I was visiting Phuket on my first trip to Thailand when I first heard about the Full Moon Party. It sounded wild and crazy, something I must do and so it was put on the top of my to-do list. The next voyage to Thailand started with the legendary Full Moon Party. The party is famous for being sick and quite infamous at the same time for its allegedly drug fueled rave. The party not only stood the test of my high expectations but it was the best party I ever had.
This post will answer all your questions for the Full Moon Party 2021 or any of the future full moon parties. What is the Full Moon Party? When is it held? Where is it held? How can you reach there? Where you should stay? What are the Full Moon Party Safety and Survival tips ? And I’ll unleash some insane memories from my experience as we go along.
What is the Full Moon Party?
Full Moon Party is the largest beach party in the world. Thousands of people from around the world drink and dance out in the open at Haad Rin beach on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. More than a dozen bars within a kilometre each having their their own heavy sound systems, turn the beach into a huge open-air night club. It has become a tradition to paint your bodies with neon paint that glows in the dark and it looks really cool, like really really cool, just look at the pictures.
You’ll find stalls selling drinks, making neon tattoos and astrologers predicting future right on the beach. Yes you heard it right, astrologers at a party, sounds totally bizarre but its true. Locals perform in fire shows and travelers join them in risky fire games. A word of advice, do not try these games to look cool, a burn anywhere on the body will be sufficient to ruin the whole night.
Almost everyone is really high at the party. You talk to, you dance with, you celebrate with total strangers. We started the party from the entry point that lies almost in the middle of the beach and went on to party at every single bar/spot on either sides. We partied with random groups, solos and even couples, yes even couples aren’t the leave us alone, mushy-mushy types at the full moon party.
Besides the conventional partying, a lot is going on at this party. People participate in different kinds of fire games, push-up challenges, pull-up challenges. There’s a whole section made in the middle of the beach for people who pass out. And by the dawn, you’ll find a lot of people passed out, lying right on the beach while some are still up and dancing. Full moon party is also known for couples having sex out in the open. We weren’t lucky enough to spot the mating but there are videos on YouTube to prove it.
There are n number of things that will happen at the party which will all turn into sweet memories if you are sober enough to remember them later. Allegedly, drugs are also sold at this party but neither anyone approached us nor did we spot any such business going on. But a lot of people hold it is true and it very much looks like the kind of party where people would do drugs. Possession and consumption of drugs is illegal in Thailand, your misadventure could lead you to a Thai jail. So, do not try any mischievous stuff.
Though I remember one incident, with a mention of marijuana. It was about 3 AM; I was sitting at this footpath right next to a Swarnma stall some 100 meters from the beach, with my buddy. A group of girls moving waveringly approached us. One of them walked up to me, squatted down, wrapped her arms around my head and whispered to me ‘I want weed, please get us some weed’. I hesitatingly replied, I can’t. I offered her my drink, she took a sip, moved away and continued on her search.
How did the Full Moon Party start ?
As the legend goes the party started in late 1980’s when a group of backpackers threw a birthday party for their friend on the night of the full moon. They had such a great time that they came back the following year to do it again and then each month after that.
It started as a small house party on the beach with a few hippies and backpackers. But as the word spread more people started showing up each month. Slowly the party developed the rave scene. With the 2000 movie The Beach, this party got worldwide attention. Once the travelers started to flock up at the The Full Moon Party, the party has grown in size ever since. In the recent years, up to 30,000 people pack the beach at the Full Moon Party.
When is the Full Moon Party held?
The Full Moon Party is organised at the the full moon of each month. However, due to local holidays the date may get shifted in certain months. So, always check the schedule for the party and not just the dates on which the Full Moon occurs. The party has been suspended since March’2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Thailand is closed for tourists as I am writing this post. It is not clear when will the party be resumed back and how will the Full Moon party look amid Coronavirus. It wouldn’t be surprising if it is resumed back only next year in 2021. I will update this post as and when new updates come in on Full Moon Party Dates 2020/2021.
Where to Stay for the Full Moon Party?
You have two options, either stay in Koh Phangan or in Koh Samui.
Staying in Koh Phangan
The obvious option is to stay in Koh Phangan, especially if you are not there just for the party. The best area to stay in, is the Haad Rin area which is also where the party is held. The problem in this area is the limited availability of accommodation and high prices.
Accommodation for the dates around FMP, fills up very fast in the Haad Rin area. Almost every single hostel or cheap-accommodation in this area has a minimum 3-Night stay policy. So, if you want a cheap accommodation in the Haad Rin area you’ll have to book for at least four days. If you want to stay only for a night here you’ll have to spend at least three times the prices that you’ll pay elsewhere on the island. Do not expect to get any type of accommodation in this area if you just show up on the day of the party.
The second best option is to stay in the Thong Sala area. Here also there is a minimum 3-Night stay policy in most of the hostels around the Full Moon Party dates. However, you can get a cheaper accommodation for a single night or two if you book 1-2 months in advance.
Staying in Koh Samui
A lot of people, while holidaying in Koh Samui come to Koh Phangan only for the full Moon Party. We were also one of those. The best option in this case is to buy a Full Moon Party ferry package from any travel agent in Koh Samui. A minivan will pick you up from your hotel in the evening, a ferry will take you directly to the Haad Rin pier. In the morning you’ll have multiple options to choose from 3 AM, 4 AM or 5 AM ferries as per your convenience. You’ll be finally dropped back to your hotel.
While I was planning my trip, I read online in a few reviews that going back to Koh Samui in the morning is a nightmare due to huge rush. So, I also booked an accommodation online in the Thong Sala Area to stay on the safer side. But we didn’t face any issues while we took the 4 AM boat back to Koh Samui.
Note: After the Coronavirus Pandemic, a few things may change for a while. For example: Low demand will bring the accommodation prices down and there may not be a 3-Night minimum stay policy until the demand reaches the 2019 levels again.
How to get to Haad Rin, Koh Phangan?
You can easily reach Koh Phangan from Bangkok or Phuket using combinations of rail/ road/ air/ boat.
By Flight + Ferry
The best option is to fly to Koh Samui Airport and then take a ferry to Koh Phangan. But this is an expensive option; since about 1.5 hour flight from Bangkok to Ko Samui would cost you at least 4,500 THB.
Alternatively, you can fly to to Surat Thani’s airport (URT) which would cost you much lesser, around 900–2,500 THB from Bangkok or Phuket. From the Surat Thani airport, you can buy a Bus+Ferry package to Koh Phangan. There are 4 operators- Lomphraya, Raja Ferry, Phantip and Seatran. All except Lomphraya charges about 350 THB and takes 4 hr with standard ferries. Lomphraya operates speed boats which reduces the journey time to 3 hr but charges almost the double, about 900 THB.
By Rail + Ferry
You can take the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani which takes about 9 hours and costs between 520–1,200 THB per person. You can book online at thairailways.com. You can also book a train and boat combo up to Koh Phangan. You will be transferred from train station to the pier free of charge. The whole trip would take 14-15 hours in total.
By Bus + Ferry
You can also buy a Bus+Ferry combo to Koh Phangan from travel agencies in Bangkok or in Phuket. A bus journey to Surat Thani takes 8-9 hours from Bangkok and 5-6 hours from Phuket; costing about 350 THB and 250 THB respectively.
The ferry companies mentioned above operate multiple ferries between Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Surat Thani multiple times a day. You can buy tickets directly from the pier or buy minivan + ferry combos from any travel agent.
Full Moon Party Costs
This party is going to cost you much less than any of your parties at the night clubs and will still be one of the best parties you ever had.
- Entry Ticket: 100 THB
- Neon Paint: Tattoos start at 100 THB and may go up to 600-700 THB depending on the size and detail. We bought the paint itself for only 20 THB per color and painted it our self.
- Beer Pint: 80 THB (50% less in a 7-11 store 100 m from the beach)
- Cigarettes: 80 THB
- Buckets: 200–300 THB, depending on the type of alcohol.
- Cheap food sold on the beach: 50 THB
- Average Thai meal: 100-200 THB
- Toilets: 10-15 THB or free if you buy something from the shop.
Full Moon Party Survival Tips
Mind your Belongings: Theft is rampant at the party and so is people losing their senses. Carry as little as possible. You do not need the whole wallet, just carry enough cash for the drinks and to get back to your hotel. You don’t need to carry the original passport, just bring a copy of your passport. You may also leave your phone or keys at your hotel desk if you are staying in the Haad Rin area. Most importantly, don’t carry this stuff in your pockets, carry these in a passport bag strapped to your body.
Stay away from Drugs: The idea of doing drugs at such a party could be fascinating for some but remember, it comes at the risk of being holed up in a Thai jail or losing a couple of hundred dollars in bribe or both.
Know Your Limits: Passing out in the full moon party is quite common. If you want to overload yourself, its your choice. But avoid overloading if you don’t have someone sober to look after you.
Don’t indulge in Fire Games: You are high, people are jumping over a rope of fire, looks fun, you want to join them. But don’t, a burn on the body may not feel much when you are high but you’ll know the pain the next day. I saw a lot of people getting burnt and they were still going again & again to jump over the blazing rope. That’s height of stupidity.
Go Slow on the Buckets: The effect of the buckets kick in a bit slowly due to some ingredients of the Thai Red Bull which is also a part of your bucket. And by the time high kicks, some people have already finished a couple of them. These people will pass out even before the midnight kicks in. So, if you want to last & enjoy through the night, go slow on the buckets.
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