Fifteen years ago, the historic Old Phuket Town district in Phuket Town
was a charming but slightly faded place in danger
of being lost to modern development. However, Phuket residents
and tourism figures saw the potential in preserving Phuket’s fascinating past
and a restoration effort of the Old Town was launched.
In the years since, the five main Old Town streets,
Dibuk, Thalang, Phang Nga, Rassada and Krabi roads, plus Soi Romanee
and other small lanes have been given a facelift.
Much to every photographer’s delight, unsightly power lines along Dibuk
and Thalang roads have now been buried, allowing the beauty
of the centuries-old Sino-Portuguese buildings to shine through.
More power line projects are in the works for other streets.
Soi Romanee has seen the most striking changes.
This narrow one-way lane was once a rowdy red-light street
for Chinese immigrants back in Phuket’s heady tin-mining days.
Then it saw a decline, and up until about five years ago
most of its buildings sat in an unused and crumbling state.
Since then, nearly all of the two-storey structures lining
the Soi have been given a bright new coat of pastel-toned paint
and some hip cafes and offices have opened up.
A one-stop shop explaining Phuket’s past is found along Phang Nga road.
This new Phuket City Information Centre has photos
and displays that explain the meaning behind
the different architectural details of the buildings in the area,
plus models of an old-style well and oven.