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Phuket’s historic destinations showcase its captivating narrative through beautiful temples, museums and old town landmarks – such as temples, museums and old town landmarks – which tell an engaging tale.
1. Peranakannitat Museum
Walk around Phuket Old Town and you will come across beautiful Sino-Portuguese buildings, admiring their harmonious cultural blend between Chinese and Thai cultures. Similar to Penang’s historic district which is recognized by UNESCO World Heritage, Phuket Old Town also exhibits this harmonious cultural mix in the form of Peranakan Museum.
The 103-year-old building, once serving as a bank and police station before being transformed into the museum in 2010, now contains exhibition spaces dedicated to universal themes like Origins, Home and Style with over 800 vintage artefacts showcasing Peranakan culture and history.
Origins Gallery explores the heritage and identity of Peranakan people through different elements of their culture – food, lifestyle choices, arts. One highlight is Baju Panjang which blends Chinese clothing with Baju Kurung from Malaysia; also featured is Kasot Manek slippers handmade with great patience and skill by artisans from this community.
2. Thao Thep Kasattri Monument
Thalang’s Heroines Monument is an important landmark to Phuket locals, paying homage to two courageous sisters – Lady Chan and Mook – who helped rally local islanders against an invasion by Burmese forces over 200 years ago and remain strong influences today. Their story still has an immense effect on local minds in Phuket.
Every March, this site hosts the Heroines Festival – an open-air historical show depicting their story. Many locals visit to pay their respects to these ladies – bringing garlands of marigold flowers, incense sticks and gold leaf to rub onto smaller statues depicting them.
Chin Pracha House provides an insight into Phuket life when tin mining was an industry here, when Hokkien Chinese men owned wealthy homes and engaged in mining operations on the island. Today it stands as a testament to how Thai, Chinese and Western cultures come together harmoniously here.
3. Thao Sri Sunthon Monument
The Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon Monument is a memorial to two sisters who helped defend Phuket from Burmese invasion forces in 1785. Their story serves as an inspiring testament of female strength during times of crisis; also, serving as an important reminder about preserving local culture and heritage.
Thai postage stamps depicting these sisters are very popular; one recently issued (Scott #1104) even has them featured! In 1967, two roads that meet at the center of a circle – Thepkrassatri Road from Phuket Town and Srisoonthorn Road from Kamala were both named in their honor.
The sisters are widely recognized for upholding Phuket’s culture and heritage by upholding local customs and traditions. At each annual reenactment of the Battle of Thalang, the sisters are honored with flowers as well as wishes for good luck from participants. If visiting Phuket make sure you stop by this monument to relax and take in its breathtaking surroundings.
4. Thalang Old Town
Phuket Town’s ancient buildings reflect Thai, Chinese, Malay and Baba influences. Constructed on wealth generated from tin mining, many grandiose Sino-Portuguese structures were renovated and turned into museums, shops, restaurants or hotels; one such structure is Governor’s Mansion/On On Hotel (Un Un in Chinese translates to ‘happiness for all visitors”) on Phang Nga Road that became iconic through Leonardo Di Caprio’s movie The Beach.
Thalang Road’s mining history can also be seen reflected in its architecture, where you’ll find both traditional Chinese shophouses and European-style buildings adorned with intricate carvings and ornate balconies that reflect cultural blend of the region.
Rommanee Lane is another noteworthy landmark, boasting refined cafes and shops enclosed in colorful Chinese shophouses. The narrow shopfronts resemble the face of a dragon with mouth doors at either end, two eyes (two windows) for eyes, an air void above each window known as Ngor-Ka-Kee in Chinese Hokkien; visitors may take their chance at getting advice from its shrine’s oracle by tossing two bamboo blocks and throwing one, answering their query; if it lands down, its answer no while vice versa!
5. Heroine’s Monument
Phuket may be your go-to choice when traveling through Thailand, thanks to its stunning beaches and vivid blue skies. But this southern island holds much more to discover beyond sunbathing: rich cultural traditions are waiting for you there as well!
The Heroine’s Monument in Phuket is an iconic landmark that honors two heroic women who fought off Burmese invaders during the 18th century. Situated on Thepkasattri Road near Lady Chan and Lady Mook’s statues are frequent stops by locals who come by with marigold flowers or incense sticks as a tribute. An annual festival commemorating their courage is also held each March to remember their victory and commemorate them.
No matter your event or need, Phuket heritage sites provide the ideal way to understand more of its rich culture and history. So when visiting this Land of Smiles make sure to visit these timeless gems – and fall in love with its island all over again!