Thursday 2 February: I'm staying at the Samui Mermaid resort on Big Buddha Bay for a whopping 600 Bhat per night. Koh Samui is expensive but this is another bum steer from Lonely Planet, aircraft roar overhead almost close enough to touch.
Saturday 4: I move round the coast to Lamai and Lamai View Guesthouse where I get a comfortable double-aspect 1st-floor room with a fridge, cable TV and a small balcony for just 350 Bhat and, once again, it's not in my guidebook. Nearby is Hin Ta or Grandfather Rock, a penis shaped outcrop that has become Koh Samui's icon and Lamai is the girly and sport bar capital of the island. This is why I'm here, the Samui Shamrock pub is showing the Six-Nations rugby and Scotland are playing a youthful England team tonight - young and tender English lamb to the slaughter? Perhaps not? The place is full of loud pissed, fag smoking, package-tourist types - I hate it.
Tuesday 7: The seas are still cloudy so snorkeling will have to wait. My visa expires tomorrow so I need to make a visa run to the Malaysian border: shared taxi to the island's port of Na Thon, ferry and mini-bus to Surat Thani, local orange bus to the railway station, 2nd class sleeper to Hat Yai, mini-bus to Padang Besar where I walk across the border and back, returning by local red bus to Hat Yai's basic Cathay Guesthouse and a few beers in The Swan, the nearest I've seen to a British pub since I left England, full of ex-pat English teachers eating steak pie and fish & chips. The beers at Cathays are considerably cheaper and their little breakfast kitchen serves great eggs-on-toast to start the day, for once a good steer from my guidebook.
Photos of Koh Samui.