And we did a Full Moon Party – Yup – we did it. We gave in to the hype of every teenage and twenty-something’s island dream and followed the masses to Ko Phan-ngan, home of the legendary Full Moon Party, perhaps the largest, most popular beach party in the world. As the sun sets on Haad Rin (pronounced “Hat Rin” beach, the sand comes alive with dancing backpackers, fire jugglers, thumping, pulsating music, and hundreds of buckets of booze.
Why? Hmmm – I don’t know why we went. These types of rave-like parties are usually not my cup of tea since I am much more of a low-key, jazzy bar, small pub sort of girl. The idea of half drunk, drug induced, day glo wearing westerners isn’t exactly appealing. However, we figured that while in Thailand we should experience at least one FMP – kind of like riding an elephant.
How to fit a Full Moon Party into six days – We only had about one week to accomplish our goal for we were due to arrive in Cambodia on the 28th of April. After a hurried two days in Bangkok, we climbed onto a us bound for the southern islands. I knew something was out of place the second I stepped into the huge van. Usually I am met with curious stares and straight out funny looks because we are often the only white girls in the transport vehicle. However, for the first time, there was no pause in the flow of conversation because everyone else was a westerner as well. And, this was a bus that was built for westerners, so I could completely stretch out my long legs. With a toot of the horn, we pulled away from the curb and were off to dreamy, white sand beaches and coconut islands.
Our transport drove us through the night, beginning at 7 p.m. and dropping us off on the pier at 5 a.m. to wait for the next mode of transport, a four hour ferry ride to Ko-Phangan. Of course I didn’t sleep a wink. Between the loud action movies (in Chinese for some reason) and the freezing AC (the driver must have thought we needed to be properly frozen before roasting in the sun for a week), sleep was impossible.
Stunning Ko-Phangan – I had forgotten how much I missed the ocean. It was wonderful to be out on the open water again, even better to pull up to a wooden dock surrounded by sky scraping palm trees, island tunes playing in the distance, and sea gulls crying overhead. Postcard perfect!
Not wanting to stay in the middle of the throngs of blonde travelers, we opted to slumber on the northern edge of the island and catch a ferry to the party side. This was a smart idea for we spent two quiet, glorious days on the nearly deserted beach digging our toes in the sand and shell searching. I was reluctant to strip off my bikini and pull out my party clothes, but the time had come to follow the crowd to Haad Rin.
How it works – The beach was action packed when we arrived, filled with the young and old alike, bare skinned, tan, and ready for a crazy night. Basically, there is a large strip of bars running up and down the beach, each trying to outdo the other with neon blinking lights and pounding music. We found some tunes that we actually recognized, bought ourselves some drinks, and settled down to people watch. All “beverages” are mixed together and served in child sized plastic sand pails, complete with a million straws.
Liz finally managed to drag us out onto the dance floor after midnight and we spent the next 3 hours dancing in the sand, trying to avoid being stepped on by some of the more “happy” dancers. We made new friends and experimented with body paints (which I might add did NOT come out of my new tank top).
We got some great pictures. I can’t say that I will ever have the desire to attend another Full Moon Party in this life, but it was interesting to see one at least once. It was actually more fun to sit and watch the completely obliterated drunks trying to walk around the beach, sometimes stumbling into the ocean, dancing on the rooftops, and just enjoying life in general. Now it’s back to the slower pace of life and teaching some wee ones to speak English!