The most populous part of the island is on the western coast and around Phuket City, known as Phuket Town until 2004 when its size warranted the name change. Many signs have not been changed and most people still refer to it as Phuket Town. This is the center of trade and commerce on the island and most government offices are here. Remarkable examples of Sino-Portuguese buildings recall earlier days when tin-mining was an important part of island life. Many Chinese came to the area to work in the mines, followed by Portuguese traders who set up shop.
The main Phuket market is held daily in the city center from 1am to 5am. Trucks rumble into town loaded with pineapples and bananas. Others come with chicken or pork carcasses. The aroma of spices and fresh produce makes it a morning to remember. You will find many hotel chefs, or their assistants, selecting provisions for their kitchens. Finding someone who speaks English will be a problem. Finding somewhere to have breakfast will not. Numerous cafés, mostly run by Chinese, offer interesting cuisine at very low prices and are open throughout the night.
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