Phuket Day 2: Phuket Town

Alleyway, Phuket Town

Phuket Town doesn’t seem to be regarded as a must-see spot in Phuket, and if you’re already familiar with Straits-Chinese culture from, say, Penang, Malacca or Singapore, those are certainly better places to experience it than Phuket Town. But perhaps in the same way that some travelling Chinese gravitate towards foreign Chinatowns to see what “their” version of “us” is, this Peranakan and unofficial Peranakan (given that ang moh Alec probably knows more about Peranakan food and culture than the average Singaporean, I think he’s allowed that status) decided to check out if Phuket Town could compare to our beloved Katong and Joo Chiat. The short answer is that it can’t, but it was still more fun than sitting on a beach the whole day.

My research had indicated that the Kata beach taxi cartels won’t accept less than 400 baht for that trip, so I smilingly insisted on that in the face of offers for 600 and 500 baht. We took the cab to the area around the Robinson’s store, where a 70s UFO building made me happy and a cardboard cutout child gave me the creeps.

Feed the birdsIn the central touristy area of town, we stopped for a drink in China Inn, failed to see the Shrine of Serene Light (the travel agency next to it was being renovated and the path to the shrine was blocked by rubble) and took a gander down Soi Romanee, which was pretty but seemed devoid of life except for a few other tourists, a couple taking wedding pictures and this kid feeding pigeons. (Click on any photo in this post to see a larger version, by the way.)


Vintage greenery


Menu item at Natural RestaurantWith our tweeness quota fully satisfied for the day, we walked to Natural Restaurant for a late lunch. It’s a bit of a walk from the historical streets but the famously wacky decor is worth the visit, and while I’m normally wary of places with voluminous photo menus, the simple, delicious lunch we had there was one of our best meals in Phuket: winged bean salad (it’s hard to find winged beans in Singapore so I was really happy about this), fried catfish with chilli, steamed rice, beer for him, lemongrass juice for me, less than 500 baht in total. I highly recommend it, except that you may want to avoid menu item number 163.

Fishtanks in Natural Restaurant


We wandered around a bit more after lunch, not really looking for sights but enjoying the low-key feel of this part of Phuket where nary a souvenir stall or travel agency had set up shop.

Slices of life


By about five, constant sweatiness had finally worn us down and the streets of Phuket Town had gone very quiet. Although we had been besieged by “Taxi?” requests earlier in the afternoon, there were none to be found now and we had to walk back to the touristy bit and ask a travel agency to call us one. Later the same night we would discover the awesomest minigolf experience known to man but I’ll save that for another post, and end this here with one of the views through the windscreen on the way back to Kata.

The Big Buddha from below


  1. Eh, winged beans can be found in any of the Sheng Siong or wet markets lah…. Alternatively, many HDB gardens plant them too (did I just write that).

  2. There aren’t Sheng Siongs near me, I don’t wake up early enough to go to wet markets, and it would be a bit mean to raid a HDB garden. Isn’t it a bit strange they aren’t sold in places like Giant though, since the Asian vegetable range at Giant does seem pretty vast and I assume there must be more people around who like winged beans as much as I do?

    Aha, I have it! Alec will have to go to the wet market and buy me winged beans. Problem solved.

  3. Oops, forgot about our beany conversation – It’s seasonal actually, so Giant could have them, just not regularly. If you’re still staying in the same place, the closest would be the Bedok town centre I guess. My mom loves it for the live seafood section. =_=. I think NTUC sometimes loads them too. /overanalysis

    You know, the Alec Solution works. =D Send him to Tekka to jostle with little old aunties!

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