Go Phuket – Travel Guide and Blog
Go Phuket is a travel guide and blog founded by Lana Willocks, a writer, mom and rental property manager living on Phuket Island in Thailand. With Go Phuket, we aim to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about life and travel in Phuket (mostly good, though!).
Born in Canada, I moved to Phuket in 1999 and have spent most of my years here working as a freelance writer and editor. With my Thai husband, I also help to manage his family’s apartment and villa rental business and raise our two kids. Both the kids were born in Phuket – the first one two weeks after the 2004 Asian tsunami hit the island and the second about a month after the Thai coup of 2006. As a Canadian, I’m ashamed to admit that neither one of them has ever tried ice-skating.
Living on a tropical holiday island in Thailand was certainly never something I dreamed of as a child growing up on a farm in Alberta. When I was a kid, I was so averse to change I would sometimes get sick just before our family was set to depart on a trip — my sisters are probably still annoyed with me for causing delays to their summer travels!
It all began in Bangkok
But a desire to escape the cold prairie winters helped me overcome my fear of the unknown. I made my first venture out in the world by moving to Victoria on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, where I enrolled at the University of Victoria. My first island. Majoring in International Business, I had the chance to join an exchange program that took me to Bangkok for a year of study at Chulalongkorn University and an internship at a market research company.
Living near the busy Siam Square area, my ears were assaulted by the traffic noise, my nose and taste buds awakened by steaming and sizzling street food carts, and my eyes opened in anticipation of all the new things I would see that day.
Would it be a flash of a golden Buddha statue in the back of a pick-up truck? The blur of motorcycle riders racing down the road in the darkness? The sloshing of brown water as the klong ferryboat roared down the canal? The shy smile of a schoolgirl dressed in a crisp white shirt and navy skirt?
About six months in I remember I had a moment when I suddenly “woke up” and became conscious of what I was doing. I was riding side-saddle on the back of a motorcycle taxi, weaving through heavy traffic, wearing heels and a skirt and no helmet, with a briefcase under my arm, on the way home from my market research job. I was a long, long way from the farm in Canada. My first thought was, “If mom saw me doing this she would kill me!”
I lived to tell the tales of my mad motorbike days in the Thai capital and I’ve since written hundreds of articles about life and travel in Thailand and beyond. If Bangkok doesn’t spark a passion for travel, discovery and living abroad, then no place will.
Bangkok was also where I happened to meet a cute Thai guy at the university dorm, an architectural student named Prasert. Long story short — we eventually got married and settled here in Phuket!
I arrived here with no job and the phone number of only one contact – a friend of my sister’s – and somehow I managed to convince him to hire me! I worked with him for 6 months or so on a magazine that never got off the ground, then I went to work as a desk editor at the Phuket Gazette – at the time the only English-language publication on the island. I then went on to freelance life, contributing to local publications including Window on Phuket, Phuket Magazine and Phuket.com (which is now owned by Expedia). I’ve written for travel guides including Travelfish.org and the Andaman Coast Footprint Focus Guide and several travel and inflight magazines.
Snapshots of a Phuket Island life
Drawing on my 15+ years of travel writing experience and a few lessons learned working and raising a family on the island, I’ve set up Go Phuket as a one-stop spot for tips, tales and my totally biased opinions on life and travel in Phuket and beyond.
Reviews and articles posted here are about places and things that I have spent my own time and money to visit and research. Feel free to send me any Phuket travel-related news and information but this is not a pay-for-play blog — not interested in freebies or press junkets!
The plan is to make Go Phuket self-supporting (eventually!) through advertising and other income generating opportunities. The site will also be used as a platform to help promote my family’s rental properties and I will happily write about businesses that I like and want to support … those that are sustainable, supportive of local arts and culture and offer good value and great experiences to travelers are more likely to be covered. If you’re looking for stories about elephant shows, jet skis or gem shop tours, please Go Elsewhere.
Want to know more about Go Phuket? I’d love to hear from you!
Email lana (@) gophuket.net