Saturday, October 22, 2005

October 18: Ko Pha Ngan

(1) As the night skies grow brighter with each passing date on the calendar, more and more travelers begin their migration to the Gulf of Thailand. The monthly Full Moon Party tradition on Ko Pha Ngan, just north of Ko Samui, has become one of the must-do events in Thailand, and on October 18th I was one of the thousands who descended on Hat Rin for the overnight festivities. It's good fun, but does this fancy sign not suggest that the Full Moon Party has sort of lost its original purity to the powers of mass-tourism?

(2) Several of us from Charlie's Huts, including these two Swedish girls, purchased travel deals from Samui to Ko Pha Ngan. All over the island, one can find any number of packages offering transportation between the two islands. However, the best deal seemed to be the one being offered by our own guest house. The package from Charlie's Huts cost 400 Baht, and included mini-van transport to and from the pier on Samui, and the 45-minute slow boat to and from Samui and Ko Pha Ngan. It was surprisingly organized, as one had to actually choose a departing time - I chose the 8:30pm boat to Ko Pha Ngan instead of the 9:30 or 10:30. In the morning, we were free to come home on either the 4am, 5am, or 6am ferry.

(3) When I first arrived on Ko Pha Ngan, things were very mellow. However, the bucket drinks were still flying off the shelves. The basic ingredients are ice, Coke or Sprite, a hip-flask bottle of Sangsom or Mekong, and a small can of a Red Bull-like product. Everything gets poured onto the ice, stirred around, and punctured with a handful of straws for sharing. From my experience, the best tasting bucket is one that uses Sprite and Sangsom. Others tend to taste like cough syrup.

(4) Some individuals claim that if you don't use drugs it's difficult to have a good time at the Full Moon Party. However, I found this to be quite an exageration. Plenty of us were just drinking our buckets and hanging out, free from drugs, having a terrific experience. So, if you prefer to remain drug-free, or even alcohol-free, fear not, for you can still enjoy the madness. That being said, let yourself go and dive into a bucket or four.

(5) I really wish that I had spent more time on Ko Pha Ngan. While it seems to be suffering from a similar explosion of tourism that has plagued Ko Samui, it manages to present a unique and endearing charm. On this night, late in the evening, the clouds parted just long enough for the celebrated full moon to reveal itself. I wonder how many people actually noticed.

(6) By three in the morning, I was pretty much spent. The casual group atmosphere that I enjoyed during the early stages of the night had dissolved into a more haphazard collection of individuals spaced out in their own little worlds. Hundreds, literally hundreds, of people were passed out on the sand from too many drugs, too much alcohol, or simply not enough sleep. I killed time waiting for the 5am ferry back to Samui by watching the talented fire-twirlers, and having a good laugh at the endless parade of BDMWD - Bad Decisions Made While Drunk. I've said it once, and I'll say it again - stupid humans.

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At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its funny how we view others through our own eyes. Its so easy to cast jugdement. Happy trails man


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