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Thailand is a bucket list travel destination for thousands of Brits with its tropical landscape and outstanding beaches. Many of us have even considered attending the much-hyped up full moon parties – an all night rave on the beach.
But one Brit who lived in the area of Hat Rin – where the full moon party was founded – claims that tourists make it "hell on Earth".
Dan Nash spent five years living and working around Thailand and Laos. The 45-year-old, from Margate, headed to South East Asia looking to enjoy the tropical paradise. But, while some areas of the country are "magical" he says "young, wasted" travellers are ruining the birth place of full moon parties.
READ MORE: Brits ditch UK for country with 'incredible wages' and stunning beach lifestyle
Dan told Daily Star: "I’d always wanted to see what living on a tropical island felt like. I chose Ko Phangan as it has a magical, special feeling to it. There are great parties, beautiful beaches and nature with a hippy and spiritual vibe running through it which I'm into.."
Full moon parties are thrown every month around Thailand on the night of the full moon. They're all about glow-in-the-dark paint, drinking and dancing until the sun comes up.
However, Dan says his least favourite place in Thailand was Hat Rin. Dan commented: "[The full moon parties] are very disruptive – full of young, very wasted travellers not behaving well and making noise 24/7.
"There are so many great parties on Ko Phangan, the full moon is actually the worst. So if you’re staying there longer term you stay well away from that area over that time but it's easy to avoid as its on the southern tip of the island.
"Even outside the full moon parties you feel like you could be at any tourist trap in the world. During full moon parties it's hell on earth (if you're over 30). The rest of the island is so much better".
Dan noted: "Hat Rin, where the full moon party is, becomes a war zone over that time. The full moon parties attract younger travellers who don’t realise that Asia is a completely different culture to the west.
"They do things that can be very offensive and disrespectful to Thai people. There is a lot of havoc – motorbike crashes, constant screaming, people passed out on the streets etc but that's mainly over the full moon party time.
"One story that stands out was at a bar on a remote part of the island known for its all night parties. One night someone was tripping so hard he ran from the dance floor and jumped up onto the bamboo roof over the DJ booth. He immediately fell through the roof onto the decks, destroyed the equipment and then ran straight into the jungle never to be seen again (probably best for him). That’s how you silence a party very quickly!"
He added that foreign tourists are having a negative effect on Thailand – though he says the locals are used to it despite the tourists being insensitive to their culture and hospitality. Thankfully, there are some lesser known hotspots that have a better vibe.
Dan told the Travel team: "Thai people are generally used to it and accept it as the price of being reliant on a tourist economy – almost all locals work in tourism. Occasionally it can kick off between the locals and tourists. Especially when tourists start getting angry and shouting over something which is the worst way to solve a problem in Thailand where you never show anger outwardly – it’s totally frowned upon and always makes things worse.
"The rest of the island attracts an older, more hippy vibe outside of the full moon parties and they are generally quite respectful apart from going topless on the beach which is also very offensive to Thai people!"
Rather than heading to Hat Rin, Dan suggests opting for a quieter location. He explained: "Some of my favourite experiences are watching sunrises at Tham Sadet which is a remote beach set within a magical national park.
"For a livelier [stay], Eden bar is a ramshackle bar overlooking the sea. Only accessible by boat or off road vehicle. It has parties twice a week with very good DJ’s and a friendly hippy crowd. Watching the sunrise over the sea with people you just met after a night of dancing on the creaky wooden deck is always special.
"On the rest of the island Thai people are their normal happy, friendly selves and welcome tourists as most people behave there. The entire economy is based on tourism and has been for decades so locals have learned to accept it.
"Thai people are some of the calmest, most patient people around and you’d need to be to put up with some of the behaviour [in Hat Rin]."
Despite it all, Dan would still return to Thailand for a holiday. He says that the landscape is changing though as prices are climbing higher than they are in mainland Thailand and the area is becoming more upmarket.
He noted: "The rising prices are also changing the make up of the place from a cheap, friendly hippy vibe to a more up market vibe which isn’t for me.
"I would always be happy to come back and visit for up to a few months though. It's still a great place to balance partying with a calm island life and yoga. Just stay away from the full moon parties!"
You can find Dan – a brand strategist and South East Asian food geek at his website sixeightagency.com where he turns restaurant into "cult brands" or on LinkedIn.
- Full Moon
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