Two weeks in New Zealand, while fabulous for catching up with family and friends, is not exactly a holiday for us. There isn't a lot of lying about reading novels or sightseeing to be had. A trip back to NZ costs nearly £6k for the four of us at Christmas even if we book it months ahead. Then it's 27+ hours flying time to get there, so to make it less of a chore we always tag a stopover somewhere in SE Asia on the way back to London to make it feel like a proper excursion. Having done Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Langkawi (twice), this time we decided to finally go to Thailand. It seems everyone we know has been and loved it so we booked our week-long stay in Phuket through the Flight Centre.
I would recommend that no-one uses the Flight Centre ever. They are the most incompetent company, and the travel agent I used was particularly rubbish (and have since heard so many horror stories it's amazing they're still in business). I wrote a review about how crap they were on Trust Pilot which I won't repeat here but have a read if you have 5 minutes, and potentially save yourself some serious angst.
Phuket was a great base for a week - we did an island hopping tour by speedboat that took in the main sights, and we all enjoyed snorkelling in crystal clear water. We got stung by jellyfish but even that didn't dampen our spirits - everything about Thailand made us happy. The climate, friendly people, the ice cold beer and the delicious cheap food - oh and the massages (£6 for an hour long foot/leg massage) - I've never thought I could ever live anywhere outside of London until I went here.
We stayed at the Movenpick Resort in Karon beach and had a family suite - which was a standalone building made up of two enormous double rooms, adjoined with a living area and another bunk bedroom (surplus to our requirements). The outside area was big enough for 10+ people and we had four showers to choose from (two indoor and two outdoor). The hotel spa was a 30 second stroll away and we had the choice of going to the crazy, wild street out the back for cheap and cheerful massages, food and nightlife, or out the front for the more picturesque and touristy stretch.
It's the best family holiday we've ever had. I'm counting down to the next time we can afford to go to Thailand again! It's hard to top.