It was meant to be just a short stop on the way to somewhere else, a restful sleep after spending a night anchored at Maya Bay. But as the sun shone through the low, crumbling colonial style buildings, I realised that Phuket's Old Town was much more than that.
Home to some of Thailand's famous beaches, Phuket is known either for its luxury resorts or the hedonistic excesses of the backpacker trail. This grime and glitz was enough to bump Phuket out of our list of interests.
So when we checked in at Rommanee Classic, in the middle of old town, we were mesmerised by the shophouses an their Sino–Portuguese architecture. A major trading route for the Portuguese, between China and India in the 16th Century, Phuket became a melting pot of cultures. The tiles, pastel-painted louvred windows and Neoclassical pilasters blend with gold leaf fretwork and lacquered wooden doors, making Old Town so charismatic and charming that it's easy to forget you're in Thailand.