We experienced three very different sides of Thailand choosing to spend a decent amount of time in each place instead of just flying through, our destinations of choice… Bangkok, Chiang Mai and of course Koh Pha Ngan!
Stop one… Full Moon Party! It is of course a rite of passage for any backpacker travelling around South East Asia and it served as our introduction to Thailand. I arrived on the island in the worst mood. We’d had at most 3 hours sleep, were horrifically hungover, had survived two flights, a nervous breakdown (my sister’s scared of flying) and a pretty damp boat journey, needless to say I was not in the mood for partying. At that moment in time my goal was solely to find a bed and unfortunately we had chosen to go full in and picked a party hostel where comfort was not top priority, our mattresses were pretty damn solid, everything was a little scruffy and to top it all off my cheap Cambodian 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner had exploded inside my bag. That night we were in bed by 9, a slightly unexpected start to our party island experience.
Before I went I assumed Full Moon Party would be all sunshine, beaches and dancing till dawn, what I now associate it with is a whole lot of sleeping, throwing up disgusting vodka and torrential rain. When we woke up that first morning all dreams of spending the day lying on the beach vanished as we were woken by a heavy thunderstorm and a deluge of rain. We spent the morning wading through the flooded streets barefoot in search of food and uv apparel for the upcoming parties and the afternoon sat in the hostel bar playing card games and drinking Chang beer (the Thai beer that I became overly familiar with).
The night before Full Moon the island hosts the famous Jungle Party, no I hadn’t heard of it either, turns out though it is epic! After (just a few) drinks taxis appeared at the hostel and took us all to the jungle where surrounded by waterfalls, fire performers, uv decorations and jungle thousands of party goers dance all night and I loved it! Perhaps because I had zero expectations but the Jungle party completely entranced me. I suppose it helped that on the way in we passed a stall selling uv fairy wings which I of course immediately purchased and how can one not be happy wearing fairy wings! Aside from the wings the party was brilliant, despite the music not being entirely to my taste, the setting and the additional attractions more than made up for it and it was on a euphoric high that we finally left the party and headed back to our uncomfortable bunks.
After the high of Jungle Party, things seemed to be looking up on the party island, especially as when we awoke although the sun was not quite out it looked a whole lot brighter, and we were able to take ourselves down to the beach for a few hours and even take a dip in the sea!
The build up to the party turned out to be the most fun. Our hostel had a pretty chill bar area, there were cheap drinks, uv paint aplenty and good music which inevitably (as it always does on this trip) led to dancing on tables. By the time we left the hostel I was already fairly tipsy and I’m not going to lie my drunken state that evening was not one I was proud of! Arriving at the beach we were met by masses of people all covered in uv paint and all drunk. Despite the intial excitement the evening perhaps did not live up to the hype. The beach was much smaller than I had envisioned and the stages we had been told of were less stages more bars playing music, the sea was attractively lined with guys peeing into it and it lacked the magic of the previous nights Jungle Party. To be fair this may be due in part to the fact that after downing a bucket of tequila sunrise containing an obscene amount of tequila I was to put it politely rather ill!
I suppose it was to be expected we went to party and drink and that we did. And it was the largest party with the best setting I’d ever been to. However set against some of the other nights out we’d had on this trip it just wasn’t as good. And when the next day came out hungover, sleep deprived selfs had to come to the conclusion that whilst it was a good night it just didn’t live up to the hype.
And so feeling a little worse for wear we left the island, fairy wings in tow, a bag full of sand and uv paint and a new found dislike of vodka to find our next, hopefully calmer destination to recover my poor wrecked liver.