Since the first time I heard about the Full Moon Party it has remained an exotic abstraction in the back of my mind, but never did I think I’d find myself on those acclaimed Thai shores for one of the worlds most epic parties. We prepared for the night with an intensive session of arts and crafts—weaving tiny flowers and feathers into scattered braids throughout our hair and creating neon tattoos with our fingers as brushes and bodies as canvases. Once we were glittered and glammed to satisfaction we piled in the back of a tuk tuk that caravanned the entire island—locals and tourists alike—to Haad Rin beach. It was mayhem. Cobblestones streets were packed with the overflow of people spilling from bars. Vendors lined the street selling buckets of alcohol, light up devices of every sort, and of course, more neon paint. We managed to break through the masses to the long strip of beach, lit up by fire, lasers and strobe lights. The whole cove was a makeshift dance floor with raised platforms acting as stages for partiers going crazy to songs blasting into the corners of the night. We flitted from stage to stage making insta-friends as we blasted bubbles into the crowds, dancing until our legs ached and our bubble machine ran out of soap. Still, the energy of the crowd perpetuated us into morning hours, until we saw the faintest resemblance of light breaking through the night sky. Without realizing it, sunrise was the grand finale we’d all been waiting for, revitalizing everyone on the dance floor (with the exception of one guy who was passed out in the sitting position under an enormous speaker). As we danced, we faced the ocean, where the horizon was the lightest, and watched streaks of clouds change from black to orange and pink as the sun rose out the ocean’s surface, illuminating the beauty of the beach and shedding light to the aftermath of the enormous rager. We gazed out with new eyes on the same beach, the sun hiding nothing that was masked by the cloak of night. We watched as the guy sleeping next to the speaker was finally pulled up from his booming perch after his 3-hour nap, most likely with permanent hearing damage. Another was dragged from the ocean where he had slept, completely devoid of all clothes other than wet tighty whities, clinging to the coconut he used as a buoyant pillow. I searched for my shoes (only one of which was recovered), cautiously stepping over couples sleeping in the sand, sweetly spooning as if they were in their own honeymoon suite, and walked passed the bodies that littered the Designated Sleeping Area. Kaela and I heard a remix of Florence and the Machine’s Spectrum come on and darted to a deserted stage where we danced wildly by ourselves for one last song, faces warmed by the hot morning sun. We drank in the scene surrounding us, imprinting into our minds the ocean that sparkled as brightly as the remains of our glittery eye shadow, until we finally admitted with reluctance and relief that it was time to head home.
Inevitably, we will never be able to look at a full moon the same again. Whether a blessing or a curse, we will always be reminded of dancing the night away on a remote beach in Thailand, where we reveled in the lights, the music and the freedom of our invincible youth.
A song to take us back: