A new generation of full mooning

Full Moon Party is just as much fun without drugs

Full Moon Party is just as much fun without drugs

Koh Pha Ngan, a remote island in the Gulf of Thailand, has been the host of the now–legendary Full Moon Party for well over a decade. From its humble beginnings as a marijuana–smoking hippie’s get–together to its current status as a global party, the island is long accustomed to hosting hedonists.

Each month, thousands of revelers descend on the southern tip of the island in expectation of the party of a lifetime. Just a short hop by boat from neighbouring Samui, Koh Pha Ngan is no longer a place for the intrepid only. Getting here couldn’t be easier, with party–goers having to do little other than follow the herds off the boats and into the back of a pick–up truck, the island’s taxi service.

For the uninitiated, the ride to Had Rin from Thong Sala Pier will likely leave you with white knuckles as the taxi takes on hairpin bends at an astonishing rate. The boosted police presence and check–points on the eve of the event may guarantee you a slower ride and a passport check, if you are lucky. More on the Full Moon Party.

Once you arrive and your head stops spinning from the rollercoaster taxi ride, it is time to find accommodation. Booking ahead is not an option for many of the budget choices which prefer (and have no problem) to let their rooms go on a first–come, first–served basis. If you are looking for something a bit more luxurious than a dog–eared mattress in a makeshift bamboo hut, book well ahead or get here a week early.

Most people like to stay on the eastern side of the cape, where all the action is. The quieter and less appealing western side is just a short walk and acts as an overflow for those who get here late. Of course, opting for no accommodation is a popular choice among those who don't plan on sleeping, but this is only really a viable option if you plan of hopping on a boat to Samui in the early hours.

Party atmosphere, great music, beautiful girls

Party atmosphere, great music, beautiful girls

Many mooners experience a waning in their party spirits or overindulge too early and find themselves looking for a patch of shrubbery in which to take a mid–party cat nap. Even worse, some fall asleep for the whole night and miss their morning ferry ride. After sunrise, there is more than just litter to clear from the beach, with dozens of passed–out mooners strewn across the sand, making any hope of finding a bed in the early hours slim.

Accommodation is however of little concern to dedicated hedonists, who come here to bar hop all night, splash in the water and throw themselves about on the dance floor, most of which are made from sand.

“We come every year”, says Fredrik from Copenhagen. “The women are beautiful and it is the best party atmosphere in Asia”, the 32–year–old graphic designer adds.

While you may not bump into Leonardo De Caprico, the Full Moon Party is Thailand’s biggest rave event attracting top DJs from Bangkok as well as some dubious international turntable wizards.

But many say the party has passed its sell–by date, now attracting hyperactive youths who have overdosed on Red Bull, not to mention the pumped–up police presence that mingle with ravers looking for anyone up to monkey business. While you will still never be a far cry from a day–glow paint vendor or an amateur fire juggler, the clientele is a distinctly new generation of mooners from the party’s first attendees.

“I first came 10 years ago”, says Richard Burch from Brighton, “the party vibe is still kicking, but things are not as laid–back as they used to be”, he adds.

Party–goes have also reported an increase in bungalow break–ins and incidents of pick–pocketing. Women are advised not to walk back to their accommodation alone at night. A warning of a different sort is also becoming common knowledge: don’t cool off in the water. Once the party gets rocking, the Gulf turns into a giant men's urinal, with the boys preferring its convenience to using the crowded club toilets.

The Glastonbury–meets–Ibiza–on–a–Thai–island party has come a long way from its humble beginnings, with the new generation of mooners just as likely to have stepped off the plane in Armani jeans as opposed to Thai fisherman pants. The partiers may be a generation on, but the essence of having a good time is still alive and kicking.

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