When he’s not restaurant hopping around Bangkok—and indeed the world—Chakrit “Max” Benedetti heads south for his R‘n’R to Phuket, where the perfect balance of traditional Thailand and foreign influences converge in tropical paradise.
by Richard Mcleish
With an Italian grandfather and a master’s degree from a US university, Chakrit “Max” Benedetti is indeed a citizen of the world. When combined with his position as managing director of Italasia, trader of fine European food and wine, his travel advice should be heeded.
In person, the amicable businessman speaks lyrically about obscure European cities as if he grew up in them, but in his home country of Thailand he would choose Phuket as his favorite travel destination.
“It has everything” says Max. “You can enjoy city life, if you want to. Also, tourist options are available too. If you want to find a private nature, you can hire a speedboat and drive just 30 or 45 minutes to the middle of nowhere.”
As the Kingdom’s biggest island, Phuket attracts its fair share of interest and holiday traffic. While the tourist-heavy parts of the island are well documented, Max likes the rustic charm of its lesser-visited parts.
“I like the local historic charm of the Old Town. It’s not yet discovered by tourists. The Sino-Portuguese architecture contributes to the atmosphere. If you make a wrong turn and get lost, you could find yourself in a beautiful and charming new area that feels undiscovered.”
Being a player of the F&B industry, food quickly enters a conversation with Max. However, instead of heading to the overblown five-star hotel restaurant options of the island, he likes to keep things local. He talks of the family-run seafood restaurants in the Lam Sing area with fondness, and says a trip to Phuket wouldn’t be complete without a meal there.