After visiting Koh Samui on my trip with roommie-4-life Timo and my Thai friend Mandie, we took the boat to Koh Phangan. Timo was begging to me to visit the Full Moon party. He called it the “best party on earth”.
This ain’t gonna roll for Para-Pete
When I was traveling through the Thai islands in 2010 with Sam and Hasse, we actually decided to not go there after hearing too many horror stories. Now, I know that everyone calls me Para-Pete for a reason. When I hear of bad stuff that has happened somewhere before, I’m 250% confident it is going to happen to me too. That’s Para-Pete.
So, supposedly during Full Moon, the island becomes such a giant clusterfuck that the police will actually leave altogether. There will be hundreds of ladyboys walking around flirting with you, spiking your drink and then when you pass out robbing your shit. Then there’s actually Thai mafia shootings. A British 18-year old actually got killed during 2012/2013’s New Year’s Eve when he was caught in the middle of a gangster shoot-out. Brilliant, I love myself a nice Friday night gangster shoot-out. Still Timo wanted to go. Mandie (my Thai local friend) also had gone and told me it was great fun. And who am I to partypoop on somebody else’s party? So we went.
Arriving at Koh Phangan
I have to be honest, Para-Pete was wrong! We survived it. It wasn’t actually Full Moon since Timo would have left by then, but we went to the Half Moon party on the island instead. Half Moon is a lot smaller but it’s cool though because unlike Full Moon it’s in the jungle. We stayed at a hostel dedicated to these two parties. Actually the entire island of Koh Phangan and everything on it is dedicated to these two parties. Except for driving around on a bike and see the island’s landscapes, there’s not really much else you can do here.
After checking in to our hostel, I took the opportunity to climb in my hammock for awhile.
And then the mayhem started.
At exactly 5 ‘o clock in the evening, the hostel’s stereo went on, it was Swedish House Mafia. We walked out to the terrace near the street where herds of 20-somethings were sat of varying localities — Australians, British, Swedish and Germans. Happy Hour had started. We started with some regular beers while sitting on the terrace where the ‘pre-game’ party started.
It didn’t stop with Swedish House Mafia, I think we heard the entire compilation of “Jersey Shore’s Bestest Club Hits of 2013”. The place was owned by hugely built fitness bros, who were super kind and just wanted to give everyone a good time. After my second beer, the owners started fist-pumping me, took their shirts off to walk around shouting “ARE YOU GUYS HAVING A GOOD PARTY”, showing their “pecs” while at it and chatting up the girls to get their numbers. Getting my third beer, I received some insider knowledge from one of the owners “just between you and me, breh, you look like a cool guy, you better get those drinks here, cause they’ll rip you off at the Half Moon party”. I quickly took action upon this insider knowledge and we all started ordering massive amounts of drinks at the hostel to avoid being overcharged in the jungle.
At my fourth beer, the whole thing still just wasn’t taking off, it didn’t matter what I said to people, there was no real conversation here except everyone shouting “PARTYEEEEHEHHEHY” on the background of the owners shouting with low steroid voices “LET’S GET FUCKIN’ HAMMERED”. I asked people why they were here and each person responded convincingly “You know this right? This is the best party on earth, dude!”. Don’t call me dude, bro. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to get completely wasted to make everything easier on myself. I quickly switched from Beers to Whiskey Cokes and started obliterating them.
Then at exactly 10 ‘o clock, the second stage of the pre-party started. The Americans handed out fluorescent paint and we were all instructed to paint each other. Okay, that sounded somewhat like fun although this whole thing started sounding more and more like a boy-scout’s camping trip.
Now those Whiskey Cokes weren’t working at all. Everything was still weird as fuck. This whole thing felt like one big scripted reality show I was in, highly akin to Geordie or Jersey Shore.
In to the jungle
I was dedicated to getting the fuck out of here and moving on to the actual Half Moon Party. So we took some song-thaews (mini red bus taxis) and got there at midnight. It actually looked great, think of a big jungle and there’s an open area in the middle with a big party with everyone lighting up in fluorecent painted bodies. The floor is pretty much just sand and you can walk around without flip flops — if you watch out for the glass. I liked it. We got the ‘infamous’ Thai buckets of again Whiskey and Coke. Of course, they were way cheaper than what we drank at the hostel. Oh, thank fuck for that insider knowledge there, breh…
After an hour Timo and Mandie were completely wasted. They only drank water from that point. The mere sight of my bodily physics would strike anyone this as odd, but unlike my friends I was still doing okay. We danced and had fun. Two hours after we arrived, people started throwing up everywhere around us and people were being carried out of the jungle from drinking too much. Two hours after, at 4 ‘o clock in the morning, the whole place was finished because everyone was just too drunk.
Waking up the next day…
We went home and woke up the next day and, by way of sheer magic, at exactly 5 ‘o clock in the evening, the hostel’s stereo turned on and it was Swedish House Mafia playing.
Now slowly I started to understand where I had ended up…
This island was the Disneyland of Partying.
You get some 20-something kids hyped up over some South-East Asian island, spread rumors this is “the best party on earth, dude”, have kids over that never learned to drink when they were teenagers, play them shitty mainstream dance music, let them pre-drink at their hostels, and they’ll all be gone at 4 ‘o clock in the morning smashed — an early clubbing night for most people. Now the next day, you just repeat the whole thing until infinity. It was the best business model ever.
It was a better business model than Disneyland though. Disneyland takes effort and maintenance. The effort in this whole set-up was minimal. The kids keep going, the money keeps flowing with the minimal investment of staging a ‘party theatre’ every night.
There’s a term for this in finance, it’s called a Perpetual Cash Flow. A flow of money that takes minimal investment and goes on until perpetuity. Koh Phangan was just that, the Perpetual Cash Flow of Partying.
Returning to Bangkok and stuck in a nightly sleep cycle I found a place to work from at night »
P.S. I'm writing a book on bootstrapping startups called MAKE, which you can pre-order now. And I'm now on Instagram and Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my adventures. I don't use email so tweet me your questions.
Koh Phangan is the Disneyland of Partying