We checked out of our house in Koh Samui on a Friday but didn’t relocate very far. We took a 15 min car ride to the Eden Bungalows in Fishermans Village where we would stay for two nights before traveling to the Full Moon Party.
One special thing about this day was that we had friends from the states coming to visit us for the last two weeks of our trip. Nate and I were so impatient all day waiting for their evening arrival.
Nate had a fitting appointment at Ash Tailor to finalize a suit he was having made (he started this process while we where in the other house).
That evening, we went to the Fishermans Village night market. It is supposed to be the best on the island but the torrential downpour put a literal damper on the experience. We pushed through and managed to still enjoy ourselves and eat lots of yummy food.
We waited at our hotel, Eden Bungalows, playing pool and drinking a cocktail until finally, our friends pulled up in a van to start their vacation and join ours.
Two unexpected things happened when our friends Craig and Alicia showed up, the first was that our friend Gina did not make her connection and would not be able join us until the next morning.
The second surprise left me speechless and completely shocked. In Gina’s place, my twin sister Merri jumped out from around the corner. It was just about the last thing you expect to see on the other side of the world.
Check out my awkward and high pitched reaction here!
The five of us set out for celebratory beers and overdue company!
The next morning Gina arrived and finally the six of us were together. We set out for a day at the beach in Fishermans Village.
When we grew tired of the beach, we traveled over to the Jungle Club for afternoon cocktails and to show off the great view to our friends.
Since we were so close to Chaweng Beach, we stayed in that area for the evening. Our first stop was at Zion Reggae Bar and we didn’t leave for hours. Being just steps from the waves with our feet in the sand and a beer in our hand with the almost full moon as our light, we seemed to be living inside a Zac Brown Band song.
When our bellies growled for more than just beer, we strolled down Chaweng searching for the night market. The Chaweng market did not disappoint as there are so many vendors to choose from in an open covered area with live music.
Our crew negotiated to take a Songthow home, which is Thailand’s main form of public transportation. It was 50 B per person and the open air ride in the covered truck bed big enough for the six of us was so fun.
We (some of us) sang the words to Hamilton the whole way back!
The next morning, we woke up to The Day…The exact date we arranged these ten days around. The 19th of June, the Full Moon Party.
What is this Full Moon Party thing?
The full moon party started in the 70’s with just a handful of travelers gathering on a deserted beach on a random corner, (Haad Rin) of a random island, (Koh Phan Ngan) in the Gulf of Thailand, every month on the night of the full moon. Now it is the biggest party in SouthEast Asia and a pilgrimage for the many young travelers in the area. What started with a few travelers now attracts between 10k-30k people from around the world, dressed in fluorescent clothes and paint dancing on a beach until sunrise.
We spent the morning on Koh Samui getting pampered with massages, pedicures and a delicious breakfast at Fishermans Cafe.
When it was time, we packed our luggage and went to the ferry port via private mini bus arranged by our hotel. Traveling in packs has its perks.
We decided that taking the 1pm ferry to the island of Koh Phangan opposed to the a later one was the best approach. As the evening nears the ferries get more and more packed with travelers commuting to the Full Moon Party.
The ferry ride is less than an hour and moves slow but the open air provides enough comfort. It’s full, so you aren’t guaranteed a seat on one of the benches.
We arrived to the Haad Rin pier on Koh Phangan and walked to our hotel.
We booked two hotel rooms for the six of us over a month in advance. Our hotel, Bank Guesthouse normally runs about $15 per night but during the days before/after the Full Moon Party, not only is there a two night minimum but the rates were $125 per night, per room. Ouy Vay!
We knew to expect this, so even though it stung a little to pay that rate, we understood it was all in effort to experience the epic Full Moon Party. Many young, poor, and adventurous travelers don’t bother booking a room. They arrive on the last ferry, party all night, and leave on the first ferry back in the morning.
You should know that the six of us are 30 or older ( well except one but not by much). So going to this all night bash needed some tailoring to fit the personalities and energy levels of such ages. We made a plan!
Our plan to attack this night was 4 part:
1. Watch the sunset
3. Go to dinner
4. Play cards and have drinks in the hotel room until 1 am before we even approach the full moon party:
The best part of attending the full moon party is the “costume”. The attire is florescent or white or tie died or a combination of all three. We all went shopping for FMP Garb before starting our 4 part plan of attack.
Painting your body or getting painted with brightly colored paints that glow under the black lights completes the look. We (or my sister Merri) decided to take matters into our hands and purchase our own paints and brushes to ensure we had the best designs.
As planned, we headed out to the beach around 1:30 am. On our walk towards the beach we passed other party goers diverse in as many ways as their state of mind. Some people were clearly on their way home, some stumbling, some in the full height of their party energy and others like us just getting started.
Our first stop was to purchase a few buckets for our group. Buckets are iconic to the party culture in Thailand. They are sand pails, that get filled with ice and your choice of liquor, mixer and an extreme version of red bull.
With our buckets in tow, we finally hit the sand. We took a few seconds to take it all in from a somewhat sober perspective.
Thousands of travelers all dancing on the beach, literally glowing from the combination of their brightly color clothes, body paint, sweat and the full moon. Music was blasting from each venue and the energy was intoxicating. Without much more hesitation we joined in for a night of dancing and people watching.
We even brought our paint with us to offer to others, which turned out to be a huge hit and the weirdest art project we’ve ever done!
We saw the famous fire jump ropes and all the idiots trying to jump it.
No one…no one… seemed phased by the flames when it hit them, I’m assuming they did the next day. Thank goodness for the 24 hour clinics that litter the streets.
We saw many people who couldn’t hack it, passed out right on the sand taking a snooze.
Before we knew it, the sun was starting to come up. The sky began to brighten and we were not only energized by it but fulfilled that we had successfully completed our goal and could finally head back to shower and sleep!
Our bodies hurt inside and out. I can tell you, it might not have been the healthiest 12 hours of our lives but hands down one of the most fun things we’ve ever done!
After sleeping as long as we could, we all got hour long foot massages that were rehabilitating to our tired, haggard bodies.
We spent the day recovering with a few meals here and there and finally called it a night once again. We woke up the next morning for an early and long trip to see the Andaman Sea side of Thailand. It was just as epic.
Check out a video here of our time!