Another year has dawned but the excitement still lives on. My first Full Moon Party experience was nothing but exceptional that I felt like I needed to go again. So I did, with a good friend of mine because all you need for this trip is the perfect companion! In case you didn’t know, most hotels (especially the ones next to the beach) tend to double or triple up the rates on FMP week. Simply because people will still book the rooms anyway. We could have splurged on accommodation but we thought of trying something we’ve never done before – live in a hostel! So why not take it to the extremes, a 25-bed mixed dormitory room? Challenge accepted.
The thought of sleeping with 24 other strangers was a little bit daunting at first but being someone who’s quirky and pretty extrovert has a lot of advantages. I knew I could survive… so bring it on!
Writing about Koh Phangan and the FMP experience will be redundant since I’ve already done that in my previous post but I will add a bit along the way. So this time I will focus more on my experience living in the dorm; what to expect, what happened and basically the bittersweet experience I gained throughout my stay.
All I can conclude is, you need to stay at a party hostel at least once while you’re still young!
The bed we booked was dirt cheap (3 or 4 times cheaper than a private room). We only paid 1500 baht each for a total of 3 nights, thus I can’t complain much and dirt cheap means poor or at least average service which is fair enough. I like to read reviews before making any booking but I couldn’t find much information on this place and most of the existing ones are either neutral or negative reviews. Also, I was left with a very limited options since we booked this trip pretty last minute and most places were sold out by then. We both agreed if the first night was disastrous, we would move to another place.
The hostel is strategically located, far enough from the noise but close enough to walk to the beach. It’s a bit hidden from the main street so you need to ask around but fret not, everyone seems to know this place. We checked in and went into a cave, or so I thought because the room was pitch black and dead quiet (good news – means better sleep this time around).
I loved the hostel. I loved the fact that the bed was comfortable enough for me. The room is spacious, homey but lack of natural lights.Don’t expect much from this place as it only has the very basic facilities; bed, shower and locker. Everything else is within reach, there’s 7-eleven, mini marts, atm and restaurants down the road so it’s all good. This hostel has a few private rooms as well.
Overall, it was a pleasant stay for me and I loved how amazing those 24 other people that were staying in the room – how fun, exciting and crazy they are! I loved how I’ve made friends with people from all over the world.
Pre Full Moon Party 2.0
By the time we reached the island, we’ve spent almost 10 hours of travelling – waiting time included. Pretty much deadbeat by then but it didn’t stop anyone from warming up on the binge drinking. That’s why I dubbed Koh Phangan as the island that never sleeps because life is too short for that – so go hard or go home.
The energy was crazy, as crazy as the FMP night itself but everyone was trying not to get too hammered because it would only give them a little time to recover. Drinks are cheap and street snacks are amazing. There’s always something to munch on your way to the beach and back.
Full Moon Party 2.0
Warmed up and well rested, ready for the big night. Always start your day slow so you can last longer through the night. Everything looked so familiar, from the atmosphere on the street, the crazy vibe spread by revellers, vendors selling buckets of drinks and food, lights and flashy body paints flooding the beach. I was immediately brought back to my first FMP experience.
Started off the night by taking turns painting each other’s bodies. I like how the change in mood was immediately noticeable, as the island was gearing up for the approaching of the FMP event. This year, I survived until 7am (without any substance of course) because I started late and went really slow throughout the night. I witnessed the sunrise and how some revellers slowly sobered up. Don’t forget to grab your breakfast before you doze off though.
Well, I thought I could share a few more tips I gained from my recent trip.
5 (extra) Ways to Survive the Infamous Full Moon Party
- Buy drinks further away from the beach. Why? Because you can bargain your way through it and because I can guarantee (arguably) they sell legit liquors. Also, drinks at the beach are usually more expensive.
- Keep some small change for toilet break. Save the nature, keep off the beach. Revellers are advised to stay away from the beach because of jellyfish attacks. They are real.
- Do not go barefoot. Wear shoes, flip flops, sneakers, sandals, clogs or whatever you fancy. So many broken bottles and the beach is littered with all sorts of debris, the last thing you want is to be limping your way back home.
- Stay away from the fire. Really. However drunk you get, please preset in your mind that fire is dangerous. Don’t throw yourself into the ring fire, don’t acrobat, flip, limbo yourself through the burning rope. You still want to look good sunbathing the next day, so don’t be a burn victim.
- REST. I would suggest a lot of breaks in between the party by going back to your hostel/hotel, plus stops for some snacks and water would be sensible. Try not to book a ferry out the next morning. Spend an extra day just to relax and let the alcohol flush out of your body.
Priceless Dormitory Experience
Now let’s talk about my dormitory experience – not what I expected. I expected to probably have the worst time of my life. I’ve never lived in one, never slept in the same room with a lot of strangers, never had to share 2 bathrooms with 20 over people but surprisingly it turned out to be a lot more fun than what I non-existentially had in mind.
Going into the room, I saw lots of bunk beds, and a few mattresses lined up on an elevated floor. The room was quiet, cold enough and surprisingly quite clean but not the bathroom after the first night. The lack of cleanliness was the worst part of my dormitory experience but I survived. I really felt like living in a world before civilization because with too many people and limited power plugs, I barely charged my phone and ditched both my hairdryer and straightener, didn’t put any makeup on, didn’t even dress properly. The weekend involved a lot of catnapping, munching, binging, drinking, partying, sunbathing and walking.
We played some fun drinking game too the first night, funny how the night ended – I don’t want to go into so much detail about everything. Everyone that I met, had a different story to tell. I also witnessed different types of people that I can narrow down to a few:
- The heavy sleeper (I thought he was dead at some point)
- The guy who sneakily/secretly checking you out from the corner of his bunk bed
- The eccentric ones (which is the fun kind to be honest!)
- The happy couple
- The guy who has maybe been travelling way too long
- The singer
- The please don’t talk to me during the day but let’s go crazy at night
Living in a dorm means you won’t have your own personal space. Anyone will literally undress and get dressed in front of you, walks in and out of the room anytime they wish, personal things are scattered everywhere and awkward eye contacts are pretty common. I’m not complaining because why would I? The views could get pretty amazing sometimes.
I have to admit, my friend and I were terrified that we wouldn’t find anyone that we could hang out with because we knew absolutely no one but I was surprised at how quickly we became part of a close-knit group of friends, almost all of whom live in the dorm (which was 80% male dominated). We ended up spending the entire weekend together (well obviously you can never keep up with the same group by the end of the night).
I remember telling my seasoned backpacker friend about my first night sleeping in the dorm and she replied “so how’s the sex culture over there?“. I was flabbergasted, so I asked “what do you mean?”. It seems that sex culture on the backpacker scene is quite prominent. I just popped my hostel cherry, though I pretty much figured out how it was going to be like but the term “sex culture” did come off a bit too strong for me. I’d be lying if I say there was no romance happening on the island.
Anyway, living under the same roof with so many different types of people truly allows an individual to see the world with a whole new perspective. It’s a social experience like no other social experience you will have and it means being a part of a whole group of friends in a way that is unlike anything you have seen before. I couldn’t have asked for better roommates.
Koh Phangan is Mental
It has been a fun and most memorable experience ever, not only for the party bit but the people I met and made friends with. So much love happening on the island throughout the weekend. So there’s no reason for you not to partake in the biggest and most decadent party in Southeast Asia. The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is without a doubt the craziest and the wildest beach party I’ve been. My experience has always been an absolute mental. If you haven’t experienced a Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, you haven’t lived.