The main reason that my friends and I went to Thailand was to attend the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan for New Year’s Eve. The girls and I were staying in Koh Samui, an island that was relatively close to Koh Pha Ngan by ferry. We booked our ferry tickets to Koh Pha Ngan two days before New Year’s Eve for 1300 baht each. This price was for VIP tickets, which allowed us to cut the queue when waiting for ferries to and from Koh Pha Ngan. Also included with the ferry ticket, was a bus transfer which would pick us up from our hotel, and drop us back at our hotel when coming home from the party.
My friends and I had all heard stories about girls getting their drinks spiked, people drowning in the ocean or falling off boats- these stories were enough to terrify us, and once I got to Thailand I had serious doubts about whether I would have fun at Full Moon Party or not.
Nevertheless, we had our hearts set on attending, and when New Year’s Eve rolled around, we got picked up at our hotel in Koh Samui. We had been told that a ‘bus’ service would be picking us up, but it was really a truck with seats at the back. We saw lots of these kinds of vehicles in Thailand, and I had been wanting to ride in one, so it was a pleasant surprise. We shared the vehicle with another group of people also going to Full Moon Party and chatted on the way there.
It was a short ride to the ferry stop, about 5 or 10 minutes. There was a crowd there already, of about 30 people in addition to us. There was a small number of Thai staff handling ferry tickets. Although we purchased VIP ferry tickets, we were given the wrong ferry tickets by the staff and had to exchange them. We then got on the first ferry going to Koh Pha Ngan.
The ferry stop to go to Koh Pha Ngan was dimly lit, with some chairs arranged for people to sit on while waiting for the ferry. We got on the ferry via a badly made, rickety bridge with gaps in it, that felt as if it would fall apart when we walked on it. The ferry ride to Koh Pha Ngan was also terrifying in its own way, as some of my friends and I were forced to sit at the back of the ferry, where there was nothing to prevent us from falling out. The ride was also fast and bumpy. We got sprayed by water many times, and the whole ride there I was holding on for my life, thinking ‘I don’t want to die yet’.
The ride was about 15 or 20 minutes and I was relieved to get off. At the pier on Koh Pha Ngan, there were members of the military standing around. We paid 100 baht for entry to the party, and the girls bought some body paint. This area of Koh Pha Ngan was heavily populated, with people who were also getting off ferries and looking around. There were small shops and countless stalls selling street food. There were also bars located around the island.
From the pier, it was a short walk to Haad Rin Beach, where the party was. From the second I got there, I was overwhelmed with the pumping music and the enormous crowd. There were empty glass alcohol bottles scattered all over the sand, which we took care not to stumble over. There were various huts scattered over Haad Rin Beach that were playing different genres of music. The girls and I quickly made our way to the EDM hut and stayed in that spot for the majority of the night.
We went to the bar nearby and got one bucket each. From memory I think it was about 200 or 300 baht for one bucket. I only recall having one bucket at the party, but getting ridiculously drunk that night, and it was the same scenario for each of my friends. Each of us had various body parts vomited on that night, while one of my friends was so drunk she vomited on her bag, her foot, swallowed her own vomit and vomited again in the shower when we got back to the hotel. Another of my friends got a bad stomachache from drinking the buckets. Our various states of drunkenness and sickness made us joke that the buckets were laced with ethanol.
Haad Rin Beach was very crowded that evening, as were the small streets of Koh Pha Ngan. Standing in one spot for the majority of the night, we were constantly getting buffeted by passers by. We came as a group of 6 girls to the party, but at some point in the night, we all got split up and A and I wandered the party by ourselves trying to find the others.
The people attending Full Moon Party were comprised mostly of European and Australian foreigners, the majority of which were rather friendly.
During one point in the night, we went to the bathroom nearby and were annoyed to find that we had to pay 20 baht each to use the toilet. When I walked in without paying, I was pulled out by the arm violently by a Thai woman and forced to pay.
After taking care of my friend A, who was in a worse-off state than I was, we decided to call it a night and go back to the pier to go home. We got lost walking around the island and somehow finally made it back to the pier in our drunken state. After getting back to the pier, it was through sheer luck that we bumped into J and S again, who were also lining up to go home. S was feeling ill from the buckets, and had lost her VIP pass to cut the line, so we were almost forced to bribe the ferry staff, but luckily she was able to sneak on.
It took us a long time to get back. There was havoc at the port, because the Thais were saying that our tickets meant that we had to go on specific boats home, and in everyone’s mangled, drugged, and drunken states, our minds couldn’t contemplate this, and many people (including us) were trying their hardest to get home as quickly as possible, and were physically pushing their way onto any boats.
Due to much protestation on our parts, we managed to make it onto a boat (that wasn’t the one we were supposed to go on), and got back to the mainland. During the ferry ride home, A slept on my shoulder, constantly murmuring about how she “wanted to go home”.
Thankfully, we all made it home in one piece, in varying states of drunkenness, bruised and battered from the party. Throughout the evening, I had had my wrist burned with a stranger’s cigarette, been kissed by a stranger and had my foot vomited on.
It was the craziest party my friends and I had ever been to in our lives, and we were glad to have survived it. I won’t be returning to Full Moon Party anytime soon (maybe never) but it was definitely an experience.