I first wrote about the latter three years ago when it was newly opened. There was not too much to see then beyond a former classroom and some old school photos and books, but entry was free.
The Thai Hua Museum has changed a lot since then. There is an entry fee now (B200), but it’s easily worth that, with rooms full of displays and information about the history of Phuket, and the option of picking up a guide to the museum when you pay the admission.
The building itself is an attraction: an old, early 20th century mansion built as a school for the Chinese-Thai families who had flocked to Phuket in the 19th century for the tin mining industry.
Indeed, some parts of the interior look like they’ve hardly changed from those days. Many of the big Phuket families have Chinese origins and the museum has some good information on this.
Many visitors to Phuket think of it only in terms of beaches and tourism, but the island didn’t really have a tourist ‘industry’ until 1985, when Club Med opened on Kata Beach. For almost a century before that, Phuket made its money from tin-mining, rubber, fishing, prawn farms and agriculture.
Our family enjoyed the visit to Thai Hua. There were buttons to press on the history displays (always good for kids), and we all liked the old school sections – at one point my mum, a former teacher, gave a lesson to my kids.
Certainly worth a look, the Thai Hua Museum has a pretty good website, and can also be visited as part of an Old Town tour with Phuket Heritage Trails (www.facebook.com/Phuketheritage).
It’s very easy to find, just a bit to the east of Thalang Road on Krabi Road in the old part of Phuket Town.
28 Krabi Road, Old Town, 076-211-224; thaihuamuseum.com. Open daily 9am-5pm.
Jamie Monk works at liveaboard dive specialists Sunrise Divers. For more information call: 084 626 4646 or visit: sunrise-divers.com