Old Phuket Town
History and museums
Old Phuket Town, is historical town forming part of Phuket City. The main street of Old Phuket Town is Thalang Road and other roads are Phang Nga, Krabi, Dibuk, and Yoawarat. Old Phuket Town is noted for Sino-Portuguese buildings on both sides of the street. Many old buildings have been converted into shops, hotels, restaurants and museums.
Phuket has a rich history as tin-mining country peopled by Siamese, Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, and sea gypsies. A unique community in Phuket are the "Baba", with their own way of life, language, dress, and food. The core of this community was formed by early unions between Hokkien tin-miners and Siamese women. This distinctive Baba heritage can be seen in Old Phuket Town.
Since the 16th century, the Europeans have been interested in the tin trade of Phuket. In the 18th century, much of the island's tin mining was carried out by Hokkien Chinese who became the big players in building the old part of the city. In the early 20th century, under Governor Phraya Rassada Nupradit, major European mining companies were invited in, and the major public infrastructure such as roads and canals was built. No one knows exactly when the first building in this style was constructed, but old photographs from the reign of King Rama V (1853–1910) show that it was already well established by then. Two styles of building in particular stand out: the shop-house (Sino-Portuguese style) and the big mansion (Sino-Colonial style).