The Chinpracha House, constructed in 1903, is one of 18 mansions in Phuket Town built in the Sino-Portuguese architectural style combining Chinese design concepts with those of Europe transforming a Western style house into a dwelling adapted for the heat and humidity of the tropics.
The Chinpracha House is open Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 16:30 and admission costs 200 THB.
About the Chinpracha House
The Chinpracha House is much more than an interesting old house, it’s a living historical record which tells the story of the development of Phuket Town and of the people who came to live there.
The Chinpracha House was built by Prapitak Chinpracha, who was born in Phuket into a Chinese family which had immigrated to Phuket in 1854. Like many other families, the Chinpracha family came to Phuket as economic migrants seeking work in Phuket’s tin mining industry, which had flourished since tin mining had started on the island in the mid 17th Century.
The Chinpracha family worked hard, made clever decisions, and became one of the richest families on the island. By the start of the 20th Century they had the money to build a large family mansions complete with imported cars. If you look at the old photographs displayed on the walls of the Chinpracha House you will see Mr Prapitak Chinpracha and his family living the comfortable lifestyle of a very wealthy and powerful family.
Times change and fortunes are sometimes lost, and this is as true for Phuket Town as it is for the Chinpracha family. The price of tin collapsed in the 1980s and the island authorities decided to take away tin mining concessions in favour of focusing on tourism as the major industry in Phuket. The business interests of the Chinpracha family were hit hard by these developments and like many other people in Phuket they were forced to look for other sources of income.
Turned into a Museum
The Chinpracha family still live in their magnificent mansion, but they have opened the ground floor up to paying guests. The widow of Mr Prapitak Chinpracha is now the owner of the house, and sadly part of the grounds has been sold to developers by another family member. The developers have built shops on what was the front garden thereby obscuring the magnificent front entrance to the house and effectively deleting a page in the island’s architectural history.
Layout of the House
Vistors to the Chinpracha House enter via a side entrance to the house by the garage which is still used by the owners. The side entrance leads into a courtyard with a central pond above which is an opening in the roof creating a central passage through air can travel naturally cooling down the inside of the house.
The courtyard and other rooms on the ground floor level have Italian marble tiles which, along with the thick white walls, also help to cool the house. Leading onto the courtyard are two downstairs bedrooms, a kitchen and two sitting rooms. The house was designed to accommodate a lot of visitors and the large dining table by the pond in the courtyard indicates the importance of meals shared between the extended Chinpracha family during its heyday.
The ground floor of the Chinpracha House is filled with period items dating back to the period when the house was built through to the middle part of the 20th Century. The most interesting items on display are the black and white family photographs as they provide a very vivid account of family life in the house and life in Phuket for the wealthy a century ago. The Chinpracha House is well worth visiting.
Location of the Chinpracha House
- The Chinpracha House is located 1.5 km walking distance from Phuket Bus Terminal 1.