March 4th, 2006:
My next main stop will be Koh Tao (an island off the coast, over 1000 km from Bangkok apparently) however I ran into an unexpected hitch in the travel plans... I had intended on catching an overnight train to the nearest mainland town (Chumpton) and had read before leaving Ireland that it was just a matter of turning up at the train station and buying a ticket as you are starting your train journey. This is NOT the case!!! Buy your ticket at least a week in advance as the train frequently sells out, as it did with with me... The only alternative was flying to a nearby island and catching a ferry from there.
So, that’s what I had to do: I had to fly to the nearby idyllic paradise island of Koh Samui. Darn the bad luck ;)
The flight was half a day earlier than the train so packing and booking a hotel was a rushed job. Incidentally, trying to bring a pen knife aboard a Bangkok Airways domestic flight by accident is not the end of the world(!): it was picked up by the baggage scanner and with what felt like the whole world watching I removed the knife. However, instead of giving me an inquisition, they gave me a paper stub with which I could reclaim the knife with once I arrived at my destination. Handy: a leatherman multi-tool is not cheap and I'll be sure to check where it is next time.
So, how's Koh Samui? Wow. You'll see from the pictures on my website what my accommodation looks like. I had been a bit dubious when the booking girl on the phone described it as a hut, but now that I'm here, well, millionaire's play pad may be more accurate! When you move in they give you a tropical fruit drink in a tropical fruit, then you see that your accommodation is within a stones throw of the sandy beach and then you notice how plush the room is: even the floor (solid teak with ever so slight hills and valleys in the wood for a massaging effect) screams expensive. And it is: I met a guy yesterday who wasn't happy until his accommodation cost less the 5 Euro a night; this is 100 Euro a night... If I had more time I would have looked for something cheaper, but you know what, its nice to live it up every once in a while! My accommodation over the coming five nights will be 4 Euro a night, so that will reduce my feelings of guilt(!)