Every year, the family makes a little pilgrimage to our own slice of paradise. We pack up the kiddos and the old fogies (about 15 of us in all), and head up to the north west coast of Phuket for some much needed family time and a little R&R. It's a beautiful place, high up on the cliffs with the most incredible view of the Andaman sea all around. Coconut trees sway and children play, the men golf, and the women get massages.
Three times a day we gather for communal meals around a large wooden table that somehow fits all of us in, there's thai porridge or a zesty salad or a huge bowl of noodle soup or a decadent seafood spread. Always accompanied by heaping servings of fresh fruit - fruit always tastes better in Thailand, I have no idea why.
In the evenings, we sit around the Sala (the verandah) and have pre-dinner cocktails, we watch those unbeatably beautiful vistas of burning sunsets where the sky is painted hues of pinks and reds and dusky purples. I've never seen a sky more alive, with such depth and intensity, I could watch the colours melt into each other and not grow tired of it, all in the warm company of those that I love most.
It's all very idyllic, and every summer it's the getaway that I most look forward to. In that one week, we're more together than we are at any other time of the year, and it's beautiful.
Of course, if chilling by the poolside doing absolutely nothing isn't quite your cup of tea, Phuket has a lot to offer from quiet beaches like Surin to party packed stretches such as Patong. I'm a fan of Catch Beach Club (part of Twinpalms resort) on Surin where you can rent a sun chair and lounge out all day watching the waves. I think the rental includes food and drink and towels - fresh towels are always a nice touch.
Patong is the place to go for watersports and more, it's crowded, overly touristy, and flooded with touters... but besides all that, it's got a fun, if incredibly intense, atmosphere. The little sister went parasailing the last time round.
We rarely venture out from the villa for food and drink, but on the occasions where we have, we've hit up the following spots:
- Baan Rim Pa - open air, by the rocks on a corner of Patong. It's got a great view of the bay and serves Thai food
- Sri Panwa - you get an incredible and unobstructed view of the sunset from the very top. Go for drinks around 5.
- Raya House - Phuket style Thai food in a very homey environment. The owner picks out the ingredients herself from the market.
I barely realised it, but we're rolling into September! Can you beat it? How fast the year has passed.