Tourism is strong in Thailand, not just the capital, but also in the more outlying districts. While the bus to Koh Phangan from Bangkok is popular, the reverse route is also quite popular, especially late this March, with thousands of tourists flocking to the island district for a famous special event; the Full Moon Party.
The island district’s famous party managed to draw more than 20,000 foreign travellers to Hat Rin beach, which was overseen by Provincial Governor WichawutJinto and Deputyy Commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 8, Pol. Maj. Gen. ChalitThinthani, to ensure security for the tourists. The officers were accompanied by about 200 security and health personnel, a mix of police, 45th Army Circle soldiers, administrative, public health and excise officials.
Mr. Wichawut said that the Full Moon Party continues to be a major draw-in for foreign travellers. He says that the security officials they brought in to keep an eye on the event were highly experienced, especially with regards to preventing the use of drugs, the monitoring of liquor stores, with a particular focus on stopping the sale of fake liquor following complaints from locals and tourists alike.
KohPhanganhas recently been hit with some negative press as a notorious drug haven, thanks to posts on a foreign social media, but Governor Wichawut says that those pictures were from three years ago. The being said, he admit that these images, old as they are, has managed to do some damage to the island district’s tourism image.
The island is no stranger to having illicit activity crash the party and its image, with several murders and disappearance having happened in the Full Moon Party’s history, which include the death of a 22-year-old Brit, the stabbing and bludgeoning of a 31-year-old Israeli, as well as several drownings.
Governor Wich awut, however, states that management of the event has improved since then, with improved security and accommodation for tourists. He adds that they are working hard to fix the damage to the island’s reputation and build a new image for both it and the Full Moon Party event.