To Full Moon Party or not To Full Moon Party

To Full Moon Party or not To Full Moon Party 8
Jo Morcom via Flickr Creative Commons

To Full Moon Party or Not to Full Moon Party

That was the question, and it was a tough one to answer. While visiting Koh Samui recently I happened to land there three days before the ultimate all-nigher which suddenly had me reconsidering my stance on it. For three days I debated going and struggled to come up with a decision on whether or not to slap on some neon face paint and give my liver a beating.

Here’s why:

Why I Had No Intention of Going

Going to a Full Moon Party was never something I needed to do or experience. I was not going out of my way to be in the area during one so it wasn’t even on my radar.  Strictly based on what the night includes – loud techno music, drunk college kids, and tons of people, it just isn’t my kind of scene. I would like to blame it on the fact that I am now in my 30’s but truthfully twenty-something Shaun would not be attracted to this either. More so, all of my friends that have been to a full moon party have said not to bother. Even those in their 20s or ones that visited during their 20’s said to pass. They all echoed what I had already heard and glow sticks and mind altering drugs just aren’t my bag. Yep all I need to have a good time in Thailand is sunshine, a little booze…and balloons filled with laughing gas of course.

Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!
Weeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Paradise Turned to Trash

Aside from a Full Moon Party not being my kind of scene I had recently watched a news  piece on the social and environmental impact these ragers are having on the area.  After the crowds disperse the pristine beaches are covered in 1000’s of bottles, plastic party favors, and those too messed up to make it home.   Who really wants to contribute to that?

Full Moon Party aftermath - Joe Stump via Flickr Creative Commons
Full Moon Party aftermath – Joe Stump via Flickr Creative Commons

Those that attend have also gotten trashy since the Full Moon Party’s  humble beginning in 1985. What was once a some-what off the beaten track, word-of-mouth, small gathering has now grown far beyond what the area can environmentally sustain. With the expanded crowds comes seediness which has included gang violence, rapes, drownings, and corrupt police. Why would I want to get messed up with that?

Rest your Head

The final factor in why I did not want to go to a Full Moon Party was the simple fact that the crowds of party-goers book up all the accommodations. What’s left can be pretty dodgy, overpriced, or both. Yes I have little desire to hang out with a bunch of 20 something sweaty college kids, let alone have them gyrating in the bunk next to me.

So with having zero interest and no intention of going to a Full Moon Party, why was I suddenly considering it?

Why I Started to Reconsider Going to a Full Moon Party

YOLO/FOMO

Yep. I went there. To be fair I have been living a “You only live once” life style long before YOLO was even a thing. When I was 13 years old I was in Florida with my mother and really wanted to see an NBA game. Instead of skimping on nosebleed seats she got us a couple rows behind the bench which in turn got us on national TV. Why did she splurge? “When is the next time you will be here and able to do this?”

Full Moon FOMO -  Roslyn via Flickr Creative Commons
Full Moon FOMO – Roslyn
via Flickr CC

More of an open-ended question than an answer but words that I have lived by ever since…and why not? I got to see Shaq in his prime and will never forget that experience or the countless others that have come with this way of thinking. This mentality has been both a blessing and a curse however I choose to focus on the experiences gained and not the bank account.

So when we arrived in Koh Samui three days before a Full Moon Party I started to reconsider my stance.

Make up your own Damn Mind

Of course my decision to avoid a Full Moon Party was heavily influenced by the experiences of others and the negativity portrayed in the media. Since I constantly preach to make up your own mind on experiences and places I couldn’t let other sway me could I?

Yes and no.

Yes in that I know what I like and what I don’t. Almost all of what I have heard about Full Moon Parties does not interest me so why would I go out of my way to attend? Well, because it is and experience somewhat out of your comfort zone and could lead to something great, something new. Most likely not, but a possibility nonetheless. At the very least it would provide some great photo opportunities, even as an outsider.

I was still torn.

Also, cruising the beach casually sipping from a booze filled bucket did sound super appealing.

Full Moon Party Buckets -  Roslyn via Flickr CC
Full Moon Party Buckets – Roslyn via Flickr CC

Accommodation Possibilities

You've been warned -  Thomas Galvez via Flickr Creative Commons
You’ve been warned – Thomas Galvez via Flickr CC

So now that my fear of missing out was starting to take over I began looking into staying on Koh Pha Ngan during a Full Moon Party. As expected rooms were full or stupidly overpriced. I took the passive aggressive approach saying “well I didn’t want to go anyway” until Erin randomly found out she had a childhood friend who ran a hostel on the island. Hmmmm…

When that connection fell through, Robert from Sandalwood Luxury Villas tipped us off to the fact that you can take a boat over to Koh Pha Ngan for a few hours and come back to Samui, eliminating the need for a place to crash. Interesting. He would also go on to tell me that the boats have become a little safer over the years as crashes and even fatalities were not uncommon. I wisely chose to keep this comforting “?” Piece of information to myself until a decision was made. It wasn’t until we made the day trip to Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park in massive waves did I think taking a boat in the middle of the night with a bunch of drunks was perhaps not the wisest choice. To be fair, boats make this trip hundreds if not thousands of times a month so it is most likely fine, I just wasn’t feeling it – especially for something I was on the fence about.

With no hotel and a boat ride across out of the question we weren’t left with much of a choice. Well there is always the “Break Zone” – a roped off area where overly aggressive party-goers are free to pass out while watchful attendance keep an eye on their shit. What a country!

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Daniel Grosvenor via Flickr CC

So Did I Full Moon Party?

Regrettably (somewhat), no. The lack of accommodations and the iffy return boat trip ended that decision. I do feel a little bad about missing out on something so many people flock too – even if it probably would have meant spending more money to put up with pounding techno music and sweaty douche bags and douche baguettes (ha!)

Sad face -  YoTuT via Flickr Creative Commons
Sad face – YoTuT via Flickr CC

I didn’t leave the Full Moon Party empty handed though. Our friendly host Matthew from The Nest headed over for the day (didn’t know that was an option) and provided me with a souvenir after hearing about my contradiction. May it always serve as a reminder of what could have or couldn’t have been.

One thing to note, all the cool things about the actually Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan (fire shows, DJ’s, booze buckets) can be found on smaller scales on pretty much every beach in Thailand on any given night. This made things easier.

20140317_142300000_iOS
Full Moon Party-esq in Koh Tao

If you are intending on going to a Full Moon Party let this indecisive list guide you either way. As someone who hasn’t been I can’t really say what a Full Moon Party is all about. Like any travel experience it is yours to discover so go on and make up your own damn mind about the Full Moon Party.

Just don’t be a dick…and clean up after yourself.


 

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  • Aaron Kolle

    I did it and have no regrets but I totally hear what you are saying. It is not something I would recommend either.

    • I have heard the same Aaron. What was it that you liked and would you go again?

  • Harly Smith

    If you feel too old in your 30’s I don’t even know how I would feel!

    • Ha! I like to think you are only as young as you feel Harly!

  • MyTripThisYear

    This is the debate I have when I think about going… the cons for me out weigh the pros so I don’t think it would be for me either! Looks like you still enjoyed yourself 🙂

    http://www.mytripthisyear.com

    • For sure! I found that a lot of the things that make the party cool happen at pretty much every beach in Thailand and a MUCH smaller scale. Perfect for those that don’t want to bother with the Full Moon Party.

  • uneventoast

    Exact same thoughts were going through my head when I got to Thailand a few weeks ago. I went 8 years ago and decided not to go back this time.

  • BeyondBlighty

    This will be my second time in Thailand. I opted out the first time because of time restraints and not being overly fussed. Now I’m in my early 30s and have more time to play with on this trip. I’m still swaying towards not bothering. I think I’d have a fun time, but house/techno music doesn’t do it for me either, and I think I’d have more fun with a nice crowd of divers on Koh Tao knowing I’ve spent a lot less on accommodation and won’t wake up with a bad headache to a beach covered in trash…