Full moon or is it half moon? Who cares it's PARTY time!


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Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Pha-Ngan
August 27th 2011
Published: September 8th 2011
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The Royal OrchideThe Royal OrchideThe Royal Orchide

View from the restaurant
by Jan

We didn't plan into too many details the things we want to do and see while on this trip, but one thing was certain before we left. We both wanted to experience the famous full moon party on Koh Pha-Ngan.

We knew that all the islands in the area get really busy before the party so we had to book a place to stay a few weeks in advance. The first decision we had to make was where to stay, on the actual island or maybe "next door" on Ko Tao or Ko Samui. Asking friends for their recommendations didn’t help at all, as everybody had a different suggestion. After doing a lot of internet research we figured out it would be the easiest and cheapest to stay on the scene of the crime - Ko Pha-Ngan. Ko Tao is the biggest diving school island in the world and getting budget accommodation without diving is quite hard, while Ko Samui is one of the most popular islands and gets really busy. And in both cases you have to pay for the boat taxi to get to the full moon party. No need to add that they milk the party for all it's worth!

So we left Krabi with a government run bus and met a very interesting character on the ride. In the seat behind us was a guy with his daughter and he deserves a nomination for a father of the year award! The girl wanted something and started acting like all little brats do at some point, testing the limits of her dad, trying her darn hardest to get what she wanted! She didn't get it! And her dad, a long haired hippie, explained to her that there is no way she will get what she wants as that would make her think that her behaviour was justified and actually encouraged and rewarded! He explained all this in a very calm, adult way, like talking one to one with a business partner or something! It was outstanding. Later when we started chatting, Maya was saying she was hungry and we offered her some crackers! She ASKED her dad if she can have some and after he agreed she asked how many she can have. Wow! Well after talking for a bit longer and the dad admitting (next to the kid) that he is currently on bail as he was caught with some weed about a week ago, his dad of the year award chances probably decreased or increased, depending on the judges 😊. You could argue that at least he is honest in front of his kid. He was actually living on Ko Pha-Ngan for the last 16 years and gave us a few tips!

The amount of people going to the islands was staggering and the way the whole thing is handled is funny. Everybody gets a sticker which you put on your clothes and that is your ticket. Different island, different colour. Most of the people, as expected, went to Ko Samui, and a very small minority to Ko Pha-Ngan.

We arrived in late afternoon and got picked up at the pier by a guy from the place we booked. We picked Royal Orchid Resort. The resort is based on the north- west side of the island, far away from the party beach and the location of the full moon party! The price was much better than you would expect, at 300 Baht, and this is one of the rare places where the prices don't spike during the full moon party, but you still have to book four days minimum! Most of the resorts in this area host families and not so much the party going crowd! It's the area where day tours take tourists to snorkel as it's suppose to be the top spot on the island. We could have borrowed masks for free but in the whole week there we were just too lazy to do it. Together we went into the sea 3 times 😊, rather spending our time in front of our hut, reading books, listening to music and well, doing nothing.

Funny enough, or tragic, have it as you wish, a big majority of the guests were French. And the groups of French people staying there did their best to prove the stereotype of the French being arrogant and rude! Saying "hi" to other non-French guests did not happen, a group of girls around our bungalow had no problem shouting from one bungalow to the other, regardless of the time! Maybe that is the reason that on all Thai menus you can find French Fried, instead of fries. It might be the subconsciousness of Thai people and what they want to do with the French 😊. Well it didn't bother us that much. I was chilled, the guy who picked us up and was working in the resort hooked me up with everything I needed to enjoy my stay, like being back home on my couch 😊.

To all the French girls from my work lunch group: you are cool! Way cooler than the girls we met while on our trip!

We met an Austrian couple while staying there. I think they were the first Austrian tourists I have ever met on my travels. And even they were working in Thailand (exchanging at a hospital in Bangkok as part of their of their uni course - Med School). There are 4 Austrians for every Slovenian, but you meet us everywhere (which is true for us on this trip as well), while it seems Austrians just prefer staying at home. We met because the two of them shared my pleasures 😊. The guy was really cool, while the girl was just plain old weird and really paranoid about or even scared of her parents! Here she was, a 24 year old, 1000s of miles from home, but her main concern about everything was what her parents were to say if something happened to her. She was freaking out for days what to do with her passport during the party and loads of other stuff. All because she was worried about what her dad would say! She did tell us she comes from a traditional Christian family! Ahhhh, that explains it 😊.

Full moon party

Full moon party is something worth experiencing. The second you arrive you notice it's been commercialized to the extreme, but it's still great. UV painted people walking around, shiny sleeveless t-shirts, hair bands of all crazy (UV of course) colours, buckets everywhere. Everything revolves around the party! Haad Rin, the beach where the party is held, has everything you need. Bars, shops, stalls, ERs,...you name it you got it! The admission to the party is 100 Baht and there are many different stages (run by bars on the beach) and types of music you can pick from! You can go to a supermarket when you need a drink and just come back to the beach to dance some more. If you need a "pick-me- up", you can go to a pharmacy and, for 100 Baht, buy Amphetamine (legal drugs?!), or if you just want to rest ,sleep in the rest area. There are fire shows, UV paintings, ring of fire, fire slide and loads more.

We tried the fire slide, but the ring of fire looked dangerous. We saw loads of people doing well, but then getting caught in the rope and falling on top it, while the fire was still burning...At that point it made perfect sense why there was so many first aid stops around the beach, all full, all making money!

We tried a few different places, danced to all types of music but ended up staying longest at a place playing current R&B tunes, mixed with the oldies like Bon Jovi and crap like Mango #5, Maccarena... I hope I don't lose any hard gained respect with the Enfield Crew who believe that only house music is good music! Can't believe you boys are enjoying Ibiza without me this year! If you were real friends you would skip it this year !

We ended up staying till about 5 in the morning, finishing it all off with a vodka bucket. Ohh yeah, not to forget. Polona denies it but I could see it in her eyes she wanted to colour her body with UV paint, but as I didn't go along she changed her mind. To make her fell better I bought her plastic flashing Mini Mouse ears in red colour . She was so happy, she is still carrying them with her. Needless to say the day after the party was relax time, getting our bodies back in shape! Once you enter thirties, it takes a bit longer to recover.

We didn't take our camera along as we wanted to party and not to worry about our things, so there are no pics, but just google it and you will find loads.

We stayed at the same place for another two days but then it was time to move as there is nothing to do on that part of the island, so if you want some fun you need to get a taxi somewhere else and a return ticket for a taxi will cost you just as much as a night of accommodation.

But before we did move Polona got bullied by a kid! Let me explain. We found this restaurant (where we learned about Massaman curry – the best curry ever) but in order to get to it you had to pass a short bridge which led you from the beach to the dining area. You had to take your flip flops off before entering the place and so we did. When we got back Re was missing and only Tard was there (see Re and Tard in our Melaka blog and there was this kid playing with the shoes. Polona checked with his mom, who bluntly denied that her kid was playing with the shoes (why do all moms think their little bastard children are perfect?). Well, it was dark and we could not see if Re was under the bridge or not. But Polona went back the next day and spotted it. The staff didn't help her, instead they laughed and said it's funny as quite a few shoes went missing last night (it seems the kid was a mass shoe murderer), so Polona had to crawl under houses and do some proper cliff hanger stunts to get her beloved flip flop back.

Moving closer to the action; Half moon party

We wanted a change of scenery but stay on the island some more, so we moved closer to the island's capital, Tongsala, where at least there were some local food stalls, bars and so on.

We ended up in another resort and when going to check out the beach we learned they have a swimming pool! I never understood why people would use a pool while 50 meters away from the beach. You live and you learn and I figured it out here. The sea is so warm it feels like a bath and even after walking more than a 100 meters from the beach the water is still knee high. A poor excuse for a see. So we took advantage of the pool pretty much every day.

Ohh, I managed to break a glass table while at this place, the note in the room said it cost 800 Baht if you break it but I cleaned it up and managed to hide it behind our hut (who is the criminal now) and was lucky enough not to be spotted by any of the guard patrols. Staff from the resort were walking around all the time, checking .... well, I am not sure what they were doing.

As we were still on the island we decided to go and have a look at the half moon party as well. This is held a week after and a week before the full moon party in the middle of jungle. If that is not enough you also have the black moon party (a week in between the half moon parties) and if you still don't have enough different bars and resorts organize even more parties.

Half moon party is much more different, it's a lot smaller and gets visited by way less people. There is only one stage and the whole thing is positioned in the middle of the jungle. The scene is amazing but the music not so much. It's some electronic stuff, I am not an expert so no clue what the genre is called. It's a bit more expensive (500 Baht to get in) and there are no shops around so the prices of drinks are higher as well. Quite a few people we met got there and left within the hour. If you are not a fan of the music there is not much point being there. We stayed till about 4am, danced, rested in the hammocks and tried making the best out of it. It was worth going as it was a different experience all together.

A bit more food talk needed. Most of the Thai food served to farangs (foreigners) is not authentic Thai food. It's always a much milder version of it. Menus will often state that they can make food less spicy, but they do it anyway, without you asking. I talked to one of the waiters at a local stall about this and asked him if I can get the proper Thai food. And I did. I ordered something which is spicy even by Thai standards (Beef with basil and red chillies; marked with two red chillies on the menu). I got a handful of meat and two full chillies (seeds and all) in the portion. It was HOT. I finished it, but I also finished mine and Polona's drink in the process. The chef was proud of me, not so sure about my stomach. Still, well worth it!

We stayed on Ko Pha-Ngan for a total of 11 nights! Would have never imagine it! Especially as we did so little (besides partying). Before going there we thought we were going to rent a motorbike and go around the island, but the roads on the island are not in the best shape. Also they are filled with drunk people driving around, and as we cherish our lives we decided against it. Just on our way to and from the full moon party we saw three accidents! What are people thinking?

Phuket

Our next stop was Phuket town. It was suppose to take us 7 hours to get there, but in reality it was closer to 12. We realized we chilled down loads during the last four months. While a few other people were getting really annoyed, bitched at the guy working at the agency where we stopped after getting off the boat (and waited for more than 2 hours) we just sat there and waited. It's again one of those scams where they bring you to an agency where then they ask everybody where they are staying and trying to sell them rooms, tours and so on. And in the end, they just take you to the normal bus station and put you on a normal bus. You could do it all by yourself, save time and money. As I said, we didn't care much.

The reason we went to Phuket was that we were trying to organize a volunteer spot at an orphanage close to Phuket. Unfortunately we didn't manage to sort it out as all the places were booked as there are agencies that provide these places with volunteers. They had space for us in second half of September, but by that time we will be far, far away.

We stayed in Phuket for four days and didn't manage to do anything else but walk around town as it was raining every single day. The town itself is interesting for a day or two, but that is it. It's an old colonial town, so if you care about the architecture then you might have something to do. I honestly can't name a single sight or attraction from our time there. Ohh, maybe that Polona bought herself short jeans which make her look really fit, grrrrr, but that is it 😊

So after four days in Phuket we booked tickets for a night bus to Bangkok and off we went, once again!


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