I arrived in Koh Phangan on a slightly delayed ferry and met Harriet and Lauren at their accommodation, located on the ‘sunset’ side of the island, which is about a fifteen minute walk from the other side where the Full Moon Party happens.
After a nap we headed out to get dinner at Mama Schnitzel’s – a very delicious and popular restaurant at which they deep fry the schnitzels in front of you, and currently the most delicious schnitzel burgers I’ve had – before returning to our room to get ready to music. We then joined a couple of their friends at their nearby bungalow, where we chatted and had a couple of drinks on their balcony by the water before heading down to the beach and partying at a couple of bars.
The next afternoon I checked out and into my hostel on the ‘sunrise’ side of the island, where I was greeted by a friendly UK guy, Paul, who invited me across the road to the hostel’s restaurant for lunch. We then headed down to the beach to soak up the atmosphere: there was a funny ‘fashion’ show going on on a big stage, and the MC was spruiking various activities around the island and the Full Moon party the next night.
Back at the hostel we joined the American guy in our dorm room out for dinner, before meeting up with a group of lads he’d met in a different restaurant / bar. The now larger group of us eventually went down to the beach before deciding to head to the Jungle Experience via an amusing open air van ride into the jungle. The Jungle Experience was fun, despite the absurdly long queues for the bar.
The next day I lounged on the beach and then at the pool of a hotel with the American guy before returning to our hostel to get ready for the night. That night I joined Paul’s girlfriend’s hostel crew, who were all mingling at the Pirate Bar. I found that the Full Moon Party was not nearly as packed as I had been led to believe: despite it being New Year’s Eve, the busiest night of the whole year, it was easy to move around the beach and return to people you had left to go to the bathroom or get some food. I welcomed 2015 in with fireworks on the beach and amid the friendly wishes of various of the hostel crew with whom I had started the night. Unfortunately I only made it until about 2am before turning in, to find that I was the last one back in my dorm room of 10 or so: noone had made it to sunrise as hoped!
The next day I fell victim to food poisoning that I concluded came either from the kebab or pancake I had had from street vendors the night before. I expect it was the kebab, as the chicken just sits there unheated and unrefrigerated. Luckily I had a medical kit with me and after following the instructions to take the required antibiotics I felt better in only a few hours.
That afternoon I went to relax in the nearby guesthouse pool again and there met some friendly UK folk. I briefly joined them in their continuing hijinx, including for dinner (I had pizza) but quickly realised I was still recovering from my illness and not quite up to anything but rest.
The next day was overcast but I wandered around to a guesthouse perched on a cliff such that it was a bit awkward to get there. Once there I listened to my audiobook and enjoyed the views, and then went onto their empty rooftop restaurant and enjoyed the views further.
On the way to get some dinner I passed a vendor selling tickets to the ‘Sabbaba Booze Cruise:’ I had heard that this had occurred a few days before as my UK hostel friend’s girlfriend had gone on it. I had been disappointed to have missed out because I hadn’t found any information in my research about party cruises, and was still unaware how to book onto it. This vendor’s presence in the street was therefore fortuitous and I bought a ticket on the spot for the next day’s cruise, which was only the second one to have run since the first one a couple of days prior.
I then headed off to the famed pool party at Coral Bungalows. At first I had a bit of difficulty finding it – it wasn’t right in the main strip, where I was staying – but once there I was able to join people relaxing there. Part way through I realised I should return to my hostel to deposit my valuables as there was nowhere to leave anything while in the pool, so I returned with only myself, my room key around my neck and some cash. I partied at the pool with a group of South Africans. Eventually we ended up back on the beach in Haad Rin dancing to excellent cheesy music (everyone had been quite wrong about the music being like Koh Samui – this was much more my style!) before my short walk back to my hostel.
The next morning I woke up in time to have breakfast at my hostel restaurant and be given a lift on the back of the motorbike (there was no choice in this matter) to the other side of the island from where the Sabbaba cruise departed. This cruise had quite a few people on it and took part on a double storey boat with unlimited drinks and enough noodle lunch for seconds – although it was naturally stored unheated and unrefrigerated as this kind of food safety doesn’t seem to bother the Thais. Due to unfriendly wave conditions we couldn’t land at some of the included locations like the waterfall, so we spent most of the day cruising the blue seas. But we did stop at a beautiful little cove area where we all relaxed in the shallow warm water. Here we all agreed that this was the natural beauty of Koh Phangan we had expected to find! Unfortunately my photos from this day are all on another camera that I lost before uploading the photos.
After this cruise I joined some people who had been on the cruise for dinner at a Mexican restaurant on that side of the island. Unfortunately I was much too tired to do anything other than bid them farewell after eating and head back to my hostel for some much needed shuteye.
The next day was another full moon party (the New Year’s Eve one had been a bonus), but after six nights in Phangan I was comfortable telling my hostel owner that it was time to switch islands and head to Koh Tao. However, six nights had not been too long.