My trip didn't kick off with the most auspicious start : just days after the horrific Malaysian Airlines plane crash I boarded flight number 911 at Gate 13 from Heathrow. Good job I'm not superstitious...gulp! Luckily, the only missiles launched at me during the flight came from the disgruntled Thai baby next to me, who screeched and squirmed her way through the 11-hour ordeal until I actually felt like joining in. Several complimentary vodka lemonades did little to take the edge off of the high-pitched screams that cut through my brain better than any Russian rocket launcher no matter how loud I cranked up the banging 'Son Of A Beach:Bora Bora' tunes on my Ipod.
Despite her best efforts, I did manage to watch a few films - The Artist and Her, both great movies. Finally we touched down in Bangkok and a glance at my watch (through bloodshot boiled eggs that seemed to have replaced my eyeballs) told me that our 45min delay in leaving Heathrow meant I had only an hour to locate and board my Samui connection before take-off...
One Usain Bolt-like sprint later and I arrive at the gate a panting and sweaty mess, like a kid being pursued by Saville around a children's home.
Merely an hour later and any stress is instantly removed as we disembark at Samui - the waft of blossoming jasmine flowers seducing our nostrils. My pre-booked driver meets me with a toothy grin and whisks me to my first leg of the adventure : Sundays Resort And Spa in Bo Phut, North-East of the island and a stone's throw from the airport.
The humidity is crushing and exhausting, but excitement spurs me on. My room is basic and 'rustic' shall we say, with other guests' flight detail stickers strategically placed over various holes in the front door, but the beauty of the jungle surroundings and warmth of the staff overrides any concerns.
Eyeing the dense palms and shrubland engulfing my hilltop room, I shower then douse myself liberally in my high-strength DEET-based mozzie repellant (this stuff melts plastic) and head out, not bothering to unpack, taking any valuables with me.
The Bo Phut main road is a dirt-track away, and is treacherous: no pavement and motorbikes, cars and lorries whizz by so closely I swear they touch the hairs on my arms (and I'm no Chewbacca).
I enter the first Spa I see (the hotel one is closed, despite being the main reason anyone stays here), and request a Thai massage. The therapist takes one look at my weary limbs and suitcases under my eyes and proceeds to pummel, pound, twist and bend the life out of me...and yet somehow to her amazement I manage to fall asleep mid-assault...?!
Feeling relaxed I pay 500baht (£10) for the battery-recharging hour of well...battery, and stumble bleary-eyed back out into the sunlight, relaxed and feeling the need for liquid refreshment. I easily locate the highly-recommended Fisherman's Village and sink a few Chang Beers at a bar overlooking Bo Phut beach, before sampling a delicious Pad Thai at the chilled and hippy-like Karma Sutra restaurant.
As it looks like rain and I have an IPad, IPhone, camera and iPod in my cloth tote back, I decide to head back to my room - a major insurance claim-up for water-logged electronics would not be a good start to my trip...
My fears are unfounded, it remains dry and stifling, and I slip into a jetlagged, alcohol-boosted food coma, before waking several times as I readjust to my new time zone....goodnight....Zzzzzzzz