Creating Social Community in a Hostel

12 Feb 2021

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When I first arrived to Phanganist Hostel it was the day after the Full Moon Party and the vibe in the hostel was friendly but decidedly relaxed. People were lounging in beach chairs and swinging on hammocks quietly chatting and reading books. I was welcomed by a few people to join them in a casual card game. But, having traveled for the majority of the day, I decided to call it an early night and return to my bunk in the dorm room.

The following day I had many conversations with people who raved about how much fun they had had the night before both at the full moon party itself as well as the pre party that the hostel hosted. I knew I would be in town for a moon party and it made me really excited hearing stories of games and friends people had made at the hostel before heading out to the festival.

I have to say, the event definitely lived up to expectations. In the days leading up to the party date, people streamed into the hostel. Groups of friends, pairs of siblings, and solo travelers from around the world checked into the hostel, all just as friendly and excited and happy as the next.

The party at Phanganist was worth all the hype. People came out of the dorms for the promise of free food (pad thai and salad) and affordable drink deals. We drank, played games, and put on body paint and glitter with everyone. It was a really great experience to be able to bond and meet people who were staying at the hostel before venturing out to the larger festival.

Many people have said to me that this hostel was one of the first in their trip to be so social and welcoming. I think that it is often easy to bring people together when everyone is drinking. But the thing about Phanganist is that the staff and volunteers work to bring people together throughout the day and to curate a community when people aren’t drinking. This intentional community building makes sure that people already feel comfortable and a part of something, so when it is time to party the atmosphere is lively and fun from beginning to end.

During the pre-party we ate together, learned and played games from around the world which were introduced to the group from various guests of the hostel, drank, danced, splashed around in the pool, played pool, and of course the classics like beer pong and flip cup were also enjoyed. I met so many people, learned way more names than I could remember, and felt really happy and comfortable and relaxed. Regardless of whether people went on to the main party after, went to a different venue, or just went to bed, it was a great night for all full of laughs, smiles, and most importantly community.