Click to enlargeThe bustling, administrative centre of Phuket is often overlooked in favour of the beaches, but there's a lot to see and do in Phuket City. Having been recently upgraded to city status, Phuket City features an exciting mix of old and new, simple and sophisticated, peaceful and pulsating. The historical district is a must-see in the city, with fine examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture concentrated along Dibuk, Thalang and Krabi roads standing as monuments to Phuket's Chinese heritage. Some of the mansions and shophouses are beautifully restored, with many still inhabited by local families. The city's ornate Chinese shrines are hubs of activity during festival times.

Phuket City also boasts the best variety of food on the island, much of it available at local prices. If you're hoping to sample local dishes such as mii pat (yellow noodles), kanom jiin (Chinese style rice noodles with curry), khao mun kai (chicken and cooked rice) or roti (Muslim-style pancakes), then Phuket City the place to come.

Recommended Thai restaurants: Lemongrass (Dibuk Rd), Thammachart (Soi Phuthon), Phuket View, Tung Kha Cafe (both on Rang Hill). Newly opened is Baan Klung Jinda Restaurant on Mae Luan Rd, in the beautifully restored former residence of the Phuket Provincial Treasurer.


There's also a growing number of restaurants serving up great Western food at reasonable prices, and some truly classy spots, including Ka Jok Sii (Takuapa Rd) and La Gaetana (Phuket Rd). All the major fast-food outlets and inexpensive fresh food courts can be found at Robinsons, Big C, Central Festival and Tesco-Lotus shopping centres.

Phuket people love shopping and there are lots of great spots to pick up clothing, local handicrafts and more for a bargain in Phuket City. Check out the city's night markets, stroll along the streets of downtown or stop in at a department store - the variety of goods on offer is truly bewildering.

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