The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is probably the best party I’ve been to so far!
The idea of the party all started awhile back when a group of tourists found that to see the Full Moon at it’s best was in Koh Phanghan – so they arranged a party there on the beach of Haad Ri. Now it’s one of the biggest parties of the world with people from all over the country travelling to party it up! I did exactly that back in March 2013 with my friend Michelle.
We booked our accommodation before we arrived as it gets pretty booked up around Full Moon time on the Island. Don’t ever just turn up and expect to get some accommodation. Pretty much everything is booked out months in advance and the closer it gets to the parties, the more expensive it gets!
There’s a party pretty much every month so if you can arrange your travels around attending it, then be sure to do so!
Christmas/New Years – You’ll be unlucky if you even book a couple of months in advance. My partner is going this year (2015) with his mates and they struggled to find some accommodation for New Years even though they started looking in April!
They also hike the prices up to an atrocious amount around New Years. What you’d usually pay for $40 a night at a hotel, you can be expected to pay upwards of $100 NZD at the same hotel. They also have a minimum number of nights you can stay at a hotel/resort/hostel.
How to get there:
To get to the Island, it’s about 30 minutes from Koh Samui by boat.
If you’re coming from Bangkok, you can get a 1 hour plane ride with Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways to Koh Samui and then get a boat from there.
There’s no airport on Koh Phangan so everyone takes the ferry. Round trip tickets cost about 600 Baht (NZD $24) and drop you off at the main pier of Koh Phangan.
During the party the ferries depart Koh Samui every hour over to Haad Rin. It’s useful if you can’t find accommodation on Koh Phangan so decide to stay in Koh Samui instead. We stayed on Koh Phangan but didn’t get back to our hotel until 8.30am in the morning so it was basically just a place to keep our stuff!
I think we stayed on Koh Phangan for about 3 nights. The first night we stayed, there was a ‘pre-full moon party’ which we went to. It’s a bit quieter than the actual Full Moon Party so we just went to the bars along the beach of Haad Rin to familiarize ourselves with everything and drunk a bit of alcohol.
On the actual day of the full moon party, everyone starts drinking in the afternoon (You don’t want to start too early incase you don’t make it!) and then everyone heads over to Haad Rin around 8-9pm. If you’re not staying close to the beach, just take a Tuk Tuk! We met 4 other guys staying at the same hotel as us so they took the tuk tuk with us. No need to book, just walk down the street and there’s bound to be a few!
You can walk around and drink, so be sure to buy some alcohol from your hotel beforehand. (It’s alot safer)
We all bought buckets from our hotel and took them to the party with us. If you don’t know what a bucket is, you’ll sure find out when in Thailand. – Basically a ton of alcohol mixed with juice/soda/energy drinks in a bucket with lots of straws.
They’re everywhere on Haad Rin. You can also buy them on the street and most hotels sell them as well.
If you go to buy a bucket and the place you’re getting it from looks a bit dodgy, don’t buy it!
I’ve heard that a lot of the spirits they sell on the street aren’t the safest to drink. (They buy the Smirnoff bottles but put their own unknown alcohol in it) So just be wary.
Also, if you buy alcohol away from the beach – it ends up being a lot cheaper than at the beach where the party is held. Just like at a festival back home, you pay double the amount when you’re inside.
Be prepared also to sweat your ass off. I barely wore anything and I had to tie my hair up because it was just way too hot. The humidity really gets to you so be sure to drink plenty of water even though you’re drinking alcohol. Being hydrated will make you last longer throughout the night.
We all know however, that drinking lots has a massive effect on your bladder. I wasn’t an ocean-pee-er at the beginning of the party but by the end I was.
Michelle and I lined up for the most disgusting toilets on Haad Rin beach and had to pay for them as well!
There was basically just a lady at the front collecting 15 Baht from everyone (60c) and then letting us through to use the bathrooms.
These bathrooms were all blocked up and the floors were disgusting, it was dark, there were insects and the floor boards were lifting up with what I imagine to be other people’s waste. YUCK
Otherwise you can use the bathrooms in all the bars but you still have to pay. Even though they’re sliiiightly nicer.
In the end I just peed in the sea along with hundreds of other people. Defiantly don’t go swimming if you don’t need to. It’s warm for a reason…
UV Tattoos are lots of fun at Full Moon too. I hear you can just go buy some paint from the 7-11 and do it yourself but the guys that paint it on you do some seriously cool stuff so give it a try!
Don’t spend lots of money on it though. You’re going to sweat half of it off during the night.
The dreaded fire jump rope. DON’T DO IT!
You’ll see them all along the beach, people skipping over the jump rope of fire and jumping through hoops of flames. When you’re drunk it looks like a lot of fun and you feel invincible but when you get burnt, the last thing you want to do is go to the hospital and get bandages/antibiotics/creams etc… and be in pain for the rest of your trip. It happened to someone we met and he had to take antibiotics for the rest of his trip so his burns wouldn’t get infected.
What other tips can I give for the full moon party…
- Wear Shoes – honestly, there’s so much crap littering the beach you really don’t want to stand on anything. Even if all you have is jandals (Flip-flops), wear them!
- Take as little as possible. Don’t take your phone, you’ll most likely loose it and be gutted for the rest of your trip. Take a cheap camera to capture all your memories and some baht for all the drinks you’re going to buy.
- Be safe – Have a meeting place (like a certain table outside a bar, or a tree somewhere) if you loose all your friends. Believe me, you’ll make new friends even if you loose yours.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
If you don’t travel often Full Moon is a once in a lifetime experience. You’re on a beach at night time with 10,000 other people all there for the same reason. To have an epic night!
Don’t be a dick and start fights/spike peoples drinks. There’s lots of drugs at the Full Moon Party and if you didn’t know, drugs are ILLEAL in Thailand. Undercover cops will try and sell you drugs at the Full Moon Party just so they can arrest you and you can pay upwards of NZD $1500 just for them to let you off.
If you’re still up at dawn, there’s ‘The After Party’ that you can go to, located on the beach-side in the village of Ban Tai. Several road signs indicated the way 🙂
The best time to go to the Full Moon Party is Any time!
From February to October, the temperature is of an average of 32 to 38 degrees, but from July till September it rains quite a bit. (Only for short periods of time though)
The climate is tropical so very humid all year round.
Before or after the Full Moon Party, there’s heaps of other stuff to do on the Koh Samui & Koh Phangan Islands so you can make the most of your trip. Apparently Koh Samui is the new ‘in’ place for tourists. It used to be Phuket which is just FULL of tourists, but now Koh Samui is rumored to be taking over.
I’ll write another post at some stage about the highlights of Koh Samui & Phangan 🙂
Let me know of your experiences of The Full Moon party if you’ve been!