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Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan
September 13th 2010
Published: September 13th 2010
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So, after a crazy Saturday and Sunday night out (Sunday was more of the same except we ended up on the Red Light district so it was officially seedy and at this point we'd begun to expect gratuitous nudity), 12 of us headed down to Koh Phangan, one of the south Islands. Our group soon became about 20 though.

Now I know that I have the tendency to be a drama queen but... the journey down was one of the worst travelling experiences ever! It was fun to begin with. We shot-gunned the back seat and were acting out the 'cool-kid' role perfectly. Shits and giggles galore I tell thee. However, after an hour or two, when it started getting dark and the others began to sleep, I was hit by a realisation that I was going to be on this bus for 12 hours of my life and was not going to be able to sleep at all. Just as I had begun to get comfy, the two guys in front of us took advantage of the option to recline and oh how they reclined. This basically meant that we had to adapt our seating positions to that of contortionists and just go with it. A long wait at a 'service station', numerous ham and cheese sarnies and a boat ride (on which I developed a nice 'Brits-abroad' glow and subsequent sunstroke) later, we arrived at our chosen destination- Paradise.

Koh Phangan is the kind of place where people rock up and just don't leave. Although it is mostly young people who roam the streets and beaches, you also stumble upon aged hippy-types who clearly decided that it would be more effort to get a boat off the island than to stay forever. It has the sandy beaches we all dream of but with a difference- it only cost a few quid a night to stay there. The first night's accommodation was pretty dire but the second and third was straight out of a brochure. You could open the door onto your balcony and then walk down three or four steps to the perfect, golden sands. I spent so much time not actually believing I was there that I don't think I took it in.

It is a bona fide party island with the infamous buckets of Thailand- you hope you know what is going in them but undoubtedly don't. On the first day we all got sunburnt and then spent the evening partying on the beach. Chazzy decided to try his hand a fire-dancing and for a novice he was pretty impressive. He only nearly caught fire so that was quite an achievement.

On the second day, it was the warm up to the Half-Moon party. Now everyone has heard about both these and the Full-Moon parties and they are exactly what you expect. They consist of a group of young types all intoxicated on their favourite poison, covered in illuminous body paint, dancing to music they will not remember the next day. It was shameless partying and no-one would be foolish enough to attempt to make it any more cultured in their description of it. The following day involved the inevitable piecing together of the previous night's events but of course, this was in vain as the pictures end up telling stories that had been forgotten.

The final night saw the end of the uber-group ('Team Thailand', 'Team Tuk-tuk'- the descriptions really are endless). We tried to be symbolic with it by all signing a lantern which should in theory have been lit and then sailed off into the night. However after several attempts we realised this was not going to happen. Then we tried to build a pyramid but everyone's various states of inebriation and a general lack of co-ordination on some people's parts meant that this too failed. In the end we settled for getting drunk again and gradually saying goodbyes. There were a few cringey, drunken moments with the 'No really, I am going to miss you soooo much' but all in all it was just another drunken night of dancing on the beach without a care in the world.

The first week of my trip was absolutely amazing. I met people from all over the world, tried things I hadn't before and had the most random and fun nights out ever. Also, I now have a place to stay in many cities across the world which is a bonus. Before I left to go away, I thought I would struggle being on my own. Of course I'll miss home at times but being put into such an intense situation from day one was brilliant. Saying goodbye to people was really hard even though we'd only met that week and everyone had their place in the group. I know I'll be meeting more people along the way but everyone from that first week made my experience the best ever and I feel the really lucky to have had it so easy.

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