Though arriving a day early, as we wandered down Haadrin in search of accommodation, preparations for the full moon were already underway. Hundreds of Thai men and women swarmed like bees both building and protecting their territories. Painted banners sprung up from all directions and the sound of heated conversations about whose stall went where beat steadily through the air.
With between 10,000 and 30,000 people coming each month Pangang deserves its title as ‘The Party Island.’ Checking into ‘Tommy’s resort,’ with a large degree of luck (definitely book in advance; or you could end up somewhere like the ‘Light House’) we grabbed some lunch and chilled out by the pool.
The next day, the day of the Full Moon, a great influx of tourists swamped inward from the Port, many of whom just come over for the night and then head back to the tranquillity of Koh Tao or Samui the following morning. Stages started being constructed by lunch time and as dusk drew in the beach was engulfed with stalls, lights and tattoo parlours…with the first beats of music sounding at around six, before the hour was out, music blared from all angles. Whipping on a pair of shorts and a bikini we headed out into the chaos. Barged left and right, we were definitely too sober for the experience and so quickly made a dash to one of the many ‘bucket’ stalls.
Constituted of whisky, coke (or lemonade) and M150 (equivalent of red bull x 10) and yours for around 150 baht, the bucket is guaranteed to get you flying. After polishing off two of those, we felt much more in the mood and wandered around through the various music zones. Ranging from Trance, to Electro, to Pop – and all to the backdrop of the scent of paraffin – there really is something for everyone. Fire dancers dazzled with their Poi, whilst the intoxicated battled with a flaming skipping rope – scalding themselves regularly.
Moving swiftly away from the burning phenomena (most certainly against health and safety) we bumped into three men on their way back from Mellow Mountain. Mellow Mountain, aka Mushroom Mountain, is situated on the far left of Haadrin (if facing the sea) and specialises in providing natural fungi shakes. The aftermath of which can have mixed effects – one person we met, after a trip to the Mountain, swore that he saw Puff Diddy singing to him from a cloud, another girl thought that the beach had turned into a swamp and was convinced she was drowning – and these men were adamant that Buddha himself had told them that they must get tattoos. It was thus with a set of proud and triumphant smiles that the three lifted up their shorts, showing a pale bit of outer thigh on which was now inscribed ‘Thailash ‘09’. I kid you not.
Leaving these three giving each other high fives we waded through the masses in an attempt to get back to the Pop zone. Just as we were about to arrive, a girl in front of us collapsed in a state of utter inebriation. As Tom knelt down to help her, two Thai men picked her up and threw her to our left. Turning we were met by a cordoned off square filled with crash mats and the paralytic – the medical tent. I’d never been to a party before with a specific area designed for the intoxicated – and I doubt I will again.
By the morning I was utterly exhausted but we’d had a truly unforgettable night, from burning skipping ropes, to viewing mushroom delirium and to a lot, a lot of dancing the Full Moon was certainly an experience – which I definitely recommend. However, it was with a sense of relief that we boarded the ferry and headed back for another ten days to Koh Tao.