Travel Notes from the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand

8:58:00 PM Jerik De Guzman 6 Comments



WARNING: MATURE CONTENT
I left Krabi and Ao Nang beach. Bummer! The day before i left, i talked to the same lady who's managing the internet shop, and she gave me a so-so deal which includes bus, ferry, taxi going to Haadrin Beach in Koh Phangan for about 700 baht. I first rode a taxi jeep going to the bus station for Surrathani. It was a pretty good view from where I'm seated. Europeans were looking at me like crazy. I was listening to Carl Cox on my iPod. The sights we saw were breathtaking. We were passing by huge cliffs, the streets were pretty clean, it wasn't a bumpy ride, but it was winding. I was wondering, why the hell construct highway that zig-zags when it's possible to create a straight one? 

Anyway, the taxi jeep was packed. There were three French girls who i think were going on the same route. They prefer to ride standing up. I wanted to say... "God Bless You! May you don't burn yourself and get Skin Cancer!" But they managed like true champs. After less than an hour, we arrived at the bus station. We were dropped off and waited for less than fifteen minutes before the bus left. That gave me enough time to buy some stuff for the 5 hour bus trip. I bought mineral water, pepsi, coconut crackers which will come in handy later, and a gum. I seated right behind the French girls thinking i could get a score. But there was one girl who... let's just say, made me realize an aweful mistake was to seat beside her. The next thing i knew, i was already using a Chinese oil to keep me sane.

Halfway the bus ride, I woke up and felt a little bad. It was already hard for me to breathe. When i looked outside, we're passing by mountains and rice paddies. It was a very long ride. Maybe it's altitude sickness. I would dread the day when i finally try to climb a mountain. Oh yeah, good luck to me. And then finally, we were dropped off in a tourist center where i showed my ticket and told the lady waiting for us that i'm going to Koh Phangan, and that i need to ride a ferry. We waited for a less than an hour. I wasn't bummed out because i needed to relax for a bit, stretch some muscles and smoke for a bit. When i came back, everyone's going to Koh Samui. Then, i met two girls who seemed like they're waiting for a long time too. Apparently they were, Malanie is from Germany and Stephani is from Alaska. They rode the train from Bangkok. Got delayed. Got delayed again. Missed the first ferry going to Koh Phangan. That's why they're still there.

We then finally rode a bus going to the ferry port of Surrathani. It was another hour or so before we arrived. It was getting pretty cloudy. I've heard news that Koh Phangan now is really rainy. Everyday, it's been pouring. Monsoon must have hit the island pretty bad. I was preparing for the worse. We then arrived at the ferry port. There were two different ports - one for Koh Samui and one for Koh Phangan. Originally, i wanted to go to Koh Samui and stay there, just charter a ferry going to Koh Phangan just in time for the full moon party. But it would be a hassle, and i just want to relax now. And of course, it's Nov. 12 already the day and night of the Famous Full Moon party.

The ferry ride was long The waves were big. The boat was moving left and right. And the wind was pretty strong too. Picture this -- you're walking to buy something from the food stall, you could literally see yourself moving from side to side. Good thing, i made new friends - Melanie and Stephanie. We were chatting the whole time. Melanie is on vacation. She's gonna be a doctor soon in Germany. Stephanie is a fisherman in Alaska. After a while, i ate my coconut crackers plus the Thai instant noodles i bought at the store. There was a friendly Thai girl who asked me if i could watch over her laptop as she needed to go to the toilet. I did. From there, we started talking about stuff and Koh Phangan and how excited i was to finally get to the party island. It's been her fourth or fifth time. But she's Thai. Koh Phangan is like their version of Boracay, a party island. She recommended some bars depending on what kind of music i like. Oh yeah! I like dance music a lot. Give me house. Techno. Drum n' bass and jungle and i'm good to go.

I was getting pretty restless as i the ride was taking a long time. Worse, you couldn't see where the hell you're going. It was so cloudy, you couldn't see an island nearby. Thankfully, after an hour, we saw a huge island... But i knew from research, it is Koh Samui. And then after would be Koh Phangan. The picture above is the shot of the two islands. I got off from my seat and was smiling as i finally saw the island. We're almost there.Everyone's standing up - hippies, American highschool students, old farangs, cool local Thai yuppies and the only Pinoy again after two weeks of backpacking... ME! 

When I got off from the ferry, together with the german and americal girl, we looked for a taxi. We then went straight to a jeep stand where we waited for a few more minutes till it was filled up. The next hour, we were driving on a really scary road. Imagine cliff on your left and right. There was one moment, when the taxi jeep was trying its best but ain't working. It was crazy. Total madness! But i just wanted to get to Haaadrin and party! 

I reached Haadrin at around 6PM. The bars were already lit up, preparing for the amazing party later! There were numerous streamers, buckets were placed with Samsong signs with "fuck" and "amazing" everywhere. What a night i will have later? First things first, i need to find a room to sleep in for the night. I couldn't find any. It's really a bad idea to scout for a room the same night as the full moon party. Chances are, you won't find any. I was walking for close to two hours looking for a cheap fan room. I even had to search via the internet again for any recommended guesthouses. I lost Melanie and Stephanie while searching. Now, i'm fuckin' troubled. But i managed to find the only room available for the night which is consistently, a fair price at 500 baht which i got down to 450 baht. I don't know the manager ,must she must have liked me as she convinced me to stay already. 

The next few days, i would usually start my day hanging out in front of the guesthouse and relaxing after a night of partying. I even talked to some American tweens who were asking me if i can help them out because they had problems with their toilet. Nice try eh? I would see them later on some instances where they would just smile at me. On my last day, i overheard them talking about me. They wanted to say goodbye to me. One said... "I want to say goodbye to the Filipino Guy... he seems pretty nice!" But i was so wasted, it's not cool. My bad, i should have gone out and met up with them the last time. They're like the girls from Laguna Beach. Pretty interesting.

I lost Melanie and Stephanie, but somewhere across the universe, what are the odds that they were staying in the same guesthouse. I was walking after freshening up for a while to grab something to eat and then i found them. I ordered for burger and fries as i have been eating Thai fried rice everyday. I got tired of it. The next few hours, we started painting ourselves again. This is a tradition in Koh Phangan wherein everyone paints themselves in different colors. I've seen paints of nipples in faces, Indian tribe signs, and even cheesy names drawn in their chest near the heart that says Love and of course for a more nationalistic approach, their flags!

We ordered for a bucket. The bucket is good for sharing as several straws are placed in a bucket full of Samsong whisky - the cheapest, others use vodka, Jack Daniels, or rhum and then mixed with coke, Redbull and something-something. I don't want to give details. It's good. Just give it a try. I know you will like it also! I started partying at 8PM and left haadrin beach at 10AM, More than 12 hours of non-stop bucket drinking, smoking, flirting and dancing. This is life. So what happened?

We were walking trying to find the best spot. Every bar we passed by has different music. North of Haadrin, there's the chill out bar, so chill made me want to sleep. Passed by another bar playing some western cowboy anthems, surprisingly a lot of young people were there. Onward, there was a bar playing hip-hop and pop tunes, next to it plays some sexy house and then there was this bar that plays a lot of jungle and drum n' bass. Really good place there. But we continued to walk till i found my kind of bar - deep tech house music with a little mix of some pop tunes. I was downing my bucket and tried to dance. The two girls i was with left after a few minutes. They went to the toilet. I was seated and almost falling asleep when a smiling Thai girl painted a happy face on my knees and eventually on my face. She's so funny and charming. She then asked me to dance. She introduced me to her European friends. Later on, i was already dancing with them, making conversations, and eventually flirting. The beach started to get packed. From my rough estimate close to ten thousand people went that night. It rained for 30 mins, but it stopped soon after. That's why everyone was screaming as the full glory of moon is now visible to ten thousand drunk party animals. Many people came.I like them Australians because somehow, they are the closest to Filipinos.  I actually saw George, from Singapore, he was with his brother who's wearing a speedo bikini briefs, and got stares from everyone. I introduced them to my friends. And then the brother was already dancing to the smiling Thai girl. We were so happy dancing, downing buckets and buckets of Samsong. I lost count already. My bag was placed in between. I've heard about the horror stories of numerous incidents of getting mobbed. I've had my share, later on that. Good thing is you can bring your own padlock as there is a safety deposit box in my guesthouse where i put important stuff like passports, dollars, cellphone, and digital camera.

I can never forget Outkast's Hey Ya! I loved that song, because it was so popular. Close to hundreds of people dancing and singing... "Hey... heya, Hey... yah!"

I can never forget dancing to Where's your head at? because it's the national anthem of Koh Phangan! I love every single minute of it. I was dancing non-stop! Good times.

And then, after getting hallucinated and sweating big time, i wanted to hit the beach... I was so hot literally and figuratively.

I said... "You know, they say in Koh Phangan, you have to do something wiiiild!" Yeah right, great pick up line. Next thing i knew, i asked someone to hold my bag which happen to end up with the bartender in the morning. I took of my shirt off and sandals and went to the beach. Enough said. It was fun, wild, passionate and romantic. And then the sun came up, everyone's seeing us already. We headed back to my room. It was good times. I loved it. I can never forget that moment.

The next day, i was pretty exhausted. Like i worked out for three hours in the gym. I wanted to get some sleep but a part of me was saying get my ass up I've been a very naughty boy. So, i got up and went to explore the beach. I saw some people i hung out with the next day. They just smiled. I smiled and waved at them too. Thank you for the lovely night. Somehow, it's how things work in Koh Phangan. You don't talk about what you did the last night. I used the day to relax, walk around the beach some more. I found a good spot where i sat and listened to The Beach soundtrack. It was painful for me thinking in a few days, i will be off to Bangkok. I wanted to stay some more, and probably head to Koh Samui or Koh Tao, but i don't have enough funds to last me. I was almost crying in vain.

Night came, i thought it was gonna be an early night. I actually slept and decided it's time for me to go the next day at the last ferry out of koh Phangan. Someone knocked on my door, my landlord was asking for my payment. He's a really nice guy. I woke up on my tired feet and aching body. I heard some pumping beat. I freshened up a bit, and walked to the beach.

My, my what do we have here... Another party!!! Parties never stop in Koh Phangan. It's like they create parties for the sake of making money, gathering farangs to dance and drink buckets, order some thing. I went to the bar next to the spot  where i went to the night before. I ordered some Chang. It was pretty cold then. Really cold, i was hugging myself. Beers actually worked. I saw some Austrian girls. I danced with them beautiful ladies four inches taller than me. We're dancing and seeing eye to eye till a hippie Thai boy stole her from me. What a prick? So, he got my girl. Damn. Then, i saw the Thai girl i met at the ferry going to Phangan. We danced. She introduced me to her date, a cool English guy. We were all dancing in the beach were the waters were filling up our feet. It was good music. Good vibes. I couldn't believe it's morning already. There was some brawl near the bar. But with an armful of policemen, it's bound to stop. It did. I invited everyone for a quick dip. Took of my shirt, shorts and sandals. Went to the beach in my underwear. It was pretty cool! I got stares. What can i say, i'm a little exhibitionist. Just kiddin'.

While i was happily coursing my way to the currents of Koh Phangan beaches, a Swedish guy and American girl talked to me. Chatted for a while. Asked where I from and stuff like that. The next thing i knew the American girl was showing me her new friend... a snake she found in her bathroom. My eyes became wide open. I was shocked to see. She's pretty nice girl but i'm so freaked out. And then she asked me if i wanted to come with her as she needs some help looking for her stuff. Believe me i wanted to go with her. I really do. I wouldn't refuse an offer. But it was too freaky to hear her story. I just said " i'll wait for you here!". What if i go with her, and i discover snakes of different sizes in her room? I'm in Planet Anaconda. I couldn't die like that. That was the last time i saw her.

When i tried to find my shirts, i found out my sandals were missing. I tried looking for it. It's gone! I went to a friend's bar, the English guy with the Thai girl i met, for some nightcap at 10AM. Yeah! And then i said goodbye... walking in the streets barefoot. Shit! I lost my cardigan shirt and newly bought sandals in Koh Phangan. So yeah! Take care of your stuff because you will lose everything in Koh Phangan: money, sanity, clothes, shoes, what have you. But i guess, it was all worth it!

It was fun remembering how i eat a lot of Thai chicken fried rice in the far end of Haadrin, and the really good grilled chicken pita both under 80 baht. Always remember to book your accommodation in advance so you can get the best deal for the best guesthouse. Fill in your mornings meeting up with friends and just go alone at night so you can get laid. But please, stay safe. You know what i mean. Don't drink too much too early. Learn to pace yourself so you can last till sunrise. Thankfully, i did! Oh, and if you're a druggie, just be careful. I saw someone smoking weed... and he's the police.

The best souvenir you can get from the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is an authentic tee which prints Home of the Original Full Moon Party. The next day after the party, you can find numerous stores selling the DVD video of last night's wickedness. I spent an hour watching it from the store, and when i saw myself as i was walking with no shirt on, looking for my sandals at around 9AM, i knew i had to buy it. 

I will never forget Nov. 12 - the night that rocked my world. I can never forget Koh Phangan because i did a lot of firsts here, the beach, the room, the snakes, the girls, the dancing and of course the full moon. Nice!

x Pinoy Boy Journals

6 Comments:

humanclay15 said...

Nice entry. How much did you spend?

hehe, but it was a long one eh?!

don't worry it really not expensive. first thing to do. i suggest invest in a booked trip meaning train or bus/ boat and taxi. it saves you a lot of hassle just a few dollars more. depends on where you're from. if you're coming from bkk take the sleeper train to surrathani then onwards a boat to koh pha ngan. are you travelling alone? if so i bet there's still below 400 baht rooms there since i arrived the night of the full moon, prices were jacked up. internet is crazy, very expensive like 180 baht for one hour. beers are ok, buckets are the best choice, share it and save up, there are heaps fo places to go around koh pha ngan like the river rafting experience, waterfalls, island hopping etc.

i think i spent less than $150 USD on a week. and i know i could get it cheaper. so to sum up. one way bkk to koh pha ngan about 1000 baht. accomodations less than 400 baht/night. food is about 100 baht maybe even less. beers depends on how much you drink. better buy from 7-11. there's atm machines around.

you should go humanclay. if you have some more questions, be happy to answer them. like how long do you plan to stay in koh pha ngan? are you travelin' with someone? etc. be good to note, i will help you get it cheaper.thanks again!

humanclay15 said...

Hey! thanks for replying. Yup Ive made up my mind, Im going on April 28. There's a big chance that I am going solo but I have made lots of friends in BKK the last time I was there so I might ask them to come along. So if my calculations are correct, its gonna cost me 4k THB bkk-koh phangan-bkk all in? I plan to leave BKK early morning of 27th, then leave Koh Phangan afternoon of 29th, i just really want to know what the Full Moon Party fuzz is all about. Hehe. Oh and btw, do you know the name where you stayed? Ive tried searching for hotels online but its slim pickings, its either too expensive or too far from Haad rin.

sorry for the late reply..

very very nice. did you check the schedule if it falls on the full moon? actually around 2-3 days before and after the full moon party there's already a good party along haadrin beach where the full moon party is located.

i suggest you take the nigh train from bkk to surrathani. i just checked my ticket. the night sleeper train costs 735 baht. which is perfect as you can save a night accomodation. the bed is very nice, the aircon is cold, its very comfortable. it takes around 10 hours so if you take the night train you'll arrive early morning. there's a bus that will take you to the ferry then onwards to koh phan ngan. buy a cheap package ticket train to surrathani, bus to ferry, ferry to koh pha ngan. you can buy also going back around haadrin beach. haadrin beach is where the full moon party is. i am very sorry i cannot remember the guesthouse where i stayed in. kasi di rin siya the best but it was cheap around 400 baht. an australian friend of mine stayed in chulung bungalows or something. maganda siya kubo style. very safe. but you just need a safe room to leave your bags. for sure gising ka the whole night till morning.

actually yung 4k baht na calculations, kaya pa yan ng mas mura. pramis. you should also visit the other islands near koh pha ngan, the other side of koh pha ngan has great beaches, also in koh samui and koh tao where i am going next week.

do the same route going back, night train din. tama late afternoon ang departure from koh pha ngan, you'll arrive in bkk the next day.

actually, maganda question mo i will write and entry again about koh phan ngan like things to remember. i will try to look for some more information. also i will try to look for a good place since i am going to haadrin next week sa koh pha ngan. pramis yan!

humanclay15 said...

Ok thanks. Laki pala ng expenses for the fare. Ive checked AirAsia and it costs 1750, one-way to Surat Thani. How much would the bus and the ferry cost? Do you remember? Also, how long is the travel time from Surat Thani to Koh Pangan? sorry dami questions and I appreciate your help!

no problem at all humanclay.

is 1750 one way inclusive of tax. still you can travel cheaper via train or bus. i think its not more than 1500 baht for one way train+bus+boat+taxi to haad rin beach for koh pha ngan. there's nothing much to see in surrathani just gateway to koh pha ngan and koh samui.

koh pha ngan is actually part of the province of surrathani. from the train station, it takes about less than an hour to ferry port. from the ferry port to koh pha ngan pier is about 4 hours. 30 minutes plus you're in haad rin.

btw, i posted two new blog entries solely for the full moon party, how to get there and party essentials. thanks humanclay!

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