Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Getting to the Full Moon Party from Malaysia

Taking the Train or Bus to the Full Moon Party from Kuala Lumpur
Don't get scammed

Originally dedicated to my colleague and friend Anna, who was supposed to meet me in Koh Phangan for the FMP from Kuala Lumpur, but instead decided to go and get HIRED after her internship with the UN. What a slew. Anyways, profit bien, the rest of the world.

Ferry ride to the island with the crew I met on the train from Malaysia. We became friends and had the most insane time

Getting there from Kuala Lumpur
Train → Bus → Ferry
Kuala Lumpur → Hat Yai→ Port→ KOH PHANGAN

Info on the internet on getting from Malaysia to Full Moon Party sucked raw clams. So here is the indie guide to doing it. There were a couple alternatives but I was looking for the cheapest and fastest (priority on the cheap though). Remember, they expect dumbo tourists with lots of beer money and they (local scam artists) are a tough lot, be smart. Here’s how.

I. Train from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai
I couldn’t find a direct way to the port. A bus would have been ideal and probably cheapest but it was just super hard to find. The train was more comfortable anyway.

Departs: 21:15
Arrives: 10:00
Lower bunk: 54 Ringgit (540 Baht)
Upper Bunk: 48 Ringgit (480 Baht)

II. Bus from Hat Yai-Port
Bus + Ferry Ticket: 800 Baht

This was the most stressful part of the trip. We were woken up mega early on the train to be bombarded with ambitious Thai boys trying to get our business. They sort of grabbed our backpacks and were shouting “Bus to ferry! Bus to ferry, come on, come on!” Still in a daze, you will have no idea what the hanus is going on, but it sounds about right so you may follow them. My advice is DON’T. They will rip you off, as they did to us.

Take a second to get a hold of the situation and yourself. You have two options at this point. Wait for the next train to Surathani train station and then get to the port, or like me, take a bus to the port (it’s faster).

If you want to take the bus, go to the bus station. Don’t let them take you to their private tour company. You will have no options. They made us pay for the TukTuk as well to their own agency as well as to the bus, those damn piranhas and then tried to make us pay 1200 baht for the bus+ferry ticket which we had to fight down to 800 THB. Others did not pay for the tuk tuk (they wanted 20 baht each person) and paid less for the same ticket.

In summary:
- Negotiate your own tuk tuk directly to bus station. Don’t pay more than 50 Baht (it’s close).
- If you get sucked into a tour agency, don’t pay more than 800 baht for the bus+ ferry ticket. And don’t pay for the tuk tuk. Negotiate not paying before hand!

Once you are on the bus, it is smooth sailing from there. No more scams and you will arrive at Koh Phangan in the late evening. For lodging, people will try to get you to stay at their hotels, I suggest paying to 100 Baht taxi ride to Had Rin Beach (full moon party area) and getting a cheap place around there yourself. More about that in the Lodging section.

Getting from Koh Phagnan to Kuala Lumpur
Ferry+bus ticket = 1300 Baht (includes everything)

Schedule: 6:00-4:30 am
20:30- 22:20

Train Option
1500 Baht

Being hard core as I am, I decided to do the 6 am thing and just stay up all night partying… I mean I had been doing it every night anyway, what was one more night? I checked out of my place and tried to rock out. Turns out my body was over that whole party-for-10 days-straight thing and decided to put me out of the game. I got sick and ended up squatting in a friend’s place from 5 am-6am. Then embarked on the roughest trip ever. If you have the funds to take the train, then do it. I had to take the bus.

The “mini van” was crowded and uncomfortable. It stopped ALL THE TIME and you had to keep transferring buses. For my angry body that hadn’t slept a decent night in a while it was NOT ideal to be woken up every couple hours. She punished me further and I fell more ill.

SCAM ALERT: While crossing the Thai-Malaysian border the bus guys tried to make us pay some border tax. They had some bullshit laminated piece of paper all prepared and everything saying that when you arrive in the evening you have to pay an extra 10 baht. I, not sure whether it was a scam or not, said I would rather pay the border guy directly. Did the border dudes ever ask me? Nope. I arrived to the other side just fine. Beware party dawgs.

Keep your internet feelers on alert, more on the parties to rock out at that AREN’T on the beach (hidden jungle raves). Ps. World, I JUST BOOKED MY FLIGHT FOR MARCH. I am going again to the insanity. I paid 300k IDR (40 USD) for a one way flight to Phuket from Jakarta and I’m going to be traveling around from March 13th till April 6th. Hit me up, homies if you’re around and we’ll party hardy!!


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