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Full Moon Party - Koh Phangan

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Full Moon Party this August 10th in Koh Phangan. Of course most of the partygoers are in the 20s but this account is through the eyes of a 46 year old and a 16 year old.

 

I was there, dancing on Haad Rin beach way back in the day when the first Full Moon parties began in the early 90s. Koh Phangan has long been known as the ultimate party island - and hasn't changed. These days the parties are a fluorescent gathering of up to 30,000 youth - each with one arm outstretched pumping the air while the other cradles a mini bucket of booze. They wander from bar to bar - sand underfoot - as the music blasts and clashes as DJs fight for their attention. Its mesmerising in its hedonistic pulsing vastness. It draws you in and you are stuck, transfixed, caught up in the beat and the heat, until eventually some hours later it spits you out again, and exhaustion kicks in.

 

It's not the hippy haze that it was. This was immediately proved on our speedboat ride over from Koh Samui. The endless selfies and rants of a group of Essex lads left other Brits on board with their heads in their hands. It wasn't pretty. But of course our whole island experience in Thailand had moved on since my basic hut stay 20 odd years back so I was prepared for the evolution of this event too. 

 

We got into the vibe straight away picking up some brightly coloured paintwork and assessories as we joined the masses making their way across Haad Rin, getting into conversations here and there and warding off strange characters attracted to my gorgous young neices. The moon was splendid and brilliant overhead, the lead part in all this - not to be ignored. Here's my 16 year old neice, Issy's take on it -

"I absolutely loved the Full Moon Party. The transport over to the island was well organised and safely managed. 

When we got there we paid £2 per head and were given wrist bands and walked into the busy streets. All around us there were loads of stands to buy buckets of mixed drinks or UV artwork, and others selling UV accessories, but be careful not to get ripped off. Everyone is going for a 'the brighter the better' look.

Within 5 minutes we had met so many people of all ages and nationalities and all were very friendly. I never saw anyone not getting along.

girlsAlong the long strip of beach were what seemed like hundreds of bars each creating their own atmosphere. Amongst the thousands of people dancing there was also entertainment - fire throwers putting on a show for the crowd which added to incredible hype of the event. There were parts of the beach that were quieter than others so if you want to sit down at some point it is possible. I even saw a sleeping area cordoned off.

Toilet wise we found it was better to use the toilets in the restaurants a bit back from the beach as they were in better condition but there were public toilets too.

We got the boat back around 4am and the queues were massive so we were very grateful for our VIP tickets - definately worth an extra £4 per person or we would have been there an extra couple of hours. When we got off the boat there were mini-buses ready to take us back to the hotel after a short wait. (It took about 2 hours between party and bed.)

Overall it was an incredible night to remember. Definately recommended."

This time I was more of a voyeur, overseeing the wellbeing of the girls, but it was fascinating to be there with eyes in focus this time. I stood a couple of steps up from the throng in front of a speaker feeling the beat reverberating through me and the sweat of me and a thousand others. Unlike the bohemian parties of old, at times this felt like a giant disco. Like it or not, its intense and memorable.

Once you have had enough the boats run regularly through the night or a couple of streets back from the beach you can sit and eat at your leisure in a casual restaurant and watch the passing menagerie.  

If you want to stay in Haad Rin there is a minimum stay of about 10 days to secure accommodation over a party, but the boats from Koh Samui were surprisingly good, costing about £20-£25 a ticket including hotel transfers. VIP upgrade is essential in my view! You don't need to pre-book the boats before your holiday - it is possible to buy these tickets all over the place until the afternoon of the event.

The pre-dawn hours will see things getting messier: more over-zealous folk will be carried out, perhaps the occasional scuffle will occur. With the girls with us, 4am seemed like the right time to leave. Be aware of being spiked or robbed by being on the ball - like anywhere. But I can honestly say I didn't see anything unsavoury all evening. Have a plan for meeting friends if you get lost. The crowd can separate you in a matter of seconds.

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