The Complete Guide to the Full Moon Party in Thailand

The Complete Guide to the Full Moon Party in Thailand

By Chris QuanUpdated May. 20, 2021

What Is the Full Moon Party?

In the 1980s, a small gathering of friends discovered that the most beautiful moon was in Koh Phangan. They celebrated their birthday party along the crescent-shaped beach of Haad Rin, which was on the night of a full moon, so called it a full moon party. They had such a great time that they went back the following year to do it again and then the following month and then the month after that. Word got out and people from all over the world went there to join in with the celebrations. More than 30 years later, the Full Moon Party has become one of the wildest beach parties in the world. Depending on the season and month, between 5,000 and 30,000 people from all over the world go to the party.

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What to Expect at the Full Moon Party

Before the event begins, hundreds of lamps are lit at dusk. The beach is lined with small tables and as the moonlight touches the white sand, the party begins. All genres of music, such as techno, commercial, punk, and blues just explode on the beach. Jugglers and fire-eaters entertain the crowd as the night passes by. There are drinks and snacks too for when people want to chill out in between.

At the party itself, you can expect everything from body painting, binge drinking, fire festivities (limbo and jump rope), extremely promiscuous behavior, an assortment of party favors, and the occasional ambulance or two.

The Full Moon festivities literally run from 8pm until about 11am so you better be prepared if you’re going to be a “Full Moon Warrior” and make it through the entire event.

Highlights of the Full Moon Party in Thailand: a party until sunrise, live music from DJs, fire jump ropes, and alcohol buckets, to name just a few.

Where Is the Full Moon Party?

Thailand’s Full Moon Party is held in a small town called Haad Rin at the southernmost tip of Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is located just 12 kilometers north of the tourist hot spot of Koh Samui and 45 kilometers from the popular diving paradise of Koh Tao.

The town of Haad Rin is divided into two parts: Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach), which is responsible for the island’s wild party reputation as well as the location of the Full Moon Party, and Haad Rin Nai (Sunset Beach), which is known as the tamer and more relaxed part of Haad Rin.

The island of Koh Phangan has no airport so all of its traffic relies on ferry transportation from Koh Samui Airport and Surat Thani International Airport (the mainland).

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Full Moon Party Dates in 2020 and 2021

Full Moon Party Dates in 2020 Jan 28th Feb 9th Mar 8th Apr 7th May 7th Jun 5th Jul 7th Aug 4th Sep 2nd Oct 3rd Oct 31st Nov 30th Dec 25th Dec 28th Dec 31st
Full Moon Party Dates in 2021 Jan 9th Feb 27th Mar 28th Apr 26th May 27th Jun 24th Jul 26th Aug 23rd Sep 21st Oct 22nd Nov 19th Dec 25th Dec 31st

You can also attend the festival on Christmas and New Year. If you’re unable to make it to Thailand during the given dates, you always have the Half Moon Party, Quarter Moon Party, and Black Moon Party (also known as Escape Parties) to fall back on.

The party usually takes place on the date of the full moon each month. However, as there are sometimes important Buddhist holidays on these days and the consumption and sale of alcohol is banned, the date of the Full Moon Party is postponed by one to two days.

How to Get to the Full Moon Party

Depending on where you’re coming from, the two closest islands to Kho Phangan are Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Inexpensive ferries run daily between all the islands.

Travelers can reach the place from Bangkok by taking a short flight to Koh Samui and later taking a short ferry ride to Koh Phangan. For a budget-friendly trip, you can opt for overnight boats and buses that are available through travel agents in Bangkok.

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Where to Stay for the Full Moon Party

There is a wide choice of accommodation in Haad Rin, whether you prefer hostels, bungalows, or hotels. Many of them are right on the two Haad Rin beaches, Haad Rin Nok and Haad Rin Nai. It is a bit cheaper when you’re away from the beach. In the town of Haad Rin, you will find many more accommodation choices from which you can easily reach the Full Moon Party on foot.

Accommodation on Koh Phangan typically books up quickly the week before and after the Full Moon Party. Book in advance to make sure you have somewhere to stay. Alternatively, you can leave your bags at a friend’s hotel and stay out all night.

You also can find accommodation on another island — just catch a ferry to Koh Phangan, party all night, and catch a ferry back the next day.

What to Wear for the Full Moon Party

People generally wear casual and short clothes for the Full Moon Party. Girls usually wear bikini bottoms or miniskirts and brightly colored tops. The relevance of showing one’s skin is that there are many artists at the Full Moon Party who paint travelers’ bodies the way they want to be painted.

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Tips for the Full Moon Party

  • Wear shoes to avoid the broken glass on the beach
  • Carry some money (enough for buying drinks) but separate it into different pockets.
  • Prepare sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat as it gets really hot during the afternoon
  • Don’t take valuable items to the party
  • Don’t try the fire jump ropes. You may hurt yourself during one of the extreme activities.
  • Keep an eye on your drink — “bucket druggings” do happen.
  • Don’t take drugs, it is illegal.
  • Book your accommodation well in advance as this will help you grab the best property at the best rate.
  • Stay away from the ocean as you might risk drowning and most people urinate in the water

Overall, the Full Moon Party is a crazy party made up of visitors from all around the world. As much as it is generalized that the crowd is mostly made up of young backpackers, people of all ages and from every background go there.

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