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The fusion of whiskey-and-coke-filled buckets, likeminded revellers, fluorescent trees and the non-stop beats of psy-trance were a surefire way to an unforgettable Half Moon Festival. After hooking up with some fellow party-goers at the Beach Village, we headed to Koh Phangan’s home of hedonism daubed in rave paint and raring to shake our stuff ’til sunrise. After many years of practice, we sensibly gave ourselves a day’s recovery before moving onto Koh Phi Phi!

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After eight-and-a-half hours of boat bus boat, I arrived expectant of an island comprising serenity, sophistication, stunning beaches … how wrong could I have been! If spending an hour scouring the island to find a room that didn’t cost a bomb hadn’t put a dampener on my mood, walking into a large-scale Club 18-30s resort, reminiscent of what I’d imagine a holiday in Tenerife’s Playa de las Americas to be like, didn’t put much faith in me enjoying my time Phi Phi… Since then, I’ve discovered that the island does in fact have some amazing beaches–they’re just populated by crass, narcissistic Brits!

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We spent our first evening at a beach bar watching drunk, brazen teenagers trying to skip a rope of fire which, despite their own stupidity, was pretty amusing. The devil in me was waiting for someone’s hair to go *puff* into a cloud of smoke … just a few burnt garments of clothing in the end! I’m not really that mean. Honestly.

A lie-in was on the cards the next day – not that you can get a decent night’s sleep here with raucous teens coming back at all hours! I realise this makes me sound extremely old and moany, but at the same time I never thought that any of Thailand’s southern islands would be so completely determined by western tourism. We spent the remainder of the day baking ourselves on a bay close to our guest house. Despite the people, it really is a stunning little cove and I don’t think any photo, however good the camera, could do justice to its true beauty.

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Final day (THANK GOD) was spent touring Phi Phi’s other smaller islands, including a stop-off at the beach where they filmed..The Beach. Its powdery white sands lined with tall, lush pine trees were a vision of true paradise. There were a few good opportunities to snorkel around the area’s coral reefs which are abundant in tropical fish. Shame I don’t like sealife! Waking up to the news of a magnitude eight earthquake in the Pacific Ocean and threat of tsunami was a little alarming, especially after Koh Phi Phi was completely devastated during the tsunami of 2004. Luckily my poor geography served me well, and I’m glad the earthquake wasn’t anywhere near as destructive as first thought.

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We’re off to Ko Lanta now. I’ve got very high hopes for this place!

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