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Old Phuket’s restoration enters new phase



Old Phuket’s restoration enters new phase | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: Work to restore Phuket City’s Thalang Road to its former glory is gathering pace, with the launch of a new project to re-open the disused Chinese-style arcades that line the historic street.

The arched corridors, known in Hokkien Chinese as ‘ngorkakee‘, form part of the design of many of Old Phuket Town’s Sino-Portuguese shophouse buildings.

In former times the arcades permitted Thalang Road’s traders to move up and down the road under shelter from the rain.

In the last few years many have been walled up or obstructed with merchandise.

Phuket City Municipality is working with the Old Phuket Town Foundation and providing the budget to re-open Thalang Road’s ngorkakee.

Yesterday morning Phuket Vice Governor Smith Palawatvichai presided over a ceremony to celebrate the clearing of the ngorkakee of four of Thalang Road’s shophouses: the old Seng Ho bookstore, the Amonphan clothes store, the Prayoon gold store and the Torakan textiles store.

Somyote Pathan, owner of the Torakan store, said he thought the project was a great idea that would show visitors how the people of Thalang Road used to live.

“For the last ten years the arcades have been blocked up, but my family has lived here for forty years,” he said. “When I was a child I used to play in the ngorkakee.”

Somjit Ardam, the 46-year-old owner of the Ananpanit clothing shop next door, said, “The old corridors were very beautiful, and its great that we’ll get them back.”

“Hopefully it will get more tourists to come and visit the street,” he added.

President of the Old Phuket Town Foundation, Dr Prasit Koysiripong, said plans were afoot to clear the ngorkakee of another 14 of Thalang Road’s shophouses.

The owners of those buildings had already agreed that their ngorkakee could be cleared, he said.

The work should be complete within two years and cost 4-5 million baht, he said.

Meanwhile, work to bury the electricity cables that obscure the beautiful facades of Thalang Road’s buildings is expected to finish in January.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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