The Chinpracha House is a private mansion house constructed in 1903 in Phuket Town, Thailand, which has been partially opened up to visitors as a museum.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 t0 16:30 (Monday to Saturday)
- Entrance Fee: 200 THB
About the Chinpracha House
The Chinpracha House is one of 18 grand private houses built in the Old Town area of Phuket Town during a period running from the end of the 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century. These 18 mansions all have a number of things in common. Firstly, in terms of their architectural style which is generally referred to as ‘Sino-Portuguese’ as they combine features of a European style houses with those of a Chinese buildings. Secondly, these houses were all constructed by immigrants from China, or their descendants. During the 19th Century through to the 1970s Phuket had a booming tin mining industry and many of the island’s inhabitants, particularly its Chinese community, became very wealthy through tin mining.
The Chinpracha House is still owned by the family of the man who built it, Mr Prapitak Chinpracha. The decline of the tin mining industry in the 1980s, however, hit the Chinpracha family hard. Part of the grounds of the Chinpracha House have been sold on, along with the next door mansion Mr Prapitak Chinpracha also built, which now houses the Blue Elephant Restaurant. To fund the maintenance of the house, and no doubt pay some other bills. the family have turned the ground floor level of the remaining house in their possession into a tourist attraction.
The Chinpracha House was built before mains electricity, and therefore modern cooling technology, became available in Phuket. The design of the house is very much focused on the aim of reducing the temperature levels within the house. The walls are thick, the floors are tiled and the many windows feature wooden shutters. The most striking architectural feature of the house, and its most ingenuous temperature reducing device, is the open central courtyard with pond underneath.
A variety of different rooms fan out from this central courtyard at the Chinpracha House, including kitchen, sitting rooms and offices. The Chinpracha famioly was large and lots of people used this house not only to live in but also to visit. The history of the family, and how they lived, is told both by the photographs on the wall and by the various domestic objects and furniture around the house. The owners of the house have done a poor job of providing any explanatory information about the house and the family beyond a short leaflet, however, observant visitors can piece most of that history together by simply examining what is on display.
The main bedrooms at the Chinpracha House are upstairs and visitors can’t access this area. The guest bedrooms downstairs, however, are a good indicator of the relative comfort in which the Chinpracha family lived during the heyday of tin mining in Phuket. Notably, the family had grand four-poster European-style beds at a time when most of the residents of Phuket would have slept on the floor on thin mattresses if they were well off, and on sacks of rice stalks if they were not.
Location of the Chinpracha House
- The Chinpracha House is 33.8 km by road to the south of Phuket Airport.