God I’ve been to Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui for full moon parties and general partying a few times and to be honest its always been a bit of a blur! So this is a very short entry!
My overriding memory though is that the whole experience, whilst getting now very commercialised, is great fun and, if you’re travelling through this part of the world, it is a must. The islands are surrounded by beautiful beaches, food is great, you have endless variety of accommodation options and its is the easiest country to travel in in SE Asia. Main tips:
- Full moon party and half moon parties – the famous Ko Pha Ngan full moon party obvious happens roughly every month, but you do also have the half moon party which can give you an option if your timings don’t work
- Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samui – I’ve stayed on both Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui for the full moon parties. Whilst Ko Pha Ngan is obviously more convenient, there are heaps of regular boats back to Ko Samui throughout the night and the morning
- Mopeds / taxis – getting around both islands is very easy with the taxis and ubers available, but its also par for the course to drive around on one of the mopeds. Its great fun, just be careful – many of us have the scars from falls from mopeds on these islands!
- The bars and clubs on both islands have the full range from all-above-board to about as sleazy as it gets, so you’re kind of going to have to roll the dice to see what you get . . . and you can usually tell within he first 2 seconds of walking in. The most famous on is Suzie Wong’s (there are now 3 of them right next to each other), which gets a bit of a bad reputation, but I’d say give it a go because, whilst it is a strip joint, you’ll find its quite a tame one and you’ll see many couples in there checking it out for pure curiosity (and staying for several drinks). A good fun place and you can always leave if you don’t like it
The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences
Other Amazing Island Experiences
Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"? That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others. That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score
This overall experience score is calculated by: take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10). Then convert into a score out of 100
Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique". Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides. So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique". But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience). So, both of these scores are standalone