There’s nothing quite like The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan – a small, unassuming island in the Gulf of Thailand that hosts the craziest beach party you will ever experience and considered a non-negotiable stop by many backpackers on their South East Asian party tour.
The Full Moon Party is legendary, for both the right and wrong reasons. With it’s fine white sand and crescent shaped cove lined with palm trees, Haad Rin Nok (sunrise) beach on the South Eastern peninsula of Koh Phangan is idyllic by day and wild by night. Every month, thousands upon thousands of revelers from all over the planet flock to Haad Rin beach on Koh Phangan, fully clad in neon rave outfits and glow in the dark body paint. I have never met so many nationalities all together in the same place! As well as many Brits and Aussies, there’s Germans, South Africans, Dutch, French, Thai, Italian, Americans, Japanese, Norwegians, Swiss, Swedish… the list is endless, as well as the sea of people that take over the beach:
There are many dangers and controversies which surround the Full Moon Party and it has been criticised as having become too commercialised since its hippie roots in the 1980s. Many believe that the Full Moon Party just attracts a loads of tourists who think they can behave as badly as possible (Brits Abroad, oh dear) as well as criminal and dangerous situations caused by alcohol. While I can agree with them there, I have had the best time at every Full Moon Party that I’ve been to (even in the rain!) and so I want to share my Full Moon Party Survival Tips so you can have an awesome time and stay safe.
How To Get There
There is no airport on Koh Phangan so the only way to get there is by ferry boat from either neighborouing Koh Samui and Koh Tao or from the mainland from a port called Chumpon.
More info here
Where To Stay
The Full Moon Party takes place every month on Haad Rin Nok beach. There is also Haad Rin Nai beach (sunset) which is on the other side of Haad Rin town. If you’re staying on Koh Phangan then I would definitely try and stay somewhere in Haad Rin and arrive a couple or more days before the Full Moon Party itself. This will give you time to get to know your surroundings as well as going to the pretty amazing pre-parties that take place every night.
If you do stay in Haad Rin however, remember to keep your valuables locked away in a safe as I’ve heard of some people being burgled on the night of Full Moon. Obviously with so many people out partying on the beach, thieving opportunists can use this to their advantage and break into your room.
There are many other beach resorts around Koh Phangan where you can stay and get taxis to Haad Rin beach. As a female traveller, I would encourage you to never get a taxi on your own and this is another reason I think staying in Haad Rin or nearby Ban Tai is best.
Accommodation gets quickly booked up so book well in advance of your trip!
Many people stay on Koh Samui and Koh Tao which are neighbouring islands and take the regular boat taxis on Full Moon Party night to get to Haad Rin. If you opt to do this, you will arrive in the evening and get picked up the next morning so be prepared to party all night (it’s not hard hehe)
For a list of accommodation options, click here.
How Much Is It?
We saw lots of complete numpties wandering around with laminated VIP passes hanging round their necks…. this is a scam, probably by someone on Koh San Road that they had to pay over the odds for. There is no such thing as VIP at the Full Moon Party. The people who buy VIP passes obviously think David Guetta is the best DJ ever – don’t be a tool.
Your neon outfits and body paint costs depend entirely on your budget and flair for flamboyance…. go crazy!
There is a rarely enforced entry fee of 100 baht (around £2) to get to the beach – although I only ever saw this once.
Once you’re on the beach, you will have your choice of hundreds of ‘bucket bars’ that line the beach to buy drinks at. The prices range from 180 baht to 500 baht depending on the type of alcohol and mixer that you choose.
Going to the toilet annoyingly costs 5-10 baht and the queues can be big.
I would budget at least 2000 baht (£40) for Full Moon Party night although it’s probably more realistic that you’ll spend 4000!
What’s The Crack?
Basically the beach is transformed into a festival style dance mecca with a different genre of music at each major bar/stage along the mile long stretch of Haad Rin beach. There really is something for everyone unless you’re exclusively into Death Metal or Classical Opera (in which case, stay at home) and you will wander open mouthed between the displays, taking in the craziness of it all. The funniest stage in my opinion is the trance section. I really don’t understand this genre of music at all but it’s hilarious watching the ageing hippies and techno robotic dance moves going on here.
Your drinks buckets are all served with the bottles they come with (although you can ask them to switch mixers around etc.) and mixed in front of you – so you can be sure there’s nothing dodgy added in round the back! The M150 is like a red bull kind of syrup but is basically liquid amphetamine. Don’t drink too many of these or you’ll go so west you’ll think you’re in Texas.
At the end of the beach you will see a lovely looking, colourful and welcoming looking bar nestled among the rocks and the trees. This is officially called Mellow Mountain bar but is fondly referred to as Mushroom Mountain due to it’s ‘Special Shakes’. It is inevitable that you will end up here at some point – know your limits so you don’t ruin your trip!
The Full Moon Party seemingly never ends and there’s still people partying until 10/11 am although the whole of Haad Rin is kind of a ghost town the day after Full Moon
My Do’s and Don’ts of Full Moon Party Etiquette
DO Get Dressed Up! If you don’t then you’ll feel more of a weirdo than you would not being in top-to-toe neon. It’s all part of the fun and the body paint comes off in the shower reasonably quickly! It’s also really fun choosing your outfit and getting ready for the night!
DO Stay Together – I can’t emphasise this enough. You can so easily get lost and with so many people, this is problematic. Organise a meeting point in advance such as underneath the Tommy Clock (you can’t miss it)
DO Be Careful. I personally wouldn’t accept drugs or drinks from anyone and there’s lots of people whispering drug names in your ear as you walk past – SE Asian drug dealing stylee. I know this is old school advice but there are lots of undercover police around (life imprisonment in a thai jail would not be ideal) as well as really dodgy cocktails of so called MDMA which could potentially ruin your life, not just your night.
Ladies, DON’T wander around on your own, especially if you are really drunk. I know this goes without saying, but there are predators and you are easy prey.
DO Be aware of people around you and don’t let the carefree spirit of the night stop you from looking after yourself and your belongings.
DO Remember that it’s a marathon – not a sprint!
DON’T Take Your Shoes Off! The beach is littered with cigarettes, discarded drinks and god knows what else!
Equally, DON’T Go in the sea! It’s full of people’s piss. There’s literally guys pissing into the water from the shore.
DON’T let a little rain stop you from having fun! Two Full Moon Parties I went to were complete wash outs… we just embraced it!
DO Go Wild! You will experience this night again so just have a blast. Dance on the speakers, bond with new friends over far too many buckets, watch the sunrise from Mushroom Mountain and love your life right now!
Make the most of what is easily one of the most memorable nights you’ll ever have!
If you have any questions about the Full Moon Party, please leave me a comment below!