When I heard that the Marriott were to be running full moon parties, my expectations were reasonably low. I missed the opening one last month, for reasons I can't remember, however I did manage to get to the one last Friday (September 1). And while it was a bit of a mixed bag, my general impression was far more positive than I thought it would be.
We arrived at around 9pm. Walking through the Marriott hotel complex to the beach to begin the festivities was certainly a stark contrast to scaling the roads to Had-Rin on the back of a Sangtheew in Koh Pha Ngan. When finally arrived at the beach side of the hotel, we were requested to sign our names in some kind of log book and we were given a wrist band. No entrance fee.
The DJ was pumping out suitably Full-Moon-esque tunes and trying (with success, it seemed) to get party-goers involved in some drinking games. Speaking of drinking, beers cost 100bt for a 330ml can of Chang, or 400bt for a sangsom bucket. We decided to stick to beers for the evening (apart from when were were invited to drink from other people's buckets where of course it would be rude not to!) so I don't know if you got a full bottle of Sangsom for your 400bt or not. Prices higher, then, than you'd be paying at the real full-moon venue, but still a lot less that you'd normally expect to pay at a beachfront hotel in Hua-Hin
I spent the first hour or two mostly drinking beer and observing the, suprisingly large, crowds, while my girlfriend was mostly catching up with old friends that were also present. There were quite a lot of the usual suspects that you'd expect to come across at a good beach party; a few small groups of girls shaking their bums about to the music, a young lady dancing until she collapsed into the arms of her man in exhaustion, a couple of tables surrounded by groups of people cheering every few minutes for reasons known only to them.... It certainly felt like a mini-full-moon party, or maybe a "preview" party. Notably absent were some of the less-appealing aspects of the genuine article; nobody walking around with exotic animals trying to get you to pose for photos, for example, and no people offering to sell you drugs either legitimately or as part of a scam. One thing that struck me was that the moon wasn't looking particularly full... I'm guessing they run the event on the last Friday before each actual full moon.
All good so far, we moved onto a less inspiring part of the evening: the fire show. A little to the right of the main party area, four men gathered bearing fire staffs. A few of the crowd took a break from dancing or chatting with their buddies and began to gather around. The entertainers started to swing their staffs around for about... a minute? (maybe 2), until one of the lads dropped his - at which point they all seemed to stop. Following that, there was a couple of impressive fire fountains which sprung up from the sand, and after that... a couple of the entertainers started putting their staffs' blazes out by hitting them repeatedly against the sand, thus creating further showers of fire-sparks. The thing here was... the sparks were traveling way to close to the spectators - in fact a few of us had to rapidly retreat for fear of injury. And then.... nothing.... the whole thing was over in less than the time it took my girlfriend to go and buy a couple of beers. I can only assume that something went wrong somewhere and that wasn't the show they intended to put on because it was extremely unspectacular!
Following the fire show, a flashlight began rotating from the music stage to add some ambiance. Unfortunately it was rotating at about head-hight and every time it swung around (once every few seconds) it pretty much blinded the pair of us! I'm no lightings expert but I'd imagine these things are supposed to be angled slightly towards the sky in order to avoid that irritation occurring, or perhaps looping in some kind of figure-of-8 motion in order to minimize the amount of times they're in direct contact with your eyes. To be fair to the organizers, it did only seem to be myself and my girlfriend who were bothered by it; the rest of the revellers just kept on dancing! We were slightly outside of the crowd, on the edge of the sea line, so I tried moving into the middle of the crowd to see if it improved the situation, but it did not. Eventually my girlfriend did find a spot nearby the stage that wasn't affected by the light so we hung around that area for the rest of the evening, where we bumped into some people we kinda knew from elsewhere who, of course, were our newest bestest buddies by the end of the evening!
And that was pretty much that. Generally a good party, aside from the flash light and the weirdness at the fire show. I shall definitely be going again to see how it progresses over the months. It certainly was a welcome deviation from the sports bars, Irish bars, night markets, (or trawling the girly bars...) which would normally constitute a night out for us (...or me!)
Discussion on where to go when the sun goes down in Hua Hin; bars, pubs, clubs, karaoke and general nightlife.
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