Thailand Full Moon Party
As the legend goes: The first-ever Full Moon Party was held on Koh Phangan – the lush island in Thailand – with just a few backpackers in the 1980s. They had such a good time at the first party that they started coming back each year, and continued to grow through word of mouth (and an appearance in the book and film The Beach).
Today, the Full Moon Party has grown into what it is today: An all-night party that regularly draws 10,000 to 30,000 revelers for dancing and drinking in the tiny beachside town of Haad Rin.
Need some help planning a trip to Koh Phangan for the full moon? Here’s everything you need to know about Full Moon Parties, including dates, what to expect, and tips for having a safe and massively fun experience.
When Is the Full Moon Party in Thailand?
As you might have guessed, the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan closely follows the lunar calendar. They’re held each month, on or around the full moon.
There are exceptions though. For example, if the full moon lands on a Buddhist holiday, the party is typically rescheduled a day or two before or after. So, be sure to check the date prior to planning your trip. There are a few helpful calendars online, but here are some upcoming dates:
2020 Full Moon Parties
- January 9, 2020
- February 9, 2020
- March 8, 2020
- April 7, 2020
- May 7, 2020
- June 5, 2020
- July 7, 2020
What Should You Expect at the World’s Craziest Beach Party?
Full Moon Parties in Haad Rin have long been popular with the backpacker crowd. And you’ll most certainly see thousands of young people from all over the world, who’ve made the pilgrimage.
This isn’t your average beach party. From the glow-in-the-dark-adorned crowds – which number as many as 30,000 (especially around New Year’s Eve) – to the drinking, everything is taken to the next level. A popular drink on the island, for example, is the Thai Bucket. It’s basically a plastic sandcastle pail filled with liquor and soda, and you’ll find numerous vendors selling these along the strip. There are also numerous clubs, bars and lounges along the beach offering their own tropical cocktails.
At sundown, the fun gets going. Fire-dancing and, yes, fire jump-roping are mesmerizing sights that are common at the parties. Many resorts, in fact, put on their own fire-dancing shows.
Plus, many come for the dancing as well. Large sound systems are set up all along the beach which blast club bangers into the early hours, and DJs regularly stop in for guest sets. In other words, the festival atmosphere gets transported to this tiny strip of sand.
By daybreak, most have traveled back to their bungalows or accommodations (although some choose to sleep on the beach), with lost flip-flops and cell phones littering the sand. And everyone goes home with a story to tell.
Getting to Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is located in the Gulf of Thailand, and there’s no airport on the island. As such, most travel here via the ferry system (there are dozens of options from Bangkok). Private boats also offer service into the island.
If you’ll be staying in Koh Phangan, it’s best to book lodging at least a week in advance. All of the resorts and hotels in the Haad Rin area fill up, as the full moon date approaches. After the party, be sure to check out some nearby sights, as well. Some of the best include:
- Koh Phi Phi – Home to the legendary Maya Bay made famous by The Beach
- Koh Samui – Known for its five-star resorts and spas, as well as the Ang Thong Marine National Park
- Koh Chang – A nature-lovers paradise with amazing jungle hiking and waterfalls
- Koh Tao – Incredible beaches and several exclusive, upscale resorts
Tips for Attending a Full Moon Party
Think you’re ready for a Full Moon Party? A little planning can go a long way. Not only do the ferries and hotels fill up, but there are some rules to follow to ensure you have a great time. A few things to consider:
- Bring What You Wouldn’t Mind Losing – These parties can get crazy and the crowds are enormous. Although there is a police presence, theft is common. In other words, leave the Gucci sunglasses at home. And just bring enough cash for the evening.
- Get Into the Spirit! – Most dress up for Full Moon parties in colorful, neon attire. Be sure to bring some glow-in-the-dark face paint and your loudest clothes. But if you forget, don’t worry. There are plenty of vendors nearby that can help if you left the face paint at home!
- Wear Sturdy Shoes – Although you’ll be on the beach, don’t plan to go barefoot. Stepping on a broken bottle or losing a flipflop can ruin your good time! A pair of sneakers is best.
- Follow the Local Laws – Police have been known to work undercover at parties. So be on your (mostly) best behavior! Drugs are illegal in Thailand, and revelers have spent time in jail for imbibing.
- Skip the Swimming – Haad Rin’s crystal-clear waters are inviting. But at the party, it’s best to avoid the water. The currents and tides can be unpredictable. And swimming while intoxicated can be extremely dangerous. So, save the swimming for the morning.
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