Phuket Town Phuket
Phuket Town Mansion
- Phuket Town is a complete contrast from the type of style and environments of the modern sea side hotels and affords a break if one is sun burnt to remain on the beach or water. The town was constructed 150 years ago and most of its layout and the architecture of the time is Chinese.
- As was the case with the west coast of Malaysia further south, tin mining was the major economic activity and the work was undertaken by Chinese immigrants and later in Phuket some Chinese manged to become wealthy tin mine owners.
- The essential places to see are;
- Because of traffic congestion and the confusion of one way streets it is better to walk. Here the buildings are Sino European and have arched covered walkways. The styles are Art Deco, Chinese and '' neo classic ''. These shops now include, Indian silk merchants, Chinese herbalists, foreign food shops and jewelry stores.
- The successful mine owners built here mansions which are a mixture of Portuguese and Chinese influences. Chinpracha House on Krabi Road was built in 1903 by Tan Ma Siang originally from Fujian Province China and copies the Penang Sino Portuguese style and houses Fujian furniture. This House is open for tourists to inspect (66 76 211 281). It is interesting to be with photographs, memorabilia of the time, see the original kitcken and feel being back in time. Beside Chinpracha House is another Mansion, Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion, although not open to the public its grounds and external design help enforce an atmosphere in the neighbourhood of how life was for the wealthy then in Phuket Town.
- This is another Chinese Mansion built over 100 years ago. Now it is restored as a restaurant serving traditional Siam style food. This is a lovely stopover in an otherwise congested old town.
Phuket Town '' Baba '' Culture
- As explained in the Thai People link about Chinese migration to Thailand, the first waves of Chinese migrants were only men who could not return to China and who married local ladies for wives. This occurred all over South east Asia and in neighboring Malaysia the descendants of these unions are called '' Pernakans '' who also developed their own style of dress, food and culture generally.
- In most of Thailand the descendants simply merged into Thai society.
- But in Phuket they followed the Malaysia experience and developed their own style and culture and refer to themselves as '' Phuket Baba ''. Phuket Baba ladies wear a distinctive style of costume , a batik sarong together with a brocade blouse which they wear on special days.
- Baba food is a miturse of Fujian (Hokkian) Chinese and spicy Thai. There are numerous Baba restaurants in old Phuket town so look for the word '' Baba '' and you will have the opportunity to try it.