Full Moon Madness
After spending five days in Koh Phi Phi for New Year’s, we were all pretty dead. However, we were still not yet ready to let go of the island life. We almost immediately booked another trip to a different island called Koh Pha Ngan or Koh Phangan. We had about two weeks to kill before leaving for our next island adventure there. This was perfect because two of our friends from college were traveling around Thailand for a month and came to visit during that time. They stayed with us at our town house for a week or so and we spent some time going out and exploring Bangkok with them, showing them around our little town and introducing them to our students (it was so cute). This was a lot of fun and it was awesome having friends from home visit for the first time. We didn’t want them to leave but lucky for us, it wasn’t long before we saw them again at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan!
Koh Phangan hosts the infamous Full Moon Party which happen every full moon (again, obviously Liv) and we felt the need to experience one before leaving Thailand and boy am I glad that we did. The first one of the New Year was on January 12th, which also just so happened to be the exact time my oldest sister was coming to visit! We were also planning on meeting the same friends I mentioned above there along with a few other friends who just so happened to be traveling around Thailand at that time as well! We surprised our sister with a trip to the first full moon party of the year. She had been asking about the full moon party for months before coming but we told her that all celebrations were cancelled out of respect for the King’s passing. She believed us and when she arrived we told her about the surprise and she was stoked! However, she topped our surprise and surprised us with our little sister! My jaw was permanently dropped for about five minutes in the BKK airport when I saw her cute little face pop out from behind Madison and I think Jill cried she was so happy (Jill is a very emotional person). They were only staying for about ten days so we had a lot to jam pack into that short time frame. We (Abby, Jill, and I) requested two days off of school in order to go to Koh Phangan with my sisters and meet our friends. We had a very early 6am flight to Surat Thani on the day of the full moon party so we had to wake up around 3:30am in order to catch our flight. Again, we were super late to our flight and luckily caught it just in time for boarding. We were meeting one of our best guy friends from home there. He had just finished his birthright trip in Jerusalem and decided to extend his trip and visit us and travel around Thailand. From Surat Thani we took an hour bus to our ferry. The ferry was very nice and speedy. It took us about an hour to get from the pier to Koh Phangan. We had a total of five days to spend in Koh Phangan with them and it was perfect. We made the mistake of booking all four nights ahead of time at this REALLY shitty hostel called FUBAR..if you’re ever in Koh Phangan, DO NOT STAY THERE. We weren’t trying to book in advance but with an event like the Full Moon Party and it being the first one of the New Year, it was somewhat necessary, especially if you plan to go with a big group like we did. Most of the hostels we researched for that specific weekend made it so that we had to book them for a certain number of nights. In this situation, all the good hostels had a five night minimum stay, which we couldn’t do because we had to get back to Samut Prakan by Tuesday for work. FUBAR was the only hostel close to the action that could accommodate all of us, and it was on the cheaper side. It had no running water, the power kept going in and out, and the music (weird techno music I might add) stayed on until 10 the next morning. It was smelly and grungy in there and all of us hated it. The only perk to it was how close it was to the beach parties. We decided that we would stay there for the one night of the party (the only way we could dignify sleeping in that place was by passing out drunk so when we woke the next day we could get the fuck out of there) and then move to a nicer place the next day and see where the island takes us for the remainder of our trip. We figured that we’d go back to FUBAR later and try to get our money refunded. We never did because the manager was always conveniently “not in” any time anyone tried to go back. It was annoying and probably the only way this specific hostel makes any money but in the end we each lost $40 each but we weren’t too upset about it because it’s not a crazy amount of money. We definitely learned our lesson from booking in advance but like I said before, in certain situations, like ours, there really isn’t a choice due to all the restrictions. I’ve come to learn that there will always be somewhere to stay so it’s not super necessary to book in advance in most circumstances.
The Full Moon Party was insane. It was a lot like New Year’s in Koh Phi Phi-lots of fire dancers/shows, limbo, free shots, body/face painting, and water slides-just pure madness. We all stayed up until the next day, only sleeping for a few hours. I was incredibly hungover, I could barely eat. There were ten of us total, but only six of us had been staying at FUBAR. We all decided that we would ball out and move to the nicer side of the island and find a resort to stay at for a night or two. First we decided to rent motorbikes for the next two days to get around the island more easily. At first thought, the motorbikes seemed like a great idea, but once we got them they gave me the worst anxiety. It was only 250 baht a day to rent, super cheap. We rented four of them; two people got their own while the other four shared two. I was originally going to drive me and Abby, but after testing it out I felt uncomfortable being responsible for Abby’s safety and decided not to drive. Jill drove Abby and herself, my oldest sister, Madison, drove me; my younger sister, Sydney, and our friend, Mitch drove alone. Our other four friends shared two motorbikes as well. We had a crew. The first day we drove around exploring the island was amazing. The weather was perfect. The view of the endless ocean from the top of the mountains was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the back of the bike because I was able to take it all in without having to pay attention to the road and at night it was even better because I could look up and see all the glowing stars. We explored the island with our friends all day and by night fall stopped at a cute restaurant right on the beach to grab dinner. It was our last night with two of our college friends as they were off on their next adventure somewhere else in Thailand. We said goodbye to them, googled some resorts close by and off the six of us went. The trek to getting to the resort we chose was unreal. The road we were supposed to drive up looked like a landslide had struck it. Turns out, it was just a dirt road that they hadn’t yet paved. It was a straight up mountain with huge ruts and rocks jutting out. The only reason we decided to drive up it was because we saw a car coming down it (and honestly in Thailand nothing driving-wise is illegal and sketchy is somewhat normal). Once we got to the top of the road, safe and sound, our hotel was only a two minute drive away. Our hotel was everything compared to FUBAR. We got two rooms with two queen beds in each and split three and three in a room. The beds we so comfy and clean, the showers worked, we had air conditioning, the pool was beautiful, it was right on the beach and close to the cutest beach restaurants, and the most important thing it had was the COMPLEMENTARY AMERICAN BREAKFAST!!! The breakfast was the best breakfast I’ve had here yet, it actually tasted like home, so delicious. After breakfast the next day, we checked out and left our bags at the front desk unsure about staying another night there or not but regardless we’d be back to grab our bags to decide later that night. We met up with our friends and explored two waterfalls and a private beach. For sunset we all went to this amazing place called Amsterdam Bar. It was the highest peak in Koh Phangan with an incredible view. The place was packed. Luckily we managed to get a table and some cushions to sit on. They had some pretty big joints for 200 baht that everyone was smoking. We all drank a few beers while watching the sunset over the ocean. It felt like something out of a movie, just couldn’t believe I was with most of my sisters and best friends up in the clouds watching a gorgeous sunset over the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. After that we decided that we would stay another night at the resort (I think we all secretly agreed just to eat the breakfast one more time..well I hope that was everyone else’s reason too or else I’m sounding like a real fatty right now). We checked out by 11 the next morning and off we went exploring again. We had to leave the following morning so we went back to the party side of the island for the last day/night where our friends had their hostel and where we had to return our motorbikes. We found a new hostel that had individual bungalows and stayed in one that had six bunk beds in it which was perfect for all of us. We grabbed dinner on the beach which took hours (incredibly poor service and it was expensive) and then went to hang out and drink with our friends at their hostel across the street. This was our last time seeing them for two months because they are moving to Australia to work for a year but we’ll be visiting them there in the beginning of March for about a week before heading home! The journey home was interesting. The roundtrip ferry tickets that we had purchased before coming to Koh Phangan put us on a different ferry than we had taken to Koh Phangan. It was huge and SO slow and it took us to a different pier that where we got on. From there we had to take a two bus to the Surat Thani airport which all took way too long. Luckily we had some time to kill before our 4pm flight back to Bangkok. After that disaster, it was pretty much smooth sailing getting home. Once we got back Monday night, we had to work the rest of the week so we sent our sister’s to one of our favorite places, Koh Samet, since it was close and beautiful. They loved it and I was super jealous we couldn’t join them but I was happy that they were exploring on their own and enjoying themselves!