Every full moon there is a big rave on the beach on a little island in the Gulf of Thailand. During high season, it is the biggest in the world! Read on, please, but I will tell you now that by far my favorite part of the party were the fire twirlers! Fire twirling just may be my dessssss-tiny.
I have discovered the home base of fire twirlers in this universe, and it is Ko Pha Ngan’s famous beach, Haat Rin. I have seen a lot of bad-ass fire spinners at festivals in the states but nothing to even compare with what was going down during the Full Moon Party. The speed at which these guys (I was the only girl I ever saw with a fire staff in her hands) spin SO fast it is hard to believe- it makes me want to pump iron to bulk up my arm muscles and start an apprenticeship with a Thai master. The twirlers only give themselves about 8 inches of hand space as well, so practically the whole staff is on fire, unlike at home where most twirlers just light the tips of the staff. The Thai boys are daring fate to light them on fire, and I want to do it too.
At the world’s biggest beach rave you also find people on flaming stilts twirling fire poi, fire limbo sticks, and a giant flaming jump rope, which is all fine and good until the naked guy jumps in (everyone’s like AHHHHHHH! Quit jumping up and down over the burning rope, please!!!!) – but then again, as I have said before, you always know it’s a party when the naked guy shows up!
At the Full Moon Party about 90% of the people are about 90% fucked up, which makes for some really interesting firey accidents- I saw the flaming jump rope wrap around someone’s body no less than ten times, and people face-planting into the firey limbo stick.
From booths labeled “Fuck-it bucket” and “Love you long time in a bucket” and
“Jesus’s favorite” you buy plastic pails filled with a fifth of liquor (your choice) and a couple of cans of mixer. Not doin’ it for ya? Go for the GALLON bucket. THAT not doin’ it for ya? Try a “trance shake” (use your imagination) or buy some mushrooms, available anywhere and everywhere. They even have a new herbal hallucinogen on Haat Rin which lately has been landing farang (Westerners) in the loony bin for days on end. I didn’t try it because I am not stupid- however tons of people on the beach were obviously tripping balls, like the guy who ran up to me and my friend, grabbed us by the arms and screamed in our faces: “THERE’S A PARTY IN THE SKY- and NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT BUT MEEEEEEE!!!!” then threw his shirt into the ocean and ran away zig-zag style up the stairs and climbed up the roof of the bar.
Haat Rin Beach is a perfect crescent of paradise lined with bar after dance club after booth selling liquor buckets after bar after bar after bar. Bright colored Christmas lights and rainbow spotlights run down the beach; for a few bucks you can buy giant paper lanterns to light a fire under and let loose until they float up into the sky towards the bloated moon, coming together to form Orion’s belt. It is very beautiful, as are the crowds of young men and women dancing and going nuts.
Besides hella fire twirlers there is also TONS of blacklight body art. They have huge sheets of designs to choose from, and one of the more popular designs by far is the 7-11 logo. What? 7-11 seems to be the national store of Thailand; they are everywhere. Yeah, can I get a big 7-11 across my back? Sweet! Dude! Sweet! Dude!
Music booms up and down the beach: electro, drum and bass, progressive house, breaks, hip hop, tech house, and of course, psy trance. It isn’t the tropics without some frickin’ psytrance! There were probably about 15 different stages set up along the beach; the weird thing is that often the speakers are about 30 feet from each other, so unless you are in the thick of it up at the front, the bass booms together and you hear a trainwreckish mix, like drum and bass and Deadmau5.
I was very disappointed to find that most stages did not have DJs, only music. In fact I saw only two DJs all night, and I was looking- one playing breaks at the bar on the end of the beach with a great view of the chaos, and a drum and bass DJ named Sith. In case you didn’t know, I am a fan of DJs. I think the personal interaction with the audience creates an energy that is missing when all you have are speakers. No DJs? Just lame. Sorry.
The beach is beautiful, the sand is perfectly soft and white, the night clear, and the party is ON! I wrote earlier about how there are no assholes or jerks on the island of Kho Pha Ngan. Boy, was I wrong! There are TONS of them, and they congregate together on Haat Rin Beach to howl at the moon, get drunk, and box with each other on a balance beam over three mattresses- quite entertaining to watch, I must say.
All down the beach there are eight year-olds selling glowing red horns and flower leis and whatever. The amount of beer bottles in the ocean is only outnumbered by the number of cigarette butts. Partyers just throw their butts into the surf while standing next to an ashtray bucket on the sand, which really ticked me off.
I started to pick up a few of the hundreds of glass bottles floating in the ocean, but then I noticed this guy urinating right beside me into the waves and decided otherwise. People all up and down the beach are pissing in the ocean, dancing in the ocean, puking in the ocean, fucking in the ocean- often within a few meters of each other. Girls who have lost their shirts. Guys eating sand. It is funny and sad all the same.
I wish I could report that the world’s biggest beach rave was the best party of my life, but as you might be able to tell by now, it was not. It could have been; maybe I should have had a trance shake. The rave was really pretty messed up, although I wasn’t. When I travel alone I try to keep my wits about me because it is just really stupid not to. No one is getting me home but me, and it would be days before anyone realized Ms. Shilo wasn’t blogging anymore.
That said, the atmosphere of the Full Moon party was great, and had I been there with a group of Seattle homies rather than just a few friends I just met, it would have been a different story. But it wasn’t. I had a great time and danced my ass off in the sand, but I didn’t eat any of it or lose any clothes or go home with a stranger- but yall should know by now that I am not like that anyway.
Round about 3AM I started getting that feeling of wanting to be elsewhere, the feeling of being stuck where you don’t want to be; you know when you are at a party and you want to leave and go home, but can’t, because your ride isn’t ready or maybe you don’t have cash for a cab, or your car is locked with the keys inside or whatever? That is a really bad feeling to have when you are about 36 hours away from your own bed in a foreign country halfway around the world. So I left the party and went home to my little bungalow on a quiet beach and slept a perfect sleep, then got up and played with puppies and had pineapple cheese toast for breakfast. It was fantastic.
I strongly encourage you to check out the Full Moon Parties on Haat Rin Beach on the island of Ko Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand for yourself. And of course, everywhere else in this world!
Much love from the tropics,
May 20, 2009 at 2:21 AM
Good read. Though…I have to say that there are fire twirlers everywhere babe. 😛
June 9, 2009 at 4:43 PM
I know, babe…I am one.
But I have never seen the speed or fearless nature of the Thai guys on Ko Pha Ngan anywhere else!
January 9, 2010 at 1:39 PM
Do you know whether the Full Moon Party is still going on?
Watch the video of the party at my website.
Please submit your videos too.