Full Moon, Full Throttle

Today was a much bigger day than intended. You’d think I would have had enough of motorbikes by now but it’s just the best way to get around. Especially on the tiny, congested roads on this island.

A group of us formed a plan to rent mopeds and explore the island. I really wanted to get a proper bike with some offroad ability. It would have made me feel more comfortable to have clutch and gears and more capable to tackle the rough stuff we encountered. The roads on this island are made up of about 5m square concrete pads. They are very durable and strong but slippery in the wet and don’t shift sand very well so you often slide when braking heavily. The roads leading to Baan Haad Rin, home of the full moon festival, are also really steep and windy along the island edge. This coupled with pickup truck tuk tuks pelting back and forth carrying as many people as possible, make for quite dangerous riding.

Once off the main route from ferry port to festival, the roads were much better condition and very empty. Unfortunately we didn’t quite get there without incident. Ryan, Zachs little brother, managed to first ride into the wall of the shop opposite the rental place, and then topple off completely what looked like the edge of a cliff. He was fine though and the bike barely marked so it could have been worse. The back brake was a bit sticky now but wasn’t causing an issue so we carried on to find the waterfall on the way to a beach.

We sort of found a gravel side road and parked up. We could hear the water so just bush-whacked through the jungle to find it. Rock hopping up the river we found a pretty secluded pool. It would have been nice for a dip as it was swelteringly hot, but the water was a sort of grey bathwater colour so we didn’t risk it.

The road led out to a beach on the north of the island that was postcard beautiful. We wanted to explore more of the island and there wasn’t anything else to see or link up with so we took a couple photos and headed back along the same road. We made another dead end road tour to a beach for lunch before realising the time was actually 5pm. There would soon be sunset which would look awesome from the mountain top 360 Bar.

We blasted over there… well, hummed over there. They are only scooters after all. It was a really cool, abandoned hotel project, i think, that had been taken over. It had been turned into a sort of, post apocalyptic drinking hole held together with bamboo. There were piles of bricks and concrete beams sticking out at odd angles throughout the place and oil drums for tables. Very cool. Zach got his drone out and took some cool videos looking out over the view. You could see for miles and the sunset was beautiful, we finally saw one! Alyssa’s friend Leah took some great photos with her DSLR so hopefully I’ll be able to get hold of them later.

Once the sun had set, we had to leave before all light faded. We didn’t really want to drive back in the dark, but this meant descending the really steep track up to the bar. On the way up we had encountered a tricky bit of track. With 10 years biking expertise (omg I’m old) I had to get everyone’s bike over the rocks. Simon and Zach, not to be out done, worked together to get one up and ended up losing control and slamming the ped into mine! I was lucky there was no major damage and the rental guy didn’t notice the scuffs on the foot plate. Descending the track also proved eventful as Leah grabbed a handful of front brake and ate dirt. She did smash up her bike pretty good and had to pay for it later. But it’s just money and she wasn’t hurt. After this, I rode at the back of the group and super defensively, managing to get us all back with no more dramas. We dropped off the bikes, dealt with the fines and got showered.

The warm up street party was already in full swing so I just had to get ready and join in. I’d arrived with a full set of clean clothes but now they were all nasty so had to get them washed. Some poor planning meant I had to go out and buy a shirt, but it’s also a souvenir. Now dressed, I quickly got involved with the party finding a great Beer Pong partner. We dominated 3 games in quick succession before heading to the beach.

The full moon festival beach party thing was in full flow. Every bar along the front had turned their speakers towards the ocean and pumped out techno turned up to 11. Just in front of the bars, enterprising locals had set up bucket and bottle stands selling questionable quality alcohol. I’d had heard bad things about these so made sure I bought my drinks from the clubs. A few extra baht now would potentially ensure getting safe, un-drug-tainted drinks.

Forming a conga line we actually managed to stay together for the whole night. It was helped that full moon was less busy than new year. I think people had not checked what day the full moon was and so checked out that day. Shame because it was a really good night even with the amount of waiting around for people. I think I prefer to party with about 4 people max, otherwise you just can’t keep everyone together and happy and you end up waiting around for them to piss or get drinks or say hi to somone and take AGES.

We went from one bar to another trialing the music. Mushroom mountain bar was open again but some of the group were disappointed to find out they weren’t selling magic mushroom smoothies any more. They also didn’t belive me when I said the laughing gas was actually CO2 but being so pissed up im not sure it mattered. Finally we ended up at our favourite bottle stand with the music we liked. People started to drift off and by 5am we were done. I didn’t feel the need to see sunrise again so got an early night, comparatively speaking.