Phuket 101 is a compilation of 23 years of Phuket exploration in a photo blog for Phuket lovers like us. We are not paid and not sponsored, just real experience! We personally experienced and paid for everything we tried which allows us to keep our real opinions, and we are pretty strict about this.
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”.
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. My 1st visit to Phuket was in 1990 and I worked there for 6 months.
For the past 23 years, my passion for photography and my permanent curiosity has taken me to many places in Thailand (and Asia actually), between Bangkok and Phuket and everywhere I could go.
In previous lives I was a Radio DJ, a Set Designer in Club Med, and had a successful advertising company called Andaman Graphics specializing in logo and website designs.
From 1980 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 is based on a long history of exploring other countries.
The 4 countries I loved most are Thailand, Japan, France and Italy and all are known for their excellent food, because food matters to us, a lot.
I was a set designer in Club Med for several years, some of you may know they have a daily stage performance after dinner, every night. My job was to build the stage sets for each show and switch it every night on a 15 days basis. That was quite physical but always fun. And with Club Med you get to change country every 6 months or every year. This allows you to travel a lot and I was able to use my free time as I wished, so I got to explore a lot of countries.
In 1993 I was working in Tahiti for more than a year 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 and Phuket. It was really a random choice. That was 23 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)
I had no job, very little money and all I had was a suitcase, a camera and a tape player. No plans and no friends in Phuket. So I picked a small guest house in Soi Sansabai Patong Beach called Swiss Garden (it’s still there) and I made it my base. From there I started to write letters (LETTERS! there was no such thing as email and not even a mobile phone) to every hotel in Phuket. My skills of designers wasn’t really demanded but I was good with languages so after 2 months of writing I finally got a job as Guest Relation at Banyan Tree Bangtao. My salary was 12,000 baht so eating in the street was a necessity.
At Banyan Tree, I had my 1st contact with a computer, writing welcome letters to the hotel guests. On my free time I started to play with the Microsoft Word drawing toolbar. That was super basic but I managed to do some nice layouts and presentations (remember it was the early days so don’t smirk 😀 ).
With those simple layouts I was approach by another hotel to help them designing their many special events and I took the job: it paid 15,000 baht! (3,000 baht means a lot when your salary is so low).
I worked for a year, saving 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!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Canon 6D with 16-24 mm, but often iPhone 7
Absolutely NOT : We pay for all our meals, the large majority of our hotel stays, flights and trips