As soon I was leaving my first beach party on the island of Koh Phangan, I had to deal with the loss of my cherished blue hawaiana flip flops bought in Brazil, after someone with the same foot size must have run off with mine. I then ran off with someone else’s. By the end of my stay on the island I’d been through 3 pairs.
Apart from ill matching flip flops, there are a few other defining features of the rugged backpacker I came across on the party island. First off, the broken limbs and bandages. Renting a motorcycle is cheap (as low as 150 bhat per day – that’s roughly 3 pounds) and pretty much the only feasible way of getting around the island but you are pretty much guaranteed to come off unless you have a lot of off road driving experience. Apart from injuries most people will have to foot the bill for the damages – they made me pay 1800 for some scratches. It was rumoured that on the night of the full moon party, there were around 300 accidents on the road and 10 people died. A lesson to us all that dangerous driving, alcohol and mushroom milkshakes don’t mix well.
The other defining feature are the tattoos, which I think most people see as some sort of official stamp of bad-ass-ness. The cheap dive I stayed in Kho Phi Phi was part of a tattoo shop, and would try and persuade drunken revellers coming back home in the early hours of the morning to go under the needle.
Needless to say, all the mindless partying is fun for a while, but I feel the need to tune out for a few days, so right now I’m heading to the peaceful island of Koh Lanta.