Full Moon Party mood returns
Published: 26 Jan 2013 at 16.31Online news:


More than 30,000 foreign tourists have flocked to Koh Phangan to celebrate the first Full More than 30,000 foreign tourists have flocked to Koh Phangan to celebrate the first Full Moon Party of the year on Saturday night amid tighter security following a fatal shooting last month.

The event had already attracted 30,000 revellers, mostly foreigners, to the southern island on Friday. Many more were expected to arrive as ferries between the Surat Thani mainland to the world-famous tousit destination were filled with passsengers, said Panu Woramit, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's Surat Thani office.

Authorities are keeping a closer eye on this weekend's partty following the death of a young British tourist at a New Year's Eve party on Haad Rin Beach.

Stephen Ashton, 22, was killed by a stray bullet during a fight between two rival gangs, whose fistfight in a bar turned into a gun battle.

His death rompted authorities to implement more restrictive firearms controls and vow to make the province's tourist spots gun-free within a year.

Wannee Thaipanich, president of the Phangan Tourist Promotion Association, said the New Year shooting did not affect the island's tourism business much, judging by the latest influx of visitors coming for 2013's first Full Moon Party and the overall hotel occupancy rate.

Taweesak Inprom, the Koh Phangan district chief, said safety measures for tourists would be stricter than in the past years.

Several checkpoints have been set up to prevent weapons from being carried onto the island, especially by Thais. Violators would face immediate harsh punishment as part of the efforts to declare Koh Phangan a free-gun zone, he said.

BANGKOK POST