Koh Pha Ngan – The Island that never sleeps

Koh Pha Ngan Full Moon Parties

Famous for its monthly full moon parties, Koh Pha Ngan is an island with a big reputation.  But the full moon party isn’t the island’s only celebration; There’s also the Jungle Experience parties, Half Moon parties and Black Moon Culture parties that occur as often as the Full Moon.  So whenever your travel schedule allows a stop in Koh Pha Ngan, don’t worry about missing out on the fun, because it never ends.

My travel buddy and I were set on attending the Full Moon party, and arranged our travels accordingly.  We arrived in Koh Pha Ngan two days before the Full Moon, but the party had already begun.  Odds are, when thousands of young adults flock to the same island a few days before a huge party, they aren’t going to sit patiently and knit until the main event.  Haad Rin beach was bumping a week before the Full Moon and everyone was there to have a good time.

Our little Bungalow

Being the last minute girls we are, we waited until a few days before the Full Moon to look for hotels.  The ideal location to stay is right on Haad Rin beach because that’s where the full moon party takes place.  Because we booked so late, we ended up in Haad Yao, which is a 20 minute scooter ride from Haad Rin.  Our bungalow was nice and only 10 Canadian dollars a day, so there was positive aspects to staying far away, but it would have been more convenient to say on Haad Rin beach.

Here are some Tips to surviving your Full Moon experience:

1. Wear closed toe shoes or sneakers

The amount of broken bottles, shards of glass and other dangerous things hidden is the sand is reason enough to slip on some sneakers.  Close toed shoes also protect your toes from getting trampled in the hordes of drunken partyers.

2. Opt for a Disposable Camera instead of your digital

Unless you’re super careful, a disposable camera is a better option than your expensive digital one that costs a fortune.  The mere concentration of bodies will swallow up any stray electronics; one slip up and you can kiss your Canon PowerShot SX240 goodbye.

3.  Be careful when napping in the designated sleeping areas

The designated sleeping areas come in handy and my friend and I definitely took advantage of them.  But anyone who’s falling asleep in front of a group of intoxicated individuals can warn you it’s not the best idea.  A beach party crowded with thousands of strangers holds more dangers than usual, although the risk of drawn on facial hair is still present.Try taking sleeping shifts with a friend, or drinking some red bull and skipping the nap all together.  If napping is the only option, make sure you tuck your cash in a special place, like the bottom of your shoe.

4. Keep your room key in a safe place

Whether it’s tide around your neck like a necklace, secured safely in a zip tight pocket, or worn around your wrist, keep your room key safe!  This might go without saying but nobody enjoys being locked out of their hotel room, and nothing’s worse than being left stranded because your drunk friend lost the room key.  Keep it safe, keep it close and keep it with YOU!

5. Know the name of your hotel

This one might seem a bit obvious… But you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that didn’t know where they were staying.  This one guy had been knocked out and woke up with no wallet, no room key and no more cash.  He had lost all his friends had no idea where he was staying.  His ankle was swollen and he’d forgotten how that had happened… As bad as I felt for the guy, I also felt his situation was extremely avoidable.  As carefree as traveling can be, it’s important to know a few things to keep you safe.  Being clueless and unaware about where you are staying can be dangerous.

6.  Think twice before engaging in activities involving fire

It might seem exciting, but fire jump ropes aren’t like regular jump ropes.  They are on fire.  If it hits your arm, it will burn you.  First consider the fact that you’ve been drinking; will this effect your athletic abilities?  Also, do you have any athletic abilities to begin with?  Consider the answers to these questions before engaging in any fire rope jumping, unless you are looking for a story to tell the grandchildren and a scar to go with it.

7. If you’ve never driven a scooter before, the best time to learn is not on the your journey back from the Full Moon

This one doesn’t require much explanation… basically some lessons people should learn through experience. This really isn’t one of them.  No one needs to carry the burden of knowing they crashed into a pole while driving a scooter.  It’s just embarrassing.

About Carmen


Inspired by her adventurous friend Veronica, Carmen decided to skip summer semester and explore the world outside her school's boundaries. From backpacking up the East Coast of Australia to trekking through Borneo's lush rainforest, follow Carmen as she makes discoveries about life that can't be taught in school.

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