About Phuket 101 and Willy Thuan

About Phuket 101 and Willy Thuan

About Phuket 101 and Willy Thuan

Phuket 101 shares 24 years of Phuket exploration and thousands photos for those who love Phuket as much as we do. We are not paid and we are not sponsored. This blog is based on real experience. We personally tried and visited every place, we paid for everything which allows us to keep our true opinions, and we are pretty strict about this.

What does ‘101’ mean?

101 (pronounced “one-oh-one”) is the 1st course in a subject taught at a college or university in Australia, Canada, South Africa, or the United States. By extension, “101 is generally used to indicate the basics of any subject”.

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About Willy Thuan

Willy Thuan Phuket 101


The Origins

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world in my 20s and never stopped until I finally settled in Thailand in 1994. I travelled and worked in 40 countries around the globe. Most memorable are Tahiti, Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, New Caledonia, Burkina Fasso, Niger, Algeria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Sahara, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, blah, blah, blah… so my love for Thailand follows a long history of exploring other countries. The 4 countries I love most are Thailand, Japan, France and Italy, all known for their excellent food, because food matters to us, a lot.

In previous lives I was Radio DJ, Set Designer in Club Med, and had a successful advertising company in Phuket called Andaman Graphics specializing in logos and website designs.

My passion for photography and my permanent curiosity has taken me to many places in Thailand and Asia, living between Bangkok and Phuket. I still travel here and there in the world several times a year, both for fun and for work.

Why Thailand?

I was a set designer in Club Med for several years.  My job was to setup the stage for daily shows, switching it every night on a 15 days basis. That was quite physical but always fun and creative. With Club Med you get to change country every 6 months or every year, which allows you to travel a lot. I had a lot of free time which I used to explore a lot of countries.

In 1993 I was working in Tahiti when decided it was time to do something else. My dream was to live in Japan but at the time, Japanese economy wasn’t very good, so I decided to pick a random place in Asia for a couple of years. This place was Thailand. It was really a random choice. It was 24 years ago…

In Thailand, despite the moaning of some negative people, you get the best of all worlds (Read this: 10 Reasons Why We Can’t Leave Thailand)

How did I get a job?

When I landed in Phuket, I had no job, little money, a suitcase and a camera. I had no plans and no friends in Phuket. I first picked a small guesthouse in Soi Sansabai Patong Beach called Swiss Garden (it’s still there). From there I started to write letters to every hotel in Phuket (there was no such thing as email or even a mobile phones). My design skills weren’t really demanded but I was good with languages, so after 2 months of writing resumes, I finally got a Guest Relation job at Banyan Tree Resort Bangtao. My salary was 12,000 baht so eating in the street was a necessity (but it was always good).

Banyan Tree was my first encounter with computers. We used them to write welcome letters to the hotel guests and I started to play with the Microsoft Word drawing toolbar. That was super basic but I managed to do some presentations (remember it was the early days so don’t smirk 😀 ).

With those simple designs I approached another hotel to help them designing their special events and I got a designer job: it paid 15,000 baht! (3,000 baht means a lot when your salary is so low).

I worked for a year, saving enough to buy my own computer (Pentium 486! Woohoo!) and started to do some logo design and brochures at night for the many businesses growing in Phuket. There was so much demand that I was making twice my salary at night so guess what I did!

Andaman Graphics

in 1996 I opened my own advertising company called Andaman Graphics. It was a registered company and I had proper work permit and registration. I never took a chance with this. I was so busy I worked until 4 am and open the office at 9 am every day for a couple of years. It grew fast, got bigger offices and staff. Don’t blind yourself, if you think moving to Phuket means be on the beach and work when you feel like, you will have a serious shock. It’s very very hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun!


I was specializing in Logo Design, Brochures and printed matters. One day a good friend introduced me to ‘Internet’ and told me I should do websites. I shrugged and said I’m good with logo. But I gave it a try. Order were flowing in and we couldn’t be fast enough, mostly the growing diving industry. We had a nice portfolio.

One day an expat businessman got in touch and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: growing a new network of travel website and hotel bookings called AsiaWebDirect. Phuket.com was the start of all. I got a team and we started to grow. The network got huge and was bought by bigger and bigger companies and I’m still here with most of my team! Living here is an fabulous adventure and it is still full of surprises.

From 1st bike to the latest car… quite a story

Why Phuket 101

There was quite a few websites talking about Phuket but none were really fun. Some were too formal, some were hard to read or not visually attractive and some were too niche. I wanted to share the thousand photos I took along my life and the fun things I discovered in my endless wandering around Phuket.

Would I go back to France?

“Go back to live in France? No way, ever… But for holiday, anytime!”

After so many years in Asia, France starts to look exotic but I wouldn’t want to go there for work: I remember why I left and France didn’t get better since (I won’t tell you what it is not to upset French people, but it had to do with French people permanent moaning). Do I feel French? Errr, sorry I don’t; Thailand is still the best place to live in!

Despite all the stories you read or see in the medias, you can live a smooth happy life in Phuket and Bangkok… it’s media’s purpose to highlight bad news, mine is to show you the best of Phuket and Bangkok.

What do I do for a living?

I’m a content director in an online travel business and I build… travel websites 🙂 I manage an enthusiastic team of writers, designers and photographers who all share the same passion: travelling and photography.

Things that make me smirk about Phuket (not to say annoy me)

  1. People who think that only the cheapest street food it worth eating and anything above 30 Baht is a rip off.
    Errr, it’s called cuisine! Savoir-faire, creativity and best ingredients make a huge difference, even on the most simple dish. Of course there are many overpriced restaurants but many Thai restaurants make it to the international scene for a good reason.
  2. Phuket beaches are crowded! Yes 5 out of 36 beaches of Phuket are busy. Be smart!
  3. Your photos are nice, you must have a good camera!

What camera am I using?

Canon 6D with 8-15mm, 16-24mm, 24-105mm, 24-300mm but often iPhone X

Are we sponsored?

Do we get paid by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to promote Phuket?

Absolutely NOT : We pay for all our meals, the large majority of our hotel stays, flights and trips


If you wish to contact us, do it on facebook page,
but be patient we receive plenty of messages each day 🙂

About Phuket 101 and Willy Thuan
4.3 (20 votes)

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 24 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run 2 blogs: Phuket101.net and BangkokUndercover.com, I also manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com

The Best FOOD Stuff
10 Most Romantic Restaurants
10 Best Local Restaurants
10 Best Seafood Restaurants
10 Great Thai Dishes
10 Phuket Typical Dishes
10 Best Classic Thai Dishes
10 Hardcore Thai Food

The Best EXPLORER Stuff
14 Hidden Beaches of Phuket
15 Islands Near Phuket
18 Nicest Mansions in Phuket
13 Viewpoints in Phuket
10 Things to See Off the Beaten Track
10 Most Quiet Beaches of Phuket

The FUN Stuff
16 Things to Do with Kids
10 Ways to Party in Patong
7 Best Beach Clubs
10 Best Rooftop Bars
7 Night Clubs
10 Romantic Things to Do in Phuket
10 Reasons Why We Can’t Leave Thailand

The USEFUL Stuff
10 Questions People Always Ask
10 Mistakes People Do on First Trip
13 Tips to Save Money
12 Things to Do on Small Budget
10 Quick Facts about Phuket

10 Things to Do When It Rains
What To Expect in Low Season
7 Beaches for Low Season

13 Really Weird Things in Phuket
10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Insects for Gourmets
10 Clues you have been in Phuket TOO LONG!
10 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Phuket

Phuket Airport: Things to Know
Phuket Weather
Phuket Event Calendar
How to Pronounce Phuket
About Us – Contact us

Patong Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Beach☆☆
Karon Beach ☆☆
Kamala Beach ☆☆
Nai Harn Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Noi Beach ☆☆☆
Laem Singh Beach ☆☆☆
Bang Tao Beach
Mai Khao Beach
Surin Beach ☆☆
Nai Yang Beach ☆☆
Naithon Beach ☆☆
Rawai Beach

Freedom Beach ☆☆☆
Paradise Beach ☆
Banana Beach ☆☆
Ya Nui Beach ☆☆
Ao Yon Beach
Ao Sane Beach
Tri Trang Beach
Panwa Beach

Similan Islands ☆☆☆
Phi Phi Islands NEW!
Bon Island
Coral Island
Khai Islands
Racha Island
James Bond Island
Koh Panyee

12 Things to Do When it RAINS
John Gray Sea Canoe ☆☆☆
Phang Nga Bay ☆☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Phuket Town Walking Map
Thalang Road – Old Phuket Town ☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Simon Cabaret Show ☆☆
Phuket Fantasea ☆☆
Phuket Trickeye Museum
Upside Down House
Kao Rang Hill
Phuket Aquarium

Big Buddha ☆☆
Karon Viewpoint (Kata Viewpoint) ☆☆
Wassa Homemade Bar ☆☆
Windmill Viewpoint
Black Rock Viewpoint ☆☆
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint ☆☆
Promthep Cape Viewpoint
Panwa Viewpoint
After Beach Bar

Bangpae Waterfall
Kathu Waterfalls
Tonsai Waterfalls

Baan Chinpracha
Phuket Mining Museum
Thai Hua Museum

7 Buddha Postures for 7 Days
Big Buddha ☆☆
Wat Chalong ☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Wat Kao Rang and Sitting Buddha
Wat Phra Thong
Chinese Temples
Shrine of The Serene Light

10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Ways to PARTY in Patong
Simon Cabaret Show
Paradise Complex
Party Drinks in Phuket
Phuket Fantasea
Rock City Patong

Cafe Del Mar ☆☆
Catch Beach Club
Dream Beach Club
Kudo Beach Club
HQ Beach Lounge
Iguana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club

Suzy Wongs A Go Go (HOT)
Devil’s Playground (HOT)
Diablo A Go Go
Exotica A Go Go
Harem A Go Go
Rock Hard A Go Go

Soi Seadragon (HOT)

Illuzion Phuket
White Room
Seduction Phuket
Tiger Club

Central Festival Phuket
JungCeylon Shopping Mall ☆☆☆
Phuket Price Check

Chillva Night Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket Indy Market

Banzaan Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Amulet Market

Loy Krathong
Patong Gay Festival
Vegetarian Festival

Diving in Phuket
Thai Boxing Training
Wake Park
Dino Park Mini Golf
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Go Kart
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Phuket Tree Adventures
Spas and Massages
Splash Jungle Water Park
Surf House Kata Beach
Surf House Patong
White Water Rafting

Phuket AIRPORT: Things to Know
Phuket Travel Tips and FAQs
10 Quick Facts about Phuket
Phuket FAQs
Driving and Renting a Bike or a Car
Phuket Price Check
Phuket Map – with all locations
Bangkok Blog


Sala Phuket Resort
Renaissance Phuket Resort
Banyan Tree Phuket
Hyatt Regency Phuket
Maikhao Dreams
Pullman Arcadia Naithon Phuket
Phuket Marriott Nai Yang
The Slate Phuket
Trisara Villas
TwinPalms Phuket

Amari Phuket Resort
Holiday Inn Phuket
Kalima Resort
Phuket Graceland
Le Meridien Phuket
Novotel Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Impiana Resort Patong
Swissotel Patong

Kata Rocks
The Shore at Kata Thani
Katathani Beach Resort
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale

Movenpick Resort
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket

Westin Siray Bay Resort
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra
Little Nyonya

Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi
The Racha


La Gritta at Amari Phuket
Wok Pagoda
Da Maurizio
360 at Pavilions
Mom Tri’s Kitchen
Pan Yaah Restaurant
Tunk Ka Cafe
Gaetana Italian Restaurant
Blue Elephant
Panwa House at Cape Panwa

Mor Mu Dong Restaurant
Piang Prai Restaurant
Kan Eang 2 Seafood
Kan Eang @ Pier
One Chun
Kaab Gluay
Raya House
Tunk Ka Cafe
Paknam Seafood
Suay Restaurant
Kru Suwit Restaurant
Thanoon Seafood
Osha Phuket

8 Sunset Photo Tips
Phuket Funniest Photos
Phuket Tsunami