Published: August 25th 2005August 21st 2005
From the ferry
Any excuse for a party. It's a fair accusation, and a full moon is a fairly lame excuse. It's just nature, it happens 13 times a year, and in most parts of the world, without lycanthropy, passes off without note. Not on Koh Pha Ngan, the next island on from Koh Samui, the scene of one of the largest beach parties in the world, every single month, the other locations for such revelry are Ios in Greece, and somewhere in Goa, India. I met people at this party that had been to all three - this is the original and biggest.
The reputation of the full moon party is for excess, dancing and drugs. To be honest drugs would have been easy to get hold of, many of the cafés will “serve” special requests, but on the beach the police presence is fairly conspicuous and the fines are extremely high. I wasn't offered anything - probably due to the death penalty being the punishment for drug dealers. Excess = buckets. 1 litre buckets like a kid would make sand castles with, are filled with are filled with a potent mixture of alcohol, soda and extra strong red bull. The alcohol
comes as little flasks of liquor (300ml) complete with label proving authenticity (Smirnoff, Barcadi and other brands are available) - all mixed up with ice in the bucket, and 10 or so straws for sharing. Round the back of most of the bars are armies of Thai's refilling the bottles of expensive western brands with cheap local alternatives, carefully placing labels of authenticity back across the tops. Most party goers don't give these a second glance, I decided not to care, many wondered at how they could offer these buckets for only 250 baht (about £3.50) and include 300mls of Smirnoff!
At around midnight the beach just went crazy, everyone there, all eight to ten thousand or possibly more was there for one reason - to party. Fluorescent paint on everyone, dancing, wandering, drinking, more dancing, bass thumping out from bars all along the kilometre of Had Rin Beach. Music mostly trance or dance, long tail boats pulled up to shore, lines of party goers relieving their bladders into the sea between. An eery glow from the neon of the bars mixed with the light of the full moon - which made a star performance.
Somehow I managed
Mel and Hannah
I said I'd put up the best photo I had of them... this is it! sorry girls. Both from Hobart, Tasmania - and Mel bandaged up my injured leg.
to bump into nearly everyone I've met and got on with in Thailand, without arranging anything. Had a great time, danced and drank my fair share and watched the sun rise from the beach. Missed the ferry back to Koh Samui, took a speed boat at twice the price and slept the next day.
I stayed in Lamai, Koh Samui. Laid back alternative to Chaweng, in a beach hut at 200 baht, almost perfect apart from traffic noise and a smelly nearby pond, but to any techies reading - the dream is possible. There is wi-fi in this beach hut (New Hut Beach Bungalows) - the island is unwired (well wireless)... tomorrow on to Koh Pha Ngan again. The lazy days are over, my leg is healed, and I'm going to start exploring and doing more things. Would it be tempting fate to get another scooter?
There are more photos below