The Full Moon parties we went to and what we loved the most
The Full Moon Party at Koh Phangan Island, Thailand, is on the bucket list of even the least party-goers. It is not a surprise though: a party happening in a beautiful Pacific island, which goes all night long, lots of drinks, all sorts of music and where you can enjoy a majestic full moon while dancing – it is to attract many people, really.
We spent three months in Thailand and went to three Full Moon Parties. The first one exactly on Christmas Day, which we went totally by accident as we ended up at Koh Phangan not knowing that the party happens right there. The second on New Year’s Eve, which even though it does not fall on full moon day, it gathers people under the same pretext. And the last on February, which was the best Full Moon Party in our opinion as we were lucky to be there together with 11 close friends who were on holidays in Thailand.
It is definitely a worth going party! What caught our attention the most was the energy of the people. Despite the fact of gathering people from different groups (posh, hippie, punk, rock, and so on) everybody is so peaceful and just want to have fun causing no harm to anyone. At least, this was the experience we had.
How has the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan started?
No one knows exactly how the Full Moon Party begun, really. We asked many different people and opted to believe the most told tale: A group of French friends who were spending two months holiday in Thailand decided to organise throw a farewell party to themselves. Coincidentally, the party fell on full moon day and was attended by other tourists and local friends. The party was so good that the same group of friends reunited next year again for the same festivity, also on full moon day.
We don’t need to say the party got a bit out of control, do we? TABLE OF CONTENT
Where is the Full Moon Party?
The original Full Moon Festival is at Haad Rin Beach, in Koh Phangan Island (“Koh” actually means “island”, and “Haad”, “beach”) and that is the biggest and most traditional one. The Full Moon Party however, became famous and it is possible to find parties with the same name in other islands in Thailand, such as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui orKoh Lanta, although these are smaller gatherings.
How is the Full Moon Party
The party happens at the beach and counts with many drink and food stalls all around. Obviously, it’s much cheaper to buy alcohol from these shops than from the party’s bar and you can bring your own booze from the hotel if you want to. The famous full moon buckets, which is a cocktail served on a beach bucket, are sold between 200 and 500 Baht (6 to 14 US$), depending on which alcohol you choose. Typically, it is a mix of about 300ml of vodka or whisky with a stronger version of Red Bull, soda water and ice.
The full moon party line up pleases almost everyone. The party has 11 stages playing all sorts of music, from pop to Latin, techno to drum’n’bass, and so on. Although, for the real fans of good electronic music, that is the category which will lack in quality the most as the music is rather commercial. Nevertheless, there is always that little corner where the tune is for you.
The people at the Full Moon Party
There are indeed a lot of people attending the party, though it doesn’t get super crowded as the beach is large. Still, we did not enjoy as much the Full Moon Party on New Year’s Eve exactly for this very reason. There were overly too many people, you could barely walk and above all, there were some strange people who did not look so much peaceful as in the other parties and we had the feeling some were ready to fight for no specific reason.
What shocked us most at Haad Rin Full Moon Party is when the sun rises and you realise the enormous quantity of rubbish thrown out on the beach. Volunteers residents of Koh Phangan get together the next morning to clean up the beach. So please, do your share and throw your trash in the litter.
The full moon party price is 100 Baht (3 US$) and you get a cool wrist band as a souvenir. However, it is possible to get in without paying using one of the hidden sideways. The party is on the beach and there is no supervision once you are there.
*If you are staying at Haad Rin beach you do not need to pay to get in, but we will talk about full moon party accommodation further down.
Full Moon Party outfit: can you go on flip-flops?
We read on other websites that it is not recommended to go with your sandals. We never wore shoes during the three months we stayed in Thailand and the days of the parties were no exception.
The main problem of going on flip-flops is when you drink too much and take them off to dance. Trust us, you never find it again – it happened at least five times with Tiago! If this happens, stay cool, you are not alone. In the morning, you will find at least 300 different pairs of flip-flops forgotten at Haad Rin beach. You can simply choose a new one which fits you and job done (that also happened at least five times with Tiago!). Just look at this flip-flop phenomenon as the same with lighters on a daily basis.
Just be very careful not to cut yourself with broken glasses. There are many broken in the shallow part of the sea as stupid drunk people throw bottles at it. Obviously, it isn’t easy to be very careful after a few full moon party buckets (the cocktails, remember?) for this reason, avoid walking with bare foot.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan for Full Moon Party
The majority of people wants to stay at the Full Moon Party beach, which is Haad Rin. If your only purpose of going to Koh Phangan Island is to attend the party, then, this is ok. However, keep in mind that the beach is dirty as parties happen every single day in there.
The prices for hostel/hotel/resort in Haad Rin are higher than in the other parts of the island and the area is also quite far away from everything else. If you decide to stay in Haad Rin regardless, have a look on the best places to stay for full moon party.
On the other hand, if you are curious about other things do in Koh Phangan – and trust us, this is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand – then, surely, Haad Rin is not for you. Koh Phangnan has many pristine beaches to enjoy.
We, for instance, paid 600 Baht (17 US$) to stay in Plai Laem Beach, 10 km away from Haad Rin. We had a bungalow just for ourselves, by the sea and a swimming pool. Curious? Then have a look on these bungalows.
It is worth reminding that the days before the Full Moon Party, the prices for accommodation in Koh Phangan triples. If you visit the island when is not high season, you can find bungalows by the sea for as little as 300 Baht (8 US$) per day.
*Also check below the latest Koh Phangan bungalows deals:
Koh Phangan has so many parties, really so many, that if you don’t feel like sleeping, you don’t have to.
You can see flyers for The Full Moon Party after parties all over the island, you can just choose the one which makes you happier. The options go for beach parties to pub and bars.
We recommend the Backyard Beer Garden, at the top of a mountain in the end of Haad Rin Beach. The party starts at 7am and there is no time to finish, going all afternoon, evening and night long up to the next day. From the pub you have an amazing view of the beach and of the sunset.
The Igen Beach Party, a less crowded alternative to the Full Moon Party
Whoever does not want to get involved in the crowded Full Moon Party, which according to some estimations gather together over 15 thousand people, know you that is possible to go to less crowded and known parties.
We heard about one at Igen Beach which gathers only 100 people on a beach with difficult access. To go there, you can either take a boat leaving from Haad Rin, costing about 200 Baht (6 US$) per person, or taking a 4×4 jeep leaving in front of one of the 7-Eleven on your way to town, around the same price. The boat normally leaves around 8pm but you can hire one at any time and the jeep at around 5pm. We met a French DJ who lives in the island for five years and said the music in Igen is exceptionally good and it is not overly crowded and not patrolled as it is in Haad Rin Beach.
Other parties in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is a party island. Every day, at any given time, there are all kind of parties. Some of them have even the fame of being better than the Full Moon Party, as it is the case of the Jungle Experience.
Drugs at the Full Moon Party
We are not here to judge anybody but to inform, so let’s get into a quite important topic.
Never, in any circumstance, buy or accept drugs in the party. We heard many stories of local people working with the police to catch tourists red-handed.
Possessing and using drugs in Thailand is a very serious crime and police charges up to U$ 3.000 of bribe.
We met an English girl who told us her friend accept a cigarette offered to her and immediately after lighting it up, the police approached her and revealed that what she was smoking was actually weed. The threat was such that the poor girl had to desperately go out in the party asking for money to everyone in order to pay U$ 3.000 and avoid jail.
When getting close to Haad Rin beach for the Full Moon Party, going by scooter, you will go through a police blitz. They do not care and will not bother you if you are not wearing helmet, whether or not you have your license at all or if you are carrying alcohol, they are exclusively after drugs.
Full Moon Party dates:
Below is the Full Moon Party schedule for 2021 and 2022:
FULL MOON PARTY DATES
Attention: The party can change its date in case of falling into a Buddhist holiday. There are four religious holy days (holidays!) which fall exactly on full moon day. In these dates, it is forbidden consuming alcohol in the whole country and for this reason (as well as respecting the Buddhist tradition) the party committee postpone the party for the next day. Check out the Full Moon Party official website to organise yourself.
What’s the best way of getting around Koh Phangan
There are two main ways to get around Koh Phangan: taxi or renting a scooter.
The taxi is actually a public pick-up going around the whole island. The price varies according to your destination, though the minimum fixed price is 100 Baht (3 US$) from town to the Full Moon beach, which is Haad Rin.
Scooter, in our opinion, is more comfortable and gives you freedom to go wherever you want. Renting out a scooter in Thailand goes for about 150 Baht per day (4 US$).