Oh, brother: Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

Sunday, 16 June: We left Bangkok early in the morning to fly to Koh Samui and get a ferry to Koh Pha Ngan for some time on the islands and Full Moon Party. Once all was said and done, we arrived at our quiet hostel on the north west side of the island in the early afternoon and relaxed for the remainder of the day in anticipation for the next few days ahead. We walked to the dive center to try on rental gear for our dive day trip the next day and relaxed at the hostel, getting Thai massages on the beach at sunset. Again, I’m still trying to learn to like them.

Monday, 17 June: Early in the morning, we took a diving day trip to Sail Rock, about an hour at sea from Haad Yao (the part of the island we were staying on). Unfortunately, due to the time of the month, the visibility wasn’t great (about 10 meters). The two dives were good, but not “wow.” They both lasted about 40 minutes at about 18 meters maximum, which was perfect for Ryan who only just got Open Water certified. The best parts of the dives were the warm water, cave chimney and having a close call with an aggressive trigger fish. Some species of trigger fish are known to be fiercely territorial and swim after divers who get too close. I was record a barracuda when I move my camera to a crowd of reef fishes and think, “Hey, that fish looks a little bit like a…” until I realize I have to get away! I turn to swim away and my dive guide was frantically waving me on to get away from it. I’m sure nothing would have happened, but it’s fun to think about. I will post the videos of the encounter when I’m back home!

We then moved hostels closer to Haad Rin, where the Full Moon Party was to take place that night. At our hostel in Thong Sala, we rested until the hour of reckoning came upon us.

We didn’t start festivities until late, constantly reminding ourselves that the Full Moon Party is a marathon, not a sprint, as an all night celebration. At our hostel, a few other party-goers were getting ready with drinks and glow paint (my favorite work was the Thanos infinity gauntlet I drew on Ryan and Ryan wrong “Chang [the local beer] pls” on someone’s shirt) before we shared a taxi to the beach that left at 11PM.

Tuesday, 18 June: When we arrived near the beach, we were bombarded with glow paint stalls, tacky accessories (naturally I got a flower crown) and alcohol served by the bucket.

Ryan and I danced our way through the various clubs and stages down the beach. The rest of the night was brilliant. At about 0200, Ryan wanted a sit down so I continued without him. I was mostly sober, having had one bucket at around 0100 and nursed it for an hour with plenty of water and it was one of the best choices I made all night. Staying sober made me feel so alive but actually in control and confident of taking care of myself. Unfortunately, it just made Ryan a bit drowsy and we separated for a while. I continued to dance, chat and even jumped rope with fire (all the blogs I read suggested against it, but it was exhilarating and I didn’t get burned!).

At around 0430, I came back to a club I visited a few times throughout the night and ran into Marley, the Londoner I met in Bangkok but hadn’t heard if he was coming to the Party or not. He was quite drunk, off the walls and childish. After a few minutes of trying to wrangle him, I suggested we sit on the beach, which he was reluctant to at first but once he got in the sand, he passed out. I summoned Ryan and we watched the sunrise together around 0600. We people watched as party-goers rinsed off in the water (probably no cleaner than their clothes filled with sweat, booze, sand and paint) and said farewell to their special friends. Soon after sunrise, Ryan left and Marley started to stir (thank God, my whole leg numb from the thigh down where he was resting his head).

When we left the beach around 0700, he realized he missed his last boat back to Koh Samui where he was staying. I told him there’s a ferry near my hostel where he can rinse off and rest. He was still a bit drunk so I had to sort everything (taxi back to my hostel for the both of us and his transport back to Samui) for him on top of making sure he doesn’t wander off, I couldn’t help feeling taken advantage of again. Finally at 1030, I was rid of him and free to nap for the rest of the day.

At first, I was on the fence about the Full Moon Party but I’m so glad I went. Yeah, it’s just some trashy fun, but fun nonetheless.


1 Comment

  1. August 9, 2019 / 3:56 pm

    Oh i loved reading this Rachel! We had such a similar experience. I also went to Koh Pha Ngan on the same day for the full moon party. Plus when I did my advanced diving certificate in Thailand i got attacked by a trigger fish too haha 🙂

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