We were going to Koh Phangan for one reason and one reason only, the Half Moon Party and we were going to have it LARGE, well maybe MEDIUM. The ferry from Samui to Phangan took about 20 minutes, we barely had time to get comfortable, and after another mix up with the transfer, we arrived at the hotel. We were pretty isolated and it felt just what we needed after the chaos of Samui. The hotel had its own small private beach, which led to the cloudy water in milky bay. An abundance of harmless jelly fish drifted, feeding on the microscopic organisms, sounds much worse than it was in reality. In fact I quite enjoyed tickling the dome of any that brushed by me. I always thought that jellyfish lacked sentience, however they definitely did their best to avoid us where possible or if they did bump into us, they'd propel themselves away quickly .
The sand was just a couple of metres
wide and maybe 30 metres long but nonetheless it was picturesque and directly in front of us we could see Samui.
The Half Moon Party was on our first night and after lunch we got some sleep in the bank (as oldies must). We shared our ride to the party with a group from India and we were all getting into the party vibe. We arrived at the remote jungle location and all we could see was a ramshackle bar selling drink buckets and luminescent paint, so we bought a drink bucket (half a litre of local rum and 2 cans of lemonade) and some paint, thank you very much. We painted our faces, arms, back, anywhere that our skin was on show, then swapped colours with the other guys, and added a bit more. By the time we'd finished the 'artwork' we looked like an explosion in a clown factory.
Once inside and the music pulsated in our chests. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun. Thousands of people either with fluorescent paint or clothes or both, moving to the tunes.
Some danced hard like they were in an advanced boxercise class and others were slow-motion running on the spot with their hands in the air, ah, the art of dance.
There were the odd few who were off their face, either too much booze or 'something' and who gurned and hopped foot to foot like shaved apes to a completely different tune to everyone else.
We found ourselves a spot near the centre and had a great time of it, we were so into the music and we chatted to a few different people and just took in as much as we could. And believe it or not, we only drank water for the rest of the night. I wasn't really into the dance scene so have few experiences to compare it to, Jan on the other hand was in to it massively and reckons it was as good as any other she'd been to. The effects of the half moon were long lasting, we were finding body paint on us for 5 days afterwards.
The day after the half moon was low key due to tiredness but seeing the guys from last night in the restaurant with hangovers made us feel very happy about our decision to stay sober.
We were desperate to find something of paradise here in Phangan, there were few signs of it in our immediate area. In the north of the island lies Chowlok Lam beach and it looks like paradise. Endless white sand, softly lapping, crystal clear water and barely another soul on it. We had the whole day, dipping in and out of the warm sea and lazing on the powdered sand. Occasionally, a long-tailed boat would come ashore carry a group of divers who got swiftly loaded into a waiting van and whisked away before they spoilt the ambience.
The sea, though clear, had very little evident life, a few blue crabs, a handful of white fish. But probably the highlight of the day was finding an octopus. The tiny cephalopod was holed up in a makeshift shelter of 3 shells. The largest shell at the bottom and it clung on to two smaller shells either side of its eyes like a pair of earmuffs. We watched it for ages as it changed colour and texture to convince us that there was 'nothing to see here'. Eventually, it made a break for deeper water and it cautiously crawled across the seabed, mimicking a leaf as a cunning disguise.
Phangan was fairly close to what we were expecting, touristy in places and stunningly beautiful in others. The people are naturally all about the tourism and as such we met few that were just interested in talking to us without a prospect of a sale.
Onward to our last destination, Phuket.