The Thalang National Museum is the official museum of the island-province of Phuket. The museum also goes by the name of Thalang National Museum because it is located in the town of Thalang, which plays an important role in Thailand’s history. In the 18th Century, when Burma (Myanmar) attempted to invade Thailand through the island of Phuket, the invaders were tricked by the women of Phuket not to enter Phuket Town. Two heroic sisters, Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Soontorn, led hundreds of women in Phuket to disguise as soldiers and marched around the town. The Burmese thought they were reinforcements from Bangkok and so retreated. They were then apprehended by the Thai Army in Thalang, Phuket. The event is known as the Thalang War. The national museum was named in honor of this important event in history.
The museum opened in 1985 during the 200th anniversary of the Thalang War, in memory of the war and in honor of the two sisters. It is located very near the Two Heroines Monument in Tha Ruan. The Thalang or Thalang National Museum now stands as the island’s main repository of history and culture. The museum has two buildings and together they showcase prehistoric artifacts that were unearthed along the Andaman seashore; artifacts showing prehistoric relations with India, which includes a large statue of Vishnu, a replica of stupa, Buddhist beads, and so on; prehistoric tools, household items, and other artifacts that show how the ancient residents of Phuket lived; and representations of historic events in Phuket.
The national museum is open every day from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, except on holidays. It is situated along Pa Khlok Road, north of Phuket Town, and very near the Two Heroines Monument. Admission is 100 baht.
There are other museums in the island that deserve a visit if one wishes to know the island more intimately. The Kathu Mining Museum located along the road between Loch Palm Golf Club and British Curriculum School features items involving the island’s tin mining industry, which is very significant historically. It is open from Monday to Saturday. Admission is free.
Another interesting museum is the Phuket Seashell Museum located at Chalong Circle. As its name suggests, this museum showcases the most valuable seashells from the island, including rare finds such as the world’s largest golden pearl (140 karats), rocks with shell fossils, and a shell that weighs 250 kilograms! The museum is open every day. Admission is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children.
And then there’s the Phuket Philatelic Museum at Montri Road inside an 80-year-old building. It features antique equipment and machines, and also sells vintage and one-of-a-kind Thai stamps. The stamp museum is open every day from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM except Sunday, Monday and holidays.