Koh Phangan, Thailand (Full Moon Party, Haad Rin)

Happy New Year!!! …

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But before I go into it, a bit about the hours running up to it…

Bangkok Air is a great airline. They even have a lounge you can use – free coffee, cake, weird banana-leaf-rice-things. We even got a free meal on the 45 minute flight. It was rank but nonetheless…

Upon arrival at Samui (the airport looks like a mini island), we paid 150 baht each for a shuttle to the Lomprayah Pier, to catch the 12.30pm ferry to Koh Phangan. It’s really easy to get around here. We probably didn’t need to book in advance but I think we got a slightly cheaper deal for our efforts.  

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Once we arrived in Koh Phangan, we got a taxi to Echo Beach Hostel. The taxis in these islands are open-air trucks and you share them with however many people they can fit into them. Some even stand at the back, holding onto the railings for dear life. We changed trucks about three times but we got there in the end. Musical taxis.

Echo Beach was… a surprise. The guy in reception was off his face and the dorm was absolutely filthy, beyond disgusting. We weren’t even on the list for a bed even though we’d paid in advance. Trying to negotiate with a crack head is pretty tough going too. Eventually, he sighed, and mumbled that we were lucky to be there. We thought otherwise but – on New Year’s Eve – we didn’t really have much in the way of options.

We went for a spot of lunch at the Pier – we both had red curry but they got the order wrong so it took a while. I’m not sure it was red either. But it was bloody tasty whatever it was.

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Then we went for a wander; bought a beach towel, popped into one of the backstreet chemists (that was interesting), and had an hour long massage for 500 baht (£6). I was forced into some compromising positions (lovers haven’t witnessed such sights) and things clicked when I’m not sure they should’ve… but otherwise… heaven…

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Before heading to the Full Moon party (or the ‘New Year countdown’ in this case, although it’s pretty much the same thing), we got ready in the mixed dorm (we gave up trying to cover our bare boobs and arses) and had dinner, aka seafood Pad Thai, at Fisherman’s. Such a lovely restaurant overlooking the beach. Good grub too. The perfect civilized prelude to the carnage and chaos of the night ahead.

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We arrived at Haad Rin in another open-air taxi-truck with some French guys, a Chinese girl and a Columbian dude. It was like landing on Planet Crazy. There were fluorescent, saucer-eyed goblins left, right and centre, up and down, swinging off trees, treading water at see – mentalists EVERYWHERE. By midnight (or perhaps earlier), everyone was off their Christmas tree. Mushroom mountain was possibly the most intense place I’ve ever encountered. People were climbing over each other when they weren’t climbing over jagged rocks and cliff edges in a bid to find their way to the top where the magic mushroom stall was selling shakes for 500 baht each. People were going mad for them. Rushing to the front of the queue as if their lives depended on it. We even saw one woman lick up a spillage from the surface of the bar (eww) – I am not shitting you. It was like the world was going to end if they didn’t get another shake.

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(The above is us with a bucket, not a shake FYI)

But nooooo, these shakes didn’t save anybody. People were pissing everywhere and anywhere, f*cked up couples tried to shag wherever and whenever they could (it was funny yet unsettling to watch the many failed attempts), and the beach was dotted with unconscious, dribbling bodies.

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One guy was lying unconscious at the bottom of a heap of rocks mid-way up mushroom mountain. His mates had abandoned him and he didn’t seem to have anything on him. He was just in boxers. And he was bleeding. At one point, we honestly thought he’d died on us. He vomited while unconscious and would have choked if some sweet Australian guy hadn’t have intervened and put him into the safety position. Victoria tried to call an ambulance but was a little stuck when asked ‘where are you?’. This guy, and a handful of others, helped the bleeding unconscious wreck back to the safety of the beach. Nobody else gave a rat’s arse. People were even taking photos of him. I kept thinking; ‘god, that’s somebody’s son’. It was a harrowing / sobering moment and we were pleased to escape and touchdown back on earth… although the goblins were still running amok. People were dancing on the beach… sometimes minus music, in silence. Who needs music at the Full Moon??!

In short, it was an absolutely crazy night – but so, so much fun! It was totally wild. I’ve been to some crazy parties in my time (see ‘Parisian castle rave’ for an example) but never have I seen so many naked, messed-up people! People just stood in the sea, alone, with arms outstretched embracing the never-ending mushroom madness and the unknown.

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Not entirely sure how we made it back but we did. I’m so happy I put some money in my bra and that we didn’t take our credit cards. Could have been… messier.

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