Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan – Is It Really Worth Going?
The infamous Full Moon Party attracts thousands of party animals to the picturesqe island Koh Phangan. It is an enormous event in which around 30,000 people participate every month. The big rave that’s held in the south of Koh Phangan, at the beach called Haad Rin, has gained many fans, but also lots of opponents. Before I went there I encountered split opinions. Some say that it’s nothing special, some think of it as a crazy drunk touristic party, others claim it’s one of their best experiences. I think it all depends on expectations and one’s character. There is no straight answer if the Full Moon Party is worth going or not and it’s best to form your own opinion. However, if you are debating if it’s for you or not, I think this article will help you dissipate doubts.
It is a touristy party that has little to do with authentic Thailand
If you’re looking for authentic Thai experiences you definitely won’t find them at the Full Moon Party. The event is dedicated to tourists and backpackers and those are the people who will most likely party with you there. It’s an enormous drunken revelry, created by and for forigners. It has nothing to do with Thai culture or tradition. On the full moon night the beach is filled with bucket-drinking tourists getting wasted past dawn. The origins of the party though do not resemble today’s Full Moon Party. Back in the 1980s, a couple of hippies would gather together to celebrate the full moon night on Haad Rin beach, strumming guitars and smoking weed. The times has changed and now Full Moon Party is one of the wildest rave you can go to.
What to expect at the Full Moon Party
The party starts every full moon evening at dusk and carries on until the dawn the next day. A couple of beach-faced clubs that play distinct kinds of music are straggled along the sandy beach and will satisfy different music tastes. At every corner you can buy buckets with booze and also typical western junk food. Everything is sold by local Thais who live on the island. Party goers drink lots of alcohol and also take drugs, so be ripe for dealing with them. The Haad Rin beach is extremely crowded during the very one night. However, you can also find a place to chill out and take a breath. On top of that, there are plenty of different attractions including fire jump ropes, slides, jungglers and fire-eaters who entertain public.
Prepare yourself for the Full Moon Party
If you make up your mind about the Full Moon Party and decide to participate you should prepare yourself for this mad event. Here are a few tips and recommendations.
1. Book your place in advance or come a couple days earlier.
If you come to Koh Phangan on the day of Full Moon Party without having a room booked you take a risk of overpaying for acommodation. Remember that the island hosts up to 30,000 tourists on that night so many places are full even a week before the event. Not only will you pay much more for a night, but also you will waste a lot of time while wandering around the island and looking for a place.
We were lucky as someone canceled the reservation in the resort where our friends stayed right after we arrived. However, we paid almost a double price for a twin room. Our solution to save money though was to pack more people into the room. So instead of two, there were 6 people and instead of 1,000 baht per person, we paid 330.
2. Don’t bring any valuable things to the beach
You might lose them or someone can steal them from you. It’s better not to have anything valuable on you during the party.
3. Bring comfy shoes, but not brand-new pair
Flip-flops might seem the best fit for a beach party, but most likely you will lose them, so it’s better to take covered shoes. There are many pieces of broken glass, so don’t take a risk of getting hurt. On top of that, be prepared that shoes will be destroyed after that night, so don’t take your brand-new $100 sneakers.
4. Take enough cash for drinks and taxi back home
The cover charge is 100 baht. Buckets are usually 150-200 baht. Night taxi to your hostel is 100 baht (fixed price). Take enough money to cover everything you need there, but don’t bring to much, as someone can steal it from you or you can simply lose it.
5. The less things you bring the better
Leave all your belongings at a hotel you stay in and lock valuables in a safe locker.
6. Stay a couple of days longer at the island
Koh Phangan is a beautiful island with many places to explore. You can go hiking, trekking in the jungle, swim by the waterfalls or simply relax on a beach enjoying stunning views. Coming to the island only for one day might be exhausting, especially if you travel from Bangkok.
There are multiple ways to get to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party. You can fly to Surat Thani or Koh Samui Airport and then take a ferry to Koh Phangan. Airlines offer combined tickets that include ferry as well. Another option is to buy a combined ticket for a bus or train with a ferry to the island (you can do that at a travel agency, e.g. Khao San Road in Bkk)). One-way ticket from Bangkok will cost you up to 1,000 baht (for bus+ferry, train+ferry) and around 1,200 baht for plane+ferry set (if you book in advance). Find more travel information on the official Full Moon Party website.
Go or not to go
I really don’t need 30,000 people around to have fun. However, I wanted to experience the Full Moon Party, as it’s a one-of-a-kind event and see how other people’s opinions are like the reality. In my opinion, I had expected something more insane than I found at the Full Moon Party. I had fun and I could repeat it, but as it is a bit pricey experience if you go there just for a couple of days from the capital I don’t think I will this year. There are many more attractions awaiting in Southeast Asia that I should not skip.
If you are not a party animal in general I don’t think this event will be the best fit for you. On the other hand, if you like to party, you can give the Full Moon Party a try and form your own opinion. On top of that, remember it doesn’t matter where, but with who you have fun with. And I can assure you that even if you don’t bring your friends you can make them on the Haad Rin beach on the full moon night.
If you’ve been to the Full Moon Party, share your opinions in comments!