Ever had that horrible feeling that you’re “past it”? Let me explain…
It was the summer of 2011. Myself and six mates were approaching the end of a two week holiday in the Majorcan party town of Magaluf and quite frankly, we’d had enough.
We’d been on a number of similar holidays in previous years to similar destinations such as Malia and Ayia Napa and returned home sulking for the next two weeks because we missed it so much. There was something different about Magaluf and by the end, we’d reluctantly admitted that we couldn’t handle this type of holiday and that this would probably be the final holiday of its type.
The Full Moon Party
Fast forward three years. The year is 2014 and the destination is the Thai Island of Koh Phangan but more specifically; Haad Rin – home to the world famous full moon party.
Now I may be showing a bit of cultural ignorance here but from what I gather, the full moon party started off with a group of hippies (for want of a better term!) gathering on the beach, taking a load of mushrooms, smoking lots of weed and celebrating the arrival of the full moon. Perhaps don’t take that as gospel, as my “knowledge” is based purely on hearsay.
Nowadays, however, it is slightly different. Each month, thousands upon thousands of tourists descend onto the island, sleep in until 2pm daily, live off full English breakfasts and burgers before heading to the beach to drink numerous buckets of alcohol/paint stripper and mixer.
Ok, maybe that was a slight exaggeration. Obviously not ALL tourists do this, but there were more than enough to justify the Magaluf comparison!
Grumpy Old Man
I feel at this point it’s important to point out that I had an awesome time during our five nights on the island and in no way am I complaining about the full moon party. It’s something I would recommend that everyone who enjoys a drink and a party. It’s just a shame my body can’t keep up anymore, as I was absolutely wiped out by the end of it! Just to clarify: I’m 24 years young.
I’m the first to admit that deep down I’m a grumpy old man in a young person’s body, and Koh Phangan did nothing to suggest that this statement is incorrect. As well as the aforementioned burnout after five nights, there were a number of things that the 20 year old Jack wouldn’t have been bothered by that bothered me this time around.
Firstly, the constant harassment by people trying to flog us buckets, taxis or just about anything else they could sell. Back in the day, I’d have been more than happy to hear what they had to say and maybe had a bit of fun with them trying to barter and whatnot. These days, I find myself living with the rule: “if I want it – I’ll seek it”. Have you ever impulse bought a taxi ride? Didn’t think so.
Secondly, seeing people boozing on the beach 24 hours a day had me tutting and muttering stuff under my breath like “they won’t last the night”. Yes, really. When did I turn into a responsible adult who is actually bothered by anyone’s drinking habits but my own? I can only assume the heat is getting to me.
I’ve saved the best/worst for last, however. If you’ve been following this blog you’ll see that I’ve become something of a fan of the local Muay Thai fights. As you may expect, the local fight clubs on Koh Phangan take advantage of the monthly influx of boozed up foreigners by organising numerous fights around the time of the full moon party.
Fair enough; I don’t blame them. What I do mind though, is the bloke who is paid to drive a van round Haad Rin all day playing a recorded message advertising the upcoming fights. Our hostel was in such a position that he drove past around every 10 minutes from early morning until late afternoon.
Did I mention that the advert is rounded off nicely with the riff from Europe’s “The Final Countdown”? Imagine waking up to that then hearing it every 10 minutes until you drag yourself out of the room and away from the route of the van. I’ve posted a link to the song below – you can thank me later when it’s been lodged in your head for hours. Honestly; the pleasure is all mine.
A Couple Of Mishaps…
When people think of the full moon party, they often associate it with loads of people having a rave wearing a daft amount of neon paint all over their bodies. I can confirm this is an accurate assumption.
The neon clothing I had bought for the party was yellow and blue so when the time came to neon paint myself up I tried to use quite a lot of these colours. The first idea I had was to do some standard sort of war paint on my face and I asked Reid to do the honours.
Once we got onto the beach later that night I had multiple Russians approach me in a fairly hostile manner. It was only when an English fella asked me if I was Ukrainian that I realised…my war paint was essentially the Ukrainian flag all over my face! Jack Oldham: maintaining international relations since 2014. If the time ever comes for me to cover myself in neon paint again, I’ll be sure to know my flags.
It was also around this time I realised the importance of having your wits about you at the full moon party. It’s really easy to let your guard down and the buckets tend to be strong enough to loosen anybody up.
Whilst walking along the beach a woman who looked no younger than 60 grabbed my hand and dragged me towards her. I was instantly suspicious but went with the flow. She proceeded to (very unsubtly) put her hands in both my pockets and dig around. Luckily I had left my phone and wallet at the hostel, but I dare say some people won’t have been as lucky.
Despite the tone of this post, there were plenty of awesome things about the full moon party and I would recommend it to anyone – but you wouldn’t want to read about that…would you?