The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 2 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999

Koh Phangan under the full moon

Two people stood on high wooden platforms some 25 feet away and swung a long rope soaked in kerosene and put on fire. As they swung the rope round and round, one or two people inched forward from the crowd encircling them amid cheers. After waiting for a bit, one of them chickened out while the other jumped into the fiery rope ring and kept rhythm with the circling rope. After five or six jumps, his feet caught in the swinging rope and he fell. He jumped off the fire as quickly as he could, but by then, he probably had some burns already!

Haad Rin beach ahead of the party

It’s the Full Moon Party, one of the world’s largest rave parties held every month on the Haad Rin beach of an island called Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. And this is as crazy as it gets.

The party attracts between 10,000 and 40,000 visitors, a large chunk of whom are westerners in their gap year.

A fire game in progress on the party beach

I was quite surprised when I entered the party beach for the first time because though it had all the ingredients to turn into utter chaos, it was surprisingly well-organised. There were policemen all over the place, but that did not stop some local people from whispering, “pills, pills” when they passed you by. And right in the middle of the beach, they had an area cordoned off where drunk people could flop down and sleep. Genius! No one thinks of that before a party!

Girls have a gala

The entire beach had five or six DJs playing different kinds of music and there were kiosks lined up all along that sold “buckets”, which are actually miniature buckets that had your preferred cocktail, the most common of them seemed vodka and Red Bull, and some straws.

I hung out with three groups of people through the night and it was quite an adventure. At one point, I was with a group of three girls and a guy, who were a lot of fun. I hung out with them until the guy got so drunk he couldn’t walk and we had to carry him out. Two of the girls went to get a motorcycle to take him to his hotel but never returned (I later got to know they got lost. No wonder, they were so drunk!). So, I got him and his girlfriend into a taxi and returned to the beach.

It’s easy to make friends at the Full Moon Party because everyone is in a good mood and wants to make the most of the experience. It’s wise not to get very drunk because then you cannot enjoy it. Just go with the flow!

When I was leaving around 3 in the morning (I wanted to catch on some sleep before I caught a 7am boat), there were people snoring on the beach, men and women peeing into the Gulf of Thailand and some making out in the sea.

Revellers at the Full Moon Party

You may love it or you may find it absolutely disgusting, but at the Full Moon Party, there are no restrictions.