We arrived in Ko Phangan on the 16th of December after a few days stop off in Bangkok. We had to book our accommodation a while back because with it being a week or so before the Full Moon Party and Christmas, but the accommodation turned out to be great. We stayed in the cheaper part of the resort, but thankfully it had some more expensive bungalows, meaning that it had some great facilities: a pool, restaurant, private beach, 24 hour toasties, Del Boy-style cocktails and a good supply of banana shakes. The accommodation was also close to Haad Rin town which, although was quite touristy, still had a nice low-key feel to it with no major chains or hassle from locals into buying suits, massages, etc.
The accommodation was also perfect distance for the Haad Rin beach, where the main Full Main Party takes place. The beach was basically one big line of bars and clubs using the beach as a dance floor with each bar competing to have the loudest music and the most dangerous fire shows, including fire skipping ropes. Although, we discovered that there didn't necessarily have to be a full moon for there to be a party. There were half moon parties, shiva moon parties, no moon parties, button moon parties and maybe even an Alfie Moon party. Any excuse!
After a few days our man Hiong arrived bringing the pals in motion team up to 4 members, and convinced us that it was Spring Break '87 (baby) and time to party! Despite this, we spent most of our time relaxing by the pool or down on Leela beach by our accommodation as the resort started to get busier towards Christmas and the Full Moon party.
Even though Christmas Eve could have been any other day with the hot weather, it was obvious it was a big night when we made our way down to the Full Moon party on Haad Rin beach. The beach was full of people from all over Ko Phangan and even from the surrounding islands. However, it seemed as though some people's nights had already ended as we found one guy unconscious on the sand as soon as we had arrived. This trend seemed to increase as the night wore on, and noticing that some people had collapsed outside of the 'sleep zone', Paul and Mak decided to help the situation by dragging them to a somewhat safer location. Although some of the people in question were sometimes reluctant to be dragged, Paul and Mak are still satisfied they made a difference.
In traditional Full Moon party style we decided to paint ourselves up in UV paints for the big event and even sported the odd fluorescent sweat band to give it that much-needed 'spring break '87' feel. However, Crust went the full way and spent all day creating a custom built Santa suit with bucket and tinsel accessories. The effort paid off as it seems that all the girls love Santa!
As expected, the party was pretty crazy and lasted well into the next day, but by 8 o'clock the sun was fully up and that last shot of whisky confirmed our suspicions that it may well be time for bed.
Therefore, Christmas day was all about staying in bed to recover from the Full Moon party, although we still managed to exchange our secret Santa gifts and just about get a Christmas dinner before boxing day in the aptly-named Lazyhouse restaurant. The presents this year were a little different, especially for Paul who received some nunchucks from Santa.
In the remaining few days on Ko Phangan we did lots more relaxing by the pool and said our goodbyes to Hiongy who left for Malaysia.
Due to the lack of available cheap flights we decided to head over to Ko Samui, a nearby island, to wait for some better priced flights to Bangkok. Some fellow travellers had recommended Chewang as a good place in Ko Samui, so we sorted ourselves out with some accomodation and took the boat over. Chewang reminded us of Ko Chang and Ko Samet in that it was very touristy and was full of Thai wives hanging off old expats. However, it proved to be a great place for New Years Eve with it's expanse of bars and clubs to bring in the new year with a vodka and a cigar (and a megaphone).
After a few days, including a recovery day, we decided to check out some more of the island and went to a quiet place called Maenam on the north coast. Maenam was much smaller than we expacted and proved to be almost too quiet with the beach as the only entertainment. However, as usual, we seemed to be doomed by bad weather and got bored of the rain very quickly.
Therefore, we made a decision to head back to the exact same place on Ko Phangan where we had spent Christmas. Then, as soon as we arrived, the sun came out! So, it was on with the shorts and in the pool followed swiftly by a banana shake.
Attempting to sort out our flights again, we discovered that the earliest flight from Hong Kong to London would be the 22nd of January. So, not wanting to spend more than a week in Hong Kong, we all agreed to spend more time in the pool drinking banana shakes in Ko Phangan. Dam!
After topping up the tans in Ko Phangan, it was a flight up to Bangkok for a couple of days to fill our new suitcases with fake designer goods ready to catch a flight to Hong Kong and start the search for cheap electronics. See you there!