If you have 8½ days and £££ = Dream Phuket Ho­tel & Spa, Thai­land

Is­land-hop­ping, lots of shop­ping and loung­ing on a beach called Par­adise: Diddy would be so proud

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Read -

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Your trans­fer to the Dream Phuket Ho­tel & Spa, a chic and se­cluded re­sort with a boom­ing pool­side sound sys­tem, takes around half an hour from the air­port, so you’ve got time to freshen up be­fore start­ing your day. Thai­land’s seven hours ahead of GMT, so you’re go­ing to feel like nap­ping. Good ex­cuse for need­ing a pool day, if you ask us.

GET BUSY

First rule of Thai­land: al­ways barter. Sec­ond rule: you must down­load the taxi app Grab to save a shed­load (it’s ba­si­cally the Asian equiv­a­lent of Uber). Make your way into tourist beach hub Pa­tong and hag­gle at one of the stalls sell­ing is­land-hop­ping

boat and snorkel trips. We paid around £30 for a day of ex­plor­ing three is­lands (in­clud­ing Koh Phi Phi, where The Beach was filmed). Block out a day in your sched­ule to visit the old town of Pa­tong, too, and stop off at OTOP mar­ket (open day and night) to buy, well, any­thing from san­dals to a tat­too (of course you won’t re­gret the San­skrit song lyrics when you get home). You can’t leave with­out vis­it­ing the fa­mous sleep­ing Bud­dha statue – mostly for the elec­tronic for­tune-telling ma­chine. For the rest of the trip? There are 30 beau­ti­ful beaches to test (hit Par­adise, which does what it says on the tin) with lo­cals walk­ing the sands of­fer­ing aloe vera rubs for your sun­burn. Oh, and try the day-long Sun­day brunch for £40 at the Dream Beach Club Phuket. Yes, the chunk of pineap­ple gar­nish­ing the piña co­lada you wash it down with counts as one of your five a day, ab­so­lutely no ques­tion.

CHECK-OUT

Pack up all those wooden bags/coast­ers/or­na­ments you got for your mum and the ‘de­signer’ bar­gains you hag­gled for at the mar­kets – no one will no­tice the ‘Z’ on your new Michael Korz watch, hon­est. With your morn­ing flight home, you’ll be back in time for the 10 o’clock news (OK, The Xtra Fac­tor) the very same day.

Rooms from £120; Dreamho­tels.com/phuket. Re­turn flights from £475; Thom­son.co.uk

Koh Phi Phi: Leonardo DiCaprio not in­cluded, but still pretty great

Bring your shades, if only for the sunbeds

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