Years before I came to Thailand friends of mine told me about the Full Moon Parties they celebrated on an island. I heard funny and crazy stories, saw burn marks on the calves of jumping the fire rope and many other things…
When I wrote down my adventure bucket list, I knew that I had to include the Full Moon Party. Therefore, on the 5th of May I attended the Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach at Koh Phagnan. It was the biggest moon of the year and we were all very excited!
As most people I had no idea what this full moon party actually is. I also heard of friends who attended the half moon party and through research I saw that they nearly celebrate every single moon phase.
What is the Full Moon Party?
There are different stories on the internet of the origin of the Full Moon Party, some say that a group of friends celebrated a birthday during a full moon night and that it was so good that they came back the years after. Other resources say that a club in Haad Rin organized a party to give thanks to travelers for visiting the area.
Anyhow, most resources I checked say that the birth of the Full Moon Party was around 1985 in Haad Rin, where they still celebrate that crazy night.
Over the years and due to the word of mouth many people heard of this party (so did I) and it quickly became popular. At least since it was featured in movies like “The Beach” its on the itinerary of many tourists and travelers. Today over 30.000 people celebrate this big party right at the beach and are having a great time.
There are many bars lined up at the beach where you can get your buzz on. This night is all about alcohol, party, dancing, sex and drugs. Better be careful doing drugs there as Thailand has a very strict anti drugs law and police enforcement is much higher during the parties.
When is the best time to go to the Full Moon party?
Best time would be outside of the rainy season, which normally starts in November and ends in January. April throughout July is the hottest time of the year. Good time for partying when it’s not so hot and wet would be between February to April.
Click here to check when the next full moon party is planned.
Where should I stay during the Full Moon Party?
Koh Phangan is the fifth biggest island of Thailand and has many hotels all over the island and offers accommodation for all sorts of budgets. For the full moon party you might want to stay around the southeastern part of the island, (sunrise beach, sunset beach, Leela) which is very close to Haad Rin.
It is advisable that you book a little bit in advance, as it quickly is fully booked out. There are some hostels where you need to book at least 3-4 days in order to get a room. Make your homework before you come here or come a couple of days earlier in order to safe yourself a room. I’d advice to come at least 5 days before the party if you want a nice, clean and safe place to stay at.
Recommendations where to stay!
There are many hotels and resorts right at the beach. If you want something a little bit away from the center of the party but still be in walking distance I’d recommend to try the Palio Hostel which is a two minute walk to the beach. It’s a little hostel with comfy rooms. They have everything you need for a good price: a bed and a bathroom!
Rooms here start at 220Baht (5 €/1 persons/night in 8 bed dorm) and go up to 1600 baht (38 €/2 persons/night).
In case Palio is fully booked, other great hostel are:
Moonstone Hostel about 4-5 minutes walk to the beach
Electro Hostel close to the beach and sells out fast!
The Ship Hostel right at the beach an in the middle of everything happening
If you like to party hard and cure your hangover the next day with a private beach at a nice boutique resort, then the Pariya Haad Yuan Resort is exactly the right place for you to stay at. They have 40 big rooms equipped with everything you need. A beautiful pool, nice beach bar and great staff who will try to make your hangover day as smooth as possible.
Prices for a room at this resort start at 7000 Baht (170 €/2 persons/night) and include breakfast.
To get there you can take a boat taxi from Haad Rin to Haad Yuan, which costs about 200 Baht per person. You can negotiate it down to about 300 baht (150 thb p.P.) if you travel with two persons.
The closer you get to the date of the full moon party the more expensive the rooms will get. Make sure you come days in advance or you book a room before hand. For the full moon party there are also ferries traveling at night from Koh Samui and Koh Tao but take between 20 minutes (speed boat) up to 2 hours.
How to get to Koh Phangan?
By ferry! There is no airport on Koh Phangan. Everybody arrives with a ferry either from Surat Thani, on the mainland, or from Koh Samui, the neighboring island.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan by plane
Koh Samui has an airport on the island that is served by Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways. Flights to and from Bangkok to the Koh Samui are at least 3.500 baht (85 €/one way). From there you have to take a taxi to the Big Buddha Peer (100 Baht) and a ferry for another 200 Baht to Haad Rin Beach.
The cheapest way to get to Haad Rin from Bangkok is by bus or train.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan by bus
The bus leaves at around 6 PM every night from the southern bus terminal and you will be at Haad Rin at around noon the next day. Tickets are around 800 Baht and include the bus ride and the ferry transfer to the island. From Thong Sala you will have to pay another taxi (around 100 Baht) to get to Sunrise Beach (Haad Rin)
Bangkok to Koh Phangan by Train
Another option to get to the full moon party is by train. You hop on the train at the Hualamphong station in Bangkok and go over night to Surat Thani. From there you take a 1,5 hrs bus ride to the peer where you take the ferry to Thong Sala at Koh Phangan. Tickets for this journey start at 1400 Baht and include the overnight train in a 2nd class sleeping wagon with air-conditioning, the bus transfer to the peer and the ferry to the island. You will also arrive at Haad Rin at around noon but will be less stressed as this form of traveling is much more comfortable than traveling by bus.
What does the full moon party cost?
This is a little list of costs that might be relevant to anyone who is partying at the full moon party:
Food: Thai meal 70-90 Baht, European meal >200 Baht
Beer: at bar 100-120 Baht, at supermarket 40 Baht
Cocktail: 150-200 Baht
Cigarettes: 75 Baht
Bucket: 150-300 Baht (150 Baht for Thai whiskey with coke)
Follow these guides and you’ll be fine!
Food & drinks guide: There are many restaurants in Haad Rin and most of them are overpriced. Avoid eating at the beach and go a little away from the center and food and drinks will become cheaper. If you want European food “Mamas Schnitzel” is a good and cheap option. There is also a place next to the tourist police station which is pretty cheap for thai food. Buckets are incredibly expensive at the full moon party. Buy your booze before hand. If you travel with friends, try to buy one of these 5 liter buckets and buy the alcohol from a 7-eleven or a supermarket and fill up your bucket before you go to the party. The bucket can be very heavy so share it with your friends!! Don’t drink too much!!
Fire guide: It’s all about fire at the full moon party. There are fire performers every couple of meters, you can go down a water slide illuminated by fire and you can jump the fire rode. It’s all a lot of fun when either drunk or sober but you should definitely not try it when you are drunk. If you decide to jump the fire rode please only do it when you are sober and 100 percent confident that you can do it! Many people leave each party with burn marks on their body because they slipped while jumping the fire rope, due to their own mistake or because a drunk idiot meant to join them and fell. So be careful and try to avoid everything that has to do with fire!
Swimming guide: Many people think that it is a very good idea to go swimming in the night. Don’t be one of these idiots! First of all the water around the center of the full moon party is full with rocks and coral. If you go there barefoot you will cut your feet, which will hurt for a couple of days afterwards (believe me, I am one of these idiots!). Second of all after 9-10 PM everybody pees into this water, it doesn’t matter if male or female. You will see hundreds of drunk partiers who are lining up to pee into the sea. Very disgusting! So don’t go for a swim!
Drinking Guide: This party is all about getting drunk, hooking up and having a great time! You should enjoy yourself as much as you can on this party but try to not drink too much. During dinner time you will see the first people passed out at the beach because they thought it would be a great idea to start drinking during the day. The same people I met when I went to bed at 9 AM still sleeping at the same spot! These buckets are poison. They don’t seem to be strong but it’s pure alcohol mixed with a little bit of soft drink and energy drink. They get to your head immediately and before you realize you are wasted! Stay with your friends so you can take care of each other! And don’t accept drinks from strangers!
Thongs guide: Don’t loose them… the beach is full with glass and it can be very painful for the days following the party if you step in something!!
Crime guide: In the recent years, theft increased tremendously. Organized crime also arrived at this popular party. It’s recommended that you leave everything at home and only carry as much money with you as you need. Leave your key at the reception and enjoy the night. Also take off all your valuables: rings, necklaces etc… (I’m talking from experience). As mentioned before, don’t leave your drink alone and don’t accept drinks from strangers. In the last years there have been many stories of people being drugged and robbed and/or rapped. Be as careful as possible and stick to the people you know! I know people who woke up on a different island with one thong in their hand and all the other valuables gone! Be careful… you have been warned!
Drug guide: Thailand has a very strict anti drug law. I know people who came to the island for one party and spent over one year in court to fight their trial! Police attendance is high during the party! Just don’t do any drugs and you will be fine. If you follow all these advices you will be fine!
A friend of mine went and ended up with a hole in his cheek, fortunately he was so drunk his blood had thinned out and when they found him he was okay. He can’t remember what happened but someone didn’t like him very much.
OMG, that is crazy! Poor friend of yours… But every month happen some nasty accidents at the Party!!
I would really love to attend the full moon party! I’ve heard nothing but nice things about it especially when it reaches sunrise time yet the people are still partying. Maybe i will soon 😀
That is pretty cool I have to admit!! We were sitting by the beach between 6 AM, drinking beer and eating hot dogs 🙂
I like a good party, but Full Moon sounds like an INTENSE party! We were in Koh Tao just a few days before the full moon, but we had to fly out before the main festivities. Half of me was disappointed… but the other half was a little relieved that we would die in a fiery inferno on Koh Phangnan. 😛
I think the party is one of the “once in a lifetime” experiences if you are in the area. I would go back, but only to watch and laugh 🙂
I think I’m officially the only travel blogger who has never done this–and honestly, I don’t think I could hang! #iamlame
Am I the only one to find this all rather depressing? Back in the day there was at least something a little mystical about the full moon. Now it’s just a tawdry booze fest.