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MANATHAI Surin Phuket
MANATHAI Surin Phuket
MANATHAI Surin Phuket

The Other Phuket: Unmissable Cultural Attractions in Phuket

Forget what you may have heard about Phuket. Beyond the glitz, glamour and partying, Phuket is an island seething with cultural wonders. There is an absolute abundance of culture to discover during your visit. In fact, you might be hard-pressed to get it all done! From Sino-Portuguese mansions to Buddhist temples, there is plenty to see, do and experience beyond the main tourist drag. Today we want to share with you six of our favourite must-see attractions. Come with us to discover why Phuket is so much more than a pretty beach or two (or three or four).

1. OLD PHUKET TOWN

To find ancient shrines and temples, beautifully preserved shop-houses, gorgeous cafés, tiny galleries, curious museums, tiny shops and a wealth of bars and restaurants, go to the Old Town section of Phuket Town. Built on the back of last century’s tin boom, the area is still replete with a vast array of gorgeous Sino-Portuguese mansions that radiate the splendour of a bygone era. Old Town Phuket is compact and colourful; an afternoon stroll with camera in hand is a great activity. Stop into a gallery, talk to a few artists, cool down in a café and eat delicious Thai food.

2. BIG BUDDHA

Atop of Nakkerd Hill, between Chalong and Kata, is a gigantic white marble statue; this is the island’s most revered landmark: Big Buddha. Possessing a majestic height of 45 metres, that stately statue can be seen from miles around. The lofty site offers the best bird’s eye view of the island, taking in Old Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay and then some. This is truly a must-see attraction on the island. It’s easily reached via the main highway running through the island, just take the turn-off for 6km. There are plenty of signs directing you to the Big Buddha. It is best to go by car or van as the road up to the top of the mountain is narrow, windy and has many blind curves.

3. SOI ROMANEE

This short street is quite the colourful character. Located in the heart of Phuket Old Town, between Thalang Road and Dibuk Street, it was once notorious for its array of opium dens, brothels and gambling houses. Whilst it is still a perfect place to while away a sultry evening, a lot has changed. A decade ago it went through a makeover from head to toe and the resulting street is a gem. Its characteristic Sino-Portuguese shop-houses have been converted into an excellent array of bars, guesthouses, cafés, shops and galleries.

4. WAT CHALONG

Wat (temple) Chalong was built at the beginning of the 19th century and has the honour of being the island’s largest (amongst 29). This is the epitome of a working temple, where foreigners come to learn about Buddhism and marvel at the architecture and culture and locals come to pay their respects. Within the grounds, the grandest – and tallest! – building of note is the ‘chedi’, which sits at an impressive 60-metres and houses a unique relic, a splinter of bone believed to have come from Buddha himself. Inside there are elaborate and informative illustrations depicting Buddha’s life. The temple is built over three floors, so make sure you climb to the top floor terrace to get a bird’s eye view of the entire temple grounds.

5. THALANG ROAD

Running for half a mile from Montri Road to Yaowarat Road, more or less through the centre of the Old Town, this road is full of vintage buildings housing a range of lovely guesthouses, shops, restaurants, café, galleries and more. Despite being a major thoroughfare and a somewhat bustling street at all times of day and night, it still manages to maintain its charisma and link to a bygone era. This is especially true on Sundays when it becomes a laid-back walking street zone.

6. HISTORICAL BUILDINGS

If you have a passion for old houses, you must get out and explore the amazing old buildings that dot the landscape around Phuket Old Town. Europeans, mainly the Portuguese and the British, were profoundly interested in Phuket’s tin wealth from the beginning of the 16th century, and it’s their building legacy that still remains. Some of the best-preserved examples you should check out are Dibuk Manion, Kanok Kwan House, Thai Hua Museum, Limpanon House, Baan Chinpracha, Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, Thai Airways Office, Baan Kran Jinda, Kathu House and Raya House (by the way, also a great local restaurant).

If you like a good deal on accommodation and a delicious breakfast, check out the below two offers from MANATHAI. Either one will give you a value-for-money stay on Surin Beach, plus WiFi, daily tea/coffee and welcome drink upon arrival.

Girls Getaway Package – Special stays for girls that want to travel together and receive 20% off for food & beverages and 60 mins massage.

Hot Deal with Breakfast – Book direct with us via manathai.com and instantly save up to 25% off any room rate.