24 hours in Phuket

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Phuket – now famed for sun-and-sea tourism, this lush tropical island in the south of Thailand was once rich in tin deposits. Devastated by a Burmese invasion in 1809, traders from the British Straits moved all mining activity to the Bay of Tongkah near Old Phuket town.

Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort

By the early 1900s, Penang merchants flocked to the island and life was more culturally linked to Malaya (now Malaysia) than Bangkok, influenced by European architecture and Chinese settlements in Penang, Singapore, and Malacca.

?Tin mining collapsed in the 1970s, however, direct flights from Europe to Bangkok infused new life into local economies with tourism to Phuket’s stunning beaches. Phuket town’s early architecture is referred to as Sino-Portuguese in design. A movement to restore the pre-World War II streets is now in full swing – from ancient shophouses to sacred shrines and temples. Modern Phuket is diverse in culture – Buddhist, Muslim, and home now to people from all over the globe with the laid back traditional and cosmopolitan lifestyle reflected in food, art, and the fabulous outdoors.

Try Old Town breakfast at Aroon Restaurant,
124 Thalang Road, with roti (pancakes), roti hluay (banana pancakes), khai nok (egg), gaeng (curry), and tarik (iced tea) or ga-fae ron (latte).

Grab a Phuket Town Treasure Map at Art & Culture,
16 Soi Rommanee and do a walking tour of Sino-Portuguese architecture on Krabi Road; don’t miss the exquisite Blue Elephant Governor’s Mansion.

Shopping and artists: see Sarasil Gallery,
121 Phang Nga Road and Rinda Magical Art, 27 Yao-warat Road, for fresh, colourful, and unique Thai creations. Enjoy fun, funky boutiques such as Island Paradise along the way!

Lunch at Siam Indigo, 8 Phang Nga Road
– named a Best Restaurant in Thailand by Tatler magazine – and favourite of fashionistas, with fabulous fusion and Thai cuisine in artistic heritage surroundings.

Visit Giant Buddha – Nakkerd Hill,
off Chaofa East Rd, Chalong. Funded entirely by donation, built of Burmese marble, and standing 45m tall, this big icon gazes over the entire island.

Spa time at Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort,
Rawai in Phuket South; this ayurvedic health spa is offering Oryx readers a 40% discount on any treatments from the alluring spa menu.?

?Enjoy fresh fruit-shakes; try mango or coconut at fabulous seafront Café Nikita,
Ra-wai – or head to the far end of the esplanade for juicy oysters with zingy local condiments at Baan Haad Rawai.

? 17.00
See King of Thailand’s Laem Promthep Lighthouse,
with its unique elephant collection and local market; then stroll on Nai Harn beach for a spectacular sunset at the most southerly point of Phu-ket.

?Mom Tri’s Kitchen overlooking Kata Noi Beach
offers splendid evening fine dining, with Thai and European cuisine amid artistically landscaped gardens in the former home of a royal family connection.?

?Show time at Simon Cabaret,
Patong Beach. A Phuket institution, this renowned specta-cular is famed for its lavish sets, brilliant costumes, and glamorous dancers. Do late drinks at so-phisticated Indochine, Kalim-Patong.

Phuket, Thailand
Distance: 5,322 km
Flight Time: 10 hrs, 5 mins
Frequency: Daily

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