Most hostels on Kohphangan require a 7 night minimum stay across the Full (and Half) Moon party weeks. Being on the budget and time restrictions that we were, this wasn’t really an option to us. We took some advice from friends and opted to continue our stay on Koh Samui, and would just commute to and from the island for the party. Ferries run frequently throughout the day, so getting there would not be a problem. Tip: you can buy a return ferry ticket before you leave Koh Samui. We opted not to buy a return ticket so that we weren’t restricted to a return time and we didn’t want to have to worry about looking after it. Our choice sure made for an interesting night…
On the morning of the Eve, Cam, Summer, me and a girl from our hostel Molly, joined the ferry queue to get to Kohphangan, home to the infamous Full Moon Party. The boat took us and our bright orange life jackets to the main port, where within seconds of stepping off the boat it was obvious that tourism kept this place alive. Fluoro was everywhere, as were DIY cocktail buckets, face paint, and of course, people. We explored the left of the port first, where there was a bunch of swanky resorts and one of the most beautiful beaches we had ever seen. We had a deliciously long lunch with an equally delicious view, before exploring the main streets of the beach town. After bumping into someone from New Zealand that amazingly both Summer and I knew, we ended up at Mellow Mountain (at the far end of Haad Rin beach).
After a less than favourable experience at Mellow Mountain we made our way to Emma’s hostel, which was ‘playboy’ themed, and offered free shisha. After demushroomising, and then getting our newly formed crew ready (completely transformed by the powers of fluoro body paint), we all headed out to dinner, bought DIY buckets and made our way to Cactus Bar where we had a good dance, and in general a fantastic time. Bizarrely enough, Summer and I bumped into our same friend, again, entirely coincidentally! We went down to the beach – 40,000 people sure makes it hard to move! We got separated very quickly, and after pushing and shoving our way down to the water, we decided this wasn’t half as fun as before and headed back up to Cactus Bar, where on the way we miraculously managed to reunite with our group, moments before the countdown. We spent most of the night on a balcony that overlooked the beach – the fireworks display after the countdown was epic! Not to mention the ripple of excitement when the hill behind the fireworks caught fire (thankfully this got put it before too long).
All too soon we decided it was time to farewell our newly formed ‘Team Seedy’ and after making the typical traveller resolutions of reuniting sometime soon, we began to make our way home. We did a double take when we saw that the wait for the ferry was about two and half hours long; so we were delighted (albeit apprehensive) to see a little Thai couple holding a sign that read “Express Taxi”. We picked our way down the rocks to an over-sized dinghy, which already held a group of drunk people. There were more people than life jackets, and the one-eyed driver was guided only by a lamp. Nevertheless, we continued to pursue this option, our regrets reaching an all time high when the driver asked us to realign ourselves so that the centre of gravity was concentrated in the middle of the boat; it seemed he was concerned that the boat was going to capsize. It was the longest hour ever, and although it made for a fantastic story after, I do not know that I would recommend it to someone else unless they were really out for a YOLO experience. We arrived home to find we’d locked ourselves out of our room, so a comfy night on the couch was spent, seeing in the New Year.
A few tips (both generic and personal) about the Full Moon Party won’t go astray here, so just thought I’d share my 5 favourite ones:
- Stay hydrated. Eat dinner, and take nothing but what you need. And what you do take, make sure it is secure.
- Buy your cocktail buckets away from the beach where you can monitor their contents. Too many people (including our friend) get spiked by the buckets for sale down on the beach (usually with methanol, by the vendors themselves).
- If not staying on the island, figure out the go home plan for the group in advance. Whether it be a ‘fend for yourselves’ approach, or by meeting at a certain place at a certain time, have this sorted. It is almost inevitable that someone from your group will become separated at some point, and it’s not something you want to be worrying about later.
- Wear shoes that are covered and comfortable. There is all sorts of unidentifiable muck everywhere, stuff you’d rather not think about (or feel) what it actually is.
- Lastly, do not rush to the party. It is there all day, and all night. So enjoy what else the island has to offer before you get there.