Australians wanting an island holiday are spoilt for choice. There are so many of them a relatively short flight from home. The Pacific and Indian oceans have island destinations to cover everyone's desires and budgets.
Jason Dundas headed north-west to Phuket, Thailand's largest island. Connected to the mainland by the Sarasin Bridge, it attracts five million visitors every year, lured by a wide range of accommodation, activities and endless food choices.
Many of Phuket's beaches were severely damaged by the 2004 tsunami but there is barely evidence of the disaster, except for evacuation signs should it ever happen again.
Jason based himself at the Radisson Blu Plaza Resort on Panwa Beach on the south-east coast of Phuket. Rooms and amenities are excellent and it's a great spot for family holidays. It offers good value and has a great location. It's so self-contained you don't need to leave if you don't want to.
The 211 rooms are made up of garden, pool and ocean villas, three free-form pools and another with a waterslide for children, spa, a club for children and a small group of shops. Phuket town is just 15 minutes away.
Aqua is an all-day dining outlet with themed dinners and an à la carte menu. Azur, overlooking the Andaman Sea, has a Mediterranean feel indoors and out, global wines and a community table bringing guests together. Seafood is the specialty of Azur prepared in the local way or the Japanese favourites.
Edge is in the pool and garden area and offers everything from noodles to sandwiches, salads and cocktails. It offers service at the swim-up bar! Octo in the lobby lounge has a wide range of light meals and exotic cocktails.
Watersports are plentiful. Swimming and snorkelling in 30°C water temperatures will keep you close to the Radisson all day, but if you do fancy venturing further, the Phi Phi Islands are a 45-minute boat trip away. The location of Leonardo di Caprio's film The Beach, Phi Phi provided stunning beaches and cliffs. For the shoot hundreds of coconut palms were planted and were then removed.
Phuket, an hour's flight from Bangkok.
Blue Holidays has a Phuket package including five nights in a deluxe room at the Radisson Plaza Resort and breakfast for two each day.
Rates per person twin share start from:
- Perth $1133
- Melbourne $1321
- Sydney $1327
- Adelaide $1663
On sale until July 31, 2011, for travel between July 23 and September 9, 2011, and October 25 and December 14, 2011. Conditions apply.
Prices correct at July 2, 2011.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Radisson Blu Plaza Resort Phuket
44/5 Moo 8, Sakdidesh Road, Vichit
Ph: +66 76 602 500
Fax: +66 76 602 555
100/24 Moo 5, Chalaemprakiat
Rama 9 Road
T Rasada, Phuket
Ph: +66 76 610 201
Fax: +66 76 610 206
Visa: Australians may stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa.
Electricity: 220V with a European plug with two circular metal pins or Japanese plug with two parallel flat blades.
Time zone: GMT +7.
Currency: The baht.
International dialling code: +66.
It is recommended travellers to Thailand see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.