PHUKET: Phuket’s Old Town can now add its listing by CNN Travel as one of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns to its long list of accolades. The article highlighted that whilst the island is renowned for its world-class beaches and leisure, maritime and adventure tourism activities, Phuket Town delivers on romance, history and cultural beauty.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor K. Yuthasak Supasorn, said the article correctly highlighted Phuket’s cultural diversity and history; things that are often eclipsed by its beaches.

“Phuket Town retain its charm and unique identity that comes from the influence of the Baba-Peranakan culture, which started when Chinese families migrated to Phuket. We are seeing more fully independent tourists with discretionary spending power who want the unique experiences that Phuket Town is rich in.”

The pocket-sized town welcomes a large number of foreign tourists each year, a significant number of who come from China and are interested in exploring the area and its Chinese influences.

CNN Travel noted that “Though most famous for its beaches, the Thai island of Phuket offers ample opportunities for cultural immersion as well.”

“The historic old quarter of Phuket Town, located in the center of the island, is lined with Sino-Colonial style shop houses, built during the island’s tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19th centuries.”

“There are plenty of hip shops, caf├ęs, restaurants and bars, including the batik shops along Thalang Road run by ethnic Malays and Indians. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions, cultural museums and a nunnery.”

CNN also recommended that one of the best ways to soak up Phuket Town’s rich culture and bohemian atmosphere was to find a local company that specializes in walking tours of the Old Town.

In addition, CNN Travel noted that Phuket Town is where travelers can indulge in some of the island’s best restaurants, ideal for those visitors who have had their fill of the same old tourist fare served in beach areas. Top picks according to CNN include Southern Thai specialist Raya, Tantitium and One Chun.