Officially, Phuket Town was upgraded to “Phuket City” a few years ago, but that was just a bureaucratic way of getting more money from central government. Phuket Town is not a city to me and everybody says Phuket Town. I mean, sure it’s a big town and has got more developed and urbanised, especially in the outskirts.
Since 1999 when I first arrived in Phuket, there’s been a lot of building, lots of housing projects, lots of new roads and shopping centers, lots of money being spent. I remember the first time I drove from Patong Beach to the Tesco Lotus store on the edge of town. A ride through the jungle on a narrow 2 lane road. There was no Central mall, no Jungceylon mall, no Big C, no Index, no Makro, no HomeWorks, no 4 lane roads. The development has come thick and fast. I am not going to argue about whether this is good or bad, whether money is destroying values and culture. I think that the people of Phuket, including myself, are very happy to have all that!
Most of the new development is around the edges of Phuket Town. As you head towards the center, the old world is more obvious. I have always liked exploring the town. Every street has something of interest. People may wonder where Thailand can be found in Phuket… if you’re staying in Patong Beach, I can understand the feeling. Phuket Town is where a part of the real Phuket can be found. I could walk around these streets taking photos every day. It’s what this blog is about – finding real life among the tourists and beaches.