The Full Moon Party happens on the evening of every full moon (every 29.53 days) on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. If you read this blog, you probably already know you want to go to the world’s most famous beach party! So here we’ll give you the best advice on getting in and out without delay and at the right price. Firstly, book your accommodation well in advance. A list of official dates for the Full Moon Party can be found here.
What is the Full Moon Party?
The Full Moon party is Thailand’s most famous backpacker event/attraction and began in the 1980s at the Sunrise Bar at the North end of Haad Rin Beach on the island of Koh Phangan. It has since spread all the way up the 800-metre beach and throughout Haad Rin. Around 20,000 people go each month, and there are dozens of bars set up all along the beach to cater to everyone. There are also different dance areas.
Make accommodation the priority
As I am writing this blog, the next Full Moon Party is a total of 3 weeks away, and yet when I check Booking.com, there are only 15 resorts left in the area of Haad Rin with rooms available. That’s out of a total of 67 resorts that Booking.com lists. It fills up fast, even if you plan to stay outside of Haad Rin, so get that room locked down. Also, know that even if you stay in an elementary room, it will be expensive in and around the Full Moon Party. The prices will go up rather than down as the time gets closer – there are no last-minute deals. Even a bed in a dorm room could cost you more than £30/$40 a night.
We recommend you come to the area a couple of days before and leave a few days after to avoid the massive crowds on the ferries and the higher prices you will be charged for flights. It also gives you some time to enjoy the really good shopping in the pretty little village of Haad Rin, and you could perhaps make some half-day trips around the island. There are also some pre and post-Full Moon Parties to attend for those who want to party for more than one night.
Where should I sleep when I go to the Full Moon Party?
The party happens on Sunrise Beach in Haad Rin, so if you want to get some sleep, we suggest you stay a 10-minute walk away from Sunset Beach. It will be substantially quieter. If you are not bothered about sleeping, stay on Sunrise Beach, which will be cheaper due to the noise. Even if you think you are staying far away from the main action, take earplugs.
Ban Tai is an area close to Haad Rin where you will have a quiet night. There are taxis that will take you to and from Ban Tai all night long and will only cost around 150 baht each way for the 15-minute journey. When booking a room online, check where your potential room is on a map of Koh Phangan (see above) because if you are far away, a taxi could prove expensive and slow. The island is actually deceptively big, and taxis are pretty expensive.
You can also stay on the island of Koh Samui since there are speedboats that travel back and forth from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan throughout the night, and you will definitely find cheaper accommodation here. Speedboats regularly leave from The Big Buddha Pier and Bo Phut on Koh Samui. They arrive at Haad Rin Pier 20-30 minutes later. Many hotels will arrange for you to be picked up from your hotel on Koh Samui and taken to the pier. Please wear a life jacket and stay on Koh Phangan if you suffer from motion sickness after a hard night of partying. Don’t lose your friends!
Getting from the mainland or other islands to the Full Moon Party
Getting to Koh Phangan involves taking a ferry or speedboat because there is no airport. Ferries to Koh Phangan start at either the neighbouring islands of Koh Samui or Koh Tao or from the mainland ports of Chumphon or Surat Thani.
However, that doesn’t mean you must waste time getting to these ferry ports. You can fly to Koh Samui Airport or Surat Thani Airport to reduce wasted travel time. Air Asia flies from many airports to Surat Thani and can be cheap if booked well in advance. Then, it is just 1 hour to the ferry port by bus and 3 hours to Koh Phangan on the ferry. (If you fly into Koh Samui, transfer time to Koh Phangan is much quicker, only 40 minutes on a ferry)
If you don’t want to take flights and are heading to the island directly from Bangkok, you can take an overnight bus or overnight train to Surat Thani. The bus and train options from Bangkok take approximately 14 hours, the ferry included. If you are coming from the Krabi/Phuket/Phi Phi side of Thailand, it is around 4 hours to Surat Thani on a bus or minivan and then a 40-minute transfer to the ferry port from the city of Surat Thani. Then you have the 3-hour ferry.
The easiest way to get to Koh Phangan is by flying from Bangkok to Koh Samui and then a 40-minute boat ride from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan.
Here is more information on how to get there: https://fullmoonparty-thailand.com/travel-info/
Checklist for two weeks before the Full Moon Party
- Book your accommodation
- Book your flights or overnight bus or train
- Book the ferry/speedboat to the island
- Book the ferry/speedboat off the island
- Book your transport to your next destination
Checklist for the night of the Full Moon Party
- If you stay outside of Haad Rin, negotiate taxis early if possible and fill it up with friends; otherwise, it may not leave until it is full.
- Don’t take any valuables to the party
- Do your best to make pickpocket jobs as hard as possible
- Have a plan if you lose your friends
- Don’t start too early – the highlight is dancing until dawn
- Drink plenty of water
- More than 20 people die each year at this party, so don’t be reckless with any aspect of your safety, including swimming in the ocean, taking drugs and getting into fights.
- Don’t be too scared of the bucket – they are fun if shared.
Should I go to The Full Moon Party?
The Full Moon Party no longer resonates with the hedonism depicted in Alex Garland’s 1996 novel The Beach, but it’s still fun and very, very messy. The Full Moon Party starts at dusk when the beach totally transforms: bars and clubs set up tables, chairs, pillows and lamps; DJs set the mood, and food carts are everywhere. Thirty thousand people covered in body paint, drinking buckets and/or high, dance until sunrise, although an awful lot of people also pass out. Then, after the morning brings hot sunshine, you can head into the village for a big fried western breakfast. If you like that idea, head to Haad Rin during your holiday in Thailand for the Full Moon Party.
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- Featured image by Joe Stump via Flickr
- Party in full flow image via Wikimedia – user is Per Meistrup