A local's guide to Heritage Museums in Phuket

Must Visit Thai Museums in Phuket

There is nothing better to do on a rainy days rather than connected yourself to the roots of the place you are visiting by going for some historical excursion in museums. Phuket has a long history of hosting foreigners due to its geographical location, situated right on the travel routes of the old days sea travelers. Phuket has a very interesting, wealthy and unique story of its own. From the Burmese invasions to tin mining, to rubber trading and tourism as of today, each era have all played a role in shaping this island as it is now. Beside the long history of Phuket, its various religious beliefs such as Tao Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism and Islam also taking a big part in making this small island in the south of Thailand to be a notable multicultural community. Studying history by reading is one way, but a better way is to visit a museum which give you a more touchable link to the past and to have some fun while learning. Check these lists out for 5 must visit museums in Phuket.

Thai Hua Museum

Thai Hua Museum was built in 1934, and is one of the well-maintained Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket. The museum is located in Krabi Road, and is recently renovated building. The museum was once a first Chinese-language school in Phuket, these days it is used as a museum, exhibition space and occasionally gathering places for alumni. The museum provided professional guides to give you some more insights on Phuket’s history. There are more than a dozen interesting exhibition rooms and short films in Thai and Chinese with English subtitles on both floors of the museum.

Location: 28 Krabi Road, Phuket Old Town area within walking distance from the famous Soi Romanee.

Phuket Mining Museum

Phuket Mining Museum covers more than 400 rai of land, was once the biggest mining site prospered by natural resources and abundant minerals. Tin mining was an importance economic activity in Phuket, but when time passed by and tin is running out, the mine was left abandoned. Until 2007, Kathu Municipality initiated the renovation of the mining site and changed it to be the museum as we see nowadays. They intended the Museum to be dedicated to help both Thai and Tourists to travel back in time and experienced Phuket’s mining history. There are a dozen of both outdoor and indoor exhibition rooms which are interesting and worth the visit.

Location: Moo 5, Kathu-Nakoh Road within a few minutes from British International School.

Phuket Seashell Museum

Phuket Seasell Museum founded in 1997, located in Rawai and contains more than 2,000 shell species. One of the largest collections of seashells in the world. If you have an interest in the world of underwater nature, this museum is for you. The museum put together valuables seashells from all over the world and mostly from Phuket and Thai waters. The displays of shells is well labeled with a lot of information in both Thai and English, surely you will enjoy this museum if you’re fascinating about marine life. In the museum there is also have a shop selling many interesting gifts and souvenirs such as, seashell craving for house decoration, seashell jewelry, key chains, shell mobile and many more crafting and art.

Location: 12/2 Moo 2, Viset Road, Rawai

Peranakannitat Museum, Thalang

Peranakannitat Museum is a newly opened museum in Thalang. The museum is dedicated to everything concerning Phuket’s history; architecture, custom, art, jewelry, way of living, local food and many other things. The museum is well designed in Sino-Portuguese architecture and combined by exhibition rooms, jewelry shops, cafe and restaurants. The museum also provided Baba Studio for taking picture in Baba traditional style clothes.

Location: 124/1 Moo 1 Thepkasatre Road, Srisunthon District, Thalang – Right across Home Pro Thalang

Thavorn Hotel

Thavorn Hotel (Thavorn Heritage Hotel) was known as the very first five-star in Phuket, built and opened in 1961. The hotel itself is still open for the operation but the first floor and some other part of the hotel is now renowned as a museum. The museum is now a home to ancient items, equipment, swords, photographs, arts and many more stuffs from Phuket’s old day collected by the Thavornwongwongse family. One of the museum’s most compelling items is a set of swords from 1785 used when Phuket’s two heroines, Lady Chan and Lady Mook, led a battle that drove away Burmese invaders.

If you’re fond of history and people’s way of life, why not take a side trip to the first luxury hotel in Phuket town  – Thavorn Hotel where the unique museum exhibiting memories of Phuket town in the old days is settled up near the hotel’s lobby. The museum itself offers you unique experience. There is not much information given about some objects exhibiting in there. However, just spend your time strolling around, watching, and imagining is worth a visit!

7 Interesting Facts about Thavorn Hotel and Museum

  1. Thavorn Hotel was established in 1961 by Thavornwongwongse family during the era of tin mining and rubber tree plantations industry from 19th to 20th It is the first luxury hotel in Phuket town.
  2. The first elevator in Phuket was installed in this first 5 story building in Phuket town.
  3. The museum displays collections of the owners such as clothes, accessories, theater stuffs, tin mining equipment, items used in Chinese wedding ceremony, Chinese banknotes, coins, handbills, thin toys, opium smoking bed, a few World War II artefacts, the old safes, and etc.
  4. One of the must-see item here is a set of swords said to be used in 1785 when Phuket’s two heroines, Lady Chan and Lady Mook, led a battle that drove away Burmese invaders.
  5. The old-school movie projector, the biggest object in the museum, symbolizes the prosperous time of Thavorn Hotel as the modern and fashionable entertainment center those days.
  6. Old Phuket town’s photos such as the first aero plane, car and sea dredger in Phuket are displaying around the walls of the museum.
  7. To show the popularity of Thavorn Hotel in the old days, there are many photos of some of the most famous celebrities, majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, and many Thai and foreign politicians while visiting the hotel.