5 underrated things to do in Phuket

And guess what? Nothing on this list has anything to do with the beach.

Soi Romanee
  • Cheong Kamei
  • June 2019

Discover a different side to Phuket by walking through Old Phuket Town, where history meets hipster culture.

1. Enjoy Thai-inspired ice cream

Torry’s Ice Cream
Torry’s Ice Cream.

There’s something for everyone at Torry’s Ice Cream opens in new window. Purists can opt to keep things simple with Thai Milk Tea ice cream. More adventurous foodies can try one of its more unique flavours inspired by local desserts like O-aew — a Phuket-Hokkien jelly made from fig seeds.

2. Visit the oldest medicine shop on the island

Along one of Phuket’s oldest roads is the 102-year-old Chinese medical store Nguan Choon Tong. Take your time to observe the ancient weighing scales and old cabinets storing dried herbs — once go-to remedies for ailments suffered by the influx of Chinese migrants who came to Phuket during the tin mining boom in the early 20th century.
16 Thalang Road

3. Have some of the best cocktails in Phuket

Dibuk House
Dibuk House.

Old Phuket Town has a growing cafe and bar scene driven by creative and passionate young entrepreneurs. Top of that list is Dibuk House opens in new window, a bar that’s leading the local craft cocktail scene.

Cocktails from Dibuk House
Cocktails from Dibuk House.

Go with the inventive Message from the Sea featuring Thai tea, Mekong anchovy, sake, pineapple and strawberry shrub and celery bitters — it’s a bizarre concoction that works.

4. Seek out hole-in-the-wall eateries

Burmese teahouse on The Chef's Tour
Photo credit: JB/Will Fly For Food.

As an important trading stop from as far back as the 16th century, Phuket’s food scene has long been informed and influenced by a diverse range of cultures. A Chef’s Tour opens in new window is a guided food walk where you get to sample everything from freshly-made naan and chickpea daal from Burmese teahouses to Chinese wanton egg noodles.

5. Check out Sino-Portuguese architecture

Old Phuket Town’s buildings feature a beautiful blend of Chinese and European influences that date as far back as the late 1800s. Soi Romanee is where most tourists head to for their #OOTD shot against a backdrop of pretty pastel shophouses but to get a closer look at the intricate details, head to the century-old mansion and museum Chinpracha House (98 Krabi Road).