Travelling for four hours to Koh Samui (below) in a rickety boat to get a massage was a bit extreme - but this was an emergency. At Chaweng Beach, I'd spied the gentle-looking Thai woman on a low wooden platform earlier in the day, but it was only in the afternoon that I saw her in action. Frazzled sun-worshippers would stroll over, lie down and get pummelled into a further state of relaxation.
At dusk I approached her, or rather, I hobbled. So it was her powers of perception rather than her powers of observation that let the masseur know exactly what I needed. Now I've had a few massages in London so I could make a comparison. The silence was a bonus, and the palm trees and sand made for a better view than framed qualification certificates. The language barrier meant I just let her do her thing - strong, kneading movements that soon loosened my muscles. For less than pounds 2 my shoulders were ready to carry my scuba kit once more. Lisa Markwell
You can reach Koh Samui in 14 hours from London, with a quick change in Bangkok, for around pounds 450.Reuse content