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Don Battles: Author of the Orient

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: From growing up in a poor family after the great depression, to rocket engineer during the Cold War missile and space-race era, to entrepreneur in Thailand during the turbulent 1997 financial crisis, and to successful chili farmer in China and Northern Thailand – Don Battles’ life could fill many books, but for now, one will have to suffice.

The autobiography in question is: Merchant Of The Orient, An Entrepreneur’s Journey In Life. Don has written 362 pages covering 70 years of his life, and his biggest focus is on business – first and foremost, doing business as a foreigner in Thailand – a delicate art, in which Don has over 30 years of experience.

A big chunk of Don’s entrepreneurial years played out right here in Phuket, after he arrived on the island in 1995 and turned his natural ingenuity and strong work ethic into producing a plethora of food supplies for Thailand’s burgeoning hospitality industry.

Starting with one small shop in 1997, he eventually developed a processing center that has created 50 proprietary food products, including 12 different varieties of gourmet sausage, using his father’s recipes.

But Phuket is just one of many fascinating chapters in Don’s life. His book will take you on a journey through America and Russia, India and Korea, and of course, his beloved Thailand.

Now, an opportunity presents itself to meet Don in person, during the book’s official launch party which will be held at the new Speakeasy Bar in the Royal Phuket Marina on Tuesday, April 8, starting at 6:30pm.

Don will talk about the Merchant Of The Orient during a 40-minute audio-visual presentation and take part in a Q&A session. For all who knew the very popular Don during his years here, and for all the budding expatriate entrepreneurs on the island, this is one not to be missed.

The event is free of charge and free snacks will be served with guests buying their own drinks at the bar. Seating is limited and The Speakeasy is likely to fill up fast. Those wishing to attend are urged to arrive no later than 6:15pm to avoid disappointment. The book will be available at the event for 700 baht. RSVP at:

For more information about Don and hit time doing business in Thailand see the Gazette’s interview with him here.


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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