Thursday, September 15, 2016

My First and Last Full Moon Party at Koh Pangan, Thailand


Party, booze, sex, drugs, beach, full moon; Koh Pangan in Thailand is the place to be if you’re such a party rat. My friends had a blast partying, the granny in me reckoned that it was my first and probably last, sadly.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

Me and my buddy were on the third week of our Beach Hop Asia 2016 summer backpacking trip when we were joined by six of our dear friends on the party island of Koh Pangan. It wasn’t my idea as I’m the most anti-social person in the world. It was the trip that we never imagined would happen. All eight of us gathered to the famed Full Moon Party of the original party island in Thailand, Koh Pangan, to somewhat experience it before we hit the real-life-adulthood-late-thirties life.

I dunno how they convinced me but a year after they planned the whole thing there we were, standing in the middle of Haad Rin Beach with the maddening crowd of teeners and twenty-something kids thinking we’re too old for such parties. But as they say, you only live once, so party we did.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

We met up at Kuala Lumpur International Airport; one came from Singapore, another came from Kuala Lumpur, me and my buddy from Penang and the others from the Philippines. It’s as if we’re contingents to a summit kinda thing ready to represent our country. We took a bus+boat combo transfer (THB500) to reach Koh Pangan. Stalls for such transfers can be found right outside the arrival area of Surat Thani airport.

After hours and hours of chitchat ferry ride, we reached the island and settled at Funny Moon Hostel which was less than a hundred meters away from the main party area (check for discounted rates here).

Haad Rin Beach Koh Pangan Thailand
Our hostel was ten tumblings away from Haad Rin Beach, the main party area
We arrived at Haad Rin at around nine in the evening, just in time for the pre-full moon parties (jungle party, beach party, insert-your-own party. We then decided to booze up right outside the hostel before we hit the beach where the happening was. We scored Chang beer from a nearby convenience store. Prepare yourself though as the “standard” prices in Thailand for almost everything doesn’t apply here. More tourists = crazy inflation.

Personally, I didn’t know what to expect when we went here. I just heard that people would often get smashed for whatever reason leaving them almost dead on the shore.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

And it was crazy!

Hundreds of vendors selling anything from alcohol to body paints lined the narrow streets leading to Haad Rin Beach (a bucket of rhum with cola is usually set at THB100). There were dozens or so parties on the beach sponsored by bars and resorts. We went to where the fire was and got stuck there.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

A long and thick rope was drenched in gasoline and put into flames. The guys holding it started to loop it around a la skipping rope. The audience got wild as they tried to get the right pace and hop on to it. Many have failed compared to those who succeeded. I could imagine the burns they had. Crazy.

There were more games, but the gang who seemed to be all buzzed up were enjoying the music and started to join the crowd in dancing. It was fun, I must admit, but the granny in me got too tired and sleepy that I dragged myself to the hostel after two hours of partying. I dunno what happened to the others that night, or morning I suppose.

Haad Rin Beach Koh Pangan Thailand
The beautiful Haad Rin Beach right before the party starts
It was around noon when everyone got up and started mentioning food. We got out to the almost deserted town to get something to eat and headed back to our dorm afterwards and continued on with the slumber. When someone suggested an afternoon beer sesh on the beach, everyone suddenly stirred to wake.

Later that night we were surprised as our super nice host provided its guests with body paints. My friends unleashed the inner artist in them and almost painted their whole arm of anything they fancied. They convinced me to do the same thing so I asked someone to paint a Philippine flag on my left arm.

The infamous Full Moon Party in Koh Pangan started in 1983 when Paradise Bungalows, a well-known beachfront resort in the area, had this send-off party to some of its guests. At that time, there was still no electricity on the island and it perfectly coincided with the full moon; thus, full moon party it was.  But now, it has been the most famous party in southern Thailand that almost 20,000 backpackers come here to party once a month! Amazing eh?

After a round of beer, we headed towards Paradise Resort, where it all started, and joined the rave. The beach was packed with party rats from all over the world.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

The Full Moon Party was outrageous, wild, extreme and the night of all party nights.

Loud music. Beer. Dancing. Kissing. Smashed. Party. Sex. Drugged. Smashed.

I almost quit at the mere sight of it but with the help from my friends (yes, I need help to party, loser, I know), I started to groove with the beat like I was paid to. We found the perfect spot on a concrete ledge and danced for hours with people from everywhere.  It was one hella rave party!

After two hours or so of non-stop partying, we decided to wander around and checked out other parties. I scanned the whole area and noticed how these people took pleasure in so much partying. Me and my buddy sat on a corner and observed, with beer on one hand, of course. People from everywhere, like round the globe, were greatly represented (some with huge flags and group shirts).

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

After some time, I got tired of it all and went back to our hostel. I prepared myself some coffee to recover from too much madness. And I enjoyed it more, people-watching; drunkards who seemed to be crawling back to wherever they would end up, vendors who were packing away, newfound lovers who were too flashy you’d know they just met minutes ago and more.

It was five in the morning when my friends and I converged once more. The moon was still glowing with all its glory and I was tempted to go back to the beach probably to check out the party aftermath. I didn’t have time to do so ‘coz we had to leave early to hop on to our next island, too bad.

Full Moon Party Koh Pangan Thailand

It all felt like a dream, like it didn’t happen. Maybe our early departure had some purpose to bring us back to existence right away. It was fun, yes, but only for an hour or so. After a while the sound and the sight will numb you that you’d feel like everything that’s happening is normal and you’d want to feel whatever they are feeling at that moment which I detest; that’s a party pooper speaking.

This was my first and will be my last Full Moon Party ever.







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