A package trip to Phuket straight from the travel agent’s window works a treat for travel editor Winsor Dobbin.
As a fussy traveller, I’m used to preparing my own trips down to the finest detail. I like to make sure the hotel is just right; the location is perfect, and also do a whole lot of pre-trip research. It has been decades since I took a package holiday, one with flights, accommodation, transfers and other extras all included in the price.
We needed a week away, somewhere sunny and exotic – and that did not need the hassles of getting a visa. That ruled out Vietnam and Cambodia.
Thailand is always a great holiday destination; not too far away, great beaches, terrific food and plenty of interesting day trips.
So, we splashed out on an eight-night stay at Burasari in Phuket for a shade over $1000 a head, booking through Flight Centre. It turned out to be a delightful resort ideal for what we had in mind: reading, lots of lazing around, and a few cocktails by the pool.
Thailand’s largest and most popular island, Phuket is renowned for its nightlife, restaurants and beaches. But it’s just as perfect for doing very little.
Burasari is just a two-minute walk from Patong Beach and far enough away from the notorious bars of Bangla Road so there is no risk of being disturbed by revellers.
It is a four-star resort a short walk from Jungceylon and the new Patong Central shopping centres, and a tuk-tuk ride away from Kamala, Kata and Karon beaches.
That’s what we knew in advance. And what we found was almost all positive.
Burasari is an older resort, but comfortably worn. It is a little green oasis with comfortable rooms; and extremely friendly staff. There are two swimming pools and pool tables; a spa, free computers, for guest use; an authentic Thai restaurant (Kantok), a French eatery (La Citadelle), a juice bar and swim-up pool bar. Breakfasts are a highlight with an impressive array of both traditional western and Thai dishes, as well as Chinese options. Food is overseen by Austrian chef Thomas Polt.
There are several room configurations but I’d go for one with a balcony overlooking the pool. All have satellite TV, free wifi, air-conditioning, safes, free minbars replenished daily with soft drinks, snacks and local beers, as well as tea and coffee-making facilities and beach towels and a beach bag.
Spa Burasari offers a range of treatments in a quiet space with well-trained therapists.
Burasari is a favourite with families and attracts a cosmopolitan crowd who clearly enjoy the boutique vibe and the fact there are several markets, international restaurants, massage shops and bars within short walking distance.
The hotel can recommend drivers for day trips to the likes of the Big Buddha, the Chalong Bay Distillery, remote beaches, cashew nut factories or elephant experiences (both ethical and not).
Burasari Phuket, 18/110 Ruamjai Road, Tambon Patong, Ampur Kathu, Phuket 83150.
www.burasari.com. + (66) 76 292929.
Budget prices in the air
Our flights from Australia were with AirAsia via Kuala Lumpur.
AirAsia was recently named Skytrax World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for the 11th consecutive year and offers excellent options like Hot Seats (with extra leg room) and a Quiet Zone (no screaming children).
The economy class meals are among the best I’ve come across; best to stick to the Asian choices like nasi lemak or chicken rice.
AirAsia has partnered with Zip to offer Australians the ability to ‘escape now and pay later’. Under the partnership, AirAsia guests are able to purchase flights to more than 140 destinations across the Asia Pacific using Zip, paying them off in interest-free, bite-sized weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.
AirAsia Regional Commercial Head Matana Thienthong said: “AirAsia is all about providing great value and choice to our guests. This includes providing them with access to what they want, when they want it. “Holidays can be an expensive exercise, even with our low-fares. This is why we’re offering our guests a flexible way to book that well deserved break or spontaneous getaway.”
AirAsia connects Australians to over 140 destinations across Asia Pacific on more than 65 flights per week from Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne Avalon and the Gold Coast.
For details visit airasia.com.