Koh Phangan: Pharty-ngan!
Koh Phangan has one thing it’s known for… – The FULL MOON Party. It’s a M_A_S_S_I_V_E night out, so big that it has world-wide acclamation & people actually travel half the globe just for this one night of mayhem. The party is held on the beach at Haad Rai & is attended by 8-10,000 people every month. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Nicky & I could only make a HALF-MOON which is slightly smaller in terms of numbers (about 4-6000) but certainly NOT half the fun! The venue is in the middle of a dense jungle in the uninhabited centre of the island instead of the beach. We arrived with bated breath & having stayed in the lesser areas in Tao & Samui we headed straight for the action in Haad Rin with party hats at the ready. & action we got!! C#rrr;:A!?!zz-Yy nights & l–a–z–y days all round!!
CRAZY nights: The Parties
- On our first night in Koh Phangan our bungalow complex, Coral Bungalows, had a pool party. These pool parties are infamous in the area & it dragged in a decent number of people from neighbouring establishments. Alcohol & swimming again… I had flashbacks of tubing in Laos!! But it was a good fun night, diving in off the pool edge & chicken fights rampant in the water. A quick respite on the pool’s bar stools with another bucket & the night was on it’s way out.
- Next up was the big one. The half moon party… ie body paint & buckets of alcohol galore!! We managed to team up with a group of Welsh & English lads who were on a bender after graduating so that made the night all the more fun & chaotic again! The drinking games were circulating faster than the rules & buckets of alcohol were knocked back at an alarming pace. After ‘reasonable’ consumption at our bungalows we jumped in a taxi & headed into the middle of the jungle for the party. I could not have envisaged the enormity. In the middle of the jungle was a HUGE set, on a par with any music festival I’ve ever seen, blaring awesome tunes ’til the sun rose. LOADS of people, LOADS of booze, continuous loud music, flourescent paint. A good night was had by all.
- Detox expected the next day, we met up with everyone at the pool table in our bungalow complex… & cracked on with drinking more beer!! Oh the pain. A shot of vodka for anyone who dared to play a game of pool & lost, & my apparent good form at the start of the day went downhill as more beer was consumed! & soon enough we were dancing & drinking & swimming & diving all over again.
LAZY days: The Beaches
We once again returned to our trusted friend the moped & headed down another coastal road in search of good beaches. Map in hand, we stopped off at different beaches all the way along the west coast of the island, finishing up on the very north west corner after leaving Haad Rin on the southern tip.
- The first beach we stopped at was Nai Wong beach. It was a quiet little beach with an island about a kilometre away from its shores. Palm trees jutted out sideways all along the grass-beach front, providing splendid seating. The shallow waters extended out & it was several hundred metres before swimming was necessary. But it wasn’t dramatic enough for us & we had a lot more to see so we hit the road after 30 minutes or so & carried on north…
- … to Haad Salad. A quaint little bay (Haad means bay in fact) enclosed by a rocky outlet at either end & shallow waters to bask in. Again, you could actually walk out a good 500m without getting your chest wet… but Nicky & I just played around a comfortable 20m from our towels. An hour passed & after exhausting our american football we left Salad, heading further north in search of an even more beautiful bay.
- Sure enough, within 15 minutes we were on Mae Naam Haad on the north-western tip of Koh Phangan. The bay was closed off on either end by a cliff jutting out into the sea & an island linked to the coast by a sand bar on the other end. We ventured out with our snorkelling gear for a peek beneath the waves & saw a stingray!! It wasn’t very large, probably the size of a dinner plate + his tail but still cool to see. It was quite rough out as the wind had picked up quite significantly, but the calming sights below us seemed unphased by the turbulent waves. Coral covered the seabed with colourful fish ambling around everywhere in stark contrast to the surrounding waters.
After laying out for a bit we headed back to Haad Rin stopping off at ‘Fisherman’s Restaurant’ for dinner… in a boat. The restaurant was looking out onto the harbour, all the small fishing boats bobbing about as we ate at our table-in-a-boat, with dim lighting & a candle. Great curry. Great setting. Great view.