12 Insane Parties to Attend Before You Die

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One of the things I was most excited about when I went back to living on campus at university was the partying. Helping run the Nanking Nation Party Bus last year rekindled my love for a good, boozy evening out.

As I prepare to pack my life at college up (with one or two more obligatory wild nights out before I go) and head back on the road, I thought I’d turn my eye to the wider world and write about ten parties that I’d love to attend before I kick the bucket.

12 Insane Parties to Attend Before You Die

By way of disclaimer, I should point out that I’m not a music festival guy, so there aren’t any featured in the below list.

#12 – Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand

One of the most famous parties in the world, the debauched all night rave that overshadows Koh Phangan’s considerable natural beauty seems to be one of those ‘must do’ things in Thailand; right up there alongside seeing a ping pong show, funding the country’s ongoing animal abuse, and discovering yourself in Chiang Mai.

Of the parties on the list, this is the one I’m most reluctant to attend, but it makes the list on name value. I’ve had friends go who still describe it as one of the best nights of their life, and other friends who came away with it with a healthy distrust of anybody offering them a drink.

full moon party koh phangan thailand
Photo couresy of YoTuT,

#11 – Batalla de Vino, Haro, Spain

The only thing better than drinking wine? Throwing hundreds of thousands of litres of the stuff at your fellow man, obviously!

On the 29th of June each year, the streets of the sleepy little winemaking town of Haro in Spain run red with the blood of grapes in a decadent orgy of wine that Dionysus himself would have approved of.

Prologued by a night of street parties and alcohol consumption, the morning fight sees the combatants baptising one another in delicious, delicious red wine.

And if some of it ends up accidentally in your mouth? All the better!

You can use my promo code (AUSSIE) to get unlimited sangria and beer on your own Batalla de Vino tour with Stoke Travel.

battala del vino san vino wine fight spain
Photo courtesy of Stoke Travel.

#10 – Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland

What makes celebrating New Year’s Hogmanay in Scotland’s cultural capital so special? It could be the solemnity of a 50,000 strong candlelit procession through the city’s ancient streets, but I like to think it’s the fact the city becomes one huge music festival for the event.

There’s a street party with artists like Mark Ronson and Kaiser Chiefs, a more traditional celebration of Scottish music called The Keilidh, and the Concert in the Gardens that has featured artists such as Lily Allen, Paolu Nutini (a personal favourite), Madness, Pet Shop Boys, and Calvin Harris.

And did I mention the traditional firework’s display lights up the skies above a mother-fucking castle? That’s Battle of the Blackwater level awesomeness to ring in your year.

New Year’s Day hangovers can be combated with culture as part of the Scot:Lands celebrations, or you can do as hundreds of thousands of idiots have done in the past by hurling yourself into the frigid waters of the River Forth as part of Loony Dook. Nothing sobers you up quicker than a brush with hypothermia, kids.

hogmanay new year fireworks scotland edinburgh
Photo courtesy of John Haslam.

#9 – Mud Festival, Boryeong, South Korea

The only festival on this list I’ve had the pleasure of attending (so far), the annual Boryeong Mud Festival transforms an otherwise unremarkable coastal town into an orgy of mud, beer, and bikini clad foreigners that captures the imaginations of expats across the peninsula every summer.

Mud fights, mud slides, mud wrestling, mud painting, and the ridiculous cheapness of alcohol in South Korea makes this a highlight of many a summer in the best Korea.

Hell, a much younger CWB got to fulfill a teenage dream by making out with a pretty (former) cheerleader underneath the stars way back in 2008. What’s not to like about that?

You can read more about my Mud Festival experience if you so desire.

A younger, muddier, drunker Aussie on the Road at the 2008 Mud Festival.
A younger, muddier, drunker Aussie on the Road at the 2008 Mud Festival.

#8 – Holi, India

India has already done so much for the world.

They invented pajamas, yoga, Indian food, and the kama sutra. We owe them a debt of gratitude.

Not content with giving us the above radness, they’ve also introduced the world to the brightly coloured battle that is Holi. This festival sees revelers throwing handfuls of brightly coloured powder at anything that moves, painting the city in a vivid tapestry of colours.

I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures – crowds of smiling people painted every colour of the rainbow. The festival celebrates good triumphing over evil, and is there any better reason to celebrate than that?

In recent years, the holiday has spread across the world with the help of Indians living abroad. It’s become synonymous with spring, love, and good times. It’s also been adapted for western events such as the Colour Run and a number of colourful music festivals around the world.

holi colourful
Photo courtesy of PaulaLyn Carvalho.

#7 -Burning Man, Nevada, United States

Embracing such concepts as inclusion, radical self-expression, participation, immediacy, and decommodification, Burning Man is a celebration of art and human expression that takes place every August/September in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

The festival sees a city spring up in the desert each year, a temporary collection of tents, art installations, theme camps, and villages that grows before the festival and withers in the desert heat once the celebrations are complete.

It’s hard to put into words just what the festival represents, so I’ll let images do the talking.

Can’t travel all the way to the US? There are countless regional versions of Burning Men including Burning Seed in Australia, Nowhere in Spain, and AfrikaBurn in South Africa.

samurai of abraxus burning man
Photo courtesy of Neil Girling.

What are you waiting for? There’s more insanity on the next page!

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2 comments

  1. I’ve done Rio Carnival, Queen’s Day (it was a few years ago!) and Hogmanay. The full moon party is next on my list! Really annoyed with myself that I missed Mardi Gras in Sydney when I lived there! Holi would be awesome too 🙂

    • You’ve got me well and truly beaten! The only one I’ve managed is the Mud Festival (although I did make it thrice). I was on Koh Phangan for the Half Moon Party, but I’m not a big fan of trance music or creepy guys trying to drug girls, so I gave it a miss.

      Despite living in Sydney through four Mardi Gras, I’ve somehow never made it to one >_<

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