Tanon Krabi, Phuket Old Town - ถนนกระบี่

The best way to experience Phuket Town is on foot, walking around really gives you the feel of the place and today was one of those special days for me.

Having taken my car to have the oil changed I had several hours to kill and as always on days like this I headed for Phuket Old Town. The sounds and smells of places tend to stay fixed in my memory, when I think of India it's the sound of traffic, blaring horns and tinkling bells mixed with smells of spices and the colourful scenes along the roadsides. These experiences make the place real and strolling into the heart of Phuket Town I couldn't help smile as I walked past an old traditional noodle shop, blackened by the years, almost ignorable except for the loud rap music blasting out from somewhere inside! A couple of steps on, the aroma of Chinese Herbal Medicine drifted from inside an old shop-house, reminding me that this is the real Phuket, life going on oblivious to tourists and the hustle and bustle of modern department stores. It felt just like it did the first day I set my foot here on Phuket soil back in 1987. A timelessness trapped in the lives of local families that hasn't changed much over the last 100 years. (Well except for the rap music maybe!)

Outside the Thai Hua School entrance. Photo source unknown.

A few streets on I turned down Soi Downtown opposite Phuket Fresh Food Market into Tanon Krabi. Tanon Krabi tends to be overshadowed by the names of Soi Romannee and Tanon Thalang but it is a wonderful place to capture a glimpse of Phuket's past with the Thai Hua Museum and Chinpracha House heading the list.


There are a many hidden treasures in Tanon Krabi that can be easily missed. You need to walk slowly and look up, down and sideways!


This particular door, old and easily missed is a real treasure. Notice the headers and footers of the door posts, no hinged needed here. Further along the road the owner of the Ming Shou Boutique House had his door made specially to follow this old design and is clearly proud of it!

Ming Shou's owner Khun Chart built this guest house retaining the Sino-Portuguese style so well that from the outside you would think it was the original building. Inside he has carefully designed a natural airflow system using open brick and wooden window panels that keeps the Guest House feeling cool and airy in the same way that the traditional 'Chim Jae' were used to cool the old Chinese shop-houses.

Ming Shou offers double rooms, twin rooms and a triple room starting at a price of 750THB (in 2013) and can be contacted at mingshouphuket@gmail.com or be phone 076 681109.

Soi Downtown is well know by the locals for it's night market, but even in the daytime pick-up trucks will be stopping in Tanon Krabi to offload their goods and this otherwise sleepy street is filled with activity throughout the day.

Turning left out of Soi Downtown and you will be sure to see i-46 Old Town Coffee - just look for the red bicycle! This place is a real treasure, inexpensive, run by a wonderfully friendly family and makes a great place to relax and chat with the family and other visitors. This place deserves a blog post of it's own and as soon as that's done I'll put the link here too!

Just along from i-46 is the old Sirirote Hospital building. I remember when I first came to Phuket that this was one of 'the' hospitals to go to. It was small then and has now relocated and re-branded as the Phuket International Hospital located close to Big C and Central. Looking at it now it seems so incredibly small!

Continuing along Tanon Krabi past the Blue Elephant Restaurant and Chinpracha House you will eventually come to Mae Ya Nang Chinese Temple which takes it's name from the Sea Goddess the protector of sailors and is worth a visit, the temple is just over 100 years old as are most of Phuket's Chinese Temples.

Tiansin the Mitsubishi dealer called me to tell me that my pick-up truck was ready to be collected therefore the walk ends here today, so until next time..........