The Full Moon Party
During the full moon in October of 2011, I headed to Koh Phangan, Thailand to check out the world renown Full Moon Party. I had heard so much about this shindig that there is no way that I could not check this out during my stay in Thailand.
So I flew from Phuket to Ko Samui (scared to death on a propeller plane) and then took a ferry to the small island of Koh Phangan.
When I got off the ferry around 2pm I ran into some Australians that I sat next to on the plane. I hung with them for most of the afternoon, we started tossing back some Chang’s together at a bar on the beach.
There was a cool atmosphere on the beach during the day. Frisbees were being tossed around, Matkot games going down (beach paddleball), sunbathing, swimming, and etcetera. It was a cool scene. I hopped on a jetski that I rented for 45 minutes and had a ball with it. It was by far the fastest I’ve ever been on. At 80% throttle, I had to have been at 60 mph. I was too scared to take it passed that because I already knew from previous experience how bad those crashes hurt. Besides, everytime I looked down I saw a group of jellyfish.
I may smoke some weed from time to time, but I’m definitely not into drugs
After that, I caught back up with the Aussie’s, nightfall was approaching. We head up a steep set of stairs to a bar nestled in the side of a hill. The nickname of this hill was “Mushroom Mountain”, if that serves as any clue what this bar is famous for. All three of the aussies got themselves a mushy-shake. They tried to peer-pressure me into trying one, I repeatedly declined. Drinking a special shake that is supposed to make you hallucinate doesn’t sound like a good time to me. I may smoke some weed from time to time, but I’m definitely not into drugs1. However, the scene at this bar was priceless. I wish I took video. There were so many people just completely smashed, it was very intruiging to watch. The mushy-shake smashed, looks a lot different than the jack-and-coke smashed. I’ll just say this, one of the guys from the group sitting next to us stood-up, started dancing by himself, then later wrapped his arms around an i-beam that supported the roof of the bar, and proceded to have a full-on makeout session with it2. I wish I was making this up.
Following Mushroom Mountain we went back down to the main beach area, as people were starting to come out. We walked to the area where they have this fire-jump rope. I had seen footage of this on YouTube before the trip and it looked mad dangerous. I watched them literally dunk these ropes in what smelled like kerosene, then put fire to it. When I first saw this in person, I was like, “aw hell naw. There is no way that I’m doing that. Uh-uhh not me.” Then, one of the Aussie’s jumped right in and this dude had on his backpack and a beer in his hand. He made the dangerous look so simple. The result was me being flooded with feelings of bitchassness. So despite the 2nd-3rd degree burn risks, I had to do it.
Following the jump-rope episode, we wandered towards the various bars where each had their own DJ. Mostly, decade-old Hip Hop or House music was the theme of any bar. At around 10pm is when the beach was really packed with people having a good time, dancing, fire-jump-roping, mushy-shaking, water-sliding, ocean-peeing, and etcetera.
I was having fun until around 1am, when I realized, that there was literally nothing else to do that I hadn’t done already. And the kicker was that I had no accommodations on Koh Phangan for that night. This was on purpose, but this plan had backfired. The plan to sleep on the beach, was the plan B after discovering that there were no vacancies on that island even way back when I arranged the plans to attend the Full Moon Party. I wandered about for a couple more hours, by 3am or so I found a hard rickety-wooden beach chair to catch some Z’s on. I was surprised that I was able to do this with music blasting in my ear while keeping one eye open for anyone trying to steal my backpack (containing my loot and passport) that I strategically hooked around my legs.
Towards 5am, I made my way back to the ferry pier and joined the crowd of people waiting to get off of Koh Phangan and back to Koh Samui. Many of them had their accomodations on that island. I wanted to get back to Koh Samui so I could reschedule my flight for 8am versus 3pm and get back to Phuket.
Thankfully, I was able to move my flight-up. No problem, No fees. When I got back to the crib in Phuket, I bought some pizza to-go, showered off the body-paint, and had me a nice 11 hour sleep.
I enjoyed my time at the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party. It was definitely an experience that I’d suggest to anyone who’s up for something new and outside of the norm party-wise.
This is why I felt it was a bit overrated.
1. Beach is way smaller than I thought. For some reason, I thought this stretch of beach would be a mile long at least. It was really 300 meters, or at least that’s what it felt like. When I first got there, I was like “this is it?”
2. A ton of people just high off their arse. Anyone who can dance in the same spot from 9pm to 4am has got to be nuts. Or just plain sky-high. There was definitely a consumption of more than alcohol at this function
3. Multiple occasions where a random Thai dude would try to sell me some drugs. I’m no regular customer when it comes to this. But I’m fairly certain dealers wouldn’t approach a random dude while he’s peeing in the ocean, asking him “My friend…Extacy?” This happened two additional times to me even when I wasn’t peeing. I know a setup when I see it.
4. Not as much going on as I thought there would be. I don’t know what I expected from the Full Moon Party, but I just expected there to be more. More than just alcohol, music, drugs, and fire shows.
Maybe I’m just too old for that scene.
If I was 20 and not 30 when I went, I think my opinion of this event would’ve been a bit more favorable. Binge drinking beyond reason and doing countless things you’d regret in the morning are activities that I got out of my system years ago (minus the occasional relapse here and there).
I’m not here to turn you off from it.
If you’re going to go, be sure to do this…
- Definitely book accomodations on Koh Phangan.
- Don’t take any valuables with you. Take things that you could’nt care less if you lost it. Because I flew, I had my passport on me. I hated that fact.
- Watch your drinks. This function is known for the spiking of drinks. Don’t share with someone you don’t know, don’t leave your bucket and come back to it later. Basically, just use your brain. If you’re drinking, I’d suggest sticking to beer personally. safer option.
- Don’t buy any forbidden substances from these random dealers. I believe they setup multiple ‘sting’ operations on Koh Phangan during full moon nights to catch unsuspecting tourists. That one little slip-up of you thinking you’re buying the stickiest of the icky can land you in Thai jail. And it could be as long as 6 months before they even hear your trial. I’ve YouTube’d enough “Locked-up abroad” episodes to call myself an expert on this. Trust me