Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker, or a first-time traveler, odds are, you’ve probably heard of the infamous Full Moon Party in Thailand. Think: thousands of people from all over the world gathering on the crescent-shaped Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan drinking and dancing until dawn.
If this sounds like an event you won’t want to miss, then keep reading. Know the ins and outs of your first Full Moon Party to make the most of a night to remember.
When To Go
As the name suggests, this particular affair is held during full moon nights. Check your calendar or an app to have an idea of when it’s going to be so you can plan your trip. You can also check this website for specific dates.
This year, you still have four chances to catch it (September 24, October 25, November 22, and December 22). In 2019, aside from the traditional New Year festivities, you can expect the Full Moon Party on the 20th of January, February, and March.
For folks who want to book their trip for the summer, it’ll be on June 17, July 18, and August 15.
How To Get There
First things first: go to the beautiful country of Thailand.
From Bangkok, you can book flights either to the mainland, Surat Thani, or to neighboring island, Koh Samui. Next, take a ferry to Thong Sala pier at Koh Phangan. After that, it’s usually a 100 baht taxi ride to Haad Rin beach, where the actual Full Moon Party takes place.
If you’re from Bangkok, there are flights to Koh Samui, so you shouldn’t have any problems. This is typically the most convenient route. For something cheaper, you can try traveling by overnight bus or by train.
What you need to remember however, is that some months are busier than others. December to April for instance, is considered peak season. So be sure to book your flights at least a month in advance.
Where To Stay
Don’t stress about where you and your buddies are going to stay! It’s Koh Phangan, after all, the tropical paradise of weekly parties. You’ll be sure to find the right accommodation for the right price – for as long as you arrive at least four to seven days BEFORE the Full Moon Party.
Follow that rule and you can find pretty boutique hostels anywhere you turn. Arrive exactly on the day of the festivities and risk looking for something even remotely resembling a bed. If by some miracle you do find a room, expect it to be about twice to four times the usual price. Do yourself – and your wallet – a favor and get there earlier.
On average, you can bag a nice dorm room for no less than 300 baht. For something cozier, you and your new buddies could share a 1,500 baht space with air-conditioning (and probably a free breakfast, too). If you want to have the best stay possible, here are the top 10 hostels in Koh Phangan.
It’s best to secure a hostel near or around Haad Rin so you’re never far away from the action. If it’s quite far, make sure they have transportation services to help you go to the beach. Or at least ensure that the place is near the road where taxis frequently pass by.
There are a couple of people who claim it’s better to get a hostel that’s about a 5 to 10 minute walk, as accommodations that are nearer the beach usually get ransacked.
How To Fit In
The Full Moon Party is attended by about 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year. So you can just imagine the charming shores of Haad Rin beach crammed with people from all over the world, from all walks of life, all wanting to simply have fun and dance the night away.
This isn’t your typical club on a weekend. In this light, here are a couple of quick tips to fit right in and enjoy the night:
- Leave those worries (and your valuables) at the hostel!
- Wear the essentials: bright, neon attire in cool fabrics plus shoes (not flip flops), because you’ll be doing lots of dancing.
- If you want to buy your party outfit at the beach, avoid big shops because you might overpay for an item.
- Bring only enough money for the entrance fee (100 baht), food, drinks, and transportation. Most people use fanny packs that they can secure around them at all times.
- Eat at your hostel, or try the many stalls at the night market near the pier, as they’re more affordable than food right at the beach. You can also find other cheap eateries if you just walk along the streets.
- Watch out for those ‘buckets’: these are small, plastic buckets filled with a concoction of alcohol, Thai Red Bull, and soda (typically Coke). Stay clear of these before midnight to make sure you’re still awake for that beautiful Koh Phangan sunrise.
- Consuming those buckets is a group effort. So feel free to make some friends! Plus, it helps you stay sober for longer.
- Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the night! No, consuming alcohol isn’t the same.
Remember: you need to be awake for that unforgettable sunrise. Otherwise, you’re just missing out on the entire Full Moon Party experience!
What To Watch Out For
Aside from those deadly buckets, there are a few things you need to keep an eye out for (for your own safety and sanity):
- NEVER, under any circumstances, buy or accept drugs. It’s a massive party and you might be carried away. Even if you think it’s just a few grams of weed, don’t. There are usually undercover cops and other crime gangs in cahoots with the police. If it’s illegal in your country, it’s even more so in Thailand. Stay safe and just SAY NO.
- Think twice about joining in on that burning jump rope. While it may look like fun – and there will be others not to getting burned – you don’t want to be the unlucky one. It’s not strange to find several folks with bandages and burn marks the morning after.
- Don’t swim or drive. You’d be drinking, no less. So it’s pretty self-explanatory why you shouldn’t be doing either. If you rented a scooter, leave it at the hostel. There are plenty of taxis for you and your friends no matter what time you decide to leave the party.
- Avoid speedboats. If your accommodation is at Koh Samui, wait for the ferry that comes in at 7am. There are stories of people overcrowding speedboats at 3 or 4 in the morning, only to be hurt or injured. If you could crash at a nearby friend’s place, better idea.
Final tip: there’s safety in numbers. If you want to walk back to your hostel in the wee hours of the morning for example, ask your friends to walk with you. At the party, try to stick with your group. With huge crowds such as this, it’s easy to lose track of someone. So keep each other safe.
Wrapping it up…
You don’t simply go to Thailand and miss the Full Moon Party.
If you think it’s just for backpackers or young travelers, you might be surprised. As mentioned before, there are usually more than 30,000 people from all over the world, from all walks of life. From music lovers, to hard core party goers – you’re bound to rub shoulders with a kindred spirit. You just need to be open-minded.
So party hard, but party smart – and this wouldn’t be your last Full Moon Party.