As the pandemic—hopefully—dwindling, Phuket’s younger generation entrepreneurs are trying to rebuild the island’s visitor economy with the revival of their century-old heritage. Phuket may have been known for its blissful beach, where millions flew in yearly to have a piece of paradise on the east side of the Indian Ocean. But the tourism hub of Southern Thailand is also celebrated for its magnificent Peranakan—a mixed heritage of Chinese settlers across the Malay peninsula since the early 16th century, and the mesmerising hybrid aesthetics of Sino-Portuguese architecture.
Baan Ar Jor (Ah Jor’s House), a century-old house built during the heyday of tin mining around the island, welcomes visitors who seek the old days of Phuket. The residence has been transformed into a living museum displaying photos, documents, clothing, decorative arts, and furniture decorating in traditional Southern Chinese style, the same way Ar Jor (a Southern Chinese dialect for “Grandparents”) did. You can also book to spend the night here. In addition, the storage next to the house has also been repurposed to serve the authentic Phuket cuisine called Toh Daeng (the Red Table), a reminiscence of a big family dinner—a typical Chinese kinsfolk moment.
Baan Ar Jor is one of many heartwarming projects reflecting the recent movement of Phuket’s travel scene: youngsters reviving their heritage to welcome world travellers. Torry’s in Phuket’s old town reinterprets local desserts into ice cream. The Memory at On On Hotel—Phuket’s first hotel opened in 1927 has revived the memories of this traders’ island. Indulge yourself with the centuries-old culture at Peranakan Phuket Museum and Peranakan Puppet Show, or travel back in time to witness the island in the 1920s at No.92 Old Town Phuket, don’t miss the dessert here—divine!
Phuket’s list of “Fascinating History and Culture”, one of the seven Thailand MICE Magnificent Themes, goes on, awaits you to discover untold stories of the lovely local communities. After over a year of hardship, Phuket comes back to welcome fully vaccinated travellers starting in July. Phuket’s travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and the local people are doing their best to provide our Meeting and Incentive visitors with an authentic and heartfelt experience, waiting to be retold on your next journey to Thailand.
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