30,000 people. Neon everything. Uncountable levels of alcohol. 1 beach. 1 moon. 1 sunrise. 1 Full Moon Party.
This is one of, if not the biggest regular beach rave in the world, and Oh My! was it an experience!
Every month on the full moon, beaches around Asia prepare for the partygoers to decend – and none more so than Rin Nok beach in Haad Rin on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Days before this party, tourists begin to arrive from all over Thailand and Asia in general (many arriving from nearby party island – Koh Samui), filling the beach town of Haad Rin. The ratio of tourists to locals at this point seemed about 15:1, if not even more exaggerated!
On the day, you’ll see people in local shops – considering which highlighter-covered singlet or tee-shirt to wear, which accessories (neon flowered hippy-type headbands are a popular choice) and neon pain designs to cover themselves in.
I went for dots around my eyebrows and cheeks, swirls on my arms, my own floaty skirt and purple tee, and big clompy walking shoes (more about these in a future blog post)
As I was leaving my hostel to meet friends for a few drinks before heading to the beach, I got nabbed by a group of people in the dorm next to me – all admiring the paint I’d done on myself, and asking if I’d help them with theirs. 2 hours later, and I’d painted 6 different people’s legs, arms and faces (clocking up a few free beers in the process I might add!)
At 11:30 we all headed down together to the beach, where we pushed our way through the neon crowds of writhing, raving bodies, to reach an end of the beach which the others in the group wanted to visit – due to a bar at this end of the beach which somehow manages to sell mushroom milkshakes in various flavours to the partygoers. Shakes bought by half the group, the rest of us grabbed beers each and we were ready to go!
All along this large beach, stages had been popped up for people to dance on, small stands selling buckets of different types of alcoholic drinks were set up (often a small bottle of some spirit and a mixer, occasionally including a can of energy drink – costing around 250 baht – £5. A couple of these and you’re good to go, but be careful!), face painters with queues of people waiting, and the thousands of partying people were a sight to behold.
A mix of techno, trance, house, drum and base, dubstep and chart were played all along the beach by the different venues, giving a variety of music for those who (like me) get bored fairly easily with the same type of music all night.Dancing on the beach, in the sea, on the stages, in the hostels, in the 7-11, on the stages, in the bars – the atmosphere was fantastic, and nobody cared how you looked, whether you were dripping with sweat or if you had crazy lady hair (both of which were me, of course!).
Of course, with an event such as this, there are always health and safety concerns and security risks – many of which I had to tell myself to ignore and have fun, else I never would have actually had any fun for worrying constantly and looking out for both myself and others. I didn’t see anybody hurt (unless you count those passed out from alcohol and drugs, but I chose to see that as their own decision rather than a health and safety risk in the same way)
Being a somewhat sensible night out person, I’d chosen to only take with me a small under garment bum bag of sorts which carried my phone and loose money – nothing else, and so minimised security risks and my own risks of putting down an bag and forgetting about it!
Some serious dancing took place, and anybody who knows me knows that when I dance, I DANCE! Body popping, head banging, feet stamping, jumping – all of the above and more, all super energetic and exhausting, I had a fantastic time!
At 8:30am the decision was made – with the sun up and the beach strewn with countless passed out bodies and the odd still energetic dancing fans – to grab some much needed breakfast and head to bed.
An hour later I reached my down and crawled into my bed, noting (with some shame) that the others who were in the dorm had already got up and checked out – leaving me with ann empty dorm in which to sleep, and sleep I did, not waking up until 5pm that afternoon.
A quick read of the messages I’d sent to the boyfriend through the night caused some pretty amusing moments over a welcome cup of tea, a quick Facebook check and a glug of water and I was ready…to sit down and have some food! A perfect ‘after’ day ensued, comfort food of mashed potato and baked beans, a few more cups of tea and bottles of water, and a couple of movies shown on the big screen (Django and Wolf of Wall Street) – and somehow after all I’d drank, the super late night and all that dancing, I noticed that, miraculously, I’d avoided a hangover all day, getting away with just feeling tired and a little dehydrated. Needless to say a few others might’ve hated me at this point whilst they were nursing their bad stomachs or heads!
One thing that struck me about this place, is how efficient the team are for cleaning up after the party. The day after ‘hangover day’ I nipped down to the beach, and although fairly empty due to the majority of tourists having left on to the next part of their travels, the beach was beautiful once again, I didn’t see a single item of litter, the water looked clear and blue and the sand looked as though it had never had 30,000 people jumping up and own on it a mere 36 hours previous. It has to be said, the clean up crew really know what they’re doing here, and good on them! Other venues holding events such as this should really take note!
I thoroughly enjoyed the carnage that was the Full Moon Party – many people I’ve met before or since have said not to bother going – it’s touristy and over the top etc, however, I’ve also met many, many people who, like me – took it for what it was – a great big party with other travellers to really let your hair down and have a great experience. All on a beautiful beach watching the sun come up. In Thailand.
So. My advice.
I won’t give you any.
Have a go and make up your own mind 😉
Oh – and when you do, let me know what you thought!