So the start of Thailands south islands and what a place to start.. the location of the famous full moon party!
When we left hoi chi ming city we knew that the other group that we had been traveling with for the past 6/7 weeks were also on there way down to koh phangan. So the plan was to get hold of them when we arrived for a catch up drink!
So when we arrived at bangkok train station to get the train down to the islands we didnt expect them all to be in the queue infront of us :) From this point onwards we knew that we had made the right decision and the next few weeks were going to be amazing.
On arriving at the port to get the boat across the sun was shining, the sea was crystal clear and also very calm. This is what i had come traveling to do.
The boat journey was 1 & 1/2 hours and made for a good excuse for the drinking to begin. A few beverages later and we had arrived at what looked like paradise. It was about 5pm and the sun was still beaming down, the beach was full of bars, stages and most importantly other backpackers.
We were here for 9days in total so had plenty of time to explore the island and enough time to just chill out on the beaches or around the pool. The hostel that our group (expect myself and james) had booked into was the best on the island, wooden huts along the beach front, massive swimming pool and 5 star service. As myself and james were still trying to keep to budget we had booked in just down the road but knew exactly where we'd be spending most of our time.
The hostel was called tommys resort and was also the location of the islands full moon party beach football tournament which ran for the 3 days leading up to the full moon party. Being english we had to be involved, there were 2 groups of 4 and then 2 semis and a final. We thought it would be easy and how wrong we were. The ball gets stuck in ruts, after one run your knackered and it seems like every other country has played it before. We played 4 games, lost 3 and drew 1, we ended bottom of the group which was embassing. We did however make a name for ourselves as we didnt take it seriuosly at all and just had a laugh, which was to everyone elses amusment!
There were 2 other things to do on the island which got recommended to us, rent out motorbikes to get across to the other side of the island to go to a bar called 'the amsterdam bar' and watch the sunset. The other was a massive pool party at coral bungalows. Both of which were a great laugh and something abit different!
The beach itself at night was transformed from a relaxing paradise to absolute carnage!
It was only low season but this didnt look like it was going to matter. There were hundreds of stools selling buckets with pretty much whatever you wanted in them. This is where the football tournament came to our advantage, one of the waiters at the hostel was also a bucket seller, Ben the bucket man. So where everyone else was paying between 300/400 baht for a bucket with the cheap local spirits in, we were getting ours with smirnoff vodka for 150baht :) as long as we brought people up to his stool, so we were just promoting it for him. After getting your buckets sorted you head down to one of the many bars blasting out tune after tune. It seemed that fire was a massive thing on the islands, there were 3 differnet types of fire going around. Tennis balls on abit of rope set alight, you have one in each hand and spin them around to make different patterns. A metal bar with a handle in the middle, the bar was set alight and also spun around and chucked in the air to make patterns. These 2 were mainly done by the thai locals who had obviously had years of practice. Then the last one was the fire skipping rope, a massive skipping rope completly set alight for anyone to try and jump over. As appealing as it looked i kept myself away from it and thankfully so, everyday while walking down the beach you would see people strapped up in bandages from getting burnt by the rope.
When the night was coming to an end and people were pairing off or falling at the first hurdle it was time for mushroom mountain. The only legal place on the island to do mushroom shakes or have a smoke. This has to be my favourite place of the whole traveling experience so far.
As you can probably tell Koh Phangan was just a party island with not a great deal of sight seeing going on, which is exactly why we all came back the following month to attend the november full moon. Which was just as eventful and definately worth it!