The full moon party in Thailand is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The legendary full moon Thai party happens on the shores of tropical Koh Phangan island. This wild full moon festival takes place once to twice a month with travelers from all over the world. The infamous Koh Phangan full moon parties are an unmissable experience.
Each month, on the night of the full moon, 10,000 to 30,000 people come from all walks of life to partake in the festivities and dance until the sun rises. DJs play trance, techno, drum, bass, commercial dance, and reggae music for dancers on the beach. Jugglers and fire eaters entertain the crowd to add to the magic of the full moon celebration. Areas of the full moon party include the different themed clubs and bars, such as the Reggae House and the Paradise Bar.
On the day of one of the largest and most popular parties in the world, people from the neighboring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao head to the beach. People arrive around 9 pm to participate in the Koh Phangan full moon party when the full moon shines brightly down on the beach festivities. The crowds are the most packed from midnight to 2 am. It is the most crowded on New Year's Eve.
Avoid Drugs: All drugs are illegal in Thailand. Expect to pay upwards of USD 1,000 if caught by the police.
Don't play with fire! In addition to all the festivities, there are giant jump ropes lit on fire that several people can jump over at the same time. Additionally, entertainers twirl fireballs on ropes and spin fire poles. Learn from the example of multiple people with bandages from burns on their feet, legs, and arms, and skip their avoidable mistakes.
Be aware of how much you are drinking (especially with the alcohol buckets): Keep track of how many infamous Thai buckets full of alcohol you are indulging in because it will get you very intoxicated if you are not careful. Vendor stands along the beach sell the giant plastic buckets full of cocktails for around $11 each. Don’t buy the first alcoholic bucket you see- go down the row to check out your options. If you want to save money, go into a local convenience store or 7-11 to buy cheap drinks to pregame before the party.
Hydrate: To prevent hangovers, drink a lot of water before and during the event because the weather is hot and humid even at night!
Do not swim in the ocean: There can be a strong ocean current and people typically use the ocean as their restroom alternative for the night. Toilets cost between 5–10 baht (30 cents) at the Koh Phangan full moon parties.
Wear footwear: To avoid cutting your feet open on broken beer bottles and other sharp objects that litter the beach, plan on wearing sneakers. Don’t be barefoot on the beach!
Personal belongings: Theft is widespread during the Koh Phangan full moon party. Bring as little of your personal belongings as possible. Bring enough cash for drinks. Bring your room key and take a photocopy of your passport just in case you need ID. Keep all of your important belongings in a fanny pack and do not leave your phone in your pocket because it easily could get stolen. Leave your valuable items locked away at your hotel.
Food is expensive in Haad Rin. There are some budget choices when you walk down the street behind the parking lot in the center of town. This is where local Thai restaurants offer meals from 50–60 baht ($1-2). This is about half the price of most of the other restaurants. Cheap food is also sold on the beach.
Dress in Full Moon party attire: The traditional full moon festival Thailand wardrobe consists of fanny packs and neon body paint. This can be purchased from street vendors selling party decorations on Koh Phangan.
The famous full moon party is on the night of the full moon which happens once a month. If you miss the full moon party, there is the quarter moon party, half moon party (second largest), and black moon party. The island has an ever-present party atmosphere.
Koh Tao and Koh Samui are the closest islands to Kho Pha Ngan. The ferry from Koh Tao to Koh Phangan is around $16 and takes a little over an hour. Koh Samui is closer to the full moon party. The ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan is around $10 and only a thirty-minute ride away. You’ll leave from Big Buddha Pier or Maenam Beach on Koh Samui and be dropped off at the main dock of Thong Sala or the Full Moon party beach of Haad Rin. This depends on the time of day and ferry company.
From Bangkok, the fastest way to Koh Phangan is to take an hour and a half flight to Koh Samui (there is no airport on Koh Phangan) and catch a ferry to the island. Ferries travel from Koh Samui to Haad Rin every hour during the full moon party. To reach Koh Phangan from the mainland, you board a ferry at Surat Thani where round-trip tickets cost 600 baht. You will be dropped off at the main pier in Thong Sala, where it’s a 100-baht taxi ride to Haad Rin.
For a cheaper option, a lot of companies run overnight buses and ferries from Bangkok to Koh Phangan from around $28 to $60, depending on the time of year. This price also includes the ferry. You’ll take an overnight bus to Surat Thani, sit at the ferry terminal for a few hours, and then take the ferry to Koh Phangan. Certain bus companies stop at Chumphon and load you on a nicer ferry to Koh Phangan.
Accommodation- There are many accommodation options all over Koh Phangan, but the most optimal place to stay during the full moon party is in Haad Rin where the Full Moon party takes place. To find a cheap and nice place to stay, come at least four days before the party starts to reserve a spot. If you come early, you will have no problem finding a place to stay. The closer it gets to the party, the more prices rise and rooms fill up. The New Year’s full moon party has the most expensive prices for accommodation and food. The accommodation you’ll find online will be the most expensive on the island and usually requires longer minimum stays.
There is a variety of accommodation options in Haad Rin, and most are not connected to online booking services. If the rooms in Haad Rin fill up, you can also stay at Ban Tai beach on Koh Phangan. It is only a twenty-minute ride away from the full moon party. Renting a room costs between $3 to $30 a night depending on location, hotel and room type, room standard, and the inclusion of air conditioning and hot water. Typically, dorm rooms are the cheapest and private bungalows are the most expensive.
Recommended places to stay for cheap on Koh Phangan include Echo Beach Backpackers, Love Station Hostel & Restaurant Aggat, and Lazy House Shenanigans Hostel.
Koh Phangan consists of a lot more attractions than crazy parties. Unwind at the tranquil island paradise with a lively yoga and meditation scene. The tiny island offers pristine beaches, memorable outdoor activities, and water-sports. Visit the stunning Ang Thong Marine National Park and take a dip in the magical waterfalls of Than Sadet, Prawet, and Phaeng. Spot wild monkeys and experience the local culture at Koh Phangan Night Market while nibbling on street food like pad thai and Roti (fried banana pancakes). Relax on superb Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach and Bottle Beach, hike to the top of picturesque mountain Khao Ra, snorkel the reef at the beautifully sheltered cove of Haad Salad, scuba dive with bull sharks at Sail Rock, and enjoy a beachfront barbeque with a view of an unforgettable sunset over the ocean.
The famous beach party offers a chance to dance under the full moon on a tropical paradise with people from all over the world. The full moon party must be included in your Thailand trip itinerary.