It's sunset and light streams through the windows of the tiny art studio at the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Resort. The balmy breeze sways the palm trees and the art teacher is telling us to be careful not to put too much on our paintbrushes.
His voice draws my attention back to the blank canvas in front of me: a Nemo-like fish waiting to be dressed in citrus yellow, fuchsia pink and blue.
I'm in a tropical paradise learning the traditional painting form, batik, in a classroom set up for children - not at all what I was expecting on a trip to Thailand.
The country is synonymous with powdery white beaches, cerulean waters, exotic food and culture and a vibrant nightlife. A family getaway is not necessarily the first thing that springs to mind.
Thailand is full of surprises and, as I recently discovered at Laguna Phuket, its latest image is as a family holiday destination, something Laguna Phuket director of marketing and events Robin Wilson is keen to explain.
"In the Thai culture, they love children and you'll see that all around when you spend a few days here," he says.
"Kids seems to love being here and being amidst that culture. It's very child friendly."
And that was the philosophy behind Laguna Phuket's Summer Family Festival.
"We set up the festival to cater for local families for something for their children to do, but also for holiday-makers coming from places like Australia, looking for something different to offer their kids," Mr Wilson said.The five-month annual festival, which runs until October, is set against the stunning backdrop of the resort, just 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport. Dusit Thani is one of seven deluxe hotel and villa complexes within the 404ha Laguna Phuket, on the west of the island. All share stunning tropical parklands complete with lagoons, white beaches and an 18-hole golf course.
The drawcard of the festival is that kids are able to stay, play and eat for free across all of Laguna Phuket's properties.
The festival thrives during its entertainment season between June 23 and August 25, featuring the aptly named Kidz Fun Zone. Jungle-based adventures, pirate-themed treasure hunts, eco-friendly shenanigans, cooking classes, spy missions, desert island escapades for little castaways and a trip to Phuket's waterpark are just some of the activities kids can enjoy. With a different event each day, it gives parents time to relax.
At night, the Canal Shopping Village becomes a carnival playground with a barbecue beer tent where parents can enjoy televised sport or the weekly quiz night while the children can enjoy chaperoned activities such as the Kidzsole Flying Trapeze, a bouncy castle or the trampoline.
This family-friendly resort features a wide range of accommodation options.
The top-of-the-range Banyan Tree Phuket has 173 luxury villas, an 18-hole golf course and a spa. Or there's the recently opened Angsana Laguna Phuket, with 409 resort rooms, many fronting lagoons.
Situated on Bang Tao Bay, Angsana Laguna Phuket has beachfront access to the warm aquamarine waters of the Andaman Sea, eight dining and entertainment venues and swimming pools.
For the children, there's the Tree House Kids' Club which offers dozens of supervised activities, from painting lessons with the resort's artist-in-residence, Thai cooking classes and courses in coconut leaf folding and candle-making.
Children can also meet the resort's baby elephant Lucky.
The Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket offers what feels like a more authentic Thai experience, with 226 rooms and suites, 28 pool villas and a host of activities such as watersports, arts and crafts and a dedicated kids' club.
It's here that children can try batik fabric painting - where wax is applied to line drawings before adding dye to the fabric to create an arty piece of fashion - T-shirts, fans, scarves or hats.
Nearby is the Laguna Beach Resort, with 252 rooms, studios and suites complete with water park; the Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket with 90 suites; and the Laguna Holiday Club Phuket Resort or Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas featuring 67 villas with lagoon and garden views and 19 one, two and three- bedroom self-contained suites.
Guests are able to wine and dine at any of Laguna Phuket's 30 restaurants or bars and charge the bill back to their room.
For those wanting to explore Phuket, Laguna Tours offers a wide selection of daytrips and excursions, including scuba diving, snorkelling, elephant trekking and city tours.
A trip to Phuket wouldn't be complete without a visit to Phi Phi Island with its iconic limestone and clear Tiffany-blue waters - the daytrip costs about $110 for adults and about $77 for children aged three to 12.
The friendly and experienced guides have a knack for convenient timing, avoiding the large crowds as we stop at each destination along the way - from having a private dip in the clear waters of Bilik Bay framed by gnarled limestone cliffs to snorkelling in what feels like an aquarium of technicolour fish at Mosquito Bay.
At Bamboo Bay, we enjoy a picnic lunch on the white beach before taking a dip in the water.
There is also the choice of the half-day Khai Island snorkelling tour or the Phang Nga Bay four-in-one full-day excursion where you can visit and explore Sea Cave, James Bond Island, enjoy a delicious Thai and seafood lunch at the Sea Gypsy stilted restaurant and enjoy a sea kayaking tour through the caves and spectacular islands.
There's also an elephant trekking tour or Thai boxing shows.
Or why not experience the Thai culture through a cultural day tour? Visit Phuket Old Town, traditional temples, markets alive with aromas before stopping to enjoy lunch at the Tunk-Ka restaurant, perched on Rang Hill, where you can enjoy scrumptious traditional dishes while enjoying the view.
But even for parents with kids, it's at night that Phuket comes to life with attractions such as the Las Vegas-style Fantasea show which fuses Thai culture and mythology with magical illusions, special effects, aerial ballet, acrobatics, fireworks and live animal performances. The show features more than 30 elephants and if the reaction of children on the night we went was anything to go by, it'll be a night the young ones won't forget.
But of course, an exotic escape wouldn't be complete without a little pampering and the Angsana Spa is worth a visit. It features 12 private indoor treatment rooms and a long menu of Asian-inspired treatments based on aromatherapy and wellness techniques to refresh and rejuvenate.
It's the first Angsana Spa to introduce family packages for parent-child bonding and also offers a Kids' Spa menu to pamper the little ones.
But for all the fun of a family getaway there's no reason to forfeit the iconic Thailand trip moment of a fruity cocktail at a tropical bar, which is also made possible by Laguna Phuket's babysitting services.
• During the Laguna Phuket Summer Family Festival, which runs until October 31, kids stay and dine for free across all of Laguna Phuket's properties - Banyan Tree Phuket, Angsana Laguna Phuket, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Laguna Beach Resort, Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, Best Western Allamanda Lugana Phuket and Laguna Holiday Club Resort. laguanphuket.com
• Thai Airways flies from Perth to Phuket twice weekly. Travel agents, thaiairways.com and 1300 651 960.