Re: Bike Hire
If you are hiring bikes on any of the islands then you are setting up to be ripped off, as it's only tourists with big money that rent out these bikes.
Phuket seems to be the only island that has decent roads for renting big bikes. If you take a bike on rent try to take it for longer than one day and you should get the price down, also if you don't want to surrender you're passport, then give them a deposit and a photocopy and most of the time it should be enough.
I spent my first 2 years living in Thailand renting bikes, and I had on long term loan a K8 Suzuki GSXR 750. At the beginning they wanted 1000thb per day, but as I ended up keeping it for 6 months, I ended up paying just 10,000thb each month.
Get to know the guys you're renting from and throw away any arrogant western attitudes as this will just make everything more expensive.
A point to note to any newbies is of course always check the bike before you drive it away, as I have seen some dodgy/dangerous bikes sitting just waiting to be taken by some unsuspecting farang.
I've been living in Thailand for 5 years now, and own a few bikes and I gotta say although it is a very dangerous place for learners, once you get to know how the Thai's drive and anticipate the unexpected....WHAT A BUZZ!
Here's the bike I had for about 200 quid a month.
The yellow R1 was what my mate visiting rented..1000thb per day (20 quid)
OH BTW STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM JET SKIS... http://thailandjetskiscamt.blogspot.com/