Day 6. The day of the Full Moon Party. We were both pretty excited about it but still had to get packed and over to the other island somehow. Check out was at 12 so of course we left as late as we could, but soon found out the ferry over to Phangan was at 12.30pm from Mae Nam pier which was closest and 1pm from Big Buddha pier which was a songtaew ride away. We decided to try and get the early one and walk the 1km to it. Of course it had to be the best weather we'd had since arriving on Samui so with the rucksacks on was sweaty work. After a while on the road we asked directions and they told us it was 2 hours back the way we came, then another said it was a fair way ahead. We consulted the map and it really should have been behind the hotel we were stood outside, but there was no road round to it, only dead ends. We decided, though really close, to just get the songtaew to Big Buddha though we'd be cutting it fine for this one too. Eventually we got there 5mins early, got our 200 baht tickets and set out on the packed ferry, with a hundred or so partygoers. We arrived at Haad Rin ferry port after an hour or so, into the heart of Full Moon Party central. There were neon T-shirts and glow sticks on sale everywhere. We grabbed some lunch then songtaew to our hostel Echo Beach Backpackers in Baan Tai. The journey was really bumpy as it turns out Phangan is really hilly, though the coastline looked incredibly beautiful - the images of Thailand we'd had before setting off. The hostel was set on the islands main ring road, with few restaurants and another backpackers opposite, but behind was its own private palm tree lined beach. As it was the Full Moon Party this was going to be one of the most expensive hostels we'd stayed in in SE Asia, and our 8 bed dorm meant we were in bunks pushed all together with a curtain in between. Very cozy. To prep for the party I decided to take an afternoon nap. I'm so not used to this all night partying anymore at the grand old age of 25 :P
Once nap time was over we headed out for food whilst the hostel was buzzing with people getting ready. We stumbled upon The White Rabbit bar which was complete with squashy floor pillows (much like the dog from Never Ending Story) and cool music. Had a cocktail and some Thai food with Tom, one of the guys from the hostel, then we all headed back to get showered and ready. The bar downstairs was packed and once I'd finished I headed down to find Mike covered in glow paint. Someone was definitely getting into the party spirit :P Got some stars, flowers and a neon handprint on my arms. Definitely needed more neon though so we decided we would get some T shirts once at the party. We got the songtaew around 9.30pm into Haad Rin, with me riding in the front VIP style with a/c and Mike standing hanging off the back of the truck, holding on with one hand and drinking a beer with the other. We got there in one piece and swiftly got our first bucket of rum and coke. Literally 1:2 rum to coke ratio, was really strong. We bought our entry wristbands for a bargain 100baht, and walked out onto the beach. It looked amazing - huge signs in fire saying "Welcome to Thailand" and huge stages built out of the shop fronts, and dozens of food and 'bucket' stalls. The beach was a mass of neon with glow paint everywhere and brilliant lighting. We headed off briefly to buy our Tshirts, then back to the beach for party time and another bucket of rum :D Most of the night was pretty much a blur for me, and I do recall having too very long naps and waking up at one point covered in sand with Mike looking on (Mike: these two long naps totalled an hour and a half! I got bored and started chatting to a nearby drunk Irish guy for most of that time). After that point we strolled down the beach to find some better music and stayed dancing on the beach til 4am. After finding our way back in a taxi, turned out we were one of the first to get back in our dorm, with others coming between 5 and 7am. Was shattered but was still an awesome night. After hearing all the negative stories about the party we were really impressed. Best party I've ever been to. Maybe next time (if we're here again) would go to Guy's Bar for the party on the other beach, but for now only good memories of this one.
Got up at midday craving a sausage sandwich. Once breakfasted we headed to the private beach for a swim. Was incredibly beautiful - still, clear waters, blazing sun, palm trees on the beach and little wooden fishing boats strewn around. Paradise. If we weren't so hungover, would have been brilliant, but after a while the heat got to me and I had to go back to bed, leaving Mike down in the bar area. Eventually I got up and we tried to find somewhere to eat. After wandering around for ages, we decided on a drink back at White Rabbit, then to the Fisherman's Restaurant next to the hostel. Turns out they didn't only serve fish like we thought, but we decided to order the tempura fish (barramundi), Penang curry for me, and Pad Thai for Mike. Was lush, especially the fish. Freshest we've probably had as its all caught on the day. Lush. Who knew a few months ago we'd be actually choosing fish voluntarily :) Back home for a quiet night of Where's Wally on the iPhone then a relatively early night, bed at 11.
Up and out at 10am. We headed straight to Thong Sala where the ferries to the mainland go from. First quote was 700baht (£14) to the airport, whereas we got from the airport to Samui for only 350. We took the slightly slower ferry for 490baht which left at 1pm so we dragged out a long breakfast before the 2hour ferry, then a 2hour bus. Once in Surat Thani we had to swap over to a mini bus to the airport. At this point I lost the ticket, so after a fraught 5minutes they finally let us back on the bus. Phew! A short wait at the airport watching Fast and Furious 5 and eating the measliest chicken burger ever, we boarded the flight north to Bangkok. Farewell tropical paradise islands.