Old Phuket Houses

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A must-do in Phuket is taking a walk in the old part of Phuket City, around Thalang, Dibuk and Krabi roads. The beautiful architecture along these roads will take you back to the charm of a century ago. According to Pranee Sakulpitpatana, a lecturer at Phuket Rajabhat University and one of the island’s premier historians, the architecture is a reflection of European influence on the island. Europeans, including the Portuguese and the British, had been interested in Phuket’s tin wealth since the 16th century.

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).

Sino-Portuguese Shophouses of Phuket

 

Old Phuket Houses

 

The shop-house was a place for a family to both live and do business, using the front of the building for trading and the remainder, including the upper floor, as a private home. Shop-houses are usually found built in rows, giving rise to the Hokkien Chinese term tiam choo, meaning a row of shop-houses. The floor plans of all these shop-houses are very similar: five metres wide but as much as 50 metres long, creating a very spacious living space for an entire family. Across the front of each, along the edge of the street, is an arcade, offering shade and shelter to the public. Behind this, the house is usually divided into four parts.

There is a living room for general purposes and for receiving guests, followed by a space, open to the sky, with a well. At the rear is the kitchen. Upstairs is the family’s private area and bedrooms. In the old days, the central open area was often the heart of the house. It was here that you would find the women of the house chatting while cooking or doing the washing. It was also, in a sense, the lungs of the house, allowing air to flow through, even in the hottest month, April, when temperatures in Phuket can rise to 38 degrees C. Also contributing to the cool atmosphere were the thick, solidly-built walls.

 

Old Phuket Houses 1

 

Sino-Portuguese Mansions in Phuket

Another type of distinctive architecture is what the Hokkien Chinese call the angmor lao. It translates literally as “the big house of the red-hairs” - or European Mansion. After amassing wealth from tin mining or as merchants, many Chinese immigrants began building such mansions for their families, featuring a capacious portico, a terrace on the upper floor and a courtyard in the middle.

Old Phuket Houses 2

 

Some of the larger ones have two or three courtyards. As with the shop-houses, the courtyard was the site of the family well, from which servants would carry water into the master’s private bathroom. The servants, naturally, would bathe and do all the washing around the well.

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Services Inluded:
  • - Private transfers  with  Professional English Speaking guide
  • - Accommodation with breakfast at mentioned Hotels
  • - Meals (Food only / NO drinks) as mentioned in programs
  • - All Entrance fees for the whole trip as mentioned in programme
  • - Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • - Daily 2 mineral water bottles per day per pax.
  • - All taxes
  • - Highly responsive 24/7 support during the tour.
  • - High quality personally handpicked local guides at all places that are government approved.
  • - Courteous chauffeur at your service for the tour.
  • - In tour flights if any
  • - Special assistances in ease city for smooth check-ins.
Services Excluded:
  • - International flights & departure taxes
  • - Visa On Arrival guaranteed letter
  • - Personal expenses, tips and gratuities
  • - Travel insurance
  • - Beverage
  • - Other services not mentioned above

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