TNT Travel Writing Awards 2009 entrant

Author: Ali Stato


When the harsh reality of life becomes that little too much to bare, all I have to do is close my eyes and remember the time I got to discover paradise…

We’re about to board the ferry.  The excitement that awaits us at the other end of our voyage has us animated with anticipation.  We make our way atop the ferry where we’re welcomed by other travellers.  As we begin cruising along the water, we lay down and greedily bask in the sunlight whilst gazing up at a brilliant blue sky.  A lone backpacker lazily strums on his guitar and retreats into a well known song which unites us as we all sing along.  Serene ocean surrounds us as we embark on our journey.  We sip Chang beer whilst experiencing scenery that you’ve only ever seen in travel brochures – the kind you’ve only ever dreamt about.

We’re even more excited about the night that awaits us as all too soon we dock at the old, rickety jetty.  Big smiles greet us from the locals whilst the smell of aromatic spices floats through the air. We have arrived in Koh Phangan and we’re about to experience our first Full Moon Party.

Before we know it, hours have passed and the night we have been waiting for begins.  We have no idea what to expect as we soak up the atmosphere whilst walking towards Haad Rin Beach.  We can hear and feel the bass of the music and like a moth to a flame we follow its sound as it draws us closer.  The feeling and the mood is indescribable.

We arrive at the beach and we’re in awe.  All we’re able to do is look at each other and laugh for there are no words that can describe the scene that unfolds before us nor can they explain the feeling that overwhelms us at that very moment.  We look up into the sky and see the full moon: the sole reason why we’re set amongst 20,000 people on this particular night.

Our expectations have been exceeded as we spend the evening dancing, laughing, singing, making new friends and joining in on the festivities, all the while fully appreciating how it is we got to be where we are and all that the night has had to offer us.

Many hours later, we watch the beauty of the sky transform with yet another brilliant sunrise.  In that instant, we’re reminded of the simplicity and beauty of life as we’re surrounded by friends; both old and new and gone is any animosity, any judgment, any adversity.  We’re left naked as all inhibitions have been forgotten and we’re able to completely be ourselves.  For this one precious moment in time we’re truly happy because we’re free.  We realise that this moment is untouchable; that we’ll forever have this memory where we’re united by the music, the scenery, the people and the experience and we’ll always remember how we discovered paradise…