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  1. #1
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
    Sir Burr's Avatar
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    Phuket.......finally.

    I think before I get into the photos and stuff, a little bit of the history of Phuket.

    The British called the place Junkceylon. The British East India company were looking for a port to use, they eventually decided against Junkceylon and settled for Penang instead (thank Christ).
    The name Phuket is derived from the Malay word Ďbukití which simply means hill. Phuketís old spelling, still occasionally seen is Bhuket, which is closer to the root word.

    Phuket is the second smallest province in Thailand, yet, is the second richest province in the country with only Bangkok more affluent.
    Phuket has been a wealthy place long before tourists got here, making itís primary riches from rubber and more especially from Tin.

    Tin actually isnít that common. The only places where itís been found is a few spots in South America, the South-west of England, with the vast majority on the Malay Peninsula extending up through Southern Thailand.
    Before the second world war, Phuket was supplying 40% of the worldís tin.

    Tin mining has shaped this island, both physically and socially. The Straits Chinese migrated up the peninsula in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Firstly, to work in the tin mines, later owning and running tin mining companies. They brought their architecture with them and Sino-Portuguese houses and shops are one of the fading legacies . They also brought their temples and way of life.
    Today, Phuket is dominated by five major and two minor Chinese families that all got rich on tin and rubber. They have huge land-holdings here and have carved up all the lucrative dealerships and distributorships between them.

    Anyway, the first place to look at is PhuketTown, the provincial capital. It is now officially PhuketCity, but, Iíve known it far loger as PhuketTown, so, PhuketTown it will remain.
    Phuket Town has grown a hell of a lot in the last twenty years, most of the new buildings are unremarkable and can be found anywhere in Thailand.
    For me, PhuketTown is the Old area, dominated by Sino-Portuguese shophouses. Too late, the authorities have just woken up to the fact that Sino-Portuguese architecture is great for tourists. They are now trying to encourage owners to restore their shophouses to their former glory. Unfortunately, a lot of the skills needed have been lost, especially the art of making intricate moldings.


    A typical row of everyday shophouses.




    Here are some that have had some restoration. Originally, all these rows of shophouses had a covered arcade you could walk through, sheltered from the rain, or sun.




    This next photo is a bit of a cliche, as you will see it in lots of travel mags.......course, mine can't compare.

    \


    This one has been restored. Dodgy colours are part and parcel of Sino-Portuguese shophouses.




    Some of the details on a door. Another reason renovation has been slow to catch on, is the expence of hiring skilled craftsmen.




    Another door.......




    Right. Just going to upload some more pictures.........
    Phuket - Veni Vidi Veni

  2. #2
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
    Sir Burr's Avatar
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    Apologies for the picture size. Still haven't got the hang of it.

    The picture below is of a house that is on the grounds of the Thai International main office.
    Last year whilst Thai were doing renovations on their main office building, they all moved into this house.








    This old house is in the middle of Phuket Town. I'm afraid the photo doesn't do the house justice.







    Here is the famous On On Hotel. Used in a lot of movies







    Here is a circle with fountain which is at the centre of Old Phuket.
    Notice those green things that the water is coming out of?
    They are original water cannons used for mining tin.




    If you get tired of the heat and bustle, a good place to go is Rang Hill, which is also smack in the middle of the town.
    Three quarters of the way up is a nice restaurant with great views.
    Up the top is a shady park that is always several degrees cooler than down below.
    This is Rang Hill looking south towards Chalong, which is where we'll be heading next.







  3. #3
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    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    At last! Some decent colonial architecture. Nice pics.

  4. #4

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    dirtydog's Avatar
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    Could easily be mistaken for Penang, bit better than the crappy shophouses we have in Pattaya.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Nice piccys Mr burr.

  6. #6
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    It is these great threads that let me know how little i have really seen!
    Thank you Sir B..

  7. #7
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    Great Pictures thanks for for the information also.

  8. #8
    I am in Jail

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    Thanks much, Sir B. As DonM noted, really enjoy the history part, too. Gives a dash of extra flavour. Hope to see many more episodes.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat

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    Very nice stuff. I spent a night in Phuket Town back in 1977 and was too stupid to have taken any photos. It looks lovely.

  10. #10
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Shop houses and lasting architecture. . . nice to see.

    You get these allover Malaysia and Singapore as well but they are either dilapidated or were/will be torn down.

    The dichotomy is that, generally, western nations value the old while Asian countries love the new. No value judgment there, just an observation.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat
    sabang's Avatar
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    Been to Phuket many times, driven through Phuket Town all of once.
    It's certainly worth a better look- like DD, it reminds me of Georgetown, Penang.

  12. #12
    I am in Jail

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    I will say one thing about Phuket Town. It's got to be one of the most confusing places to learn as there seems to be little sense to the maze of roads. It took be a few years before I stopped getting lost there.

  13. #13
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    If your standing where you shot the fountain pic, turn left and walk toward the crazy intersection. On the opposite side at the first corner is an old chinese shop/restaurant. Inside there are still glass front cases with old
    Catapillar parts from when it was a 'spares' shop for the tin mining industry.

    The old yellow house is a classic. We were interested in buying, but is owned by one of the "OLD" families and they weren't interested in selling at any reasonable price. Would have (and still would) make a great bistro and guest house.

    E. G.
    "If you can't stand the answer --
    Don't ask the question!"

  14. #14
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
    Sir Burr's Avatar
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    Thanks for the appreciation guys.

    Right. Leaving Phuket Town, we head south to Chalong.
    Chalong is mainly a residential area and also has more than it's fair share of builders merchants and plant nurseries. Businesses that need large bits of land. land is still reasonably cheap here in Chalong. Only 3 to 5 million baht a rai now.
    Anyway, Chalong is famous around Thailand for Wat Chalong. A major Buddhist temple which we will now head to.

    Now, I'm not going to do a full on photo-shoot of the temple, as, if you are like me, it's a case of seen one, you've seen them all.

    The picture below shows this incredibly tall tower that was completed at Wat Chalong a few years back at a reputed cost of 60 million baht.



    Wat Chalong is incredibly rich. It has large land-holdings and regularly gets bequeathed a lot of money. There is even a financial guru whos job it is to make ever more money.
    When the temple built the tower, it lost the support of all the local people. They reckoned that Wat Chalong had lost the plot and was more interested in glorifying itself than helping the local people.
    The locals use a non-descript, small temple a couple of kilometers away.


    Below is a picture of a lake made from a former tin mine that backs onto Wat Chalong. The houses are on the Land & House estate, a popular developement in Chalong.



    Next, we will go check out Phuket's very own Big Buddha, which is currently under construction on a hill overlooking Chalong.

  15. #15
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
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    In this part of Phuket, a range of hills runs north, south dividing the touristy west coast from the laid back east coast.
    These hills are call the Nakkerd Hills. Yeah, I laughed too. I think the accepted spelling is wrong because I've been told that the name means "Birth place of the Naga" which is a mythical, giant, many-headed Cobra.
    I do know there are plenty of cobras "up in them thar hills". Never seen the Naga and I still think the spelling is wrong.

    Anyway, Phuket is building a huge Buddha that will eventually be covered in white marble, on top of the Nakkerd Hills.

    A glimpse of it on the way up.



    Finally get up here and admire the views.
    Looking south towards Rawai and Naiharn.




    Looking east towards the next famous thing about Chalong.
    Chalong Bay. Can you see the pier? That's where we are off to next.




    Looking north-east back to Phuket Town. Pity it's a hazy day.




    Looking north along the Nakkerd hills.


    To give you some idea of the size of this statue, take a look at the phot below. Look at the size of the people compare to the Golden Buddha.
    Then compare the Golden Buddha to the Big Buddha's base.




    Right. It's off to Chalong Bay.

  16. #16
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
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    Chalong Bay is the biggest and best natural harbour in Phuket. It gives great protection from the SW monsoon and was, until just a few years ago, where most yachts used to anchor.
    Specialist marinas have been built further north, so, the yachts have got fewer.
    But, work boats have got far more numerouis. Chalong Bay is where you go to board your boat for diving, fishing, island hoping, and various tours.
    This is still the islands hub for the commercial boat business.

    The old pier was torn down and they build this one. The tide goes out a long way in Chalong, so, a long pier for boarding and disembarking passengers at any state of the tide is necessary.
    There are small buses you can catch from one end of the pier to the other. Vital when you are lugging your own diving equipment.

    The entrance to the pier.




    On the pier looking south along Rawai.




    The government are trying to develope a marina off to one side of the pier.
    Predictably, they are making a Dog's Dinner out of it as you can see below.




    Lokking back at the Nakkerd hills, you can see where we have just come from. The Big Buddha.



    Well, all this walking has brought on a thirst. Time to head back, and by good luck, my local watering hole is not far away.




    Here we are then. At my local, the Tamarind. Pretty quiet at three in the afternoon.




    The view from my local.




    A great way to finish off a photo-shoot.



    Next, we go to the Deep South, Rawai and Nai Harn.
    Watch this space.........

  17. #17
    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb
    Sir Burr's Avatar
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    Oh yeah.......thanks to DD and Terrrry57 for help with the pictures.

  18. #18
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    Flock me!

    The Tamarind is MY (or was) long-time hangout.

    Say hello to the crazy German boat captain.

    When I left the construction of the big statue had been halted, seems they figured they were automatically excused from building laws relative to heights and what could be seen from the ocean.

    Great thread and photos.

    E. G.

  19. #19
    Member The Colonel's Avatar
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    Cool

    Boats Rawai



    Kata Top View Point



    PYC



    Boat in Phuket City



    Patong Bay North Side



    Pier Ao Po (New)




    Pier Ao Por (Old one)



    and then the rest of the best Patong in a different light






    The Colonel

  20. #20
    Member Razor's Avatar
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    Great pics!

  21. #21
    I am in Jail

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    Great thread Sir Burr. It shows just how big and diverse the Island (indeed province) of Phuket is.

    *About the same size as the Country island of Singapore.

  22. #22
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    Happyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Gibbon View Post
    Flock me!

    The Tamarind is MY (or was) long-time hangout.

    Say hello to the crazy German boat captain.

    When I left the construction of the big statue had been halted, seems they figured they were automatically excused from building laws relative to heights and what could be seen from the ocean.

    Great thread and photos.

    E. G.
    Still go there E.G. and Uwe on "Andeman Hooker " is as mad as always !

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happyman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by El Gibbon View Post
    Flock me!

    The Tamarind is MY (or was) long-time hangout.

    Say hello to the crazy German boat captain.

    When I left the construction of the big statue had been halted, seems they figured they were automatically excused from building laws relative to heights and what could be seen from the ocean.

    Great thread and photos.

    E. G.
    Still go there E.G. and Uwe on "Andeman Hooker " is as mad as always !
    Say hello to him for me and also to my "BIG" momma lol

    E. G.

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