We're not gonna lie - we genuinely thought these photos were shot in one of Penang's shophouse-lined streets the first time we saw them
Imagine our surprise when we found out that it's not downtown Penang, Melaka, or any historical town in Malaysia! In fact, you're looking at Old Phuket Town, one of the oldest cities in Thailand.
Old Phuket Town forms part of Phuket City, an important port in the Malay Peninsula where Chinese immigrants first landed once upon a time.
Fun fact: Phuket City and George Town, Penang officially became twin cities in September 2014.
There's a reason why these buildings look so similar. Phuket City's history dates back to the 16th century, when the rapidly growing tin-mining industry attracted both Portuguese and Chinese merchants to the island.
The clash of European and Chinese cultures then led to the birth of Sino-Portuguese architecture, as evident in the distinctive Peranakan Chinese elements in the shophouses lining the streets of Old Phuket Town
The influence of European colonists is also apparent in the Sino-Colonial mansions you might find when exploring the historical town
Aside from their architectural similarities, some shops in Old Phuket Town also sell variants of tau sar pneah a.k.a. one of the must-buy souvenirs from Penang!
As part of the town council's restoration efforts, local and international artists have also left their mark on the centuries-old walls of Old Phuket Town
So, if you ever need a break from the beaches when you're in Phuket, you know where to go to bask in some old-timey charm!