Thavorn Heritage Hotel and Museum. Phuket

Phuket Hotels
Photo of a photo in reception showing the front of the Thavorn Heritage Hotel.

Established in 1961 the Thavorn was Phuket's first Hotel. Today it is known as the Thavorn Heritage Hotel (part of the Thavorn Group) and is located in the centre of Phuket Town on the corner of Tanon Rasada and Tanon Phuket. But I am not writing this post to tell you about the hotel! (If you want to read about the man behind the Thavorn Group visit the Tilok Property website.)

I have been in this hotel many times, well not the hotel part but the night club, or 'discotheque' that was 'the' place to go back in 1987! Oh! that was something else when you had been night clubbing in London before! It was like being cast back in time, maybe some 20 years. I don't know to be honest if the club still exists so I can't tell you what it is like now, sorry. I have also been in the bar more recently which was totally up to date including the live music played. But this blog is not about clubs and bars but the museum that lies within the reception of the hotel.

Back in 1961 when the hotel was built the interior was very simple, I am not sure of the dates on refurbishments but now the foyer reminds me a bit of an Old English Hotel with low heavy wooden ceilings, the type of place you would expect to hear stories of haunted rooms and the sound of footsteps in the corridors at night.

Phuket Hotels

The sign on the car park entrance mentions 'Phuket Museum' but I am sure it goes unnoticed by most people, I have seen it, but in 25 years in Phuket never considered going there. I guess it is so low key, not in the tourist books, that it you kind of pass it by. So finally I decided to go and see what it was all about! I was expecting a disappointment I must confess, so walking into the entrance to find no-one sitting at reception I was starting to wonder if this was all a big mistake! Ah but there was the sign! Entrance fee to the museum - 30 Baht. Arriving in reception was like being in a museum itself, lots of antiques and old photos, that gradually led you into side rooms that once were the 'Restaurant and Bar' or the 'Board Room' but now contained the museum. 

History of Phuket

As I wandered around I was amazed at what affect this little museum was to have on me. The main museum room was a collection of old movie magazines, cinema equipment and other entertainment related items. suddenly lots of childhood memories came flooding back! Mum's Movie Magazine collection, my scrapbooks with newspaper cuttings, labels and cigar bands. Thing's I had forgotten about.

Phuket Museums

Phuket museums

museums in Phuket
Inevitably, like all hotels, as things need to be upgraded, old things get put into a store room, so many items in the collection were things used in the hotel in previous years. A switchboard, an adding machine, old toys, basically just about anything you can think of seemed to be there. Even an old trouser press.

Museums in Phuket

Ice cream in Phuket
Traditional equipment used in selling Ice Cream
As the collection led me back to reception I felt that I had not wasted neither my time or my money! If you like old things or you are old enough to relive your past (I was born the same year that the hotel was built) then you will probably enjoy this place just as much as I did!

On leaving the hotel by a rear doorway leading to the car park I spotted the canal that runs behind the hotel. This is Klong Bang Yai, starting at the base of Kao To Sae (Monkey Hill) and running through Phuket Town until it reaches the sea at Saphan Hin. If you look carefully at the photo you will see ripples made by large fish, that prove that the water is still of relatively good quality. At low tide the canal stands almost dry. Couldn't help but think if this was Europe there would be tables and a little bar or cafe there on the canal banks. Who knows maybe one day............

Klong Bang Yai

Klong Bang YaiNext to the canal hidden behind a wall you can catch a glimpse of an old Mansion that belonged to Kun Dteng Kok Sae Ngor but now stands abandoned. For a better view walk around the corner passing the Siam Commercial Bank and turn into the street that runs behind the bank where you see the gateway.