The end of January was a busy time for festivals and fairs in Phuket. We had the lively Chalong Temple Fair, then a food fair at Saphan Hin (the south end of Phuket Town), it was Chinese New Year on the 23rd (welcome all to the Year of the Dragon) and from January 28-30 there was the Phuket Old Town Festival; three great nights of street fair, food stalls, stage performances in the old part of Phuket Town along Thalang Road and in the Queen Sirikit Park next to the TAT office.
We headed into town on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 in the evening.
A bit late on Saturday actually as there was a street procession with people dressed up in old style Chinese clothing, and we missed that.
But there were plenty of people dressed up along Thalang Road.
Phuket has large Chinese influence, with a lot of Chinese-Thai people due to large-scale immigration during the 19th century when Phuket went through a major tin-mining boom. But there's not exactly a ‘China Town’ in Phuket.
Thalang Road is very mixed, there are Muslim shops, old Chinese hardware stores and printers, the old herb shop and a Chinese shrine which is right next door to
the Christian Assembly.
The old town is a place I always like, but it looks especially good at festival time. In these articles I keep using the term "real Phuket", which is hard to define, since Phuket has many sides, but in the old section of Phuket Town there is certainly plenty to interest visitors.
I'm not going to knock someone for spending two weeks on the beach, but I've been doing this blog for years now, trying to show that Phuket is so much
more than beaches.
I guess the "real Phuket" is what you make of it.
Jamie Monk works at liveaboard dive specialists Sunrise Divers. For more information call: 084 626 4646 or visit: sunrise-divers.com