We left Koh Samui for a few days, and heard about a small party going on the following night on a beach on a nearby island. OK, I lie. We were headed to probably the most iconic beach in the whole world. The Full Moon Party on Hadrin Beach, Koh Phangan was calling!
When you talk to anyone about Thailand and nightlife, the Full Moon Party is probably the first topic of conversation to come up. Yes, Bangkok has it’s unbelievable nightlife (more on that later in the blog!), but partying the night away on a beach is pretty unique, or was until they became so popular! I’d heard a lot about this party, but we were both in two minds about whether to go or not. We’d heard, and visualised, that it would be a different kind of experience, the kind of thing we’d want to try out, but then we’d also heard about the drunken antics and the dodgy experiences of people at these parties, especially with so much alcohol, and drugs, involved. But in the end we thought we probably weren’t going to get an opportunity like this for a while, and decided to see for ourselves what the big fuss was all about. Luckily the timing worked out well, we headed across to the island with the thousands of other party-goers by ferry, and set up camp for in preparation for an interesting night out the following night.
Let me just say this: Koh Phangan is beautiful. Picture-perfect sandy beaches and blue waters. We got to see that exotic scenery which we had imagined when thinking of the Thai islands in the south. It really was that stunning.
As the day of the party came, you saw even more swarms of tourists cramming onto the island, all eagerly anticipating the night ahead. We were told by our reception not to get there til fairly late, around 11ish! Supposedly if you go too early, depending on how excited you are and what your alcohol consumption is like, you might end up in bed before midnight! So we headed off in our shared bus in the direction of Hadrin Beach, alongside with what seemed like all the of cars on the entire island. It looked like this party was pretty popular! Full Moon Party, here we came!
Entry is the equivalent of £2.00, for which they give you a cool little wristband to show you’re a Full Moon Partyer for the night, and then you’re off to head to the beach, as you pass by bars full of stags and hens, a fair few crowds of loud Australians playing drinking games, and the infinite number of people selling ‘buckets’. Ah, buckets. Let me show you..
These are basically your cup for the night. Rum and coke? No problem let me pour you half a bucket of rum, and half a bucket in coke. They don’t do things in ‘cups’ here! So a bucket full of drink it was!
Then there’s the face paint! I thought it was a bit gimmicky, but everyone is wearing the stuff, in different patterns and colours, and I guess the vibrancy does add to the occasion. We both were given some from some drunk Chinese friends we met, and added more on at a stall by Hadrin Beach. It was all part of the fun! (Oh, and it glowed bright under neon lights..)
The party itself was brilliant. We’re not techno-heads, so the choice of music wasn’t completely what we’d be into, but the atmosphere is insane. Crowds of people crammed on the beach having a dance, having a chat, having a drink. The atmosphere was nice, and not too crazy. I think they said we’d come on a decent month, when instead of 20,000-30,000, there were about 5,000-10,000 people instead.
We luckily didn’t have any bad experiences like we had heard rumours about. It was a great laugh overall. Where else can you meet and take pictures with two crazy Tokyo students, or a friendly Italian couple, or an Indian-origin Dutch lad travelling with his girlfriend. Yes, the alcohol is probably helping people meet and have a good time, but it was a brilliant experience.
We both went up and down the stretch of beach a few times, passing by the bars blasting the loud tech beats, and soaked up the atmosphere.
One crazy thing we saw was people attempting to skip a long , thick rope, whilst being on fire. After hearing the many horror stories of the burns received when doing that kind of thing (plus, i don’ think my timing was all that good at that time of night. I’m pretty sure I’d been through one? two? three buckets? Erm, yeh anyway..) But we watched in amazement as one jumper would be successfully skipping the rope until another idiot tried to join them, only to trip up both of them and to land them a few nice souvenir burns from the party. And this repeated itself throughout the whole night.
After not knowing where the time had gone, we started to see signs of daylight approaching from the horizon. It’s a weird feeling partying outside while it’s getting light. You feel though as if you’ve accomplished something! And that’s when we both thought it would be a good time to get back, and head to bed!
Overall, the Full Moon Party was brilliant. A really good atmosphere, and some really cool people. It definitely is unlike any other party we’d been too, and would most probably go back again as it was great fun.
We headed back to Koh Samui the next day, where we spent a few days chilling out (and recovering!). After about a week on the islands, we thought we’d definitely had enough R&R for now, and were ready for more culture. We were about to start our loop of South East Asia, and the first stop: Chiang Mai!