Getting in to Koh Phangan Was one of the smoothest transportation arrangements that we’d have had to date. Having grabbed our bags off the boat, we walked to the beginning of the pier to be inundated with people herding tourists in to truck beds to distribute them to their appropriate hostel. We were all here for one thing: Full Moon Party.
After a short trip to the other side of the small island, Josh and I unloaded in front of our appropriately named hostel: Lazy House. It was getting late, and the parties weren’t kicking off until the following day. After an all day journey, the last thing that I really planned on doing was getting drunk, or anything beyond updating my blog. We were shown our room, which was 3 pairs of bunk beds. We were told that we’d have the place to ourselves tonight, but we would almost certainly have roommates the following days.
We claimed our bunks, and unpacked and got the AC on cold. We quickly found out that, while the hostel has WIFI: it was either broken in our area, or the signal didn’t reach the dorm. Giving up on blogging, as we didn’t want the laptop to leave the room, we walked over to the main hostel, a short block away. We were greeted with the offer of “all-u-can-eat BBQ.” We were famished and happily dropped the 300 Baht (12 dollars) to scarf down some western style food.While the food was sub-par, feeling somewhat disappointed, we found out that the BBQ included one free drink at the pool bar (oh yea, there was a pool), which we claimed. Considering the drink was on the menu for 200 Baht, we were both happy. After dinner, Josh was like, “What do you wanna do tonight?” and I simply replied “Man…. nothing. I wanna drink a beer and watch a movie.” So we sat down and we chilled out with a few of the other hostel guests and had a low key night.
Being the early riser I am, I woke up around 7 and went in search of coffee and something to eat. Have I mentioned how much I miss real coffee? I can’t wait for my french press, holy shit. Anyways. I hopped back in bed, caffeinated, and started to read, while Josh began his morning routine. While he was showering, I was greeted by three of our soon to be 4 roommates for the next 48 hours: Laura, Louise, and Fiona; Three lovely girls from Ireland. we quickly all became friendly and after everyone claimed a bed, we made our way to breakfast and then back to the pool for some more lazy pool time.
Koh Phangan has majorly capitalized on the whole Full Moon Party. Going in to this, I was expecting a couple days of chilling out, and one day of going hard. I quickly learned that, no, this is pretty much a week long event. Lazy pool time had evolved in to the 5 of us attempting to play pool volleyball, which was great fun, regardless of the pitiful score. While enjoying a steady supply of beers while enjoying the shady side of a refreshing pool, we were asked a half dozen times if we were going to be at the Jungle Party tonight. Sounded cool. Girls were in. Russ and Kirsti were in (they had just made it to the island and planned on meeting us later). Josh was in. I was in. After a quick stop off at the room to change, freshen up and to get some baht, we made our way out to the party.
The first leg of the trip was to the pool, naturally, as the crowd was getting started with cheap buckets of booze, beer pong, and various other drinking games. Meeting at nine, we figured we enjoy our time here a couple of hours, as the drinks were quite expensive at the actual party itself. Josh had to run back to the room for a minute for something, and he returned with our 6th roommate: Ryan. Ryan, I can only explain as… well… Have you ever seen the cartoon Recess? He Looked exactly like Mikey, but instead of poetry he just really liked to talk about LSD. Being quite drunk at this point, I aptly pronounced that going forward, his name would be Hot Ryan. There was a cheers in agreeance, and we continued to party until our shuttle came.
11:30 rolls around and our truck full of rowdy, drunk, hostelers gets dropped at the end of a dirt road, and we are quickly (as we could) were ushered down this pathway with hundreds of other equally inebriated party goers. The closer we got, the deeper, and louder the Bass got. This sounded massive. Like… bigger than I expected. We get to the ticket booth, trading our slips of paper for wrist stamps and walk in to a magical forest of black lights, glow paint, pails of alcohol, fire dancers, and deep trance electronic music. I like this. I like this a lot. In typical group fashion: we all got lost within the hour and we spent the evening doing our own things. This was good because within 3 hours of knowing Hot Ryan, I didn’t like him. He simply grinded my gears all wrong, and I regretted giving him a nickname. After getting My face/beard painted with the girls, I wanted to dance. I paired off with Laura and made our way to the stage. It was packed, and I wanted to be near the front. I showed Laura how to be a little Canadian: Tapping people on the shoulder, saying something nice about them, and asking if we could move in front of them for a minute. less than a song later we were on the platform in front of the DJ, having an amazing time.
We all left the party around 4:00, citing an early night for the real Full Moon Party that night. After showering out all the neon in my hair I stumbled in to a room of people getting up to bed, and Ryan pronounced “Hey man it’s Hot Ryan! I made it home!” With a mumble, I informed him that no, he’s no longer Hot Ryan. And given his appeal, he’s now “Hot Pocket.”
Sleeping in a bit the next morning, and nursing a shockingly mild hang over, we all opted to do what we did best: pool time. We claimed our shady spot, and geared of for doing little of nothing until the night time. I managed to keep dry until two, when I dipped in to cool down, and cracked my first beer. After confirming that I had no spins or stomach flips from the night before, I announced that I was indeed good to go. Once finished, we made our way in to town, in search of body paint, neon tank tops and inappropriately tight bottoms.I mean: We needed to fit in right? Wrong. We needed to stand out.
After eating, we all made our way back to our now local haunt, the pool bar, for face painting, buckets, and debauchery. Sadly, for me, the night was WAY too hot. And I couldn’t just cool down with more gin. I knew that would get mad, and this is probably the only Full Moon that I am going to experience. So I just let myself sweat, It was gross, but who cares, We were having a blast. We spent the night covering ourselves with paint, drinking and running around meeting new people. At around midnight, we decided: lets head to the beach, it’s time to experience the full moon.”
We snaked through the town, buckets in hand, following the crowd all heading to the same place. It felt like the Celebration of Light on steroids. Loud music pounded from windows, people openly sold liquor, paint, neon, and LED’s on the sidewalk. None of that could distract me from the goal of hitting that beach though. And we hit it hard. Maybe a little too hard.
The party was unreal. You step on the beach and it goes until you cannot see, in both directions. There’s stages every couple hundred feet with a different DJ and a different style of music. I was loving it. Shortly after, one of my friends needed to tap out. Too much to drink too fast, and needed to get home. Fiona and Josh opted to help her back to the hostel. I was a big guy, and I didn’t need supervision, and leaving two girls alone out here is absurd. So I went on my way, zig-zagging up and down the beach, stopping only for people who wanted pictures with me, for the next hour or so
Soon after that, I realized that it really wasn’t that fun alone, and attempted to find my way home.Here’s where it gets tricky. There’s 50,000+ people crammed on to a beach, and It’s pitch black, and I have no idea where I am. I walked until I could make an educated guess where I need to step out and head inland. to my credit, I was pretty close. Sadly not close enough. I strayed away from the crowd and made my way to a group of pople trying to get fares for their taxi. One man asked if I needed a ride, and I asked him if he could point me in the direction of Lazy House Hostel, since I didn’t want to pay for a cab, when I knew I could walk. He pointed me down an ally and told me to head that way and I should see it.
I hould have paid for the cab. As I made my way down the ally I man that I easilly had a foot on came up to me. He started at me and showed me the knife in his hand. I promptly unzipped my fanny pack (what, my hot pants didn’t have pockets, ok?) and gave him my wallet, while showing I had nothing in there. He opened the bill fold and took out all my cash: only about 1,300 Baht, since we had all left our ID’s and extra cash in our safes in the room. He dropped my wallet and booked it. I picked it up and hustled in the opposite direction. I hustled home, freaking out, and let every one know what’d happened. All in all, an unsuccessful Full Moon, but an experience that I will never forget.
Josh and I went to sleep, along with Fiona, Louise, and Laura shortly after: The boys needed to leave early, and the sun was about to come up. We packed in the morning, and hailed a cab. As we walked out of the room, Hot Pocket walked in. He had been out all night. Good for him, I guess. At least I didn’t have to deal with him.
All in all, this was one of my favorite legs of the trip. I got to meet some amazing people that I will never ever forget, and for the first time, really got to experience group hosteling. Something that I’m experiencing again now, in Koh Tao, but that’s a story for another day 🙂