Party in Paradise – The Full Moon Party
Full Moon Party – Koh Phangan
Legend has it that the Full Moon Party started back in 1985 when a group of backpackers partied till the sun came up at Paradise Bungalows on Haad Rin beach under the yellow light of the full moon.
News spread by word of mouth and today the Full Moon Party attracts up to 30,000 travelers, coming together in a dancing frenzy to the sounds of Trance, techno, Drum & Bass, Commercial Dance and Raggae.
After spending a day sourcing appropriate attire for the party (neon clothing – as little of it as possible, and UV paint – as much of it as possible), we headed off towards Haad Rin beach.
We’d been in Koh Phangan a day already, but were not prepared for such a transformation of the streets we’d been wandering around only that morning. Every street and ally lined either side with stalls selling the famous “Bucket” – literally a bucket full of the most lethal concoction of Redbull and alcohol known to man. Each stall with its own hilarious (and rude) Johnny Depp strap line. And then, just a sea of glowing Neon as tens of thousands of party goers from all over the world flowed in towards the beach.
9 of us came to the Full Moon Party, within 5 mins we were down to only 2, as our group dissolved into the crowd. Absorbed into one huge UV mass. It was just me and wife left already. We didn’t mind. Within seconds we were swept up in the almost Tribal mania of the party.
There is absolutely something for everyone at the Full Moon. Whether you’re a hard core techno fan, err more on the side of commercial tunes, or just an aging hippy with a penchant for sitting around and singing along to a fellow traveller’s acoustic guitar, you will most certainly find it all here.
You’ll also find fire eaters, fire slides, fire skipping ropes, fire limbo. Lets face it, the Thai’s just like fire! And after all this madness, the best way to end the evening is by climbing the steps to “Mushroom Mountain” to watch the sun come up, either indulging in a mushroom shake, or just rehydrating with a bottle of water on one of the many beanbags.
We went for the traditional route, starting at Paradise Bungalows and walking the length of the beach over the course of the evening, stopping occasionally to watch the fire skipping, to fill up the “Bucket”, to touch up a random Kiwi’s UV paintwork or to lay down and chill out with a stranger on the sand.
At midnight the obligatory power cut kicked in. This happens most times I’m told. The island needs so much power for the party that it uses neighboring Koh Samui’s. Or so I’ve heard. I could be wrong. The beach was plunged into darkness, the music stopped and all we could hear was the howl of 10’s of thousands of party goers, like wolves to the moon, beckoning back the music. Within 10 mins the lights returned and the party resumed.
Eventually we scaled the steps to Mushroom Mountain, where we bumped into another of our party we’d lost earlier, looking out to sea and giggling to herself. At first we wondered why, until we joined her, and couldn’t help giggling ourselves either. We watched the sun come up over the bay, signifying the end of our Full Moon Party experience.
As we walked back along the beach, giggling uncontrollably to ourselves, the sun already almost unbearably hot, and for many the party was still in swing. While the mood was now more chilled out, it was evident that a few thousand people would not be going home any time soon.
“Leo!!”, I heard a cry behind me. I spun around to see Mitch, Swedish Jon’s friend, who I’d met on the ferry 2 days earlier, beaming at me. Within minutes it was apparent that Mitch had not only lost all his friends too, he’d also lost his keys, his wallet, had forgotten the passcode to his phone.. possibly even his mind! He wasn’t 100% sure where he lived. I gave him some water, a few 100 baht and wrote my number down for him.. “Angel” is all I heard as he slumped down on the bench holding his head. I later learnt Mitch made it home ok.
Somewhere in the course of the night I had lost my flip flops, and the tarmac was getting unbearably hot underfoot as we tried to find a truck back to the bungalows. It dropped us half a mile away and we walked barefoot back through what felt like Jungle, towards the smell of breakfast and the promise of a fluffy pillow. My head span, my pulse raced and I continued to giggle to myself right up to the moment my eyes closed.