Are you thinking of hitting up the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan?
Well, it’s safe to say that opinions on this notorious event are pretty divided.
While some people swear by it as the ultimate party experience, it’s not for everyone.
Having been there myself multiple times, I can say that the party is a wild and unforgettable night out, but it also comes with its downsides.
In this article, I’ll share my honest insights and tips so you can make an informed decision about whether the Full Moon Party is right for you.
From the pros and cons to all the practical details like where to stay, read on to discover everything you need to know before diving into this famous celebration.
So, buckle up and read on for everything you need to know before diving headfirst into the madness.
- What is the Full Moon Party?
- History of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party
- Where is the Full Moon Party Held?
- Full Moon Parties 2023-2024 Dates
- When is the Best Time to Attend a Full Moon Party?
- Where are the Full Moon Parties Held?
- What to Wear During the Full Moon Party
- What Time Does the Full Moon Party Start and End
- What to Expect When Attending Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Parties
- Safety Tips for the Full Moon Party
- The Cons of the Full Moon Party
- How to Get to the Full Moon Party
- Where to Stay During the Full Moon Party
- FAQ on the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
What is the Full Moon Party?
The Full Moon Party is a popular monthly gathering held on the sandy shores of Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Every full moon, crowds of revelers flock to Haad Rin Beach for a night of unforgettable fun. The party boasts an energetic and lively ambiance, featuring mesmerizing fire shows, fluorescent body paint, and thumping music that can be heard from miles away.
Throughout the evening, party-goers indulge in buckets of cocktails and dance under the stars until the break of dawn.
However, it’s worth noting that the Full Moon Party can be quite hectic as it gets BUSY.
As I mentioned previously, it is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, however, if you are into partying and electronic music, attending this legendary party, at least once is a right of passage for every backpacker.
History of Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party
The funny thing is, no one really knows when the full moon parties in Koh Phangan started.
Some say that it either started as a small group of beachgoers celebrating the full moon or as a clever marketing ploy by local Thais to attract tourists to the island.
The party’s rise to fame began in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and it quickly grew in popularity among travelers seeking a unique and exciting nightlife experience.
Over the years, the Full Moon Party has undergone several transformations, including changes to the music genres and performers, as well as the size and scale of the event.
Despite these changes, the Full Moon Party remains a popular and iconic event on Koh Phangan, drawing thousands of partygoers each month to Haad Rin Beach.
During the pandemic, the full moon parties were canceled for almost two years in a row, but now they are back with a vengeance. As it’s grown in size and popularity, local residents have complained about the noise that the party produces, yet the show still goes on.
Where is the Full Moon Party Held?
Haad Rin Beach on the southern coast of Koh Phangan is where the Full Moon Party comes to life each month.
To get there, visitors can either take a boat or a road route. Boats run from Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and the mainland to Thong Sala pier, where a taxi or songthaew will transport them to Haad Rin. Even if you’re in the neighboring islands, there are often tours that will provide you transport there and back so you can participate in the revelry.
Alternatively, you can also opt for a direct taxi or songthaew from your accommodation in Koh Phangan to Haad Rin. If you go down this route, we recommend arranging transportation going back to your hotel ahead of time.
To make the most of the party, staying in Haad Rin or nearby areas is ideal since getting transportation after the party can be challenging.
Accommodation options are plentiful, ranging from economical hostels to high-end resorts. Booking ahead of time is recommended since rooms tend to fill up quickly during the Full Moon Party.
Later on, in this full moon party guide, I will share a few of our top recommendations on where to stay.
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Full Moon Parties 2023-2024 Dates
To make sure you get to plan your trip accordingly, here is the schedule for the full moon parties in Koh Phangan for 2023-2024.
Please note that the Full Moon Party dates are subject to change if they coincide with a Buddhist holiday.
There are four religious holy days that occur on a full moon day, and consuming alcohol is strictly prohibited throughout the country during these occasions.
Out of respect for Buddhist tradition and to comply with local laws, the party committee may postpone the event to the following day in these instances. As such, it’s important to stay informed and check for any schedule changes or updates to the Full Moon Party dates.
If you’re planning to attend any of these Full Moon Parties, it’s important to plan ahead and book accommodation well in advance, as rooms tend to fill up quickly during these events.
Apart from these dates below, every year, they hold a massive New Year’s Eve party on the 31st, regardless if this falls on a full moon or not. Please make note that NYE parties on Koh Phangan fall into high season so book ahead of time!
Aside from these dates below, they also have a Half Moon party, which they do mid-month.
The half moon party is slightly smaller than the full thing but still pretty insane and epic. Another novelty is the black moon party so keep an eye out for these events when you’re there.
- January 6th (Friday)
- February 5th (Sunday)
- March 7th (Tuesday)
- April 5th (Friday)
- May 4th (Friday)
- June 4th (Sunday)
- July 2nd (Sunday)
- August 3rd (Thursday)
- September 29th (Friday)
- October 30th (Monday)
- November 27th (Monday)
- December 27th (Wednesday)
- December 31st (Sunday)
- January 26th (Friday)
- February 24th (Saturday)
- March 25th (Monday)
- April 24th (Wednesday)
- May 23rd (Thursday)
- June 22nd (Saturday)
- July 21st (Sunday)
- August 20th (Tuesday)
- September 18th (Wednesday)
- October 17th (Thursday)
- November 16th (Saturday)
- December 15th (Sunday)
- December 31st (Tuesday)
When is the Best Time to Attend a Full Moon Party?
So, when’s the best time to hit up the Full Moon Party, you ask? Well, it really depends on what you’re after.
If you’re all about the crowds, energy, and chaos, then peak season from December to February and June to August are the way to go. Go during this time if you want to ensure an all night beach party.
During this time, people from the other Thai islands like Koh Samui even come here for the night just to party the night away as it is the largest beach party in Asia.
While it is heaps of fun, just be ready to fork out a little extra for accommodation and deal with longer lines for drinks and bathrooms.
But, if you’re looking for a more chill vibe and budget-friendly prices, then shoulder season from March to May or September to November might be more up your alley.
Just keep in mind that the weather can be a factor, as the rainy season starts from October to December. From March to May, expect it to be very hot and humid.
Where are the Full Moon Parties Held?
As long as you’re in the vicinity of Haad Rin beach, it is impossible not to find where to go as the entire beach is one big party. However, here are a couple of places that are well known:
Drop In Bar, located on the sunrise side of the beach, is a great place to start the night with affordable drinks and fire shows.
For a vibrant atmosphere, head to Cactus Bar on the sunset side, which has a rooftop seating area with stunning views of the beach.
Zoom Bar, in the middle of Haad Rin, is a fun spot to enjoy cocktails and a mix of Thai and EDM music, while the Backyard Club on the main road is open all night with a pool and different genres of music.
During the Full Moon Party, Haad Rin is also called the full moon party beach because the entire place is filled with numerous bars, clubs, and street vendors, so you’ll have no trouble finding a place to party.
There are usually 11 stages along the beach and each stage blasts a different music genre. Some places play good music while others tend to veer toward playing commercial hits.
Based on my experience, most hostels will also throw some sort of pre-full moon party before heading out to the many beachside bars.
What to Wear During the Full Moon Party
The Full Moon Party is all about letting loose and having fun, and the dress code is basically…anything you want!
Comfortable and casual clothing is the norm since the party takes place on the beach. Opt for lightweight clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty or wet, like t-shirts, shorts, and sandals. For a full run down on what to bring, check out our Thailand packing list.
While it is tempting to go barefoot, there can be trash or even broken bottles along the beach so I really recommend wearing some sort of footwear.
That being said, many party-goers prefer to stand out in the crowd by wearing neon or fluorescent clothing.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any flashy clothes or party accessories, as vendors sell a variety of items a few days before the event.
If you’re looking to add a little splash of color, getting neon face or body paint is very common, and there are plenty of vendors in and around Haad Rin to get this done.
Regardless of what you wear, just make sure you’re comfortable, weather-appropriate, and ready to have a good time.
I personally recommend taking a small bum bag with you or a phone case that goes around your neck. The parties can get incredibly busy so make sure you keep all your belongings with you at all times.
What Time Does the Full Moon Party Start and End
The Full Moon Party is a night-long celebration that typically starts at dusk and continues into the early hours of the morning. The party usually kicks off between 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm local time, and things start winding down around sunrise, which is between 6:00 am and 7:00 am.
However, depending on the energy of the crowd and the atmosphere, the party can go on for longer.
It’s important to pace yourself and prioritize your safety, as the Full Moon Party can be a marathon of dancing, drinking, and revelry.
There will be plenty of places to buy food, drinks, and snacks to help you last the entire night.
What to Expect When Attending Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Parties
If you’re heading to Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party, here’s what you can expect.
First up, there are the drinks – party buckets are the go-to drink of the night, and they come in beach buckets loaded up with alcohol and energy drinks.
The buckets are usually made up of a Thai version of red bull and are mixed with your alcohol of choice (rum or vodka are popular picks!). The buckets can cost between 300 to 500 Baht (that’s about 8 to 14 US dollars). You’ll also find beer and cocktails if buckets aren’t your thing.
The Full Moon Party is one of the wildest parties on the planet, and it draws big crowds – anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 people depending on when you go.
You can expect the atmosphere to be pumped up with music blasting from all directions, people dancing like crazy, and the energy to be electric all night long.
But, with so many people in one place, it can get a bit messy. So, when the sun rises and you see the beach covered in rubbish, don’t be surprised. This is one part of the full moon parties that is really sad.
Locals volunteer their time to clean up the beach the next day, so do your part and make sure you dispose of your trash properly.
With all that said, be prepared to have an unforgettable night partying under the full moon. Just remember to stay safe, look out for your friends, and have a blast.
Safety Tips for the Full Moon Party
The Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan can be crazy and unforgettable, but it’s essential to prioritize your safety and well-being while having fun. Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable Full Moon Party:
Keep your wits about you: With thousands of people partying, it’s crucial to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Watch out for broken glass, and uneven terrain, and keep a close eye on your belongings.
I recommend you leave all valuables at home. Leave your room key with the receptionist at your hotel to avoid losing it.
Pace yourself with the drinks: Booze is aplenty at the Full Moon Party, but it’s vital to know your limits and stay hydrated. Don’t go overboard and take breaks when needed.
Also, don’t accept drinks from strangers!
Stick with your squad: With the crowds and loud music, it’s easy to get separated from your pals. Set up a meeting point and check in with each other frequently. Avoid walking alone at night and watch out for strangers.
Respect the island: The Full Moon Party can leave behind a mess if not approached with respect. Be mindful of your actions, avoid littering or harming the beach, and dispose of your trash in the proper bins.
Stay Away from Drugs: Although weed is now legal in Thailand, you might be tempted to take something harder. Be warned there are cops all over Haad Rin on the look out for drugs or unruly behavior.
If you do decide to take any edibles or smoke anything, make sure you know what you’re having ahead of time. There are plenty of smoke shops that have proper descriptions of the strain or edible that they’re selling you.
Fire is hot: Fire dancing and shows are a big part of the Full Moon Party, but it’s crucial to be careful with fire-related items. Although it looks exciting, I don’t recommend jumping on the fire rope.
Jumping the fire rope can be dangerous, and it’s important to only attempt it when you’re sober. Unfortunately, many party-goers have ended up with burn marks on their bodies due to accidents caused by alcohol consumption or other party-goers trying to join in while drunk!
The Cons of the Full Moon Party
While the Full Moon Party can be a fun time, it’s important to acknowledge the less glamorous side of this popular event.
With such a large crowd in attendance, there is a significant amount of waste generated, including plastic cups, bottles, and straws that end up littering the beach and sea. Broken glass is also a common sight on the beach, which can be dangerous for party-goers without shoes.
Unfortunately, alcohol can sometimes bring out the worst in people, leading to unruly and even unsafe behavior. It’s not uncommon to see people passed out on the beach or in other public areas, and this can make them vulnerable to potential harm.
To enjoy the Full Moon Party while staying safe, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and mindful of your actions.
Drinking responsibly is key, as is avoiding walking alone at night and keeping an eye out for strangers. Properly disposing of your trash and leaving the beach as clean as possible is also crucial in ensuring that this party remains enjoyable for everyone.
How to Get to the Full Moon Party
Getting to the Full Moon Party can be a bit of an adventure, depending on where you’re staying. Here are some tips for getting to the party:
From Koh Phangan:
Lucky you – you’re already on the island! Getting to the Full Moon Party is pretty easy if you’re staying on Koh Phangan. Just hop in a taxi or a shared Songthaew (a kind of pick-up truck) to Haad Rin.
You can usually flag one down on the main road or ask your hotel to arrange a ride for you. I DO NOT recommend you drive a scooter as there will be many drunk drivers along the roads.
It’s better to be safe and to pay a little extra! There is also limited parking during the full moon parties so it’s best to arrange your own transportation ahead of time.
From Koh Samui:
If you’re staying on Koh Samui, you’ll need to take a ferry to Koh Phangan and then grab a ride to Haad Rin. Ferries run frequently throughout the day, and the journey takes about 20-30 minutes. Once you’re in Koh Phangan, you can find a taxi or Songthaew to take you to the party.
As mentioned, there might be some organized transport that can take you there in the evening and back the day after. If you’re coming from Phuket, check out our guide on how to get from Phuket to Koh Phangan.
If you’re coming from Bangkok, there are a few options for getting to the Full Moon Party. You can take a flight to Koh Samui and then a ferry to Koh Phangan, or you can opt for an overnight bus or train to Surat Thani and then take a ferry to the island.
Once you’re in Koh Phangan, you can grab a ride to the party. Check out 12go for uptodate ferry prices and schedules.
No matter how you get there, be sure to give yourself plenty of time and plan ahead.
Where to Stay During the Full Moon Party
Finding a place to stay during the Full Moon Party can be a challenge, so it’s important to plan ahead. Here are some tips for accommodations on the island:
Keep in mind that prices for accommodations can triple in the days leading up to the party. It’s best to book early to avoid inflated prices.
Hotels and hostels near Haad Rin beach can fill up fast during the peak period around the Full Moon Party. Prices in Haad Rin can also increase threefold during this time, and many hotels require minimum bookings of 3-5 nights.
Accommodations on Haad Rin Beach:
If you want to be close to the action, there are plenty of accommodations directly on Haad Rin Beach. Some popular options include:
- Paradise Bungalows: This spot is said to be where the Full Moon Party started, and you can even find a stone dedicated to the original party here.
- House of Sanskara: This quieter option still offers a great view of the party.
- Tommy Resort: An affordable resort with beach access and a pool.
- Phangan Bayshore Resort: A more upscale option with a private beach and amenities like a spa and outdoor pool.
- Na-Tub Hostel: This budget-friendly option is located right in the middle of everything.
Accommodations Within Walking Distance to Haad Rin Beach
If you’re looking for a place to stay within walking distance of the Full Moon Party, there are plenty of options near Haad Rin Beach. Consider these recommendations for a comfortable and convenient stay:
- Sarikantang Resort & Spa: This 4-star resort is just a short 5-minute walk from Haad Rin Beach and offers a relaxing escape from the party scene.
- Sunset Beach Villas: This hotel is just a 15-minute walk from Haad Rin Beach and offers a range of accommodations including rooms and villas.
- Sea Breeze Resort: This hotel is only a short 10-minute walk from Haad Rin Beach and features comfortable rooms and bungalows.
All in all, the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is an epic experience that’s definitely worth adding to your travel bucket list.
You’ll get to party under the stars with a diverse group of people from all over the world, sipping on delicious full moon buckets and dancing the night away on the beach.
If you’re not a fan of large parties, I recommend avoiding Haad Rin beach during this time as it really gets busy and packed. On the other hand, if you’re up for a wild and unforgettable night, I hope this article gave you lots of useful tips and information to help you party it up!
FAQ on the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
The Full Moon Party in 2023 takes place on various dates throughout the year, whenever the moon is full. Check out this article where we outline the dates for the full moon parties in 2023-2024.
The cost of attending the Full Moon Party is usually around 200 BAHT or $6. If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel on Haad Rin beach, this is usually included in your room rate. After purchasing your ticket, you get a wristband which is also kinda a cool souvenir.
Whether or not the Full Moon Party is worth it depends on your personal preferences and expectations. If you’re up for a wild and unforgettable party experience, then it’s definitely worth checking out.
The Full Moon Party takes place on the island of Koh Phangan, which is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 12 kilometers north of Koh Samui. The party specifically takes place on Haad Rin beach.