The Full Moon Party is the sickest party in Thailand, maybe even in the world! Every month 10,000 to 30,000 partygoers come together on the beach of Koh Phangan to party underneath the full moon. And the party… well, it can get pretty wild!
Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan
It was 5:00 PM when we arrived by ferry on the party island of Koh Phangan, completely unprepared. We had come from nearby Koh Tao and were a bit paranoid, expecting chaotic and crazy scenes after disembarking. Nothing could have been further from the truth. There was a chilled out vibe in the air, it wasn’t busy at all and, believe it or not, we weren’t constantly accosted by hordes of taxi drivers.
We had arrived early, so we decided to take a walk on the beach. As the sun was going down, fishing boats were calmly bobbing about and children were playing on the beach. No-one could have suspected all the craziness to come just a few hours later…
Backdrop: Haad Rin Beach
Dozens of blue taxis provide a shuttle service between the pier and Haad Rin Beach and will take you to the Full Moon Party for 100 baht. Super easy; it’s pretty much impossible not to get to the party.
Once you’ve arrived at the Full Moon Party the shopping can begin. Treat yourself to a neon-colored outfit, use face paint and make up to draw all kinds of crazy shapes on your own or someone else’s body and make sure you get your hands on a bucket of alcohol. Don’t be afraid to miss out, literally everything is available. Finally, you pay the 100 baht entrance fee. Let the party begin!
It was around 10:00 PM when we entered the beach, bucket in hand and faces fully painted, and were treated to a dazzling spectacle of fires, neon signs, black lights, flashing lights, fire shows and huge crowds of people. Just a few steps ahead a half naked drunk guy dove into the crowd from an elevated slide. Ten meters in front of us, we saw two Thai guys swinging around burning ropes. Why were they doing this? Rope jumping!
Jumping rope at the Full Moon Party?
Wow… we couldn’t believe our eyes!
One by one, brave (or incredibly stupid) partygoers were skipping over a burning rope, in much the same way young girls might on a school playground. What motivates these people to do this? So weird!
Watching all of this we couldn’t help ourselves and pretty soon we were in stitches. Burning ropes ending up in people’s necks or setting shorts on fire, it seemed like the most normal thing in the world. One victim after another got a free and lasting souvenir; burns.
Bucket of Alcohol
The Full Moon Party is a party that stretches out for one kilometer on Haad Rin Beach with bars, music and dance stages everywhere. You’ll also find lots of stands with buckets, which can be filled with alcohol. Pretty much everyone will be carrying one. You can fill it with vodka Redbull, Mojito, Jack Daniels and coke, it doesn’t matter. A bucket costs anywhere between 150 and 500 baht, depending on its strength. Pretty cheap!
Atmosphere during the Full Moon Party Thailand
Despite the crazy fire acts and drunk people, the atmosphere is excellent. People aren’t pushy and there’s no unfriendliness (towards women) at all. Everybody’s there just to have an unforgettable time and you can decide for yourself the best way of doing that. Nobody’s going to force you to jump over a burning rope or drink lots of buckets of alcohol. Merely watching people from a distance is an experience in and of itself: you’ll see all kinds of craziness walking past.
After midnight the beach starts to get more crowded. The alcohol makes the partygoers slightly more tipsy and excitable, so watch your step. Going for a swim is a bad idea, as people regularly drown because of the strong current (yes, really!). The only police we’ve seen were at the entrance; on the beach there were none. People seem to be “policing” themselves.
It’s 3:00 AM and we’ve had enough. Everything’s possible in Thailand, many tourists have come before us, so couldn’t there be a (speed)boat to take us to Koh Tao? There are boats to and from Koh Samui as well, so it should be pretty easy. Right?
Wrong! We quickly learned from the boat taxi operators that you can’t get to Koh Tao, unless you have a private speedboat or want to rent one for 30,000 baht – € 750. We’ll pass, thank you…
Still, we weren’t entirely convinced and decided to take a taxi to Koh Phangan Pier. When we arrived it was completely deserted. Looking for a boat to Koh Tao? Sure, the next one leaves at 8:30 AM!
A very long night
Don’t expect there to be any accommodation available on Koh Phangan in the days leading up to or during the Full Moon Party. Everywhere on the island is booked solid!
We decided to return to the party that was still going and found a special “loser area”, meant for people who were feeling ill, weak, nauseous or tired. Here we could try to catch some sleep, to the extent that was possible, and wait for the sun to come up.
Unsurprisingly, we weren’t very comfortable and, it now being 5:30 AM, pretty much partied out. We had our breakfast at one of the local food places and then took a taxi to the pier.
The sun was slowly rising and the locals were doing their morning exercises in the nearby park, next to the ferry. Completely exhausted we flopped onto the Lompraya Ferry seats and fell asleep almost immediately. An hour later we awoke from our coma and set foot again on tranquil Koh Tao.
When’s the next Full Moon Party?
Coming dates for full moon parties on Koh Phangan:
May 11, 2017
June 9, 2017
July 10, 2017
August 7, 2017
September 5, 2017
October 6, 2017
November 3, 2017
December 3, 2017
January 2, 2018