We bid farewell to Mo and hopped the high speed catamaran from Koh Tao to Koh Samui. The catamaran was more expensive than the ferry we had taken on the way to Koh Tao, but it was both faster and a much smoother ride, totally worth the price increase!
We arrived in time for breakfast at our new hotel, the Waterfront which was in the Bophut district of Koh Samui. Bophut was described as a ‘fishing village’ and had a little more of a quiet, family vibe than other party areas of Koh Samui. The Waterfront (right on the water as it’s name implies) was at the very end of the main street and provided the perfect base.
After a quick breakfast we checked into our rooms and showed ourselves around the hotel.
The rooms were all individual, sweet little bungalows that overlooked the beach.
Robert quickly proclaimed this his favorite hotel yet.
After breakfast we explored the street of Bophut, wandering in and out of shops, restaurants and of course massage parlors.
The streets of Bophut were rather quiet (which I didn’t mind), and most of the shops weren’t especially unique, but there was one restaurant that caught our eye..
This elephant restaurant was huge and looked very touristy (we would find that most of the Bophut restaurants were), BUT it was across the street from this awesome outdoor space..
Including some dressed as superheroes.
And Disney Characters.
By this point in our journey, we were growing a little weary of all the Thai food so we stopped at the Frog and Gecko Pub for a light lunch.
After lunch we went back to the hotel to relax by the pool and rest up for dinner, our final one with Robert 😦
That night we ate at The Seaside Steakhouse which served Mexican food (our favorite back home!) and cost us an arm and a leg (by Thai standards) but was so worth it; the food was delicious and the margaritas even better. After dinner we strolled through the night market and had one final serving of coconut ice cream ❤
The next day we lounged by the pool, walked the beach and took a trip into town for our final lunch with Robert.
We bid him farewell as he left for the airport and Haley and I spent a quiet evening at The Waterfront, resting up for The Full Moon Party!
Full Moon Party History: The Abbreviated Version
The legend goes something like this: A group of backpackers discovered that the most beautiful full moon was in Koh Phangnan and decided to throw a party on the beach with all their friends to celebrate. It was so fun that they decided to make it a yearly event, but of course word got out and it grew and grew and grew. Nowadays it attracts such a HUGE crowd that the Full Moon Parties are held monthly and the entire economy of the island of Koh Phangnan revolves around these parties. Apparently the entire island (which is pretty small) is rather quiet and inexpensive except for the week leading up to the Full Moon Party when rooms triple in price and all sell out and there are smaller parties each night leading up to the main event. By the time of the actual Full Moon Party there are tens of thousands of people on little Koh Phangnan and everyone and there brother is there trying to make a buck off the tourists.
I must admit I had mixed feelings about attending a Full Moon Party. On the one hand, I felt like the fact that we were there while one was taking place and that it was just Haley and I (Robert would NOT have been interested) meant that it was fate and we should go. On the other hand, as the older sister I felt responsible for Haley’s safety and my mind quickly went through several scenarios that could make a 24 hour party on the beach with 30,000 very drunk strangers seem more than a little dangerous. In the end, we decided, when in Rome! er um Thailand!
We decided that we would go, but we would also be cautious; we would stick together no matter what, have a meeting place if we got separated and make sure to accept no drinks (or anything for that matter) from strangers. We also agreed not to try any fire jump roping no matter how appealing it may look at 4 AM. It was too late to book a room in Koh Phangnan so decided the best thing to do would be to take the last ferry from Koh Samui at 6:30 PM and simply stay up all night at the party until the first ferry left the next morning at 7:00 AM.
We had no trouble hopping on the 6:30 ferry, even the day of, and found that many of our fellow riders were already quite intoxicated, so much for pacing yourself!
As soon as we got off the boat the party atmosphere was palpable. As we made our way from the dock into town, the streets were lined with neon body art painters, booths selling flowered headbands and fairy wings and booths selling liquor buckets and food. I imagine this is exactly what Coachella is like only with nicer clothes and much fancier food. Since we did not want to be one of the poor souls passed out on the beach by midnight, we decided to get a little food in us first.
For whatever reason we decided on Mama’s Schnitzel. I always thought schnitzel was like German pasta? but apparently in Thailand it’s a fried chicken sandwich. As they say in Thailand, “Same Same….but different.”
With bellies full of fried chicken and french fries we went off to get the party started, aka buy flower crowns and get our faces painted.
Half the fun of the Full Moon Party is definitely dressing the part once there. We walked up and down the streets checking out the different artworks forever before finally deciding on a painter.
Now sufficiently crowned and painted we made our way to the beach!
The beach is lined by bars, each of which have their own DJ and crazy dance party happening out front. That picture hardly does it justice but I didn’t dare bring my nice camera with us. We walked up and down the beach, stopping for drink refills along the way and pausing to dance whenever a song caught our ear.
We watched an awesome fire show, laughed at lots of drunk people passing out mid make-out session and danced the night away. Overall, the vibe was very laid back and I found that I had worried for no reason. Everyone at the party was friendly and truly seemed that they were there just to enjoy themselves and have fun. At about 4 AM we decided to call it a night and get some more food. Never has a streetside gyro tasted so heavenly. As the sun came up we walked back to the dock and sat at a bar waiting for the ferry to return and take us back to Koh Samui for a few hours of sleep until it was time to leave for the airport.
The sweet staff at the Waterfront (who had all advised us against going to Koh Phangnan for the party) were all thrilled to see we had returned in one piece (although covered in neon body paint). We packed our bags and got a few precious hours of sleep before it was time to head to the airport for our evening flight back to Bangkok and then home to the states!
Goodbye Thailand! Certainly the trip of a lifetime and one of my new favorite places!!