Walk through the oldest part of Phuket City, along the Dibuk, Krabi and Thalang roads. The beautiful architecture of the region will take you back to the charm of a century ago. It reflects the European influence on the island. Europeans and Portuguese as well were interest in Phuket’s wealth since the 16th century. The tin mining of the island in the 18th century was carried out by Hokkien Chinese who had a big role in shaping up the city.
Later major European companies were called over to Phuket and major public infrastructure like canals and roads were built. The Sino Portuguese style architecture of big colonial houses stands out in the region. The Sino shop house was a place to both live and do business. The front of the building was used for trading and the remainder that includes the upper floor was a private home.
These shop houses were usually build in two rows known as tiam choo, meaning row of shop houses. The flooring plan for all these shop houses is quite similar creating spacious rooms for the entire family. Across the front of each shop houses is an arcade that offers shade and shelter to public.
The big house of red hairs or the European Mansion is also a significant architecture of the land. After making wealth from mining or as merchants, many Chinese immigrants started to build such mansions for their families. It features a capacious portico, courtyard in middle and terrace on the upper floor.
Some of the large Sino Portuguese houses have two or three courtyards. It is in this space that servants would carry water to the private room of the master. They would conduct all washing and bathing activities in this area of the house.