New Year in Thailand – Koh Phangan’s best kept secret

Have you ever caught a tiny speed boat home on New Years morning after your New Years Eve celebrations? I’m not talking about the Full Moon Party – and actually would encourage you to try something a little more undiscovered. This blog gives you an alternative party destination for bringing in the New Year in Thailand – the best New Year I’ve ever had.

Where to find house music in Thailand

After hearing and reading really mixed reviews about the Full Moon party we decided it wasn’t for us and managed to find a hidden gem – Guys Bar and it’s sister location Eden. If you want to avoid the mega crowds and super high energy EDM (electronic dance music) then Guys is definitely for you.

Nestled in the middle of the jungle, Guys Bar is definitely an experience you need to have at least once in your life, especially if you love house music. It’s a bit of a mission to get to but absolutely worth it.

What to expect at Guys Bars

The only way I can think to describe this incredible venue is like an open air club, made from the nature around it with a super cool hippy, slightly psychedelic vibe. Filled with like minded people, who love music and want to be able to do what they enjoy……….dance. The remote location, smaller numbers of people and mixed age group makes for a relaxed environment.

The venue opens at 11pm and shuts when everyone has finished having a good time or when the DJ has had enough. Parties here have been known to carry on for days. The bar staff are friendly and can help you with anything you need. The drinks are reasonably priced too. It worked out at around £1 each – Thailand in general was way more expensive than I thought it was going to be, that was cheap compared to other bars we had been to. You’ll pay roughly about £4 for a cocktail, although local spirits and beers are less. You just walk in, there’s no security, no attendants and no entry fee.

The tunes were a mix of chunky house and disco classics with some spicy tech house bangers thrown in for good measure – if Defected and Toolroom had a love child and left it in the jungle to be raised by wolves (like Mogli from Disney’s The Jungle Book) you’d get Guys bar.

Facilities

Warning – the toilets are of epic hygiene risk and traditional Thai (a hole in the ground ?), so girls take your own tissues, most of the boys used one of the far away bushes. But don’t let that put you off. After the initial shock it adds to the character of the place. Dress casual and comfy, wear trainers (flip flops or sandals may result in injury), and have the time of your life ??.

How to get to Guys Bar

There’s two options: a boat taxi from Haad Rin beach and then a walk up quite a steep and rocky cliff face or, you can get a 4×4 taxi (Guys and Eden partner with bars in the Ban Tai area, where we stayed) for an off road adventure.

We picked the 4×4 taxi and had discovered a bar that supported Guys and Eden a couple of days before (all the bars have big posters of the nights they support outside. They sell tickets and organise taxi runs for the nights they advertise). The bar we went to was called ‘Chillup’ and really near the Phanganist Hostel. They like to be able to fill the trucks (ours was a mitsubishi warrior type thing) so if there’s less than about 8 of you, find other people in the bar that want to go and go together. This also brings the price per person down. I can’t remember how much we paid but it didn’t break the bank, and was worth it.

This was the best journey ever! Me and the girls sat in the front, inside the truck. The boys were in the open top back standing up and hanging on to the bars above the truck cabin as we navigated through what can only be compared to Jurassic Park terrain. Seriously, the roads were absolutely mental, it was so much fun. Some of the mini gorges in the ‘road’ must have been about 5 foot deep. It took about 45 minutes because there had been a lot of rain and part of the road was closed, meaning we had to go even more off road than usual. Normally it takes about half and hour our driver said.

Our driver was excellent. He was European, I want to say from Denmark, and spoke perfect English. He played progressive trance……which although not my first choice, actually really suited the journey. By the time we got there, we were buzzing ?.

How to find Eden

Eden is close to the beach where the boat taxis drop you, so attract a lot of people from Haad Rin. We decided to do Guys first and then head along to Eden for the sunrise. I actually couldn’t tell you how we got there, we walked and managed to find it, it didn’t take very long. I think the boys must have asked someone at Guys before we left and just headed in that direction.

Eden can be best described as a giant tree house perched on top of a giant cliff. The techno was almost silenced by the sunset and everyone gathered on the rocks to watch it. It was pretty special.

Eden is also open in the day for lunch and other civilised, lovely things. Its an amazing venue.

How to get home

It’s easier to get a boat back to Haad Rin from the beach at the foot of Eden than it would be to try and organise a 4×4 to come back and get you. So that’s what we did.

This was the most ridiculous and hilarious boat ride ever. I absolutely love Thai people, they have no concept of health and safety and just go for it no matter what! The tiny speed boats were literally horizontal trying to get over the mad waves that were crashing into the bay and back out into the open sea.

We were walking down the beach talking about how mental the people in the boats must have been to get in there……and then we realised that would shortly be us ?! The Thai boat men did actually have life jackets that we had to wear, there was real possibility of capsizing, but that added to the fun.

Boat ride to end all boat rides

The boat men are actually quite organised -10 people to a boat – and they will shout at you if you try and jump into a boat that is too full. They were total pros at getting the boats off the beach and back into the sea, which was seriously wild! I can’t remember how much it cost – it wasn’t a lot – and by then you’re past the point of caring, there’s no other option. Make sure you pay the driver when you’re either in, or nearly close enough to touch, a boat. Don’t give anyone money if you’re waiting on the beach.

So off we went, setting sail into the camacazy wave frenzy, water flying everywhere ?. Bless the boat drivers though, they take their taxi runs seriously and made sure everyone was hanging on and ok. We got back to land in one piece. From there it’s a piece of cake – just pick up a tuk tuk in Haad Rin and you’re home.

The best experience ever and a New Year’s Eve’s story I know will never be beat. Read where to find complete ear peace, chill out and nurse your sore head here.

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