Koh Phangan Party Island & Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand Episode 2
Shining down up on the paradise island of Koh Phangan is a mighty full moon which means it must be the night of Thailand’s premier Full Moon Beach Party with thousands of revelers all looking for the ultimate holiday high.
The sandy beach has turned into a disco inferno. And where there is a party there is bound to be trouble. And soon the merriments begin to descent into mayhem. It starts of mildly with local thieves preying on the drunken tourists, looking for a quick handbag snatch or easy victims to pick pocket.
On an average Full Moon Party night nearly a hundred wallets can be expected to be lifted from unwitting hedonists on the beach but bigger crimes await the cops. As the high jinks turns into violence fights start breaking out between party goers.
“It’s always alcohol … the worst drug. It start’s getting violent the more drunk people we are getting. Then the violence comes out!” says Louise Rawlings, Thai Tourist Police, Head of Volunteers
But it’s not just the holiday makers who get nasty it’s also the Thai locals. As the Full Moon Beach Party gets into full swing drunken behavior leads to a violent assault on a British lad. Jamie found himself the victim of a vicious mugging and assault. A local Thai man robbed him off his wallet and passport. Sporting a nasty head injury he needs immediate medical attention.
Over at the local police station his friends try to explain to the Thai cops what happened.
“My friend he come to full moon party … then Thai person come like this … and they go like this … and they take money … he go up to them … and he go … pushed like this … they get stoned … like this … and they smashed the bottle on his head … he had blood over his face …and I just come to report … I just tell you what happened”, Jamie’s friend reports at the local police station.
The language barrier at the police station is creating its own headache for the British lads.
“I talk to police and they just laugh at me” Jamie’s friend further explains.
All explanations seem to fall on deaf ears making the lads despair about the justice system in Thailand.
“I came to see the police and they basically did nothing! They never get someone caught … never! It’s Thailand!” Jamie’s friend finally reveals.
Then we follow up on the story of Micha, a real cute British chick whose dream holiday on Paradise Island Koh Phangan turned into a terrible nightmare.
It’s the morning following Micha’s arrest and after scraping together enough money form family and friends Micha has made bail and is been released from the prison cell.
“Did the police give you any indication of what would happen to you?”
“We kept asking about the court date but the police officers just shrugged his shoulders. All day they were just trying to get money out of us. They weren’t talking about crime or anything. They were just talking about money … that’s all they wanted!” Micha’s boyfriend Martin explained.
“It seemed like the more we looked desperate the more they were playing hard ball with us.” he further added.
“If I had had the money I would have given it to them just to get out!” Micha says.
Finally Micha is being sent to the court and the next 20 minutes spend pleading her case will define Micha’s future. She knows that she could be looking for up to a year in prison or be giving her ticket to freedom.
The wait is over … Micha finally has a verdict!
“Relieved … very relieved! I am happy … yeah! And it’s good news! I was sentenced to 1 year in prison but because I was so young it was a month and then because it was my first event I got fined and being send out on probation. Very good!” Micha happily announces.
And finally real cute British chick Micha Abigail Dixon is returning home from her dream holiday which has turned into a real & original Koh Phangan nightmare.
Then we follow the trail of Thai Tourist Police volunteer Howard Miller in the streets of Pattaya where a drunken English bloke has urinated on a taxi car and also smashed the hood with his fist. Then being arrested Howard Miller explains the local customs in the Kingdom of Thailand.
“If the man apologizes and makes some form of compensation to the taxi driver according to local customs the situation will be resolved and he will get away with a caution.” Howard Miller, Tourist Police volunteer enlightens.
“The taxi driver has given me a figure … hang on … hang on … 3.000 Thai Baht for damage … just give us 2.000 Thai Baht and then the situation is finished!” Tourist Police volunteer says to the drunken British lad.
“We had two options! After finding out the English guy had no witnesses I said to him … look … you could either be locked up for what you did or we can come to some sort of financial arrangement and try to clear the damage on the car and then it is finished and you can walk away. We agreed on a price of 2.000 Thai Baht which is about 30 pounds and I think it is a fair amount. The English guy agreed to pay it and that was it … finished! He avoided going to jail … it’s nice ;-)” Howard Miller further explains.
So let’s all be real happy about this fantastic local legal system and just keep in mind that money makes the earth spin around the sun … and justice does indeed not exist … at least in the land of the smile 😉
Greetings and be good to each other!
19 thoughts on “Koh Phangan Party Island & Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand Episode 2”
Hey Becki links are blank! It’s funny how the cops seem to be so vigilant of ganja when it’s so obvious that alcohol is the biggest problem at the parties and motorbikes being the number one killer! Often the bikes are mixed with booze, but not always. I would like to see a breakdown of the causes that created 288 British deaths in Thailand last year alone.
Hey, if the police want to get serious about making Phangan safer lets start by addressing road safety issues as a priority since it is the number one killer.
I have a few suggestions:
Start by checking for driver’s licences with a motorbike endorsement? This would include checking both Thai and farangs of course. Can you imagine the mayhem that would cause! The taxis would love it… And by the way I don’t have one either because it’s not policed. By the way, other destinations in the LOS do check for drivers permits, even farangs on rental bikes!
Lead by example, cops without a cop shirt on who is wearing a t-shirt and a gun should be wearing a helmet too!
Do something about the speeding on the Baan Tai Road?
Paint some solid lines on road where it’s unsafe to pass?
That is just to name a few. There a probably many more things we could do to make Phangan’s roads safer. So it would be a great place to start and it would definitely save lives too. I’m betting the police could generate a lot more revenue than road checks for dope, which seems to accomplish little other than to freak out the innocent tourists.
I’m glad the Cambrian lasses story didn’t turn out worse. I think she learned her lesson, that’s for sure!
Cheers n Beers Glyn
She only had 3 grams. The outcome was what should have been anticipated in my mind
She actually paid a hefty price for such a small amount… It made good entertainment
WHAT? all that trouble for 3 g grass?
Not a good place for me there..then lol
The reason why police isn’t much interested in drunk driving is money. As far as I know; for drunk driving without any accident the police can only fine you. Everything officially, no under the table money! On the other hand you have the drug cases; those who get busted usually face jail time, easy to scare them to get some money out of them unofficially. First you have to change the Thai law before it becomes more attractive to the Thai police. Is as simple as that!
Thanks Marc, it seems that everything wrong with Phangan goes back to the cops. I guess the best advice is to be careful and keep your wits about you. I haven’t personally had a problem and have deserved it on occasion.
If you do get done, try to show little fear. Be respectful do not use profane language, don’t raise your voice and try to smile. And Don’t call the embassy or you may close the door to bribing them?
That foreign police volunteer in Pattaya, Howard Miller, is an example of what is the problem with this sort of outfit. It was obvious in that piece on the guy damaging a car that he can barely mumble but a few words of badly-spoken Thai language.
In a job where communication is critical which is a point deservedly re-emphasized several times in the Big Trouble” series, he is woefully inept to being able to do so effectively.
Additionally, there’s a big difference between how these volunteers operate around Thailand and while those on Pha Ngan seem to do a great job of it, the outfit in Pattaya is severely checkered and very dubious. They’ve been involved in a number of incidents and involve themselves in undercover sting operations for prostitution as well as drugs in a very shady manner. They’ve come under tremendous criticism over their exploits that extend well beyond simply looking after tourists and helping out. So much so that Bravo should do an expose’ of them.
I totally agree, Howard and his henchmen dressed in black come accross as bully boys.
Who in there right mind would want to be associated with an organistaion as corrupt as the Thai police?
Howard and his black shirt clad Howard Youth are complicit in stinging westerners.
Furthermore Howard and crew really over step the mark, they have no powers what so ever to restrain / arrest, there primary function is to act as translators.
They cant have many friends in Pattaya apart from the scum at Bravo.
Most problems pale in comparison the the carnage on the Roads! I have copied this from the Times in London…
“British tourists are more likely to be killed in Thailand than any other destination, according to new figures released today.
Motorbike accidents are the main reason why 269 Britons died there last year, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
The figures mean that Thailand has the highest rate of deaths in proportion to the number of British tourists of any country worldwide. In the year to March, an estimated 860,000 British tourists visited Thailand.
This figure also makes Thailand the country where, proportionately, British tourists are most likely to end up in hospital, according to the organisation’s British Behaviour Abroad report, released today.
The majority of 324 reported hospitalisations in Thailand were due to motorbike accidents, says the FCO, and a high proportion are fatal.
The figures for the report are based on incidents reported to British consulates abroad, so actual numbers could be higher.
On the dangers of visiting Thailand, the organisation says: “Many of the hospitalisations in Thailand are the result of motorbike accidents – particularly in the southern islands.
“Thailand has one of the world’s highest road traffic accident rates, almost all of which involve motorbikes.”
The Thai law that states safety helmets must be worn is widely ignored according to the FCO, which contributes to the high number of deaths each year. On average 38 people a day die in motorcycle accidents in Thailand.”
number 3 is out … torrent link:
soooooooooo who shot becki?
This series is absoloute shit ! so come on where has the awfull truth gone ?????
Is this website dead???
maybe speckman is
Hello Koh Phangan party animals. I’m headed your way in the coming weeks so and this will likely be my final post until I return home in April 2010. That’s if someone isn’t waiting for me on the pier with gun… ha ha. I would continue to read the stories on this site but it seems unlikely that Beckman will do many more now that he is happy and getting settled in Germany. I don’t make posts when I’m on the island because I’m using an IPod and it’s a pain in the arse to write much more than a sentence. If someone is interested in buying this website, you never know it could be for sale?
I’d like to talk about this website and its impact on anything real or imagined on the island of madness. The best measure would be to look at the website from a numbers perspective. Based on the web counter on each story only a handful of people even visit this site! Look at the numbers, maybe 1000 hits or so on each post. Now figure the same visitors are making multiple visits. I’m guessing it’s not much more that 200 or 300 people that are actually visiting it. Compare this with say http://www.stickman.com which is one of the most popular sites in all of Thailand, with millions of hits. Stickman’s site receives more hits daily than this Phangan Island News site receives in a year! Stickman has stated on his website that even with the popularity of his site he cannot influence or change a thing in Thailand. In short, the authorities could care less what he posts on his very popular site! But, if the BBC or CNN for example make a mention of a Thai negative it has Thai authorities are running to fix problems almost immediately.
So if anyone actually believes that this website has made any difference and had an impact on the parties or the authorities, then maybe you need to rethink it. I believe that Beckman’s site was an irritant at best. Where Beckman made a difference was his influence and ability to focus the community to mobilize and act. So it was actually the people that the authorities were getting an ear ache from and not this little known web site!
I was recently reading on http://www.onlineprnews.com that Koh Phangan is one of the few places in all of Thailand that is experiencing a 12% increase in tourist numbers in 2009, according to http://www.phanganresorts.com The rest of Thailand is experiencing double digit declines of about 22%. The writer attributes this significant increase to the popularity of the parties. Incredible that Koh Phangan is almost one of the only places on the planet to experience an increase in tourism during the worst recession in more than 60 years. I know Beckman would be saying, awesome! September has seen some modest increases in tourist arrivals, so things are picking up across the board. The writer of the article said it was based on their booking numbers and resort owners saying that they are experiencing higher numbers? Not scientific but it could be a sign of a turn around?
If Phangan Resorts is even close to being accurate with their facts “popularity of parties” and figures then the local government should be doing everything they possibly can to help party organizers set up bigger and better venues for all the parties. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) should be spending loads of money to help promote these parties. This would create the perfect opportunity to relocate them at no expense to party organizers and move them to even larger and more suitable sites that won’t create problems for local residents. This is a little something for Phanganians to chew on…
Cheers and a few beers Glyn
gutted back in germany !!!!! i no where id rather be sat keeping meself to meself…………………..
Phangan ‘just says no’
Long associated with debauchery and wild Full Moon parties, moves are afoot to change Koh Phangan’s image and make it a drugs-free island,
* Published: 12/09/2009 at 12:00 AM
* Newspaper section: News
Koh Phangan, long associated with wild Full Moon parties, is undergoing an image change to make the island a family destination.
A man puts on a show before a crowd of Full Moon Party revellers on Koh Phangan’s Rin beach. SUPAPONG CHAOLAN
The monthly all-night Full Moon party on the Surat Thani island’s Had Rin beach draws mostly foreign tourists and the event is synonymous with illicit drug use.
However, moves are afoot to rebuild the island’s image as a drugs-free haven for holiday makers, with drugs authorities, residents and tourism operators committed to the efforts.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board’s Division 8, responsible for the upper South, has implemented a joint operation with residents and tour businesses to prevent the use of illicit drugs at the beachside party.
“The operation is the vehicle of our social order campaign to ensure partygoers stay away from drug abuse at the party,” said Division 8 chief Surasak Klam-in.
The campaign is being conducted in consultation with stakeholders, including local leaders and tourism businesses from nearby Koh Samui, he said.
A banner on Koh Samui advertises a speed boat service to the nearby Phangan island. ANUCHA CHAROENPO
The division has asked locals to tip off police about any suspected drug-related activities on Koh Phangan.
Police have set up checkpoints along the main roads and at piers on both Phangan and Samui islands.
Police check partygoers at random for possession of drugs, such as cannabis, ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine, known as ya ice.
Undercover officers on the lookout for criminal activity mingle with the crowds.
Locals say the first Full Moon party was held 24 years ago. A resort on the island organised a farewell party for a group of about 20 foreign guests after an extended stay.
Since then a party has been held on Had Rin beach every full moon.
As the island’s nightlife capital, the beach is home to dozens of nightclubs, pubs and restaurants.
Sound systems are erected along the one-kilometre beach to cater for the thousands of revellers who flock to the party every month.
Some revellers party too hard to be able to make the journey back to their guesthouses and end up sleeping on the beach.
Foreign tourists in a mood to party. SUPAPONG CHAOLAN
“No one knows exactly when illicit drugs were first brought to the party,” says Nikom Somwong, chairman of the Samui-Phangan Community Strength project.
Mr Nikom said as a community leader he was well aware of drug use at the parties. But he also recognised the monthly event is a big cash-spinner for Phangan and Samui islands.
Significant revenues are earned from food and drinks sold at the party.
Jongdee Thongchan, chief of Takian village in tambon Angthong on Koh Samui, said some people from the village go to the Full Moon party.
He was worried they would be exposed to drugs and could develop a drinking habit.
Mr Jongdee said he worked closely with family networks and drugs authorities to raise awareness of the risks of taking illicit drugs at local schools and homes.
Many partygoers, however, say it is perfectly possible to enjoy the world famous party without taking drugs.
Ilkka Happonen, a 24-year-old Finnish student, could not hide his excitement about attending the Full Moon party for the first time.
The Finn chose the island to celebrate graduating from the National University of Singapore.
“I’m very happy to be here. I have lots of fun and a great time with my friends. We drink and dance together and never take drugs,” he said.
Grant Ligon, 21, from the United States, said he heard about the party from a friend who spent time on the island last year.
“He told me the party was full of fun and also warned me to avoid taking drugs there or I would be caught and sent to jail,” said Mr Ligon.
Poolice here are a just bunch of wankers. I used to pay protection money every month for nothing but these pathetic useless cunts can go fook themselves now. Yes, come back to phangan beach begging for drink money again and I’ll shove the baseball bat so far up your ass you’ll all walk like penguins for the rest of your miserable days. And don’t think for a minute you scare me with your pathetic little toy pistols – I’m ready for ya, you fookin limpdick grinning thai monkeys.
Posted on http://www.timesonline.co.uk – UK newspaper:
The changing face of Koh Phangan!! Guesses are this guy enjoyed a few freebies to write this!
From The Sunday Times February 22, 2009
Thailand’s party isle goes chic
Ko Pha-Ngan: once a party island for backpacking ravers, now the connoisseur’s choice
Image :1 of 2
Mark Hodson Recommend? (3) For a generation of backpackers, the Thai island of Ko Pha-Ngan means just one thing: full-moon parties. Every month, up to 20,000 young ravers descend on the small resort of Haad Rin, kick off their shoes and dance in the sand until some time the following day.
It’s not for the faint-hearted: the techno is ear-splitting, cheap cocktails are sold — literally — by the bucketful and a steady stream of drugs casualties are carted off to the local hospital.
But there’s a lot more to Ko Pha-Ngan than glow sticks and pills. This densely forested, mountainous island in the Gulf of Thailand, a half-hour ferry ride from the tourist hubbub of Ko Samui, is home to some of the finest beaches in Asia.
Most visitors arriving at the port town of Thong Sala head either east to Haad Rin or west along the main road to one of a string of busy, backpacker-friendly beaches.
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Those in the know, however, quietly slip away from the crowds and hitch a ride north into the rugged interior, where a rutted dirt road twists high through the rainforest then plunges down towards a pristine coastline. It takes almost an hour to cover a distance of 10 miles, but the discomfort of the journey is soon forgotten once you clap eyes on the beach.
Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi is a perfect crescent of silky white sand lapped by a sparkling emerald sea and bookmarked by glistening granite boulders. It’s the kind of beach where you can lie in a hammock all day long doing nothing but listen to the distant put-put of brightly painted fishing boats.
Although tranquil and secluded, Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi has several attractive places to stay, including two hotels catering to grown-up “flashpackers” and some simple bungalows that cost only £10 a night. In a prime beachfront location, tucked discreetly among the towering coconut palms, is the newly opened Rasananda, Ko Pha-Ngan’s first five-star hotel.
Most rooms on the island offer few mod cons — for a tenner you can expect to get a thin mattress, a table-top fan and a small, tiled bathroom. The 44 villas and suites at Rasananda are rather more lavish, each having its own plunge pool, indoor and outdoor bathroom, teak furniture and hand-woven silk furnishings.
There is butler service, a wine lounge and a swim-up bar. Even the journey is being given the five-star treatment — a plush new speedboat whisks guests directly from Ko Samui.
Rasananda might not suit everyone. Some people paying £300 a night for a hotel room might be surprised to find that they’re sharing their beach with a bunch of backpackers. But look on the bright side: the presence of budget travellers means that Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi retains a genuinely bohemian vibe. You don’t get that in the Maldives.
It also means you can stroll into the adjoining village, where you can eat for £2 a head and get a traditional massage for a fiver. If you want to sample the local nightlife, drop by for a couple of bottles of Singha at the Rasta Baby bar or Bio’s Dynamic Kitchen. Just remember to dress down.
Thanks to its difficult topography and infrequent ferry service, Ko Pha-Ngan has so far escaped the kind of mass development that has afflicted Ko Samui (which now has a giant Tesco). Many local people still go fishing every day or tend to small rubber plantations. The pace of life is languorous, and everyone has time to stop and smile.
The primary rainforest on the island is also unspoilt. From Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi it is possible to hike to waterfalls through the dense jungle, ticking off rare species of giant orchids. Keep your eyes peeled and you may also see deer, wild boars and giant monitor lizards.
The best way to explore the island is from the sea — by speedboat if you’re staying at Rasananda, or, if you’re on a budget, by hopping on one of the local long-tail boats.
Take a picnic to Haad Khuat (a celebrated hippie beach that is almost impossible to reach by road), drop by the busy fishing village of Ban Chaloklum, and stop at the tiny deserted island of Ko Ma. The sheltered waters of the bay offer spectacular snorkelling.
Will Ko Pha-Ngan also fall victim to the developers? In the long run, anything is possible, but, for now, paradise looks safe.
Getting there: there aren’t any direct flights from the UK to Ko Samui, but there are connecting flights from Bangkok with Bangkok Airways (bangkokair.com ). Expect to pay about £700 in total, flying internationally with Thai Airways (thaiair.com ), British Airways (ba.com ), Eva Air (020 7380 8300, evaair.com ) or Qantas (qantas.com ).
Where to stay: Rasananda (00 66-7723 9555, rasananda.com ) has B&B doubles from £250, plus £50 for return speedboat transfer. There’s a three nights for two offer until the end of July. Also on Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi, Santhiya (7742 8999, santhiya.com ) has 76 rooms and villas in traditional style; B&B doubles from £180. At the other end of the beach, the Panviman (7744 5101, panviman.com ) has cottages from £160. The Baan Panburi Village (7723 8593, baanpanburivillage.com ) has simple bungalows next to the beach: £10 with fan, £25 with air-con.
Tour operators: Audley (01993 838115, audleytravel.com ) has six nights at Rasananda from £1,595pp, including flights from London. Or try Kuoni (01306 747002, kuoni.co.uk ) or Tropical Locations (0845 277 3310, tropical-locations.com ), which also feature the Santhiya.
When to go: try to avoid the rainy season, roughly from October to December. The northeast coast of Ko Pha-Ngan takes the full force of the monsoon.