Thailand – The Full Moon Party by Charlotte McGrath
In order to make sure you are staying in the best hostel (this matters as it's where you will ‘pre’ and often you go to the party with people you have met in the hostel) it's best to pick a date and book the hostel about 2 to 3 months in advance as the best ones go quickly. The Full Moon happens once a month with a half moon once a month too (I didn’t go to a half moon but have heard good things). Best time to go to Thailand is from about March onwards until July, as this is when most people of a similar age will be in Thailand and South East Asia. Some good hostels are Relax Corner, Slumber Party, Lazy House Shenanigans or Phagnan Arena. Most of these have a pool and they run events like beer pong in the evening that are fun and definitely worth taking part in for free drinks etc.
We were backpacking to Koh Phagnan. Arrive about three or so days before the full moon as you have the Waterfall Party and then the Jungle Party the night before the Full Moon (lots of people actually preferred these parties to the Full Moon itself). It's easy to get to with ferries from Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Surat Thani (the mainland). The best way to explain the Full Moon is a massive beach market, with music in all the bars along the beach and lots of stalls selling buckets of alcohol (these can be very strong so go slowly!) and glow paint etc. It’s usually better to drink more in your hostel than to buy drinks at the party as this is generally safer and it’s in the hostel’s interest for you to be safe when drinking there! The party is huge, so stick with your friends, the bigger your group the better and as a girl it's nice having some boys around that you trust.
My friend and I tied our wrists together with a piece of string (about 1m long) and although this sounds absurd, it was actually so useful as it removed all stress of losing each other!. I didn’t take my phone and despite this sounding very weird, it was actually great as it was one less thing to stress about (lots of people get their phones stolen and so long as you stick with your friends you won't have much use for it anyway). Don’t take any form of ID, you will only lose it and you don’t need it.
Take a bit of money and it’s a good idea to hide some in your socks/bra as emergency/taxi money (this being said do not walk back to your hostel, there are loads of shuttle taxis to hostels all night and it can get quite dodgy). Wear shorts and flip flops or barefeet are a good idea as they stop your trainers getting wet (the sea is the loo!). Koh Phagnan pretty much empties out the day after the full moon, but I would advise staying one more night as the ferry and massive crowds aren’t something you want to deal with a hangover!
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There is no doubt about it, travelling abroad takes a bit more time and effort at the moment but with a bit of research and some simple planning it's not too difficult.