To a naive non-traveller, musings of a Full Moon Party may hold connotations of a subdued, open-air gathering, bejeweled by an interstellar blanket.
In reality, Thailand’s celebrated soiree is a manic minefield of miscellaneous music, a spectacle speckled with neon and littered with revelers seeking their flawless, nocturnal party.
A product of a backpacker’s birthday celebrations, the moon began its aviation in the 1980s and has continued its meteoric rise ever since.
An annual tradition initially housed in a ramshackle dwelling ornamented with hippies and ramblers, the event has since bred the remnants of musical nostalgia of the nineties and noughties nuances, with the contemporary beach-side bash continuing to illuminate the sandy shores of Koh Phangan.
A partygoer’s playground, the Full Moon Party is the antithesis of childhood merriment: schoolyard-skipping ropes are substituted with kerosene cords embellished with flames, evaded by daredevil attendees as onlookers revel at the ensuing spectacle, buckets are filled with boozy brews as opposed to sand, while flamboyant face-paint designs decorate the skin of attendees, a far cry from the days whereby superheroes and animals inspired temporary facial decoration.
The popularity of the event has hit monumental heights, with thousands of visitors heading to the rowdy revelries each year; residents from the neighbouring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao also arrive to grab a slice of the action, with the final scene encompassing a delightful concoction of Thai nationals and tourists, each sharing the same intention: a willingness to embrace the magical qualities of the occasion.
Accessible only by boat, many board the vessel brimming with anticipation, excitement, but most of all, hope that the fabled Full Moon Party will not prove to be an over-hyped affair.
Thankfully, as the moon slinks into temporary hibernation and the sun radiates its glowing glare across the previous nights scene of merriment, very few leave with even an ebb of disappointment.