Friday, September 24, 2010

The Thailand Full Moon Party: A Douche-umentary


I was going to title this post “The Asshole Compendium” until this jerk threatened to sue me. So instead, I’ll just call it what it is. A bestiary of hoodlums.

In preface, Thailand is often a truly infuriating place to travel since it has become so difficult to engage with people outside the prescribed “tourist/local” relationship. I find that Thailand usually serves to make me feel lousy about myself, since the minute I step off the plane I am bombarded with shrieks and howls from large crowds of taxi drivers who don’t even bother to be subtle or insinuating about their assumption that what I need, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, at ONE IN THE MORNING, is to have sex with a compromised or underage individual; to buy boatloads of illicit or psychedelic substances; to drink 100 proof alcohol of indeterminate origin out of a plastic bucket, or to watch some hollow eyed waif with an opioid dependency perform unthinkable acts with a ping pong ball. To the rhythm of the live version of “Hotel California.”

And I resent those assumptions. We would all like to consider ourselves the kind of travelers that can just intrinsically feel respect and esteem for the people and customs we encounter in foreign countries. We all like to think of ourselves as compassionate, polite individuals who see others as human first, who never lose patience with others as a result of cultural differences, who don’t experience the extremities of culture shock, who never, ever, under ANY circumstances, catch ourselves uttering or even thinking the words “THESE PEOPLE…” We would all like to think that as tourists, we are good representatives of our own culture, ambassadors to the world.

All of that falls apart completely in a place like Thailand. There wouldn’t be so many people assuming YOU want those things if there weren’t legions of individuals who look just like you that actually DO want them.  You can resent it as much as you want, but the following individuals depicted herein ARE those ambassadors. These are the people who lead the way, who represent YOU, regardless of your sustainable travel wardrobe, your affinity for destinations off the beaten track, your repeated attempts to learn a few respectful phrases in the native language – THESE ARE YOUR PEOPLE.  Enjoy them here, because encountering them in the real world is like getting someone else’s cold water enema right in the face.

As an Ethicist, I am compelled to point out that the following pictures were obtained occasionally by deception, without explicit verbal or written consent, and that in truth every subject of every photo is probably a potential poster child for reduced capacity.

But that’s what I love about the internet! And so I present to you, without further ado,



Ah, the full moon party. Koh Phangan is a small island off the coast of Thailand, famous for one thing only. A huge crowd of drunk lunatics getting obliterated on a beach.  And in one way, this party truly reinforces the small world philosophy, much like hands across the world, here we see the proof that we’re never too far from home.

Because assholes on drugs are the same EVERYWHERE.

Thailand’s official stance on drugs is that they are illegal. This is hilarious. That statement has about as much veracity as the purported intent of the full moon party itself:


  • keeping the area clean
  • providing advice for visitors
  • helping in case (ED. NOTE: In case of WHAT?!)
  • ensuring that you feel safe and enjoy your stay in Haadrin (ED. NOTE: HA! HA! HA!)

This is the biggest load of bullshit I have EVER seen in my whole life. In the first place, this “area” is the most revolting place I have ever been. This is an “area” in which people actually DEFECATE IN THE OCEAN IN PUBLIC (not pictured). UNABASHADLY.  This is an “area” flanked on the terminal ends by a line of men urinating into the water and onto the beach. There are oases of vomit, beer, rum and worse (also not pictured)creating a foul ecosystem of pestilent tide pools in the sand.

IMG_7842 IMG_3265

keeping the area clean.

IMG_7835 IMG_7833


providing advice for tourists.



helping in case?



be safe! Enjoy your stay!

Until you become dog, I guess.

for pickpockets, this party is like those scenes on game shows where they lock a contestant in a phone booth and then there’s a tornado of money. Only in this case the money is drunk.

And to return to my point about the drugs, they are RAMPANT. In all honesty, most of them are bunk – hundreds of sketchy agents furtively sell fake ecstasy and then vanish into the crowd. Restaurants for days preceding the party sell bags of marijuana, mushrooms and acid. Police officers stationed conveniently up the road from the restaurants search your bags, confiscate your drugs, and negotiate exorbitant bribes up to 1000 U.S. dollars. (Please note that this is not an autobiographical experience.)  There is little to no police presence at the party itself, since drugs provide a significant source of income for the island, and if there were no drugs, there could be no bribes. There are no measures in place to discourage drug use, which would in fact be detrimental to everyone. Except perhaps these dudes.


special thanks to my mutt reporters (I think it’s pretty clear who they are) who helped make this picture possible.

Aside from booze and drugs, body painting is probably the biggest revenue generator at the full moon party.








In all fairness I think this last one was probably done for free by a drunk person.

Then there are the hats. These are all bad hats. There is no excuse for purchasing these hats and then wearing them to a place. Unless you’re going to a theme party, and the theme of that party is “COMPREHENSIVE SHIT BAGS AS DEFINED BY HATS.”


don’t wear this hat.  

IMG_3248 LOOK AT THIS PRINCE. This is the number one dude of all the dudes that represent at this party.














Yet another nice capture by my minion assistants. What a prize!!!


This dude is pretty much the worst dude. This picture would run on the cover of National Geographic if National Geographic was actually a magazine about people that suck instead of a magazine about lions looking angrily at the landscape.

Here is a nice little collection of jerks.


I can’t even begin to list all the reasons that this guy is probably the biggest dick in the world because it’s just too exhausting to even contemplate trying to be thorough.






what the hell is this bullshit? While still a douche, this man is yet highly incongruous. I include him because he was there, even if I’m not sure why.


I tried to make an assumption about what was happening here but then I had a stroke.

Conversely, here is the only possible way to dress up for this party without making me write a bitchy caption for your photo.



I consider this post one of the most instructional that I have written, since the hurt and confusion that inevitably results from stereotyping tourists are significant factors for people when they evaluate their travel experience. And so when I complain that I dislike Thailand, that I had a terrible time, that the way people treat tourists there is offensive and degrading, let me also be the first to say that this is not the fault of the people of Thailand. And when you go to a place, and you have an awful time, and you get ripped off, and mocked, and driven to a whorehouse instead of a hotel, think back on this little wildlife guide and realize that these are the archetypes who perpetuate these stereotypes, these are the scourge of the tourist, the plague of the sightseer, the blot that will overwhelm and efface all of your attempts to meet locals on a common ground.  These are far better and more appropriate targets for your frustration and fury.

These are pretty much the dudes who wreck it for all of us.



  1. yeah. and let's not forget the monks are in on it. they take plastic water bottles, 'bless' them, then sell the water to the dirt-poor thais. they cast a blind eye while their temples are used for scams. and they are the cream of the crop. it really can't be stressed enough what a shithole the place is, and i totally agree i felt dirty and cheap just being there. whether that is the locals (doubtful) or the shitbag, asshole, drop-out fratboys that go there (or the 60 yo white men looking for a 16yo wife) is hard to say.

  2. The party looks wild. I never knew Thailand had this kind of Raves in the nightlife central.