It was time for the party part of the trip, which being the organised person I am, had been carefully planned and scheduled into the itinerary. Time dedicated to doing nothing. No tourism and 'cultural experiences' just pure sesh time. And sesh we did. Koh Phangan is a great place to just drink in - obviously for the full moon parties, endless beach bars etc etc but also there are just some places that are the best environment to just sit back, Chang in hand and watch the world go by. All day everyday.
We hadn't yet eased ourselves into the hostel lifestyle so we stayed in a lovely hotel on the beach which was worth it while we still had money to spend. It was too classy for us really. Full of 'holiday' tourists who we were so similar to and yet thought we were so different from. The Haad Rin area is the main 'strip', overflowing with bars and restaurants that spill out on to the beach itself. There's a place up on a hill at the end of Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach) called Mushroom Mountain where legend has it, as the name suggests, you can purchase a certain fungi if you were so inclined.
Koh Phangan is actually quite an odd place to go as a twosome, I feel you get the most out of it in a bigger group. Luckily for us, the evening before the full moon party, we were sitting enjoying some paint stripper and lemonade at Cactus Bar, when we stumbled upon two English girls and two very hairy Australians. Things escalated quickly. This evening was supposed to be just the warm up before the main event but we got a little carried away. We'd only brought a bit of money out to stop us from spending it but inevitably, as the night went on, we needed more. Tom nipped back to the hotel to re-stock. Tom did not return for a very long time. When Tom did finally return, a good several hours later, he was absolutely off his face. I'm frankly surprised he even managed to find us. To this day he still has no idea where he went so we can only assume he was lured off the street into some bar and was lucky to get out alive. We had an absolutely brilliant night though with our new friends, full of buckets of booze, skipping ropes on fire and techno tunes.
Having only ever so slightly embarrassed ourselves in front of our new friends, we all agreed to meet the next day for the full moon party. The norm in Koh Phangan on full moon night is to wear florescent clothes and slather yourselves in florescent paint. I thought I wouldn't bother with some of the ridiculous clothes we'd seen for sale in the town but we both eagerly bought a variety of different coloured bottles of paint to decorate ourselves in. Usually on nights like this, when you have to put in considerably more effort than usual, you'll have a girl friend or two there to help you look pretty. Drawing nice symmetrical patterns on you so that you can embrace the theme of the evening but not to loose points on attractiveness. This pre-party scenario goes a lot differently when they only person there to help you is a not so stylish or particularly creative man who hasn't painted anything except houses since he was 5. Needless to say I ended up with thick smudges of multi-coloured paint smeared all over me including a particularly ugly self-made paint necklace making me look much more Halloween than I would have liked.
On top of this, having left the hotel, I soon released that contrary to what I thought, everyone was wearing head to toe florescent gear as well as the paint so I looked absolutely ridiculous in my very ordinary clothes. I decided I already looked like a big enough nob so I went to go and buy a suitably bright and glowing top in order to fit in with the rest of the full moon dwellers. I changed my top in the street and instantly felt better but then was at a loss of what to do with my existing t-shirt. I was very fond of it so I couldn't just get rid of it and my clothes options were already very limited due to having to fit everything into a mere 65L backpack. Besides I was not brought up to just discard things I'd spent money on. So I decided to wrap it up in the plastic bag my new top had come in and just carried it around with me. It was a pain but better than walking back to the hotel or throwing it away. At one point I even had it tied to my shorts, dancing around - no problem! I was feeling quite pleased with this until one of our new friends pointed out that it looked like I'd had an 'accident' and was carrying round a bag of shitty pants! She tried to convince me to throw them away or bury them. I didn't give in but I stopped waving my bag around quite so proudly as I had done before.
We gave the partying our best shot that night but we did struggle to re-create the scenes of the night before. We ended up, earlier than planned, eating a questionable spring roll and pizza on a quieter part of the beach having lost the rest of the party. Lost amongst the chaos of the evening or perhaps they ran away from me and my bag - who knows! We decided to stumble on home where I hosed Tom down in the shower before going to sleep. The hotels fine you if stain the sheets with the luminous paint so I wanted to avoid any dramas - I used to be sensible like that! The full moon party is great though - exactly as you would expect and want it to be. You'll leave with blurred memories of luminous paint and fire, sand in all your clothes, a loss of dignity and big smile on your face. Only once the hangover from hell has worn off though.