Full Moon Party – Haad Rin, Koh Phangan Thailand
So you’ve heard the hype about Thailand’s infamous Full Moon Party and you’re looking for details. Well you’ve come to the right place! The Full Moon Party has become sort of a rite of passage for travelers in SE Asia. Even if you’re not a party go’er, it’s worth checking out just for the spectacle of it all.
While there are mini-parties for several nights leading up to the Full Moon Party, unless you are a serious party go’er I suggest just coming in a day or two ahead of time, rock the party, have a recovery day, then head to the sleepier northern part of Koh Pha Ngan for some excellent diving at Sail Rock!
Do keep in mind, most places have a 3-7 night minimum stay around Full Moon Party time.
What is the Full Moon Party?
It’s a once a month (on the full moon) all night beach party (dusk till dawn) with loud pumping music, black lights, neon body paint/clothes, fire, and lots of booze buckets!
Where is the Full Moon Party?
It takes place on Haad Rin beach, on the island of Koh Pha Ngan Thailand. Here’s a map:
How do I get there?
There are several ways to get to Koh Pha Ngan. The quickest way is to fly to Koh Samui and take the ferry across. This is what we did. There is a ferry service available right in the airport when you arrive that will drive you to the dock and get you on the ferry. It will take 30-45 mins to get across to Koh Pha Ngan.
You’ll want the ferry to either Thong Sala pier or Haad Rin pier. There are less ferries to Haad Rin, so if you have to go to Thong Sala (we did) it’s no big deal you’ll just have to catch a cheap cab down to Haad Rin.
Another option is to grab a bus from Bangkok to the coast, and then ferry from there. This option is cheaper but takes 8+ hours and there are wide reports of theft on the busses. There is one, I repeat ONE exception and that is Lomprayah. If you go the bus/ferry route, do yourself a favor and use them.
Where do I stay in Haad Rin?
Right, so several options here:
Option 1: Stay right in Haad Rin. The hostels are cheap, loud, and filthy but you are right in the action. If you like to party, stay down here. Obviously walking distance to the party. Don’t plan on getting much sleep.
Option 2: (what we did) Stay a little ways up the road from Haad Rin. There are lines of hotels on the beach heading into Haad Rin. We stayed about 1km up the road from the party. It worked great for us as we could walk down there and still get away back to a quiet place to sleep afterward. It’s a little more pricy than a standard Thai hostel, but much nicer places compared to what’s in Haad Rin proper.
Option 3: You can actually stay on Koh Samui if you want to and take a fast boat across to the party and then back again afterwards. We heard it’s kind of expensive and unsafe to do this, but it is an option.
Don’t forget most places on Koh Pha Ngan will have a 3-7 night minimum stay.
How much does it cost?
Entry to the Full Moon Party costs just 100 bhat, so about $3 at the time of writing. Most alcohol buckets cost 150-250 bhat. Personally I had 4 buckets by 4am and that was enough, so it’s a pretty cheap night. Make sure you bring only enough money to have a fun night and watch out for pick pockets! We recommend Mama for buckets:
What’s in those buckets?
Whisky, Vodka, Rum, Mojitos, etc. Some mixed with Red Bull to keep you going. Surprisingly (an dangerously) they don’t taste too bad! Most stands sell the same stuff, but the same bucket can get more expensive the closer you get to the beach.
What’s with the neon?
Neon clothes and paint are a theme at the Full Moon Party since it all glows under the black lights.
Clothes can be bought cheap at every store in Haad Rin and is recommended not only for the fun but so that you don’t ruin your good clothes with body paint and spilled booze.
For the paint, there are painters outside the party charging upwards of 500 bhat to paint stuff on you. Don’t fall for this trap. Most of the bucket stands have free neon paint and your friend can probably do as good a job. Save that 500 bhat and get a few more buckets.
Tell me more about the fire!
There is fire jump rope, fire limbo, jumping through fire hoops, signs on fire, fire dancers, it really is quite a sight! Be careful if you go for the fire jump rope as other people can jump in with you and when one person catches the rope everyone burns! And the burns are real folks, as Kate found out!
What’s the music like?
High speed heart pumping dance music! Every place on the beach has it’s own house DJ so you can move around until you find one you like but the overall theme is pretty much elecro, house, dubstep, dance, etc. You get the idea. We found the best DJs to be on the southern most part of the beach. (to the right if you’re facing the water).
What’s the crowd like? A bunch of 20 somethings?
So originally this is what we thought and boy were we wrong. There is a WIDE range of ages from teens on their high school grad trips to middle aged people having their mid life crisis and you know what? EVERYONE was having an amazing time! There’s even a bunch of Thai kids running around collecting discarded buckets to reuse (gross!)
Is it safe?
As safe as any big party is going to be. As with anything there are precautions you should take. Only bring enough money for drinks/food and no more. If you’re going to bring your phone/camera, keep it in a secure pocket. Don’t drink open drinks form people you don’t know. It’s just common sense people. Keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine!
We’re in our mid 30s and aren’t huge party people and we had a BLAST at the Full Moon Party. If you’re on the fence, just do it. It’s so much fun and you’re sure to have some tales to tell!
Do also check out the other things Koh Pha Ngan has to offer though. Rent a scooter and cruise the other beaches on the island, hike to some waterfalls, head up north and do some diving, etc.
Have any other questions about the Full Moon Party? Leave them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to answer them!