More Photos At The End
Koh Phangan isn’t the worst looking place on earth. If you are some sort of super affected and wannabe pretentious backpacker then I’m sure you’ll hate it. I mean even in the mid-90’s when The Beach was published, the preposterous main characters decried the island for being “too commercial.”
Fast forward 15 or so years and yes, it is not a tiny, unspoiled island paradise where you can get a bungalow on the beach for $5. However…some people don’t have delusions that staying in an un-air conditioned hut on an isolated beach and getting high with other western backpackers means they are having an “authentic” experience and going native.
If you like great weather, beautiful water, pretty beaches and fun parties…you will like Koh Phangan.
I got to the B-52 Beach Resort fairly late on the first night due to the ferry’s late arrival from Koh Samui. I roused my buddy N from his nap and we got some quick food by the pool at the hotel. The drinks went from reasonably sized glasses to plastic pails filled with liquor. Once you go bucket, you never go back.
We ended up on Haad Rin beach the first night, sort of a warm up party for Full Moon. Our third friend E was supposed to get to Koh Phangan the same day I arrived, but due to poor planning and refusing to book a ticket until the last minute, he would end up on a very lengthy journey by plane, train, bus and ferry to get from Hong Kong to Koh Phangan and wouldn’t arrive until the morning of the Full Moon Party.
The resort itself was great. The prices were very low (it is Thailand). The room was a stand alone hut with it’s own “pool.” The room was clean and the aircon worked great, except in the bathroom where it was perennially 9,000 degrees.
The pool at the hotel was awesome and overlooked a very nice spit of beach. The staff, who were largely Burmese, were also very friendly and we had a great time joking around with them. Unfortunately, they have no idea how to make a bloody mary and a pureed tomato is no substitute for bloody mary mix. Most of the other resort patrons were young as well, and we met some nice girls from Sweden and a German couple that we partied with for the rest of the trip.
B-52 also has an on-site restaurant. The prices are again very low, but the food quality was also pretty low. The only thing that we found to be reasonably tasty was the “Dollyfish” which I believe is some sort of locally caught type. By the end of the trip this was the only dish we would consider ordering at the hotel.
The Full Moon Party itself was a bit of a let down. It seemed the majority of the people on Koh Phangan for this iteration of the monthly party (March 8th) were Swedish and German. I guess that European Universities aren’t as rowdy, but just drinking and partying on a beach until sunrise for one night felt like it could have been any individual night on a typical American college spring break.
If you’re used to the debauchery of a U.S. spring break, you will not understand the hype surrounding the full moon party. Yes, the alcohol is cheap, but just drinking on a beach while a bunch of morons burn themselves trying to jump over ropes that are engulfed with flames isn’t a huge draw for me. It did rain during this Full Moon party, which actually made it more fun, since it was so hot out anyway, it seemed to energize the party goers.
Personally, I had more fun on the first night, when after the warm up party on Haad Rin some girls invited us to a “pool party.” We envisioned something like a low key gathering around a pool at their house. They brought us to one of the hotels near town that was having an honest to god pool rager. We got there around 4am with music blasting, hundreds of people around the pool and the liquor flowing. We didn’t have bathing suits, but went in the pool in our boxers, it didn’t matter. We made it home well after sunrise, and it was really a great time.
NOTE: If you go to the Full Moon Party, when you order buckets, request sealed bottles and check that they give you sealed bottles. They charge a premium for this, but if you don’t get a sealed bottled that “Smirnoff” you are pouring is really some horribly low grade vodka that is more like paint thinner and will give you a massive hangover. The unsealed bottled are empties that they collect and refill with crap quality liquor. You’ve been warned.
Overall, I am glad I went to the Full Moon Party so I can check it off my things to do list, but it’s not something I will be in any rush to do again, too many other great parties elsewhere.
B-52 Beach Resort Report Card
Pros: Nice rooms, great staff, awesome pool, nice beach, on-site bar/restaurant
Cons: A fairly long ride from Haad Rin
Verdict: I would absolutely stay here again if I return to Koh Phangan. I am just not sure when I will come back, because as noted, it’s not that unique a place and there are many other places to see.
MORE PHOTOS OF B-52 + Full Moon Party