Haad Khom, Kayaking and the Full Moon Party

Koh Phangan Travel Blog

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Since we had a few hours remaining on our motorbike rental, we decided to go to Haad Khom, which we had missed out on the previous day, and find a restaurant on the beach for some breakfast. After missing the resorts and almost wiping out when the road instantly changed to dirt and rock after the top of a high hill, we found a paved road leading down to the resort and chose to eat at Ocean View Resort. The restaurant lived up to its name, being directly on the beach with fantastic views of the beach and bay.

We then returned to the bike rental shop and had forgotten to fill up the tank with petrol. Since our time was up, we went to the first place that said "gasoline". It ended up being a barrel of gasoline with a glass container on top showing how many litres were being poured into the tank. Before she saw how much we needed she said "100 baht". If you want a fair deal, make sure to go to a proper petrol station!

After we had the two litres put into the tank, she used a crank to refill the glass jar on top with the orange gasoline. It was a pretty scrappy looking setup but it got the job done.

After seeing the gorgeous beach at Koh Ma and Dave's attempt at snorkelling the day before, we decided to rent a kayak to get us from Salad beach over to Koh Ma. It was the first overcast day, which made for comfortable kayaking along the coast line. We had a stopover in a cove for some swimming and rock jumping and then stopped over at a nearby beach that was secluded from the main tourist beach. From a distance it looked nice but up close it was lined with garbage and sharp rocks. We headed over to Koh Ma and discovered that snorkelling at high tide was useless as the visibility was about a foot and the reef was several feet below. Giving up on snorkelling we headed back to begin preparations for the evening's festivities.

We had an early dinner and bought the customary Full Moon Party plastic kid-playing in the sand bucket that came with a can of pop, a mini red bull and a bottle of alcohol about half way between a half pint and pint. You're supposed to dump it all in, add a straw and enjoy.

Since we had booked a group taxi for 9:30, we had a couple hours to spend pre-drinking before heading down to Haad Rin. We drank our bucket of booze while playing cards on our bungalow's front deck, protected from the sudden rain that started pouring down. About 10 minutes after starting a game of cards, the power went off and the only light we had was my head lamp. One of the resort staff came by with long, narrow white candles with no candle holder that were supposed to last 2 hours. About 45 minutes later, the candles had burned down inside a glass we used as a makeshift candle holder and we were back to using the head lamp as a light source. About an hour and a half after going off, the power came back on and the rain started to let up. It was then time to get our taxi to the party.

There were about 30 people wanting to get into the taxi went it arrived. At first it was still raining and they asked us to load into the back of a pickup truck. Wanting to get there as soon as possible, we jumped at the chance. The Thai workers decided against us and then pointed to a "taxi" with a cover on top. We were the first in after mildly pushing past all the kids in there late teens / early twenties. We were by far the oldest people waiting to get on the taxi.

The ride there was made more interesting by the fact that we brought along a newly purchased bucket of booze that Dave shared around the taxi. We were the only ones who brought booze on with us, which I thought was strange seeing as by this time it was closer to 10 and we were heading to the Full Moon Party. Ah well.

We arrived in Haad Rin and there were people EVERYWHERE. Within the town's streets and the beach itself there had to be over 10,000 - 15,000 people. Pretty much every shop is selling booze buckets out front and lots of them we selling florescent zinc with the option to have designs painted on you or as a "do it yourself option". There were also florescent beaded necklaces, hats of every sort, more booze and lots of take away food options. In between all these options were thousands of people wearing all the crap that was being sold. After a walk along the throngs of people on the beach, I felt underdressed (or more appropriately overdressed in shorts and a tank top) and we decided for the "do it yourself" paint option to look a little less uptight.

By this time the booze had kicked in full swing and we found the Rocks area which is a bunch of large rocks suitable to sit on at the end of the beach. From here we could watch all the crazy action. One a huge scaffolding the words "Welcome to Koh Phag nan Full Moon Party" which were lit on fire and looked pretty sweet. There were lots of pictures taken in front of the huge sign.

The rest of the time there was spent drinking more buckets and taking in the crazy atmosphere. There was mostly house (duf duf) music playing, which is a bit tough to dance to drunk, but the people on drugs seemed to have no problem enjoying themselves.

By 3am I was starting to fade so we headed out to the main road to find the woman we were introduced to early who would lead up to our taxi back. By the time we arrived at the taxi bus some people had been waiting for a long time and the bus would only leave when full. There was a pretty irate Kiwi that decided to get us to leave sooner he would lean on the horn over and over again. Being tired and annoyed by his constant ranting I told him off and he finally shut up. Soon after we left and made the 45 minute windy drive back to our beach. The commuting was annoying but we were both thankful we weren't staying any where near Haad Rin that night because of the mayhem.

All in all the Full Moon Party was a bit over the top and I'm not sure if I'd do it again, but a crazy party that was worth the effort and will not be soon forgotten.
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Koh Phangan
photo by: alanmica