The Sunday Times travel magazine: Phuket with a pal



A champagne cork pops and music streams out of our villa and over me as I float belly-up in our private pool, deep in post-massage bliss. Inside, rose petals decorate the bathtub. The steam room’s on full. Beneath our deck, the Andaman Sea shivers in the evening light.

Then the romance of the moment is punctured by a scream — Cyndi Lauper being turned up on the stereo, and a figure dive-bombing into the pool. “I bet this is how Kate and Stella do holidays!” yells Zara, who’s jumped into the water holding a glass of champagne and a cigarette.

You see, I’m not sharing this with a lover. I’ve gone on holiday with my best friend.

As girly holiday destinations go, Thailand might not seem an obvious choice. If anything, the country — and Phuket in particular — conjures up images of backpackers, honeymooners or, worse, middle-aged men seeking a different kind of loving.

But take a closer look at the sun worshippers in those beachside cabanas and you’ll find an altogether more glamorous breed of holidaymaker. Kate Moss has spent New Year on the island with Naomi Campbell; Kim Kardashian went with her whole Amazonian clan; Rihanna, too, took a break in Phuket during her world tour. Thailand is changing. It’s time for the men trawling ping-pong bars to move over — here come the girls.

Read the full feature here:

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