Phuket town was founded a little over a century ago by Chinese and Malaysian merchants to service the nearby tin mines, and the harbor near Phuket was better suited to handle larger ships than the traditional capital city of Thalang. It spite of growing pains that come with being a boom town and a major fire that destroyed much of the city Phuket town grew and prospered to become the commercial, social, and political center of the island. The beginning of the 20th century was a period of positive growth for Phuket. Tin mining boomed, and the very capable and benevolent governor Rasada Korsimbi helped diversify the island’s economy and the capital city of Phuket began its modern expansion. The town of Phuket grew rapidly, its streets lined with handsome buildings, and ships from all over the world called at its bustling port. Today the main attractions are the old Sino-Portuguese buildings, the elaborate Chinese and Thai temples, and the public markets. Most of the buildings in Phuket’s city center were constructed nearly a hundred years ago, during the period of the first great tin boom. These building show mixed Chinese and western influences in their architecture called Sino-Portuguese. It is a style common to all coastal tin-mining settlements on the Malay Peninsula. The buildings are characteristically much longer than they are wide, and the entry ways have fancy latticework. Many lovely examples can be found on Dibuk Road, if you take the town walk-a-about you will pass many of the more important of these buildings. Phuket’s Town Hall, Provincial Court, and Nakorn Luang Bank are also good examples of this style of architecture. Phuket’s Town’s oldest public structure, Government House, is a wonderful example of architecture from earlier this century. Moviegoers may recognize it as the ‘American Embassy’ in Phnom Phen in The Killing Fields. The last few years Phuket has experienced a significant growth but has managed to retain a lot of its original flavor derived from its multicultural roots. The best way to appreciate the full layout of Phuket is to hike up Rang Hill, just to the town’s north.