Thalang Road

Everything You Need To Know About Thalang Road

Thalang Road is the main central street of Phuket’s charming Old Town. This quaint, narrow boulevard is studded with numerous attractions, great shops, an eclectic mix of restaurants, several small guesthouses and more, all housed in the beautiful Sino-Portuguese architecture which makes Phuket Town so famous. As well as being one of the oldest streets in Phuket, it remains one of the busiest. It is still a major route for road traffic, except for on Sunday evenings when it becomes Phuket’s own Walking Street.

A mostly one-way street running east to west for 600m through the heart of the city, it starts from Montri Road, crosses Thepkasattri Road (the main highway along the length of the whole island) and ends at a junction with Yaowarat Road, where it becomes Krabi Road.

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The Geography of Thalang Road

At its easternmost extreme, Thalang Road is open to two-way traffic, but is generally very quiet on this side of Thepkasattri Road. There is significantly less to see here, not least because this is in the newer part of the city and does not have the wonderful architecture of Old Town. This part of the road does have some attractions. You will see the impressive and quite imposing dragon fountain at the end of Queen Sirikit Park on the northern side of the road, personifying the old Chinese legend which states that Phuket Island itself is a sea dragon named Hai Leng Ong.

After crossing the Bang Yai canal, you find the first of the more historic buildings around the junction with Thepkasattri Road. Cross that and you hit what most people generally consider to be Thalang Road proper. From here on, the traffic is one-way, mostly because the street is quite narrow and, since it is such a busy place, a lot of what little road there is available is taken up by parked cars.

The somewhat eclectic old buildings start almost immediately, mixing and matching colours, styles and sizes in their frontages, with many of them showing their age. The contents of the shophouses are just as diverse as their appearance, with pharmacies, souvenirs, clothing, haberdasheries, food, jewellery and general stores available, among others. Some of the shops are as old as the buildings housing them, having been passed down through many generations of the same family.

About halfway down the street, on the right-hand (north) side, is the turn-off for Soi Romanee – the oldest street in Phuket Town. Even narrower than Thalang Road, it is very quaint and picturesque and home to a collection of small guesthouses. Photographers can regularly be found down this side street, taking wedding pictures with couples in their full matrimonial regalia.

Thalang Road continues all the way to the junction with Yaowarat Road, becoming Krabi Road on the other side of the junction. The buildings in this second half of the street are less colourful and show a few more signs of modernity. There are still plenty of historic details, particularly on the upper floor frontages, and there are still a number of unusual old family businesses, including a printing company and a musical instrument shop.

Notable Attractions (from East to West)

Phuket Walking Street

Also known as Lardyai, meaning ‘big market’ in the southern Thai dialect, Phuket Walking Street is a weekly market held every Sunday, stretching from the Thepkassatri junction right to the end of Thalang Road. The family-oriented event brings a mix of fun attractions as well as stalls selling inexpensive clothing, food and souvenirs, making it particularly popular with tourists.

  • Opening Hours: Sundays 16:00 – 22:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Since 1892

Despite its name, this charming little café was actually opened in 2012, but its rustic and tastefully decorated interior certainly gives it the feel of being over a century older. Fortunately, air conditioning is among the modern conveniences, making this a great place to get out of the heat of the day and enjoy a sip of coffee and a 79 baht slice of chocolate cake. There are also cast iron tables and chairs in the outside street archway where you can enjoy any of the café’s other tasty treats, including a selection of teas and homemade Bonito ice cream.

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 – 22:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Eleven Two & Co.

A unique fusion café and restaurant, Eleven Two & Co. really embraces the quirky, boutique nature of Thalang Road. It combines western and Asian dishes along with craft beers and a small souvenir shop selling postcards, soaps, magnets and other knickknacks, some of which are made by the owner, June. Prices start at 50 baht for basic Thai dishes and rise up to about 245 baht for larger pasta meals.

  • Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 08:00 – 22:00
  • Location: 112 Thalang Road, Phuket Town
  • Tel: +66 (0)7 635 4424
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Soi Romanee

Soi Romanee is the oldest and one of the most colourful streets in Phuket Town – indeed, on the whole island. Lined with bars, cafés and guesthouses, its vintage buildings make a beautiful backdrop for photos during the day and a chilled-out night spot in the evenings. Better yet, it was one of the first streets in Phuket to have its power and telephone cables buried, meaning that there are no ugly bundles of cables to ruin the historic charm.

  • Location: Connecting Thalang Road to Dibuk Road, Phuket Town
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Bo(ok)hemian Arthouse – Nang (Sua)

True to its name, Bo(ok)hemian Arthouse is a very bohemian café, with a rough-and-ready look created by a scuffed concrete floor and sketches of Phuket Town mounted on chipped concrete walls. Also living up to its name is the extensive selection of books, including foreign and Thai language options, which you can enjoy with a 70 baht iced coffee or a 60 baht latte, as well as homemade cakes.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Mac-Chiato House (aka Cake Box)

A tasteful, chic café featuring large black-and-white photos of famous people on its coffee-coloured walls, Cake Box has two computer stations with free Wi-Fi available for use, a range of books and magazines to browse through and even a small shop selling purses and bags. These all compliment a good range of high-quality coffees and teas and an impressive selection of fruity cakes. There is a fan-cooled garden space at the back and the seating in the shop is very comfortable, making this a great spot for a social hang-out.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 21:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Nguan Choon Tong Herbs Shop

This is the oldest medicine shop on the island and has been a feature of Thalang Road for over 75 years. It featured on CBS’s ‘Amazing Race’ in 2009, when each of the 14 contestants asked the shopkeeper to open each of the 99 individual herb draws in order to find their clue. It is a functional herb shop, with each of the wooden draws containing a different dried root, bark, leaf, insect or other weird and wonderful treatment. Many locals favour these wares over modern medicine, not least because it is considerably cheaper.

  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 08:00 – 20:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, next to Wilai Restaurant, Phuket Town
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China Inn Phuket

China Inn Café & Restaurant is brimming with history and tradition, with décor to match its wonderful historic setting. Tastefully distributed classic memorabilia adorns a beautifully resorted old shophouse, with a Feng Shui-inspired backyard for perfect peace. The fact that there is also an extensive menu of classic Thai dishes, as well as a few western specials, is almost an afterthought. With tasty food and great service, this is one of the top dining spots in the area.

  • Location: 20 Thalang Road, Phuket Town
  • Tel: +66 (0)7 635 6239
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Kopitiam by Wilai

Kopitiam marries a historic style with nostalgic framed photos of Phuket more than 30 years ago along with great homemade-style Thai cuisine to create a charming little restaurant which is absolutely perfect for Thalang Road. The décor is somewhat austere and Chinese influenced, but suits the place perfectly. The food, meanwhile, is wholesome and delicious. It is a fantastic taste of Thai culture and history, all in one well-presented mouthful.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
  • Location: 18 Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Wilai Restaurant

Unlike its sister restaurant – Kopitiam – Wilai Restaurant’s looks are nothing to write home about it. It looks rather like a cafeteria, with its neat lines of tables and blue-and-white colour scheme. The food served here, however, is very highly regarded, particularly by the locals. They specialise in the traditional cuisine of the Baba people – descended from the Malaysian Chinese who first came to the island over a century ago, during the tin mining boom. A combination of Thai and Chinese, it has a certain homemade style to it.

  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11:00 – 22:00
  • Location: Thalang Road, Phuket Town
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Queen Sirikit Park

Fully named the "Suanchalermprakiat 72 Years Queen Sirikit The Buddhist Era 2547 Park", this quiet little green space was built in 2004 to celebrate the Queen of Thailand's 72nd birthday. It covers about 15,000 square metres, most of which is grassland edged by trees. Being away from the commotion of Phuket Town, there is not much traffic noise, making it a good place to relax in the shade and quite popular with joggers. At the Thalang Road entrance is a striking golden dragon fountain, which was added in 2006 to celebrate the King of Thailand's 60th year on the throne. Its design stems from the old Chinese legend which states that Phuket Island is actually a sea dragon named Hai Leng Ong, as shown on the inscribled marble wall nearby.

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