Phuket’s Old Town is a must-visit on Thailand’s largest island. A beautiful small town lined with colourful old shophouses, it has stunning architecture and street art, plus great restaurants, bars and cafes. Phuket’s Old Town is towards the south. Many visitors to the island like to stay close to the beaches and, unfortunately, miss out on this stunning area.
However, from most places in Phuket, you can reach the Old Town in around 30 minutes, meaning there’s no excuse to miss this off your itinerary. There are many hotels in the area, so if you want to experience Phuket’s culture, book a night or two here.
It’s very popular with ex-pats and Phuket’s Old Town also has some of the best (and most delicious) food on the island, atmospheric coffee shops and co-working spaces. It’s also perfect for picking up locally made souvenirs, clothes and gifts since the brightly coloured streets are lined with shops.
- Phuket Old Town Guide
- Where To Stay In Phuket (Old Town)
- Dining In Old Phuket Town
- Things To Do In Phuket (Old Town)
- How To Get To Phuket Old Town
Phuket Old Town Guide
Where To Stay In Phuket (Old Town)
This hotel is ever-famous for being a filming location in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach, and this boutique hotel is now one of the best places to stay in the Old Town.
The hotel is in a classic traditional-style building with beautifully decorated, spacious rooms with a small onsite cafe.
Like most Old Town hotels, this hotel doesn’t have many amenities, but its location is unbeatable in the city’s heart, five minutes from a range of restaurants, shops and cafes.
WOO Gallery is one of Phuket’s Old Town’s best places to stay, thanks to its central location and surprisingly spacious layout.
Also housed in an elegant old property, the rooms are modern and clean, and some have their own balcony.
The hotel also has a garden, terrace, shared lounge and a restaurant that serves an a la carte breakfast each morning.
It’s a stone’s throw from Phuket’s best dining and nightlife, museums, shops and attractions.
Casa Blanca looks very similar to Memory at On On from the outside, located in a stunning old colonial building.
Inside, it’s been beautifully designed with modern amenities that are rare to find in Phuket’s small Old Town.
The rooms have large beds, ensuites and some have living and dining areas.
On top of this, the hotel has private balconies, a garden, a coffee shop, a tour desk and an outdoor pool.
Staying here, you’ll be at the centre of the Old Town, only half an hour from the beach.
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Dining In Old Phuket Town
Phuket has arguably one of the best food scenes in the country, combining classic dishes from Thailand with fresh seafood from the coast, and influences from abroad, such as Indian, Malaysian and Chinese.
Phuket Old Town is a popular tourist spot, too, so you can find almost any cuisine and be certain it will taste great.
There are a few must-try local dishes not to miss, which can be found at local restaurants or street food markets, as well as some International and Asian eateries that should be on your list to try.
Best Local Dishes
Khanom Jeen Kang Poo
This traditional Southern Thai yellow curry is made with crab meat and fermented rice noodles.
Phuket has very fresh seafood, and many restaurants serve this dish, making it a must-try while you’re there.
Phuket Pork Belly Stew
A favourite dish throughout Phuket, this delicious stew is made using garlic, spices and soy sauce and is the island’s signature food.
Thai Fried Spring Rolls
These aren’t specific to Phuket but the island sells some of Thailand’s best.
Usually filled with vegetables or fried pork, they can be picked up in a restaurant or at one of the many great food markets.
Phuket’s Indian influences can be seen in the many shophouses selling delicious bowls of curry paired with roti.
For a quirky twist, many places also served them covered in bananas and Nutella, just like a pancake.
One of Thailand’s most famous dishes, Massaman curry, is a thick, rich, slightly spicy dish often made using beef.
If you can find it, beef cheek is a great option and generally, you don’t need any rice as the curry also contains delicious potatoes.
Where To Eat in Phuket’s Old Town
Aroon Po Chana
One of Phuket’s best and oldest Indian-Muslim restaurants, run by the same family for 60 years.
They serve a traditional roti only available at breakfast, with either chicken or beef curry.
It may be an unusual breakfast but it’s delicious and filling!
Raya frequently tops lists for being the best restaurant in Phuket.
They serve traditional Thai dishes and Phuket specialities like Massaman curry and pork belly stew.
It’s slightly more expensive than other Phuket restaurants but well worth the cost.
Lock Tien Food Court
You can’t visit Phuket without eating at a local food court where Phuket residents enjoy their meals.
Lock Tien is great because it has stalls serving various dishes, such as filling curries or snacks like spring rolls and satay, which are ideal for a midday snack.
Boonrat Dim Sum
If you’re tired of Thai food, dive into Phuket’s Chinese influence with dim sum in one of the island’s oldest eateries.
As with traditional Chinese teahouses, they serve food early in the morning, with a whole array of dumplings, buns, rolls and more.
Surf N’ Turf by Soul Kitchen
Western food shouldn’t be missed off the list, as Phuket Old Town has some excellent international options.
If you’re happy to go upmarket, this high-end restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide and serves dishes like tacos, pizza, pasta and seafood, making it a good choice for when you can’t decide on one cuisine!
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Things To Do In Phuket (Old Town)
1- Shop At Thalang Night Market
Markets are a great way of getting to grips with a city, and Thalang Road, the main, bustling street in Phuket Old Town, comes alive every Sunday night.
You’ll find street food stalls everywhere and vendors selling souvenirs, gifts, clothes and more.
Naturally, with the mark here, the street gets very busy, so if you’re keen to see Thalang’s coloured houses make sure to come during the day.
2- Take A Cooking Class
Learning to cook Thai food is a fun skill to take home to cook delicious local dishes yourself.
The Blue Elephant Cooking School is inside a spectacular 105-year-old mansion, adding to the atmosphere.
You can just come here for an exquisite lunch, but the cooking class is renowned worldwide and will have you cooking authentic Thai dishes in no time.
3- Wander the Streets
A significant part of Phuket’s Old Town’s draw is the photogenic streets lined with brightly coloured, traditional shophouses.
The best way to explore is to walk along Dibuk Road, Phang Nga Road and Soi Romanee to see especially beautiful facades.
Hidden among the streets, you can spot amazing street art murals; the whole town is a photographer’s dream.
- Old Town Cultural Heritage Afternoon Tour with Dinner
- Phuket Discovery Half-Day Tour by Travstore
- Phuket City Half-Day Tour
- Phuket old town photoshoot
4- Thai Hua Museum
To learn more about the fascinating history of Phuket and its Old Town, Thai Hua Museum is an interesting place to stop.
It isn’t huge, but it has very in-depth exhibitions on Phuket’s past, such as where its rich Indian and Chinese heritage stems from.
It’s also only 200 baht to enter and is a useful stop if you find yourself caught in one of Phuket’s many unexpected tropical storms.
5- Khao Rang Hill
Rang Hill isn’t technically inside Phuket Old Town, but it’s not far away and worth a visit for the view.
Although it may be hot, make the short climb up one of the many trails to the viewpoint at the top of the hill for stunning views over Phuket Town and across to Chalong Bay and beyond.
You can also check out Khao Rang Temple with its huge golden Buddha statue, and there are some excellent places to eat dotted around too.
6- Cafes and Shopping
Look past the pink, red and blue shophouse facades, and you’ll realise that each house a shop, cafe or restaurant.
Cafes in Phuket are legendary, and you could have a serious caffeine high attempting to try them all, so make sure to have a look around before getting your morning fix.
Shops are also abundant, but you won’t find high street names here; locally made clothing, souvenirs, artwork and even bookshops are most common.
It’s easy to get caught up crisscrossing from side to side on the road trying to visit them all, so watch out for cars!
Recommended experience: Kim’s Massage and Spa (No.9) Experience in Phuket Old Town
7- Explore Temples
Phuket’s Old Town showcases the island’s cultural and religious heritage with ornate detail and intricate architecture and offers a glimpse into Phuket’s spiritual side.
From the serene atmosphere of Wat Mongkol Nimit to the vibrant colours of Jui Tui Shrine, each temple in Old Town has its unique charm.
These temples provide a place of worship for locals and a peaceful oasis for anyone seeking tranquillity.
How To Get To Phuket Old Town
Getting to Phuket Old Town is very straightforward as it is a popular tourist destination, but this also depends heavily on where you’re coming from.
If you are staying in the Old Town, getting around is easy on foot, however, for those staying in hotels near the beach or further away, many resorts and hotels offer free shuttles or tours to the Old Town, and a taxi from most places in the south takes less than 30 minutes.
There’s no way of flying into Phuket Old Town, but to reach Phuket itself, you’ll need to fly to its international airport in the north of the island.
This airport has affordable direct flights from Bangkok and other Thai airports and destinations throughout Asia.
Flights from overseas may stop in Bangkok before continuing to Phuket.
You will need to catch a bus, minibus or taxi from Phuket Airport to reach the Old Town.
Luckily, Phuket has hundreds of flights for visiting tourists and locals daily, and since many opt to stay on the southern beaches, they provide a helpful airport bus service.
Buses and vans at the airport have an orange ‘Airport Bus’ logo on the side, which costs just 90-baht one way.
Depending on your choice, they take 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Phuket Town, stopping at several places.
There is also the option of shared shuttle buses normally parked at the airport.
These are affordable at around 200 baht, but they wait until the bus is full before leaving, and it can take much longer as they drop passengers at their various accommodations.
This is by far the most comfortable option for getting to Phuket Old Town, but also the most expensive – although still very affordable by Western standards.
Many upmarket hotels may offer airport pickup, so take advantage of this if it’s available.
There are taxis available at the airport exit, however, they often charge a slightly inflated rate, so it’s recommended to download the Grab app instead, which is like Uber for Asia and has fair, affordable rates.
To catch a Grab taxi, you’ll need to fully exit the airport and walk outside to the main road.
A Grab will cost up to 800 baht ($23) to Phuket Old Town.