GUEST POST: REBEKAH THOMPSON
I have never been to Thailand, but as it has become an increasingly popular destination for holidaying students and gap year travellers, I know many who have. One of the most alluring aspects of Thailand for university students and other travellers are the Full Moon Parties, which take place once a month on the country´s bright white shores. Thanks to a long coastline, being located between two seas, the country has numerous beaches.
A Full Moon Party is an all-night event that traditionally takes place either the night before, or the night after, a full moon and is usually celebrated by travellers. In fact, throughout the summer, my Facebook newsfeed has been periodically filled with photo albums of bikini-clad, fluorescent-painted friends taking part in Full Moon shenanigans, such as jumping over flaming skipping ropes and drinking buckets filled with alcoholic cocktails.
In recognition of the popularity of Full Moon Parties in Thailand (and now all over Asia), beach clubs across the Costa del Sol have started following the tradition, with monthly copycat events. Last week, such events were held in beach clubs in Manilva, Nikki Beach in Marbella, and Sonora Beach in Estepona. I went along to Sonora Beach to see what all the fuss was about.
The celebrations we due to start at 8pm, so too early for an appearance by the guest of honour – La Luna Llena - but there was a lovely barbeque and a selection of cocktails on offer, so we grabbed some grub and a Mojito and perched ourselves on a sunbed. Music was playing and the waves were rolling in as the sun began to set; I can certainly think of worse places to eat my dinner.
As the sun sank behind the horizon, and the moon hauled itself lazily into the sky, candles and oil lamps were lit across the beach and the bar itself was illuminated in bright orange and pink against the vibrant parasols and sunbeds. Natural ambience was added in the form of the moon’s glistening reflection on the millpond-smooth surface of the Mediterranean.
Listening to music and enjoying cocktails, we paddled in the sea and danced on the beach, feeling like the man in the moon really was smiling down on us – sadly he´s not very photogenic (that or my camera is useless). Later in the evening, everyone ventured up towards the terrace to listen to a live music performance, which fit perfectly with the oxymoronic relaxed but excited ambience. The crowds swarmed around the performers and danced and sang under the moonlight until the early hours - although not lasting out till sunrise, as is the Thai party tradition.
The other deviation from the typical Thai Full Moon celebrations was the lack of flaming skipping ropes, alcohol in buckets and students covered in rave paint, but I can honestly say I didn´t miss those elements at all. My Costa del Sol experience of the Full Moon festivities was exhilarating and fun, but also relaxing; an experience that I will no doubt dream of returning to next year when spending endless hours in the library, researching and writing my dissertation. I only hope that, should I ever make it to Thailand for the original Full Moon experience, it can live up to the Costa´s equivalent.