VoW: Phuket's traditional Thalang Rd
PHUKET VILLAGE OF THE WEEK: Phuket may be popular for its sea, sand and sun, but during the past couple of years the island’s culture and architecture have become better known both to Thai and international tourists.
Saturday 23 July 2011, 02:15AM
Thalang Road is one of these popular areas, located in the old town, and it is famous for being the oldest road in Phuket Town and for its vibrancy and traditional culture.
Situated parallel between Dibuk and Phang-nga roads, Thalang Road is part of an old business area which, back in the day, would supply people with everyday goods such as agricultural equipment, food and clothes.
More than 140 Sino-Portuguese traditional-style shophouses have been on this 450-metre-long road for more than 150 years since Praya Lohakasetraruk (Tad) was governor in 1850.
The architecture, culture and heritage belong to Thai, Chinese, Muslim, Indian and European ethnic groups who have been living and combining their cultures harmoniously since the mining era, and still do to this day.
Although the area is promoted by the Phuket City Municipality, Phuket Old Town Foundation, and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket Office, it is the locals that also work hard to spread the word about their special area.
Many have formed a group called Choomchon Thanon Thalang or “Old Phuket Town Club”.
Old Phuket Town Club president, Yindee Manosoonthorn, who set up the club along with some like-minded individuals determined to preserve the area, is ironically not originally from Phuket.
Mrs Yindee was born in eastern Trat province but married a Phuket man, Mr Weeraphol, 23 years ago.
Mrs Yindee explained that before she started to recruit people to join the club four years ago,
for 10 years before that the economy in Thalang Road had taken a dive. The street used to be Phuket’s economic centre, but as shopping centres began popping up around the island, fewer people shopped in the area.
“Some of the residents here started to relocate, some sold their businesses and buildings, and some old buildings were renovated to a more modern style as the owners could not afford the maintenance costs,” Mrs Yindee said.
Mrs Yindee said she had a vision that if people did not start to conserve Thalang Road, before its uniqueness would be gone. Not being an ethnic Phuketian, this placed her in a good spot to realise the value of Thalang from an outsider’s viewpoint.
Once Mrs Yindee began thinking of ways to keep the Thalang Road area alive, she found 10 others who had the same view and the club was born. It was formed in 2008 with 27 members.
“We already have nice architecture and buildings, and the daily lifestyle here is different. There is the culture, food, clothes and traditional customs as Chinese New Year, traditional Baba weddings, the famous Vegetarian Festival and many more. So if we can spread the word, Thalang Road will become a must visit place for tourists,” she said.
Mrs Yindee said since the group started, they have received very good feedback from government agencies and tourists. She’s very proud to become part of this group, which is successfully showing Thalang Road to the world.
For more information please contact Mrs Yindee Manosoonthorn on 083-590 4828.