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October 02, 2018, Ibiza, Spain

Partying the night away

The Spanish island of Ibiza lives up to its reputation of being the world’s top party destination, Wu Shangyuan finds out

Wu Shangyuan

Mention Ibiza and most people think of one thing — Europe’s top summer party destination.

Indeed, the island off the east coast of Spain’s mainland is a party spot like no other, offering mega arenas with top DJs spinning their tunes through the night. When the morning comes, there are just as many appealing options for winding down.

Which was just as well — my friend and I were clear on our goal for the trip — we needed to work off a year’s worth of stress and let loose.

Hitting pay dirt

We based ourselves in Ibiza Town on the south-eastern coast, home to a delightful network of shops, restaurants and cafés facing the water, and a 30-minute walk to the island’s premier clubbing destination, Pacha.

We spent the first day wandering around the streets of the Old Town and feeling relaxed as we window-shopped at the pedestrian boulevard of Vara de Rey. We then stopped at the marina for a meal on the patios, watching the good-looking crowd pass by.

This was also where we chanced upon the ticket-sellers for the clubs. They lined the marina with their whiteboards packed with ticket information on the biggest clubs for the day (and through to the weekend, if you enquire). Pacha, Ushuaïa, Amnesia, and Hï are the biggest names in the club scene, each charging about €35 to €50 (S$56 to S$80) as cover.

French DJ and musician David Guetta’s name stood out in bold at the top of the list. We were in luck — he would be playing at Pacha that Thursday evening — while Ushuaïa would be featuring its Dystopia and ANTS open-air parties on Friday and Saturday respectively.

There was no need to think twice — we bought tickets for both venues for two nights. We got a good deal from the broker, paying €70 each for two tickets, and we were sent off with a celebratory tequila shot.

Get the party started

There is one rule everyone at Ibiza will tell you before you go clubbing — don’t show up before 2am.

We followed their advice. Waiting patiently in line at Pacha at 1am, we entered the club to the beats of Robin Schulz, another big-league DJ. By then, the lowest level of the dance floor was already filled and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone was revved up for a good night out.

When Guetta finally showed up at 3am, the crowd erupted into a thunderous cheer and sang along to his most famous tunes.

As the night wore on, the music transitioned effortlessly to a climax and the lights pulsated with the beat. By 5.30am when he left, I was exhausted. My friend, a European, was still as energetic — apparently, partying till the morning is routine for them.

Our experience at Ushuaïa was something else altogether. At 4pm, we entered the grounds right by Playa d’en Bossa, located 3.1km south of Ibiza Town.

It was a spectacular outdoor space, with pools and palm trees. It felt like a party scene straight from reality television. The music was pumping, and everyone was out to see and be seen. Beach bodies were perfectly toned, and outfits, part-party and part-swimwear, were chosen to grab attention.

As the afternoon wore on, one of the pools took centre stage as people jumped in or stood around it to dance. When the sun began to set, however, the scene changed.

The rest of the arena suddenly opened up and the massive stage at the front began to shine lights on the crowd. Then the DJs from ANTS emerged on the main stage, the crowd went wild, and it was all amazing tunes from there.

Everyone danced, their arms in the air, and the music hit a high. Strobe lights whizzed through the crowd amid fireworks and smoke displays.

From a pool party, Ushuaïa had transformed into a spectacular electronic dance music (EDM) concert extravaganza.

It was an evening for the books.

DAYTIME DOWNTIME

On our downtime, we hopped on the bus to San Antonio, about 30 minutes away on the western coast, to wine and dine at its many beach-facing restaurants. There, we enjoyed the sunset and gazed at the crowd, many with their “look at me!” outfits.

For a bird’s eye view of the island, we spent one morning climbing to the top of the castle in Ibiza Old Town, which overlooks the city and marina.

Ibiza is also famous for its beaches, with Playa d’en Bossa being the most popular. For more adventure, we took a day trip out to the neighbouring island of Formentera, just 30 minutes south by ferry from the Ibiza port.

Cycling around the island, we visited the beautiful beaches of Playa es Pujols and Playa de Ses Illetes. Lying on the sand after a dip in the turquoise-blue waters, we fell asleep feeling contented.

GETTING THERE

We flew from other parts of Europe into Ibiza on Vueling.

TRAVELLER’S TIPS

- July and August are Ibiza’s busiest months. Visit instead in June for easier access to clubbing tickets, which you can buy on the day itself.

- Look out for the big-name clubs Pacha, located north of Ibiza Town; Ushuaïa and Hï, located at Playa d’en Bossa; and Amnesia, located at the centre of the island.

- Accommodation in Ibiza must be booked months in advance — hotels are more popular than hostels there and Airbnb offers good options.

- If you run out of party clothes or beachwear, don’t worry. You will have an excellent time shopping in Ibiza.

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