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.
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.