Connect with us

Opinion

Phuket Opinion: Phuket Town, worthy of Unesco World Heritage status

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Approaching Phuket Town from the north at dusk provides a magical moment. At the intersection of Thepkasattri and Thalang Roads, the ivory-white Song Nuan Pharmacy building is cinematically lit with colors that manage to stay just on the right side of garish.

Every time I pass it on my daily two-wheeled commute home, and then proceed through streets lined with elegantly crumbling Sino-Portuguese and Peranakan shophouse architecture, I’m reminded that Phuket Town is possibly the most marvelous World Heritage Cultural Site that is not actually on Unesco’s official lineup of such sites.

Phuket Town made a bid to get on that list in 2011, but failed the audition after a team of International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) officials decided that the historic core of our provincial capital didn’t tick all the requisite boxes.

Nevertheless, Phuket Town is one of three shimmering pearls of historic interest on the west coast of the Malay-Thai peninsula, and no less rich in heritage – or potentially aesthetically pleasing – than Penang’s Georgetown and Melaka, 360km and 790km to the south respectively, as the Andaman sea eagle flies.

The omission of Phuket Town from the list seems like a glaring anomaly. Redressing it could deliver considerable gains to three Asean neighbors. Unesco World Heritage status would enhance a 950km heritage trail from Phuket Town to the Peranakan hub of Singapore, thereby yielding tourism revenue and associated synergies along a legendary trading route.

World Heritage status would bring considerable benefits to the island’s southeast corner. Funds from the World Heritage Trust would be made available for restoration work and an increased influx of tourists could be expected. This would be most welcome, for as many business owners in town have noted, this year’s low season has been very low indeed.

So – why not address Icomos’ reservations and concerns and then re-apply? The most obvious first step would be to continue burying all the electrical cabling that wrecks the town center’s photogenic promise. A Herculean task, but we’re only talking about half a dozen otherwise picture-perfect streets.

Another imperative step would be for the Kingdom to desist from its periodic threats to withdraw from the Unesco World Heritage Convention.

Above all, it’s high time Phuket Town received recognition for its rich culture and history.

— Nick Walker

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 min ago

Thailand News Today | 36 dead in a mass shooting at a nursery in northeast Thailand

Guides7 mins ago

5 best wine bars in Bangkok offering rich and quality wine

North East10 mins ago

Hip businesses in northeast Thai province offer tasty food and fun experiences

Sponsored6 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Crime28 mins ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand31 mins ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Bangkok43 mins ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Press Room53 mins ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri1 hour ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment1 hour ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Thailand1 hour ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World2 hours ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime2 hours ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand2 hours ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs2 hours ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand2 hours ago

Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital needs urgent blood donations after mass shooting

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending