Who invented the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party?
There are many legends about the origins of the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan. Nobody knows exactly when the first full moon party took place, although many people claim that they were at the first party.
Sometime in the 1980s, a group of tourists found started enjoying the full moon nights in Koh Phangan. Since the 1970s Koh Phangan has been attracting a colorful crowd of travelers, often backpacking hippies. On their way to or from India, they stumbled upon remote Koh Phangan, and discovered Haad Rin, which was a tiny village, difficult to access without paved roads.
Slowly the insider tip became an open secret and started attracting larger and larger crowds. Today, Koh Phangan Full Moon Party is on the bucket list of millions of travelers – once in your life you should experience the full moon party.
And now, there are 20,000-30,000 people at the party each month, depending on the season.
So, 40 years later – Is the full moon still any good? While the party has changed over the years, it certainly deserves a spot on your bucket list.
Who goes to the party?
The simple answer is: Everyone.
You’d find at these parties people from diverse groups, posh, hippie, punk, rocker, and really any kind of person you can think of. The atmosphere is joyful and open to everyone, and there is enough space for everyone. Since the beach is around one kilometer long, even at the most crowded with 30.000, there is enough room to move around.
When Does the Full Moon Party Start?
The party always begins at dusk. When the round yellow moon makes its appearance over the white sand beach. In the twilight, small tables are lined up on the beach and thousands of lamps are lit…
What makes the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party so special?
The Full Moon Party is a unique event that you won’t experience anywhere else.
What makes it so special?
- Koh Phangan – Koh Phangan is one of the most beautiful islands in a country full of beautiful islands. The Haad Rin was just made to host such a special party.
- The international atmosphere – when’s the last time you had a party with people from all over the world? Koh Phangan has become a hot spot for digital nomads in recent years, so you can find yourself partying with tourists, travelers and remote workers people from diverse places such as Thailand, United States, Australia, Denmark, Germany, China, Norway, Sweden, Israel, Italy, United Kingdom and many more.
The Atmosphere of freedom – The Full Moon parties are known for their atmosphere of freedom. Everyone comes to have fun and enjoy, which makes the atmosphere one of pure joy.
Drinks and Food
If there’s one thing you don’t need to worry about, it’s going hungry during the Full Moon Party. There are many food stalls everywhere so you can grab a snack.
You can buy drinks on every corner, there are a lot of mobile vendors, stalls, and bars. In general, it is safest if you buy at the main party venues, if you buy the drinks somewhere else, make sure it is on the beach and not in some obscure back alley.
Many come to the Full moon festival to tick off things on their bucket list – and part of this is buying drinks in buckets. These buckets contain a (strong) local energy drink, a small bottle of liquor, soda, and ice. Bucket prices range from 250-500 Baht (7-14 USD).
The party ticket is 200 Baht (around 6 USD), and it is sold in the main alleys that lead to the beach area. As proof of purchase, you get a wristband. The ticket gives you access to all the party locations along the beach.
If your accommodation is right on the beach and you do not plan to leave the party area that night, you might not need a ticket.
Currently, there is no possibility to buy a ticket in advance, unless you book a tour package that includes the ticket.
What to wear
Beware your feet. While you can spend your entire vacation with Flip Flops only or even barefoot, this is not recommended at the Full Moon Party. There is a lot of trash on the beach, and you may not be safe walking barefoot. If you have only Flip Flops, you will likely lose them in the crowd.
Everybody wears UV Paint at the party, Be careful, because the paint may not only stain your clothes, but it is going to leave stains in the hotel, especially on towels and sheets. Make sure you wash all the paint off before you go to bed, otherwise the hotel may charge a fine.
Transportation to the party
Taxi – Group Taxis go along the western coastline, from Thong Sala to Haad Rin. While you can normally hail down group taxis in the streets, on the day of the party you may want to book a taxi in advance to be on the safe side. Group taxi rides start at 100 Baht (3 USD) per person
Scooter – It´s very easy to rent a scooter on Haad Rin, but there are some pitfalls. During the full moon party, you may be safer using a taxi. There are a lot of accidents, police control extensively and in Haad Rin you may have difficulties finding a parking spot for the scooter.
For a complete guide to how to get to Koh Phangan’s Full Moon party, click here, for our guide on how to get around on Koh Phangan itself, click here.
A full moon party is a perfectly safe place if you apply common sense and stick to a few simple rules:
- Protect your feet: Wear sneakers or closed sandals instead of flip-flops, this way you´ll be safe from broken glass and other sharp objects
- Valuables: Make sure you only carry essentials with you to the party: Cash for transport, drinks, food, and toilet usage. Bring a passport copy. Avoid taking your phone and keep your valuables hidden away.
- Drugs: Drugs seem to be readily available at the Full Moon Party. However, Thailand´s drug legislation is clear and rigidly enforced. Allegedly undercover police are actively looking for drug buyers at the party, and there are many stories of tourists getting trapped. When caught, you may end up being forced to pay 3.000 USD to the authorities.
- Safe driving: Haad Rin is surrounded by steep hills. If you stay outside of Haad Rin, you must ride curvy roads and risk getting into accidents. Also, there are many police controls around Haad Rin. Police control helmet wearing, driving licenses, and whether you carry drugs with you. At night it is certainly safer to take a taxi.
- Stick close to your friends because it can be easy to get lost in the crowd. Have a plan B to find yourselves in case you get lost.
- Don´t go swimming: Even though it may get hot and it´s tempting to play around in the beach water: Avoid going in, the sea serves as an improvised toilet.
- Drinking: There are bars, stalls, and ambulant vendors offering alcohol in all shapes and sizes, including the infamous buckets. Make sure you buy only closed bottles from trustworthy vendors. Eat enough and make sure you drink enough water.
- Hygiene: During the party, garbage can get out of control, and the beach is littered with garbage. However, the clean-up happens right in the morning and in the afternoon the beach looks like there never was a crowd of 20.000 people.
- Fire: There are all kinds of fire shows on the beach. If you are inexperienced or drunk, don’t try jumping the fire rope, burn accidents happen quite frequently.
What can you do in Koh Phangan after the Full Moon Party?
One reason that the Full Moon Party became so popular is that it is taking place on one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands. So it´s worth your time staying longer on Koh Phangan.
There are your usual amazing beaches, cheap but wonderful Thai messages, yoga courses, hikes, Thai boxing classes, and much more. Click here to check out our full guide to what you can do on the island while there
Where are the best places to stay for the Full Moon Party? What Are The Closest Hotels To The Party?
First of all, rest assured that Koh Phangan is not that big of an island. With a scooter, you can pretty much get from one side of the island to the other in an hour. So almost any hotel would let you get to the party easily.
However, after a night of partying it could be nicer to stay at a hotel close to the party’s beaches. To help you pick these out, we’ve compiled a list of the best and closest hotels to the Full Moon Party.