in an old town that always feels new to visit
Apart from the food and drink scene that largely attracts tourists and locals alike, Phuket Old town is also vibrant in its colourful Sino-Portuguese architecture and street art culture.
Phuket old town’s architectural style is deeply rooted in its Thai and Chinese Malayu identity no matter the food, language and costume of the residents. Local Chinese inhabitants hired Chinese workers to build and design their houses which may resemble some western features yet their beliefs and customs are still attached to their Chinese predecessors.
In contrast to the exterior decorations, the interior furnishings embrace Asian characteristics and feng shui. Chinese writings seen on the facades, columns, windows and doors carry positive meanings and auspicious symbols for both protection and good fortune. This doesn’t only show how Chinese immigrants adjusted to the new environment but also how they blended in with local people.
Sustainable preservation and conservation of Sino-Portuguese establishments matter as they benefit cultural tourism. Many visitors, especially Chinese tourists, explore old town to experience differences and similarities in the unique Chinese way of life oversees in the old days. This has led to the birth and development of nostalgia businesses, not to mention the museum-turned shop houses and mansions. Many classic hotels, coffee shops and souvenir shops also represent antiquity and new definitions of the past.
Reference: The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social, and Cultural Context – The Sino-Portuguese Architectural Identity of Chinese Descendants and Sustainable Development in Phuket, Thailand by Punya Tepsing and Thongphon Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn