The Full Moon Party is an institution of backpacker travel. When you think of the Full Moon Party you probably imagine a chaotic, alcohol and drug fueled beach party where backpackers from all over the world come to hang out and have an awesome time. But how exactly do you get to the Full Moon Party, what should you know to avoid getting ripped off or injured and when the hell even is the Full Moon Party?
What is it?
Legend has it that at some point in the late 80’s a bunch of backpackers held a birthday party on Ko Phangan on the night of the full moon, they had such a great time that they started doing it once a month, word got out and the Full Moon Party was born. Today, the Full Moon Party is a festival-like party with a lot of drinking, dancing, drugs and sex. Depending on the party, you can openly buy joints (200 Bhat), mushroom shakes (500 Bhat) and MDMA capsules (800 Bhat). The quality of the drugs varies greatly; I have had shakes that have left me tripping for upwards of 8 hours and others that have done nothing; shop around. The weed is almost always great and is surprisingly good value, the MDMA is good but expensive. You can sometimes get LSD for around 300 Bhat. The beach is filled with stalls selling drinks and UV paint. Everywhere you look fire dancers are putting on shows and people are dancing like crazy. The party is massively commercialized but it is incredibly good fun. It is held once a month on the night of the full moon, this website has dates. In my opinion, the Full Moon Party, although incredible fun, is these days just too crowded – 40,000 people is pretty manic – and so you may be better off going to one of the other ‘Moon Parties’ that are frequently held on Ko Phangan. There are half moon, quarter moon and black moon parties held regularly so no matter when you turn up you can be guaranteed a great time. For a really incredible, once in a lifetime, experience; check out the Eden Garden Party. It is far better than any moon party.
Where is it?
The party is held on Haad Rin beach on Koh Phangan. The cheapest way to get here (assuming you are coming from Bangkok) is to catch an overnight bus to Surat Thani and then take a ferry to Koh Phangan. A lot of companies can sell you a ticket which will include both the bus and the ferry, this will start at around 600 Baht. You could also fly to Surat Thani but that is not the broke backpacker way! When you get off the ferry at Koh Phangan a taxi to Haad Rin should cost around 100 Baht, make sure to haggle.
Money saving tips
- Cash: Never take more than you can afford to lose, I normally take around 500 – 1000 Baht for a BIG night out in Thailand.
- Go to a different party: During the Full Moon Party room rates triple, I strongly recommend going at a different point in the month and instead, going to one of the smaller, but still super fun, parties that are on pretty much all the time.
- Stay in a dorm: Even during peak season, a dorm room will probably only cost around 300 Baht.
- Arrive early: If you are set on going to the Full Moon Party itself then you must arrive at least a couple of days beforehand to secure somewhere to stay. The Coral Beach Bungalows near Haad Rin have a pool and are cheap.
- Do not book accommodation online: I never book online – if you do you can be roped into a minimum stay period of ten days.
- Shop local: Buy your beer at the 7-11 or buy your drinks some distance away from the main party. A beer that costs 100 Baht on the beach will cost 30 at the 7-11.
How to stay safe
- Drugs: There are a lot of drugs floating around the party scene in Thailand, if you get caught you can bribe your way out of trouble but it will probably cost at least $1000. Undercover police often try to sell drugs so be careful.
- Fire: Fire may be pretty but it bloody hurts. Loads of people get burnt skipping flaming jump ropes or throwing poi around, don’t be one of them.
- Valuables: Theft is a big problem, leave the camera and passport in your room. Just take some money and your clothes.
- Water: You will be drinking a lot so try to make sure that you drink plenty of water as well, it will help with the hangover!
- Buckets: Thai buckets (a bucket filled with cocktail) are bloody deadly, they normally contain red bull which in Thailand has a speed like substance in it; try not to drink too many of them and separate each bucket with plenty of water.
- Wear shoes: By the end of the night there will be plenty of broken glass around, wear your flip flops.
- Stay out of the sea: I am a bloody good swimmer and I tend to avoid swimming at beach parties not just because of the risk of drowning but because many drunken revellers will use the sea as a toilet.
Check out this post for some tips on what to pack for a trip to Thailand.