A recent trip taken by several of us exchange students was to Koh Pha Ngan, an island famous for its exciting, neon Full Moon Parties. The celebration is at night, so the whole day was free to enjoy. It rained for most of the weekend, so it was not ideal beach weather. But it’s all about making the most of the situation, so since we didn’t have much to do, we decided to take an hour walk-- to avoid the taxi prices—to see a popular waterfall on the island.
Koh Pha Ngan as seen from the pier
Badgers at Than Sadet - Koh Pha Ngan National Park
The walk was going smoothly until we got to our first obstacle: a steer blocking half the road. Realizing that steers are herbivores, we approached it with caution, only to see it was tied up to a tree. After passing the steer, however, we came to our second challenge: the herd of puppies running towards us from the nearby yard. Wondering if we were in some alternate video game universe, we briskly walked down the road as the dogs nipped at our heels and tried jumping on us. Now you might be saying, "you’re afraid of a bunch of puppies?!" Trust me, I love dogs as much as the next guy, but when you’re told to avoid petting stray dogs at all costs due to the fear of rabies and fleas, six dogs running at you can seem a bit intimidating. Luckily the dogs were harmless and we got past no problem. The waterfall was worth the walk, and the view from the lookout was amazing.
A scary pup and I
That night was the Full Moon Party as well. It was a thrilling night filled with dancing, thumping DJ music, neon body paint, and the bright glow of the moon above. The celebration goes till eight in the morning, but I called it quits around 4 am. After a long but electrifying weekend, it was time to go back home. As I was laying on the deck of the ferry with my wounded toe—a story for another time--I just smiled at the whole situation. Weekends as random as this are a big part of studying abroad. They may not involve the most positive situations, and you may think “oh man, what have I gotten myself into?” but it is all about seizing the moment and taking risks. I took a big risk in deciding to study abroad, and it has paid off thus far. I am eager to see what else this semester has in store for me.
Neon signs at the Full Moon Party