Techno! Techno! Techno! Techno! Nowhere celebrates the full moon quite like Ko Pha-Ngan. This is the place your mate told you about and the location of many a horrific Facebook photo. Get your glow sticks out and have it large!
The nearest airport is on Ko Samui, which is only a 15Km ferry ride to Ko Pha-Ngan. Alternatively, there are boats available from Ko Tao (58km) and Surat Thani (100km).
Finding the beats
Ko Pha-Ngan is about 100 square kilometers, so itís not one big nightclub as some seem to believe. But, even a sun burnt farang loaded up on mushy-shakes and vodka Redbull canít miss Hat Rin Nok as they step off the Hat Rin Nai ferry.
As the name suggests, the Full Moon Party is held on the monthly climax of our only lunar satellite (i.e. check your calendar). But there are Half-Moon and Black Moon Parties throughout the year if youíre visit isnít on the 28th day.
Hat Rin Nok has been the Full Moon Party location for over thirty; first started by Paradise Bungalows to say farewell to a local monk. Now, the beach is a religious ground for glow stick wielding backpackers and the only place youíll ever seriously consider wearing body paint.
30,000 sweaty people squeeze onto Hat Rin Nok during the busy season of December to April. But, youíll have just as much fun in the quiet season of June to September when about 5,000 people show up, plus youíll have the added bonus of shorter queues and chill out space.
The sun is down, the techno is up and youíve got the sand of Ko Pha-Ngan between your toesÖ time to get wasted! Youíre diet for the next twelve hours will probably consist of alcohol, pad thai and the (in)famous mushy shake.
Thereís only one place to get mushy shakes and that Mountain Bar at the north end of Hat Rin Nok. Go upstairs, take your shoes off and go to the odd looking counter next to the DJ. A plastic cup of foul tasting gunk will set you back 200 Baht. Enjoy!
For those who prefer binge drinking, you canít miss locals selling buckets of spirits and mixers for relatively cheap prices. The backpackersí favorite is the Vodka Redbull bucket, the mixer being the extra strength stuff sold in SE Asia.
As your legs turn to jelly on your mushroom, vodka, Redbull adventure, unsavory characters will approach offering an even better time. Just say Ďnoí, keep walking and find your favorite genre of dance music.
A word from your mother
Most people have the time of their lives at the Full Moon Party, but it can also go very Pete Tong. As in the rest of Thailand, drugs are illegal and youíll go down for many a year if caught with even small amounts. The cops work undercover and have the power to strip search. There are also pick pockets, local gangs and thieves all waiting for their moment. Sounds fun, eh? Best stick to the main streets and donít leave your mates! If youíre carrying expensive cameras, etc, hire a room for one night and keep everything in the hotel safe. Itíll set you back 2,000 Baht, but itís better to be safe than sorry.
Was it worth it?
This is a must for anyone into dance music and clubbing. Itís also a relatively cheap night as the party is free (apart from an island charge when you get off the ferry) and the drinks reasonably priced. For those on a tight budget, you can even stay up all night and get the first ferry back to Ko Samui, but BE WARNED, you wonít be feeling so euphoric sailing back on choppy seas.
Other activities on Ko Pha-Ngan
Ko Pha-Ngan is a beautiful island that, some would say, has been spoilt by the Full Moon Parties. You can make up your own mind by staying at any of the small villages dotted around. Chilling out, snorkeling and swimming in turquoise seas are the main activities on Ko Pha-Ngan. Thereís also a 10 day Buddhist meditation retreat (www.watkowtahm.org) for those looking for spiritual enlightenment.