Anyway, to do the quick recap, the two weeks in Australia (Adelaide) and Thailand (Phuket) were fab, even if Qantas had to be completely unhelpful when we were ludicrously delayed on the way over to Thailand. Tips for travellers to Phuket are as follows:
1. Find yourself a 7-Eleven. And quick. Anywhere else will almost certainly rip you off for beverages both with and without alcohol.
2. Drink the local beer. When every day is a humid 37 degrees C, and it doesn't drop below 30 (= 86F) until after 11pm, you don't want a particularly flavoursome beer - you want a nice, simple, cold beer. Chang (ask for the elephants) performs that job admirably, and even in most typical ripoff places is still only 80 baht (= ~US$2, ~£1.10) for a nice large (640ml) bottle.
3. If you want to do a canoe tour, shop around. There are numerous operators running the 'canoe' tours, where you have some being paddled around in a canoe on a couple of nice islands, then being ferried around to various other islands on a much larger ship. As far as I could tell, all of the tours were basically the same. Prices, however, depending on where you went to, varied from 1500 to 3000 and up per person (US$40 to $80, £22 to £44). The canoe tour was good fun, although 'James Bond' island is now actually nothing but tourist trap. It does make for good kitsch photo opportunities though.
4. If you feel that you can afford to take at least one day not completely focused on getting your tan perfect, go see some of the temples. Get a car, go on a tour, whatever, just see them. I am sure there are grander Buddhist temples around, but the larger ones on Phuket are still stunning to behold.
5. Black Canyon Coffee. It's a coffee shop with a full service menu. The coffee is good, expensive for a local beverage but very cheap compared with anywhere else that will give you decent coffee, and the food is both good quality and filling. I believe Susan and myself managed to have a full brunch for about $10 together.
6. Yes, Phuket was tsunami affected. You wouldn't notice it now, except in maybe one or two small places near the southwest tip of the island. The place is open for business, now as ever - if you were thinking about not going, re-think. They're open, they're ready, and they probably need your money now more than they have in quite a while.
7. And get the chilli squid while you're at it.