The island of Phuket has long been a favorite destination amongst tourists. Besides the amazing 5-star accommodation, fantastic beaches, and bustling nightlife in Phuket, there’s another side you might have yet to discover. The island hides a rich heritage that would appeal to visitors looking for cultural things to do where they can delve deeper into traditional Thai culture.
Explore Old Phuket Town
One of the best destinations to learn more about the local Thai culture is Old Phuket Town. The area is filled with the unique Sino-Portuguese and Chinese architecture with row-house pattern buildings that are an ode to the past when Portuguese settlers peddled their trade on the island during the 16th century. Thanks to its strategic geographic position between India and China, Phuket was an important port on the trade route between Europe and Asia during that time.
Although the Dutch, British, and French all conducted trade in Phuket, the Portuguese left the greatest impression on the island, which is evident in the buildings that appear in Old Phuket Town. The buildings are easily identifiable by their bright, vivid colors with decorative tiles and elaborate designs on the facades. These symbols reflected the building owner's wealth and status at the time. Walking through the streets of Old Phuket Town will feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. The buildings are left true to their original form and have only undergone minor touch-ups to keep their age at bay.
The shops and restaurants that inhabit these old buildings are a testament to the island's history. Anyone seeking cultural things to do in Phuket can easily spend hours exploring the streets and various shops and markets selling traditional handicrafts, food, and clothing.
The Wat Chalong Temple
Estimated to have been built around the early part of the 19th century in 1837, the Wat Chalong or Chalong Temple is one of the most visited temples on the island of Phuket. The temple is home to numerous Buddha statues and shrines where locals often come to worship. This temple is also a place of interest for tourists because of its history and impressive architecture. The intricate details carved into the side of the temple are a testament to the craftsmanship of the workers who managed to build it despite the lack of technology back then. The peaceful atmosphere within the temple walls starkly contrasts the hustle and bustle of Phuket. There are many displays and exhibits at the temple where you can learn more about the history of the temple.
Phuket Vegetarian Festival
This annual event, which will be held between 14 to 23 October this year, celebrates the Chinese heritage of the island. The festival is filled with many traditional performances that create a colorful and exciting atmosphere. Besides the traditional performances, there are rituals and processions as well. It’s the perfect event if you want something cultural to do in Phuket.
Thousands of people attend this event to pay respect to their ancestors. During the week when the festival is being held, devotees are required to follow certain rules. For example, not wearing white clothes, keeping your body clean, and only eating vegetarian food. And as part of the procession, some devotees will pierce their bodies with objects as a form of purification. If you’re the squeamish type, you might want to avoid this particular part of the festival!
If you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in Thai culture, Phuket FantaSea cultural theme park is a must. The venue offers a glimpse into the Thai way of life and blends traditional Thai culture with modern entertainment. You can look forward to traditional Thai dance and music performances, trying the local cuisine, and shopping for traditional handicrafts. If you’ve always wanted to get up close and personal with a real-life elephant, head to the elephant sanctuary within the theme park. Visitors can interact with these gentle giants in a humane environment and experience them up close. If you have limited time to spare and are looking for some cultural things to do, Phuket FantaSea is the place for you.
Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is the perfect 5-star accommodation in Phuket for a cultural exploration of the island. Situated right on Karon beach, our resort ensures that you are never more than a few steps away from the warm, soothing waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Book a stay with us and experience the island like never before!