From all around the world, people alight in preparation, arranging their entire trips (including boat rides and hostels, predrinks and extravagant costumes) around the mayhem that each month presents as Koh Pahgnan’s Full Moon Party. What they don’t know, however, is that the night before the insanity of this affair, something else is stirring right under their noses. We knew. On the night of the 28th, after glamming up with sparkles, glitter, sequins, and holding our bubble gun poised and at the ready, we were well equipped for what the local Thai people call ‘The Jungle Experience’ (a crazy electronic party miles inland from where we were on the coast in Koh Phangnan). Summer and I met up with the British crew we had picked up along the way, and hailed a tuk tuk to take us deep inside, welcomed into a world- a secret garden- that paralleled our expectations in every way. We ran to the bar, ordered a bucket of some sorts, and B lined it to the one thing that caught every eager eye: a massive neon glowing wall covered entirely with designs and depictions, both traditional and kitschy. Here, amazingly artistic Thai men and women waited to paint beautiful images all over our bodies in the luminescent neon colors that sprung up all around us—or quite literally—through us, blanketed in darkness as we were.
We danced all night and showered the crowd with our sporadic and popular fits of bubble confetti. At one point, enclosed within the humidity of the air and the mass that huddled around the stage, the clouds opened and released a torrential ten-minute downpour on our upturned faces. We threw our arms up, paint smearing all over our bodies, and joined in the ecstasy of the moment. The six of us wandered around in a chain, weaving in and out of a place so imaginative, so underground and foreign, yet so perfect. We belonged in the midst of the Ban Tai Jungle.We all went to our bungalow and laid in hammocks, laughing and talking until we physically couldn’t open our eyes any longer and the natural impulses of our body summoned us to our beds, eyes heavily closing, glitter still clinging to our eyelashes. We woke in the morning surrounded by a canvas of vibrant paint on our sheets and mud dried to our feet, the jungle madness taken and stolen, brought home with us.