No matter how many parties you have been to, chances are slim that you have been to a party like the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand. The Full Moon Party occurs 12 times per year (duh) and although there is the occasional Half Moon Party, it is the Full Moon Party you should bother visiting since it is the original party and attracts the most people. This guide is about the party; don’t forget to read about what to do in Koh Phangan and how to get there.
Disclaimer: This guide is organized in chronological order to give you an idea of how a night at the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party should progress. It ends with a very special treat which in itself qualifies this post for being in the Bad Habits category. Read on to find out!
There is no doubt the Full Moon Party attracts many travelers from all over the world. In fact, the Full Moon Party is the only time I can recollect (from what I can recollect, more on this later) meeting a Burmese, an Argentinian, a group from the Kingdom of Brunei, people from South Africa, Some Russians, Pollacks, a Greek, a Brazilian, Americans and Canadians all at the same place. This is of course not counting the hordes of Brits and Aussies and other common nationalities who frequent South East Asia often, but it is very seldom you meet such a diverse group of people all at once. Everyone is here to party and it seems like once you learn about the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, you will go out of your way to attend no matter what it takes or where you are from – awesome!
Full Moon Party Beach
Haad Rin is the southern most peninsula of Koh Phangan and is where the Full Moon Party occurs. During the day this beach is simply stunning and offers opportunities to drive jet skies, go swim, mingle with the locals (remember we are aiming for something authentic here) or just read a book and get a tan.
Since you came for the Full Moon Party, it is at night the beach really comes alive. Once you get close to the perimeter, you will be greeted by locals wielding wristbands for sale. You need to buy a wristband to get in, but if saving $5 lies closer to your heart you can try sneaking in by slashing your way through the jungle . Alternatively, turn on your A game and haggle your way in to save a buck without having to contract tropical diseases.
Full Moon Party Bars
Once you get to Haad Rin you will be amazed at what is on offer. Not one bar, not ten bars, but hundreds. They look more like stalls than bars but will still get you heavily intoxicated. They are lined up at the very beginning of the beach and stretch the entire shore and stay open for as long as you do.
Once you get accustomed to the variety of bars and their names (see below), try the buckets of alcohol for 250 baht (about $8 USD). These things are plain hazardous: not only do they include a 350 ml bottle of hard liquor (12 fl. oz) but they also throw in a bottle of the notorious Krating Daeng (Thai Red Bull) that completely prevents you from becoming tired. Once you reach bucket number 4, SWITCH MIXER. I didn’t and it kept me awake until 4 am – TWO days later (total 44 hours). You have been warned. The Full Moon Party is officially bad for your health.
The actual beach is sprinkled with dance floors and stages. There is Hip-Hop, Drum & Bass, House, Dubstep, Rock, Trance, Reggae and more. There is music to suit everyone so you shouldn’t be disappointed unless you are strictly into metal or classical music. In that case, sorry. You should probably bring your iPod.
The massive old school sound systems that power the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party make Haad Rin wobble into the early morning. There are lasers, neon lights, fire shows, smoke, drunk Brits and everything else in between available for your sole entertainment. The Full Moon Party uses so much electricity that Koh Samui (the island next door) gets shut down because there is not enough juice to power both of them.
Full Moon Party Secret – Mushroom Mountain
8 buckets, 5 hours and 10 stages later, you will eventually end up on the Mushroom Mountain (Mellow Mountain is the official name). This is inevitable and is just how how the Full Moon Party works. For people who haven't visited the Full Moon Party, the Mushroom Mountain is on the far northeast side of the beach where a flight of stairs measuring 80 steps takes you into a hippie sanctuary where shroom shakes and herbs can be ordered over the counter. Depending on your state of being, you will either find this appealing or unnecessary; but it is inevitable that you will eventually end up here. It is just how it works.
When I went to the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party, I lost all but one friend within 30 minutes of getting to the beach. Me and my friend stayed at the various parties on the beach, devouring buckets like they were shots (and not 350 ml bottles of Vodka Krating Daeng). Needless to say, we found ourselves on the Mushroom Mountain and within minutes we were reunited with our group. Moral of the story? When things get tough, the tough gets going to the Mushroom Mountain and regroup.
Posttraumatic Party Disorder
Beware of partying until 10 am in the morning. We sleep a third of our lives for a reason, and you will learn why if you opted for a dozen buckets of Vodka Krating Daeng instead. Our boat was set to leave at noon (NOT advisable to leave the day after the Full Moon Party) which gave us an hour of sleep. I remember laying down with my eyes closed for 30 minutes before having to pack and leave. Oh, the horror.
The bass was still throbbing in my ears 12 hours later when arriving in Phuket and having endured a voyage at sea, two bus rides, and being stranded in a dust bowl for 4 hours with other party goers. Two hours of sleep in Phuket and it was time to leave for a flight back to Singapore. Travelling like this is plain stupid and horrible. Don’t do it! I lived through it for a reason; to tell you not to repeat the same mistake and instead reserve a full day for recovery before even attempting anything remotely close to moving your body from point A to point B.
Now, go look at the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party schedule and start planning and your trip. The Full Moon Party is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can guarantee you will have a great time if adventures are your thing! And speaking of adventures, read about how to get to Koh Phangan on under $20! Happy travelling.
6 replies on “Beginner’s Guide to the Full Moon Party”
Thank you so much! this was awesome! great writing, btw, I agree with your mom’s comment on the travel under 20 post! Im planning to go for next full moon on July 3rd and I WILL BE ONE OF THE ARGENTINEANS meeting other foreigners!! Now, any recommendations on accomodation? of course, BUDGET one!
Once again, GREAT POSTING!
I wish I could remember but it was a little while ago I was there 🙂 But around salad beach there are several cheaper options, it’s best to stay on the west side of the island (about 40 mins away from the party) and take a taxi.
Hey Karl, really enjoy reading your posts. My wife and I are looking to leave a friends wedding in Phuket on dec 2 / 2017. Looking to arrive in Kho Phangan evening dec 2 ( is that realistic? ). Also, how much does the taxi ride cost from the west side of the island to the full moon party location?
Thank you Karl!
Hi Noel, thanks! If you leave your friend’s wedding early in the morning on December 2nd, you should arrive in Surat Thani in the evening. You might make it to one of the speedboats that only take a few hours rather than the overnight boat that takes longer. Taxis are expensive, at least 500 baht but probably more. It’s a pretty tiring journey but with a speed boat it shouldn’t be too bad. Be careful with the travel agents, they tend to scam tourists and end up taking longer than the transportation Thai people use.
My name is Mia, I am a danish student at Copenhagen Business School. I am currently writing a project on Drug Tourism, focusing on Thailand and the Full Moon parties. I see that you went to one a while ago, and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer some interview questions about your experiences? I can send them over email.
Looking forward to hear back from you
Love the last part ahaha. Do NOT try to leave the same day as the Full Moon Party, allow yourself some time to rest 😉