Chaotic as our arrival was, we made it to the island ready for it all. About 12 miles x 10 miles, the small primitive island of Pha Ngan is a Mecca for bohemian travelers bedecked with amulets and beads, looking for budget accommodations. Rattan huts sit on idyllic isolated beaches for mere dollars a night. The island is much less developed than most. There is little to do during the day except hike through tropical jungles to secluded waterfalls, relax on the beach or rent a motorcycle and tour the island. Aside from the Full Moon Party, the night life remains limited to hut-like bars and video movie nights at many of the restaurants. The island is mainly undeveloped.
Charm Beach, #435, was to be home for the next 3 days. We decided to sleep through the rains and try our luck at midnight, when the first official night of the festival begins. We pre-arranged a wake up call with Ton at midnight. A knock at the door brought Ton like the three wisemen bearing gifts: grilled egg and cheese sandwiches, bottles of water, beer for each of us, and good news. "You are in luck. The rains have passed – look, look". No more typhoon". The rain was gone and the stars were out. It was a thanksgiving miracle; the full moon party is on.
Here is a little history. The Moon Parties are a series of parties following the lunar cycle created by a bunch of crazy hippies in the 60's who did lots of drugs and ran naked and dancing out onto the beach. That's the gist of it. Along with the Hippies, the ceremony moved its way along the Asian trail from India into Thailand. Every Full Moon the Island of Phangan holds a full moon festival. People from all over show up for the largest beach party in the world: Europe, Norway, Canada, Australia. Night clubs and bars blast their music, torches and bon-fires are lit, people are dancing everywhere...including in the water....and nothing closes until 10am the next day. Here is a little history.
The origin of Pha Ngan’s first official full scale party (as we know of it today) is not all together clear. Depending on who you ask they started anywhere between 1983 and 1987. The first Full Moon Party was improvised at a wooden disco not far from the beach and was nothing more than to give thanks to about 20-30 travelers who happened to stay in the island. What remains fairly constant in the story is that travelers and backpackers staying on Koh Pha Ngan came to the conclusion that Haad Rin Beach was very probably the best place in the world to experience a full-moon. Crescent shaped, shrouded by high cliffs and fringed by feathery palms, the 2 mile stretch of beach became the "it” spot.
These parties continued on a low-key basis for a couple of decades; just a group of friends getting together on a regular basis to celebrate. However, as it does, word spread. Friends of friends began to turn up, then friends of friends of friends. … and then of course the rest is history. Although the parties became a bit notorious (the drugs scene in the early days) they got bigger and became more sophisticated. Rather than a crowd of people huddled around a tape deck operated by a car battery, in came sound systems, and then DJs. Some of the world's best DJs now descend on Koh Pha Ngan to spin house, hip-hop, trance and techno to the masses. With parties now bringing in regular crowds of 5,000 to 12,000 people at a time, the Full Moon Party is now a globally recognized event reaching new levels. Evolution has made them better organized, better publicized and much safer. The party carries on until the sun rises the next day. The modern event has become a part of the itinerary of many travelers to Asia. It is characterized by unruly and potentially dangerous attractions such as fire skipping ropes, wildly variable alcohol strength 'buckets, and a drug culture. It is indeed seen by many as the "ultimate party experience" (Lonely Planet),
BEST TIME EVER!.