A Non-stop Journey Around the World with Richy

Richy Whillas – Roomorama blog


Richy runs a men's online store, the WG Trunk Co, for style savvy world travellers who like to go off the beaten track. He founded the business with his sister. Ever since, Richy has been on a non-stop journey around the world, constantly field-testing his gear. He has visited places as varied as Mongolia, the Bahamas, Cambodia, Spain, and the list carries on.

Richy was originally from Australia, but developed the travel itch at around 21 – straight after art school. Since then, he has lived in London, Berlin, New York, Beijing, Shanghai and now Bangkok.

What kind of traveler are you?

I used to be a curious, restless traveler in my younger years, always keen to hit up the next place. As I get older, I still have that curiosity; however, I like to kick back and take things a little slower, to explore more.

What are some of your must-dos when you travel?

Absolute must-do is try the local food! Take everything in my stride – I'm travelling so I know things will be different, and that's good. Be a traveller not a tourist, so get off the well worn path and get amongst the people, the culture.

What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • A notepad to write down any ideas that may pop up at random times.
  • Swimming trunks as you never know where there will be a pool or hot spring.
  • My Whillas & Gunn rucksack as it distributes weight evenly.
  • Sunglasses for sunny days/hangovers.
  • A phone with a good camera.

If there was one celebrity vacation home you would like to live in for a week, whose would it be, and why?

If I could go back in time a little then Ernest Hemingway’s place in Cuba when he lived there - Finca Vigía. It’s not flashy but it has character and charm. I can imagine sitting with the french doors open with one of the cocktails he describes so vividly in my hand.

Finca Vigía

Pictured above: Finca Vigía (credit: cntraveller)

Bangkok is well-known to be a shopper's paradise. Where are some of the best places for men to shop in Bangkok?

Its true, Bangkok is great for shopping, especially at the markets. The vintage section at Chatuchuk Weekend Market has some amazing finds at a very reasonable price – there is one military store that I especially like who always seems to have awesome bomber jackets. The new EM Quartier Mall has a pretty impressive range of local and foreign brands and select shops.

EM Quartier Shopping Mall

Pictured above: EM Quartier Shopping Mall (credit: auworkshop)

As you have a store selling curated travel goods for men, where do you get your inspiration from for your various collections?

Function is my number one inspiration. After years of travel, having well made, good looking gear that makes travel a little smoother makes me happy. I like a look that fuses old world charm with modern functionality.

Your online store is visually very appealing and the tab for 'Adventures' reminds us of a travel magazine. What made you include a travel section on your online store? It is a very unconventional concept.

By showing our editorial in stories and adventures we not only get a chance to showcase our collection in action we also are able to show our character and travel style to our customers and ultimately create a lifestyle.

The idea started when I saw a poster of all the Tintin comic book covers and thought "man that guy gets around, from the Congo to Phnom Penh and even to the moon!” – I was so impressed. I wanted, too, to go to all these places and one day have a life (and poster!) that was as cool as the Adventures of Tin Tin. I wanted to see/do more than just sitting and designing in an office or factory everyday. So I spoke to Melissa (my sister/business partner) and she loved the idea - this is how the WG Trunk Co and our creed “Life shouldn’t be played from behind a desk” was borne.

We understand that you have traveled around Southeast Asia a lot. Do you have a favourite city/country? If so, where?

We fell in love with Bangkok. We only planned to visit for a few days last year and now we’ve made it our base of operations when we are not off on an adventure – at this point we have no intention of leaving. The lifestyle has everything that I love – from eating spicy, sour, and simply delicious street food to the great markets, and from shopping to the cool Bangkok kids – this city has it all in my books. Plus it's affordable, with island paradises a stone throw away.

Do you have any memorable adventures from your trips around Southeast Asia?

We sure do... Heading from Siem Reap in Cambodia across the Tonle Sap Lake by boat through water towns on stilts was pretty cool. We were headed to Battambang to get on the bamboo railway, which only has one track. However, the 'trains’ go in both directions. One cart has to be disassembled so that it can be lifted, by hand, off the track to let the other pass by. This is decided by who has the heaviest load or most people onboard, and in the case of a tie, by coin toss.

Tonle Sap Lake

Pictured above: Tonle Sap Lake (credit: smilingalbino)

Do you have favourite boutiques around SEA that you have to visit every time you're in the city?

I quite like the Club Monaco 'Men's Store' on Star Street in Hong Kong. The shop fit is amazing and the products they stock are very well curated with 3rd party brands that compliment their own collection.

Next to Normal in Bangkok’s Central Embassy has a nice contemporary brand selection from Kitsune to Sacai to local hero Timo Trunks. If you’re in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam then you should definitely check out L’Usine.

Next to Normal L’Usine

Pictured above: Next to Normal (credit: Rock The Trend), L’Usine (credit: Pulp Collectors)

Stylish places to stay in Bangkok

This spacious luxury 3 bedroom apartment, located on Sukhumvit Road Soi 24, is close to major shopping centers, restaurants, malls, and more.

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Going to Bangkok? Check out more places to stay on Roomorama.