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Phuket's Tin Mine Museum opens: beginnings of a tourist attraction

Phuket Tin Mine Museum Opens: Photo Special

Thursday, March 3, 2011
Phuket Tin Mine Photo Album Above

PHUKET'S Tin Mine Museum was officially opened today by Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha - and Phuketwan's editor became perhaps the first expat visitor to be bitten by a dog in the grounds.

''I didn't get to see all of the museum, but I did get to see a lot of Mission Hospital,'' said Alan Morison, who signed on for a five-jab rabies and tetanus course over 30 days at the Phuket City hospital.

A large number of Phuket's VIPs turned out to mark the opening of the museum in the heart of countryside Kathu. Many of them, including Tourism Authority of Thailand regional director Bangornrat Shinaprayoon, will be on flights over the next few days to ITB Berlin, world's most significant travel trade fair.

The museum won the title of Phuketwan Phuket Innovation of the Year 2010 and is expected to become a popular destination with expat and Thai tourists, especially on days when the weather is too wet for the beaches.

The museum, erected at a cost of more than 50 million baht, occupies spacious grounds on a rural road between Phuket's British International School and Loch Palm, where cows still cross and villagers ride pushbikes.

Tin mining was once as popular on the island as tourism is today, although the scars of the destructive industry have long since healed or been converted to tranquil lagoons.

The large, ornate SinoPortuguese-style museum building was finished a couple of years back, and fitting it out has taken time and loving care by craftsmen who have built dioramas and painted scenic walls.

Visitors travel through time, beginning with the creation of the planets and the geological development that gave the world tin and made it an important metal product that first helped to put Phuket on the map.

The culture of Chinese traders and mining-fodder coolies predominates, with evocative recreations of life on Phuket in circa 1957. It is believed that biting dogs may have been a traditional hazard for workers and visiting journalists back then.

Outside, a large gravel pump stands among the red earth that gave up its tin in substantial quantities. The museum is definitely worth an excursion.

Phuket Tin Mine Museum, open from 8am-4pm each day. Guided tours at 9.30am, 11am, 1pm, 2.30pm. Tickets: Expats 100 baht, 50 baht. Thais 50 baht, under 15, 20 baht. Students in school uniform, over 60s, handicapped, free. For details: 076 322140, 088-7660962-3.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Perhaps it's time to raise the issue of increasing numbers of stray dogs again.

I have a dog and love her very much but she is never out on her own. I realise some people don't like dogs and acknowledge my responsibility.

Stray dogs breed and multiply to incredible numbers and in large packs aggressive behavior increases.

Dogs are territorial and will defend it.

I'm sorry you got bitten and I know the following rabies treatment is very uncomfortable.

When you meet the relevant authorities, perhaps you could ask them to look into the issue and possibly provide readers with contact information to authorities who would come and remove stray dogs.

About 8 years ago the situation was so bad that when riding a motorbike in night time one was often chased by large packs of stray dogs.

The local authorities reacted and numbers decreased.

Under Thai law dogs have to be kept on a leash or within the compounds of your property. Most Thais keep dogs out on the streets as a means of protection towards burglars.

Unfortunately a dog doesn't differentiate between a patron and a thief.

Soi Dog Foundation does valuable work in spaying and caring for stray dogs but they receive no government funding at all and thus have limited resources.

Posted by Chris on March 3, 2011 17:53

Editor Comment:

As a regular walker and runner, I've been bitten more often than most. The important thing is that Phuket, unlike Bali, is free of rabies. The latest biter was a recent mother. She gave no indication as I walked past that she was going to bite me from behind. Barking dogs in the street I can handle: the ones that bite without warning are a bigger problem. One issue of perhaps greater concern is the increasing number of pitbulls. I do not want to be bitten by a pitbull.


Good to see that also this attraction has a dual price policy and hopefully they will as at the Phuket Aquarium only inform the lower prices in Thai for Thai readers using Thai numbers ... just to avoid upsetting people from foreign countries that may not be used to the idea that foreigners has to pay more than locals...

Posted by Bjarne on March 3, 2011 18:06


Good points.

Rabies has killed an alarming number of people in Bali lately.

A female dog with puppies will be even more protective.

I've also noticed the increase in the numbers of Pit Bulls. It's my understanding that they are illegal in Thailand.

I've seen people walking with Pit bulls that weigh less than the dog and should the dog decide to pounce someone or something, they'd have no way to control it.

Saw that happen in Patong 4y ago when a Pitbull killed another dog while the girl walking it was unable to do anything to stop it. Fortunately it was a dog and not a child it decided to take down.

Many years ago a Pit Bull killed a 12y old boy in Hamburg and consequently they were banned. Those who owned one had to submit to strict scrutiny and be qualified to handle these powerful dogs.

About 2 years ago a Pitbull killed 2 toddlers in Korat while the mother was offloading groceries. This was their own dog. The mother was seriously injured.

There's a large Pitbull kept in a 2m chain near my house and though I can pat and play with it after months of careful approaches, it's aggressive towards anyone who walks past.

It's a large dog that needs exercise and keeping it on a 2m chain amounts to animal cruelty.

I tried to gently address the issue with the owner who just shrug his shoulders.

Unsurprisingly the owner is a Police officer.

Posted by Chris on March 3, 2011 18:17


One more attraction I will never visit, like the other double-price rip-offs. Sorry Phuket, you are heading the wrong way.

Posted by Fritz Pinguin on March 3, 2011 18:26

Editor Comment:

I am less disturbed by double-pricing. If the price was 100 baht for everyone, some Thais probably would not be able to afford to visit and learn about a key piece of their own history. When the average wage of Thais matches the average wage in developed countries, one price for all will be fair. Expat workers in Thailand are paid far more than Thais. Why should the entry price be the same? If Bill Gates visited, it would still cost him just 100 baht.


"If the price was 100 baht for everyone, some Thais probably would not be able to afford to visit and learn about a key piece of their own history."

The prices for Thais is 50 Baht, not 100.

"When the average wage of Thais matches the average wage in developed countries, one price for all will be fair. Expat workers in Thailand are paid far more than Thais. Why should the entry price be the same?"

If a Thai visits the US or the UK (or anywhere), are they not expected to pay the same for an attraction? Why does western wages dictate attraction prices in Thailand? Why would entry prices in Thailand be set at western standards?

"If Bill Gates visited, it would still cost him just 100 baht."

Why charge Bill Gates more than 50 Baht? Anything more is a rip off, to him or any westerner on vacation or living here.

Posted by Lee on March 3, 2011 19:00

Editor Comment:

The previous commenter was objecting to double pricing. I was speculating on a same-same price at expat levels, ie 100 baht. My previously stated opinion is that in an ideal world, people would pay according to their capacity to pay: so the visit would possibly cost Bill Gates 10,000 baht while an extremely poor man would pay 2 baht. In an unequal world, there is little that's disturbing about unequal admission prices. Any westerner who thinks he or she is being ripped off by paying twice what a local pays - not five or 10 times - is a cheapskate. Western standards are often dismal.


I don't know I work overseas and my Girlfriend who is Thai and based in Bangkok earns nearly the same amount as me.

Posted by Michael on March 3, 2011 21:21

Editor Comment:

That's a non-typical example, Michael. Why not ask your girlfriend what the average Thai earns? Then you have a better comparison. Fairness is about people paying what they can afford, not about rich and poor paying the same amount.


Sorry, dual pricing based on nationality is called racist. People paying what they can afford is one thing. People paying based on an assumption on their net-worth due to the color of their skin, is another.
Low-paid Thais (under 15k baht a month) pay no tax. The 'average' wage in Thailand is low- BUT the average wage in Phuket for Thais is not. Look at the cars on the streets and the busy shopping malls. The 'average' wage of Thailand is not the average wage in Phuket. My girlfriend earns 40k a month and so do many of her friends. Fact is, you cannot judge a persons wealth on the color of their skin. Dual pricing is just wrong. Lower pricing for the unwaged or low paid is one thing, but making assumptions based on ethnicity is quite abhorrent to me. I have never, and will never, pay a premium for being white. I show my Thai tax card and Thai driving licence and drop the Thai price on the counter. I will never pay more. By the way, it is actually illegal in Thailand to have double pricing..........but of course, who is going to enforce the law !! So what should, say, Thaksin Shinawatra pay? 10k baht, the same as Bil Gates? Or half the price of what i'm expected to pay?

Posted by Mr Man on March 4, 2011 00:03

Editor Comment:

Mr Man, it's not ''racist'' because it's not based on the ''color of your skin'' but on whether or not you have Thai citizenship. You are not being asked to pay more because you are white, as visitors from China, Singapore and Malaysia would probably be among the first to tell you. You are being asked to pay more because, on the basis of probabilities, you can afford it. The admission fee would be applied to tourists coming to Phuket from Thailand's poorest provinces, so there's no case for saying that because people in Phuket earn more, it's not fair. The time to agitate for change is when Thailand is a developed country. If the principle of ''user pays what they can afford'' was in force, Thaksin would pay the same proportion from his net worth as Bill Gates, you, me, and a person off the bus from Isarn. Sadly, that's just a dream.


I understand your arguments, but i just can't help thinking that differentiating between Thai and 'foreigner' is just wrong. It's a bad image. It's unwelcoming. And for most tourists, i suspect, it is unusual as it doesn't happen in their home countries.
Some people may feel that this differentiation is a way of ripping them off.
Where to draw the line? If most foreigners are richer than some Thais then why stop at tourist attractions? Why not have this dual pricing in bars, restaurants and shops. Shouldn't an Isarn girl get cheaper beer in Timber Hut than a hi-so girl from BKK? Should the Indian get cheaper products in Boots than the Malay?
If the argument works for a tourist attraction then it should work in other places. And it doesn't. Because it's wrong........

Posted by Mr Man on March 4, 2011 06:36

Editor Comment:

It's certainly a turn-off for some. Are you aware that resort rates vary, and that someone who pays full standard rate may find themselves in a room next to someone who paid half that? Are you aware that you can pay a much higher fare on a flight than someone who sat in the same seat on a similar flight the previous day? I am not a fan of double-pricing but there is a logical case for it at this stage of Thailand's development.


Double pricing is part of the Thai uncivilised habits such as driving against traffic and overtaking on the left or carry even 3 or 4 children by Thai bikers. In every Farangland such behavior requires the immediate withdrawal of the license while here the police just fine farangs without helmet

Posted by Nani on March 4, 2011 07:51

Editor Comment:

It's quite a stretch to draw a connection between double-pricing and traffic law breaches, unless you have a tendency towards bigotry and wrongly view Thailand as ''uncivilised.'' If a family can only afford a motorcycle, that's what they will use to get around. There is no ''Farangland'' except in the minds of those with a superiority complex based on race. A sad comment, Nani.


Thai GDP per capita has really improved dramatically over the last 10 or 20 years to the point where the country is doing quite well when compared to other countries.

Considering that increasing amounts of tourists are from the nearby region it might be time to revise these types of dual pricing.

Realistically based on predicated high levels of growth in the next 10 years or so Thai GDP per capita will increase to the point that the notion that non-Thais are considerably richer will not be the case.

Posted by Rob on March 4, 2011 09:38

Editor Comment:

I guess you could call it ''affirmative economic discrimination.'' The concept of social engineering through pricing has other applications. Singaporeans have to pay $S100 to go to a casino. Outsiders walk in for free.


Sorry you got bitten by a dog but you should not be taking Rabies medicine. Why?

Don't you remember, Phuket announced it was Rabies Free back in 2006.

Or don't you trust the Thai Authority accuracy on this account?

As for visiting the place, I think it would be a noteworthy visit.

Posted by Tbs on March 4, 2011 10:23

Editor Comment:

The injection course is recommended as a precaution, just in case one dog has managed to land on Phuket with rabies.


Odd how most posts here are about stray dogs when this article is about the Tin mine museum! Did anybody visit it ?
I guess more readers are interested here in the bite instead of the culture.

In the US, many zoos charge 40 to 60$US per admission, but then you get to feed the rain deer with peeled carrots. It takes a US worker, at 2 mill baht per year inclusive of all benefits, a better part of each day to peel the carrots. I did not know that rain deers only eat peeled carrots?

Posted by Paul Renaud on March 4, 2011 10:49


It is illegal to import pit bulls but not to breed them.
Only yesterday we had a very vicious fighting dog brought in to Soi Dog. The owner had told his staff to dump it. They were more responsible and the dog was euthanased. Dog fighting is on the increase here and many pit bulls are being dumped. Generally stray dogs do not bite. Owned or semi owned dogs are trained to protect property and are the ones that bite. Though complain to the owner and he will say "not my dog" despite the clear evidence to the contrary. The number of dogs here is less than eight years ago when the reverse should be true owing to SDF sterilising over 31,000 dogs and cats. However large numbers of puppies are flown and driven in every week from puppy farms in the north. Most of these end up as strays. They are not vaccinated and whilst ever the government allow this there is a danger of rabies returning.

Posted by Anonymous on March 4, 2011 13:17

Editor Comment:

Ah, so we're in constant danger of rabies. Glad I got the jab . . . thanks for the information. Where are the dog fights held, and how frequently?


I don't see the complaint about double pricing, it happens here in the US at both schools and tourist attractions.

At most public universities the difference between "in-state" and out of state tuition can be huge. With the logic being that those that live in state are subsidizing the cost through taxes. Seems to be the same thing as a museum.

Amusement parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios routinely offer discounted tickets and season passes that are only available to local residents. In order to buy these discounted tickets you have to show proof that you live within a local zip code.

Posted by Just SomeGuy on March 5, 2011 02:01


Editor Comment:

"It's quite a stretch to draw a connection between double-pricing and traffic law breaches, unless you have a tendency towards bigotry and wrongly view Thailand as ''uncivilised.'' If a family can only afford a motorcycle, that's what they will use to get around. There is no ''Farangland'' except in the minds of those with a superiority complex based on race. A sad comment, Nani."

Driving against traffic and overtaking on the left is respecting rules in "civilized" Thailand?

Posted by Nani on March 5, 2011 07:27

Editor Comment:

The quality of a culture can't be measured by whether traffic rules are obeyed. That's like judging a restaurant on whether the waiter's hair is curly or straight. It just doesn't really count. Bad drivers exist all over the world, in every culture. People who speed and run red lights are still ''civilised.''


What a dreadful bore - I expected to read something about the tin mine museum! Have to go and see for myself. Expats speaking some Thai and with a Thai driving licence normally get admission for Thai price.

Posted by Pete on March 5, 2011 10:19

Editor Comment:

Grand openings are social occasions, so there was no formal tour. Put it to the test and let us know.


OK, here is more on the dog issue then, just to put in balance:

A few years past a horrific crime happened in Patong. An Englishman murdered a mother and daughter, just to steal their credit cards to get some cash. He had done this a number of times in other countries, including in Singapore, as was later revealed. This criminal's way was to bury his victims 5 foot deep, in the middle of the night off the road.

But not long at all after this, a stray dog smelled it and digged up the corpses..the police came and investigated instantly. Only because of this stray dog's digging, did they found the killer, still in Phuket!

He was extradited to Singapore so they can do the dirty business of sentencing him to death, as he had done in other places for years.

It took a stray dog in Patong to end this so saving lives and catching a monster. What a hero dog - and that he was left stray. This is not to sanction stray dogs, only to give another side tourists and most residents dont' see.

Maybe the arresting of such a criminal and so the savings of future lives, is worth a few occasional small bites?

Every dog has its day.

Posted by Paul Renaud on March 5, 2011 10:51


I reckon the opening of a historical museum regarding this topic is a bit too early. As we see now (renewed) offshore tin mining along the coast of Khao Lak?

Posted by Anonymous on March 5, 2011 12:44


So it's really really open now .. I have been twice already, once in February 2010, and again last month. The dual pricing bores can please shut up - the entry fee is 100 Baht.. how is that a rip off? Thais pay 50 Baht. Actually I think it's free if you are a resident of Kathu district. My kids loved the museum, it has a lot of interest and I also try to promote it... but will it draw a tourist crowd? Location is not good, entry fee is so low that tuk tuk drivers won't get commission, so they won't exactly be promoting it. I am sure we will go again though. And anyone living in Phuket who wants to learn something - this place is worth a look.

Posted by Jamie on March 6, 2011 17:46


The reporter failed to mention the dog was a female which just had puppies, by trying to pet them, the protective mother did what is mother-nature. The few other friendly dogs there, are now all gone.

Posted by Paul Renaud on March 11, 2011 10:26

Editor Comment:

The reporter had no idea the dog was female until after it had bitten him from behind, without warning. There were no puppies to be seen. Your tailwagging tale is pure fantasy.

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