Bo Phut Beach
in Koh Samui, Thailand on 25th February, 2012

The first guest house that I stayed at on Koh Samui was worth a miss. I checked out a few days early and moved to the north part of the Island. I was staying just off Bo Phut beach. Here the dominant groups of tourists were French distantly followed by the Germans. It felt a lot more relaxed and quieter than where I'd been staying before.

There weren't any major attractions around nor was there any single geographical masterpiece to make for a headline photo but the beach was nicer to walk along and there were more restaurants to choose from.

Having air conditioning again and with three of the four walls in my room having windows looking out I was able to do some writing and coding in peace. The bathroom wasn't air conditioned; walking into it one afternoon I thought I'd left a windy heater running all day before realising that was the ambient air temperature.

Most restaurants had wifi which meant that while I was waiting for lunch or dinner I'd pull out my iPhone and go online. Without fail staff would notice my phone and come over asking questions about it. They would look at the screen in fascination and were surprised to learn I didn't have a protective case around the device. When they asked how much it cost I'd tell them and usually they would reply with a blank stare.

It was nice to see Thai people doing something other than working in the tourist trade. The fishermen I photographed during my stay were friendly and open to having their photos taken. There was one shot during the sunset where I stood in the same spot for an hour till the lighting was just right; I felt relaxed and content during the wait.

In other parts of Thailand it feels like there is an arms race between tourists and locals. Constant haggling, hustling and hassling; a feeling from both parties of being ripped of; scammers trying to make up for a downturn in the tourist trade. Sometimes the most relaxing place you can be is where no locals can get to you.

On my final morning on the Island I walked over to a posh hotel on the beach for breakfast. I was eating away when I suddenly heard screaming and a huge cloud of smoke come from the harbour off in the distance. I could see one of the ships had caught fire. I watched as Thais raced with buckets to put out the flames. I felt bad thinking that someone's livelihood had going up in smoke.

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