PHUKET: As a first time traveller to Thailand, I’ve spent some time aimlessly wandering around Old Phuket Town, which, despite the constant buzzing of crowded telephone wires and motorbikes, can actually be quite peaceful.
This town isn’t really intended for the casual stroller. Locals will hop on a motorbike just to cross the street and if they have to walk, it’s at a brisk and purposeful pace.
Most of the pedestrians I’ve seen are the few, but easy-to-spot, tourists with backpacks and cameras in tote, usually looking up from a phone while trying to find their destination.
There is an unmistakable busyness here. At first, it feels a bit frenetic, but if you slow down enough to see what is going on around you there is a rhythm to it all. The more I walked around, the more I saw the beauty of Old Phuket Town.
The Sino-Portuguese architecture is enough to stop you and get your attention. The buildings need a little love, but there is something charming about them, as they seem stuck in time.
Without notice you can turn a corner and see a painted creature on the side of a building – my favorite being a smiling tiger on a three-storey wall with bright colors and Aztec shapes.
Cafes are sprinkled around town, each with a unique feel – from a quaint 1950’s living room with Motown music, to an ultra-modern space with white walls and minimalist decor.
Art galleries are nestled here and there with unassuming store fronts. The artists are laid-back and friendly, usually lounging around with their artwork. Others are quietly practicing their craft with a meditative regularity, but all are more than happy to share their work with you.
It’s easy to get caught up in demands of daily life or the itineraries of travel. But sometimes it’s worth taking a moment or two to take in all that this town has to offer.
— Meagan Benetti
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