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Phuket's Tin Mine Museum: a year-round attraction with wide appeal

Phuket Tin Museum to Open: Photo Special

Saturday, November 13, 2010
PHUKET will have a great year-round tourist attraction with the opening of the Tin Mine Museum on November 21, Loy Kratong Day. Museums are often dry and dusty places. Not this one.

Set in landscaped gardens that recreate a tin mine with the visual impact of a theme park, this museum really does deserve to be seen, and believed.

At long last, after 50 million baht has been spent, Phuket finally has a unique museum that celebrates an era in the island's spactacular past.

It will probably come to rival Chalong temple, sunset at Cape Promthep and the Big Buddha as a must-see on Phuket for many visitors who aren't obsessed with beaches and reefs, and an interesting rainy day diversion for those who are.

The tin mine has been long in the making since 2006 and its opening will come as a revelation to many. While the tin mine era played a vital part in the development of Phuket, very little has been preserved to celebrate that period.

Dredging destroyed irreplaceable near-shore reefs. But on shore, the wastelands that were created by mining have been adapted to lagoons that many visitors take to be natural, and that actually increase Phuket's much-needed dry season water supplies.

Inside and outside, the museum recreates life on and around the Phuket tin mines. Red dirt glints through the green hillside.

Of Phuket's three great transitional eras, the first two, tin and rubber, have not had nearly as much irreversible impact as tourism.

With a sensible strategy, Phuket may yet avoid the necessity of one day creating a jungle theme park to remind Phuket residents that their city-island home once contained trees and hills free from concrete.

The museum can be found in the Kathu region of central Phuket by turning uphill near the Loch Palm and Red Mountain golf courses.
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I think you guys have lost the plot: 'A great year-round tourist attraction', rivaling Wat Chalong etc. - a Tin Mine Museum, right. That'll get thousands of tourists to flock to Phuket, I'm sure. And let me guess: admission for Thais 20 Baht, for foreigners 200 Baht?

Posted by Karoshi on November 14, 2010 00:26

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Why be negative, Karoshi? It's a great new attraction in a serene setting, with gardens and lake and more... If you can't contribute a few baht, stay home.

Posted by Renaud on November 14, 2010 10:14

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I can only hope that they fix the road going up to the museum as it must be one of the worst condition roads on the island with pot holes about a foot deep!

Posted by Dave on November 14, 2010 15:30

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About time. We actually visited the museum in January when it was half open. My daughter has been on a school field trip, too. Kids loved it, it's a great museum, though I have reservations about the idea that thousands will get their **** off the beach to visit a museum.

The location is not ideal, and great though the museum may be, I do believe that the average Phuket tourist is not going to be too interested. Hope I am wrong. We will go again for sure now that it's opening properly.

Posted by Jamie Monk on November 14, 2010 21:13

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The Tin Mine Museum is just a great place - and it is NOT a Thai 20 Baht and foreigner 200 Baht place - it is free of charge for everybody.

indeed, the author of this article shows that she is not from Phuket - as just a minor part of tin mining on Phuket took place "offshore" - and indeed there is still lot of evidence of the tin mining history on Phuket and especially Kathu visible today.

"Big Bhudda" is just a man-made attraction - so it should not be linked to the mining museum - which tells the story of Phuket.

Posted by Karl on November 15, 2010 06:25

Editor Comment:

We have been told that tin dredging destroyed reefs close to Phuket's coast, and was largely responsible for seabed damage that still causes erosion to the coastline every monsoon season at Bang Tao today. If this is accurate, sea dredging may have been a minor part of Phuket's tin era, but its legacy was significant.

Big Buddha may be 'just a man-made attraction' to you but it is already a Phuket emblem that has deep religious and cultural significance for millions of Buddhists as well as attracting thousands of non-Buddhist visitors.

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The question is, if "deep religious and cultural significance for millions of Buddhists" should be marketed as a tourist attraction in a way some tuk-tuk drivers, phuketwan and tour agencies do it.

But who cares, I like your paper anyway.

Posted by Karl on November 16, 2010 03:29

Editor Comment:

You mean, like the great cathedrals of Europe, or Mecca? Surely religion has its place in the lives of many people, and therefore in tourism. Wasn't a great pilgrimage just an early long-haul trip?


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