Monday 23 January: I'm amazed that the three-hour ordinary train journey down the coast to Chumphon is only 34 Bhat, I've not travelled 3rd-class in Thailand before and it's okay. The station's drive is lined with old steam locomotives draped with fairy lights - what a great idea. I'm overnighting here before island-hopping south to Surat Thani via Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. Fame Guesthouse's rooms are big, reasonably priced and airy but unfortunately I've followed my guidebook's recommendations and have a pokey airless room elsewhere, the curse of Lonely Planet.
Tuesday 24: I have a shared cabin bunk (350Bt) on the big overnight car-ferry (89th mode of transport) to Koh Tao and sleep like a baby.
Wednesday 25: Finally on Koh Tao I opt for lively Sairee village where I have a comfortable en-suite room in Wandee Guesthouse (300Bt) with the added bonus of a huge and very efficient fridge, ice-cold Chang beers, what a joy, and it's not even in my guidebook.
Thursday 26: A snorkeling boat-trip around the small boulder-strewn island gives me an overview of the island's beaches but the sea is rough and the visibility murky.
Saturday 28: A trek over the island's hilly spine to Mao Bay is fantastic, birds and butterflies abound. Butterflies are particularly difficult to photograph as, unlike moths, they close their wings when at rest. Hin Wong Bay, north of Mao Bay, is a shorter stroll away with great snorkeling, a good afternoon out when the trip boats have gone.
Sunday 29: Songserm Express boat to Koh Phangan (250Bt).
Photos of Koh Tao.