of the galleries in town are at the same time the artists’ study and sometimes their house. So you walk in and you get a unique chance to meet the artist. Other galleries can be found on Yaowarat Road and Rassada Road, both in the old quarter of town.
Next time a client asks about Phuket, you know how to advice them on were to go for art, culture and some great food. Phuket town will surprise them.