If you haven’t visited Phuket’s Old Town area in a while, I recommend remedying that soon. Not only are there many new cafe’s in the area but the already beautiful Thalang Road is now better seen at night than during the day. From seven until nine each evening, many of the street’s historic Sino-Portuguese shop houses are bathed in an ever-changing array of LED lights.
The original idea by the Provincial Office of Tourism and Sport was to paint about fifteen buildings in the area. Complicated demands by some of the owners led to the idea of computer-controlled lights, about 200 of them with the ability to change into 30 different colors.
The nightly operation has recently been turned over to the Phuket City Municipality along with local volunteers. There’s talk of extending the project to Soi Rommanee (the red-light district back in the early twentieth century) and Krabi Road.
While it s nice to stroll through Old Town any time of day or night, it should be noted that most of the restaurants and coffee shops do close fairly early. In fact, only one or two cafes on Thalang Road itself seemed to still be open at 7:30 PM this past Saturday. Of course, there’s the recently-opened pub near the Thalang-Phuket intersection, the Rider Cafe and Rockin’ Angels on Yaworat Road, plus the half-dozen or so bars and restaurants on Phang Nga Road if you’re hungry or thirsty.
If you need any more reason to come and explore the architecture and shopping in the Old Town area, the annual Por Tor (Hungry Ghost) Festival will occur this year from 23 August until 4 September. Centered at the fresh market on nearby Ranong Road, it will feature a street carnival, two parades, and the opportunity to sample some of the famous red turtle cakes. And stick around to look at all the pretty lights. You’ll be happy you did.