The Ko Pangan full moon party wasn't at all what I expected. I thought we'd land on a vast stretch of beach bordering a tropical jungle. I expected a Huge sound system at one end of the beach blasting out dance music and thousands of people dancing to the same beat.
In reality the boat docks at a small harbor bordering the town of Hatt Rinn, you jump off and follow the crowd through the maze of streets dodging food carts and people selling the infamous buckets until you arrive at a crowed beach bordered by a 7eleven and several beach bars and restaurants, each one with it's own sound system blasting different music.
To get from one end of the beach to the other you have to wind your way through the dancing masses, around the people passed out comatose from too much booze and try not to trip over the discarded beer bottles and randomly abandoned flip flops, while giving an emphatic 'NO' to the undercover police officers posing as drug dealers (they actually get a bonus for every one they catch).
But that's the not the fun part. That comes when you re-enact the fall of Saigon as try to catch your boat back to Ko Samui. After working your way back to the dock you have to climb down the slippery ladder and onto the 3 foot wide space of sand and rock left by the retreating tide. From here you push and shove your way through the hoard to the back of a boat which might possibly be the one you have a return ticket on. You show the guys loading people onto the boat your ticket - a laminated piece of colored paper on a string around your neck and they tell you "No, not this boat! you wait for other one!".
You repeat this procedure with every boat that turns up for nearly an hour while being pushed and shoved from every direction whilst you try desperatly not to fall over in the waves and get chopped to pieces by speed boat propellers until your boat finally turns up.
It's far from what you imagine infact it's far more Ibiza Uncovered than The Beach. But you have to go just once, so you can say you've been.