Friends and buckets at Thailand’s famous Full Moon Party!

So happy to bring in the New Year with faces we’ve been missing!
We were happy to see two awesome friends from Vancouver, Alex and Heather, who traveled across the world to come spend New Years with us and make sure we weren’t too home sick. It was pretty easy to convince them to come on out as not only was it New Years 2010, but there was also a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan to celebrate.

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard about the Thailand full moon parties, here’s the deal. Each month on the full moon there’s a huge party that happens on Koh Phangan. What started out apparently as a birthday party has grown to be a massive party each month with spin offs at full moon, new moon and any other thing the Thai’s can think of. We had heard about it when Melanie and Lair visited Thailand in 2004, and were excited to go party it up. And now there was a full moon on New Years Eve 2009, and of course a massive party to ring in 2010.

We also were meeting up with Adam and Anna who we met in Koh Phayam and again in Koh Tao, so there was a couple people to help us ring in the new year with. It was just like being back home with all our friends. We drank and caught up with Alex and Heather the days leading up, perhaps a bit too much. On the 31st we poured a bottle of rum into a bit of fruit juice and spent the day drinking it while floating in the warm tropical waters. Which may not have been the best idea, but who knew that drinking your asses off while in water would have ill effects once you stepped onto land?

Once Alex, Heather and Dee dragged their heads out of the toilets and had a bit of rest, we went to go meet up with Anna and Adam. The town at Haad Rin was insane. It seemed like every tourist in Thailand came to party it up on New Years, just like us. The whole group ate some dinner and we went out to see what was going on at the beach.

Great times continue to be a guarantee with the A-Team
It’s pretty tough to explain the full moon party, but imagine a massive club laid out on a beach. Every 50 feet or so there are speakers blaring music, some of it is decent music and some questionable quality. The drinks are served in little plastic buckets, kind of like the type you’d build sand castles out of. For $10 you get a bucket with your choice of liquor (an entire mickey!), can of chosen pop, and a Red Bull. Add in 20,000 18-30 year olds all on holiday, you can start to picture it. Now add to your visions people lighting floating lanterns and cheap fireworks exploding everywhere, it’s quite a circus display of bar stars, ravers, hippies, and douche heads. No bouncers equal to questionable safety standards, but it’s all fun and games until a flying bottle hits someone in the head. Or flying buckets of pee.

We had a great time with everyone and rang in the year how it should be, with good friends and lots of drink. I’m glad we went, but don’t think we’d go to a full moon party again. It’s too much…. like a frat party that gets invaded by bikers and cops. It seems like it’s a right of passage for backpackers in Thailand, so if you do go here’s a couple of tips:

  • Wear shoes, not sandals / nothing. There’s broken glass everywhere. We walked the beach a couple days before and I picked up 10 pieces of glass out of the sand in less than 5 minutes. I saw many people with bandages on their feet.
  • Wear something you don’t care about that much because of the risk of neon glow paint staining. It’s very hard to avoid the neon glow paint. Someone might put it on you, you might put it on yourself, or you might just brush up against someone wearing some.
  • If your lighting a floating lantern, you have to give it time to heat up the air inside. Throwing it up and into the crowd will not make it fly any better. The wind also picks up and may throw it into everyone.
  • Everyone loves fireworks. Point them out to the sea, not the crowd.
  • Those flying cups of liquid? You want to avoid them. Odds are it’s filled with piss. It seems people can’t walk to the edge of the ocean to do their business.
  • Don’t bring any valuables such as cameras. You will probably lose it or have it stolen. Sorry Anna!
  • In fact, don’t bring a bag at all. If you put it down for a moment it will be gone. And when you’ve drinking 4 buckets, your not so focused on your possessions anymore. Leave your passport and other valuables locked safe back at your guesthouse. Bungalows are known to be broken into on nights of full moon parties. So be sure to have everything valuable securely locked. We use a Pacsafe Travelsafe 100 – Portable Safe ourselves. It fits our passports, ipods, headphones, important documents, extra money and wallets perfectly. Just lock to something secure and leave for the night with peace of mind.
  • If you haven’t learned from everywhere else in Thailand, bring your own toilet paper. Sand does not dry your parts very well, and no one likes a sandy vagina.
  • Watch where you walk so you don’t step on someone. People tend to just sit down anywhere.
  • Treat the bartenders, shop owners and restaurant staff with patience and respect. They are working their asses off instead of partying like you, you can’t expect fast service on a night like this.
  • Don’t buy drugs on the beach, or smoke dope there. It’s pretty clearly stated that the cops are looking to bust people, or at least “arrest” them for a bribe. If you do, have $300 on hand to bribe your way out of it. The price will probably go up if you get pulled to the station, or you may end up in a foreign jail. Nobody wants to visit friends in foreign jails, it’s depressing and a bummer. Also keep in mind that the chances of buying anything “good” is pretty slim. You don’t want to find yourself in a Thai jail for buying something bunk.

The very hard to avoid Neon Paint  

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