I just had a group of 6 friends who spent 3 weeks at Koh Pha Ngan to attend the Full Moon party and Half Moon Festival.
Out of those 6 guys only 2 of them got home without any incident. What do I mean by incident?
Diarrhea, passing out, collapsing, crashing a motorbike, getting into a fight, too drunk before midnight and fractured ankle was some of the shit they got themselves into.
Truth is. The Full moon party is a pretty hardcore party. When you arrive at Koh Pha Ngan you are so pumped to get started that you forget to take care of yourself.
My personal experience with the Full moon party:
To be honest I don’t like. I think it’s just out of control. When I heard about this party back in 2011 I was in a bar in Pattaya. I was imagining young hot local girls in jungle outfits dancing to chill tropical house mixed with fire shows and tons of pussy.
Well. That’s not exactly what’s going on.
What going on is 20.000 to 50.000 young backpackers in their early twenties going completely insane with alcohol and drugs. Sadly most of the backpackers are just annoying ignorant snotty kids who are more concerned about the letting the people back home know that they have a great time thought social media, than actually having fun.
Should you go tho?
I think experiencing this party is totally OK. It’s quite unique in that I don’t think there is a bigger beach party anywhere in the world. It’s also a very visual experience as there are so many colors, lights, neon tattoos and crazy people there!
Here are a few tips on how to survive this madness.
You want to stay in the same town has the party itself . This town is called Haad Rin. Why would you want to stay in the same town?
If you don’t get a room in this town the next town is about 3 km away on what can only be described as very dangerous mountain hill roads. I would NOT take a pick-up taxi at night the night Full Moon party is ongoing as there is just too much traffic on this road. It’s not safe and every year many tourists die on this road.
You want a room in Haad Rin, and you should be early out booking it so you make sure it’s not full.
If you try to get a room here the same day as the party by just showing up it will be full everywhere.
Book a room at Agoda a couple of weeks before you arrive. You already know when the party is so there is no excuse. This might save your life.
Another good thing with staying in Haad Rin is that you are close to the action. Just walk out your door, walk for 5 minutes and you’re on the beach already.
Click the banner under to look at hostels and hotels in Haad Rin.
How to get there
If you are coming from Bangkok there are two routes you can take. You can fly to Surat Thani or Koh Samui. Flying to Koh Samui is much more expensive than Surat Thani as Bangkok Airways have monopoly on this route.
Average flight ticket prices 1 way:
Surat Thani: 1500 baht
Koh Samoi: 3500 baht
Getting a round-trip ticket with bus and boat from Surat Thani to Koh Pha Ngan will cost 600 baht. When you arrive at Koh Pha Ngan you have to pay another 100 baht from the ferry to Haad Rin.
If you fly to Koh Samui expect to pay around 300 baht for a round ticket with bus and boat.
The Full Moon Party
Here are some average prices in Haad Rin when Full Moon party is going on:
Noddles: 60 baht
Thai meal with meat and rice: 100 baht
Western meal: 150 – 500 baht
Banana pancakes: 30 baht
Cheap food sold on the beach: 40–50 baht (don’t eat it)
Buckets: 200–300 baht, depending on what kind of alcohol. They can be up to 400 baht on New Year’s Eve.
Beer: 80–100 baht (30 in a 7-11 store)
Cigarettes: 80 baht
Toilets: 5–10 baht
Buckets – So what the fuck is a bucket? Do you remember when you where kid and you where out playing in the sand box? You would fill a bucket with sand with your shovel and make a castle?
Now. Imagine that bucket filled with Coke, Thai Red Bull and 300ml optional liquor. That’s a bucket in Thailand!
As a general rule, be careful with the buckets. They will get you really fucking wasted really fucking fast. If you start on these buckets before sunset you won’t make it until midnight. I can almost guarantee it. If you take it easy on the alcohol in the early afternoon you’ll make it to the sunrise the next day.
Another problem with the buckets is that they are dirty and many people get diarrhea from them. I’ve seen with my own eyes bucket vendors who pick up old used buckets that have been in the dirty sand, just to put them right back into rotation. No cleaning.
If you really want to play it safe stay to the plastic cups. They are transparent so it’s easy to see if there is sand or other dirt inside them.
Drugs – Be careful. There are cops trying to sell you drugs on the island just to arrest you.
Getting arrested for a small user dose of marihuana, LSD or MDMA is not really a big problem, but it will fuck up your night as you have to join them to the police station where they will threaten with jail unless you pay them some pocket money.
The current bribe for getting caught with a small user dose on Koh Pha Ngan is roughly 1000$ depending on what officer you meet, how his mood is and how good you are at haggling.
The thing is. They don’t want to send you to jail for stupid crimes like this. Sending someone to jail is a lot of paperwork and they make no money by doing it.
Water – Water is your best friend. As a rule I always drink one glas of water between each unit of alcohol. Thailand is a hot place so getting dehydrated is very easy. Getting enough water is vital to keeping up your energy through the night.
Going out in the ocean – Don’t be stupid. Not only do you risk drowning as it’s really hard to swim when you’re drunk, but this beach is everyone’s toilet while the party is going on. The water here is not lukewarm because you are in Thailand, but because 20.000 people pissed in it 10 times during the night.
This water is a perfect place to get som nasty disease or infection that will fuck up your entire vacation. Stay sanitary.
Personal belongings – If you are planning on going hard don’t bring anything except money and copy of your passport. If you think you can take care of your phone while you party you can bring that too. I suggest to buy a passport bag that you but around your neck and have under your shirt. Very hard to loose your shit then.
Insurance – Don’t be stupid and travel to this place without some kind of travel insurance. Hospitals on this island have actually stopped to help tourists who don’t have insurance. You can’t really blame them as they’re private hospitals who are dependent on an income. If people come here every night to get free care they will go out of business.
Local thugs – Some of the local people on Koh Pha Ngan is not happy at all that this party is going on. Most locals tolerate it as it brings in a lot of money to the island but not everyone is happy. A friend of me showed me a Thai Forum with local Thai people talking very badly about the tourists who come to this place to go nuts.
Sometimes you will see local men hanging out in the streets of Haad Rin under the Full Moon party. They usually look very serious while they are just watching people. They are probably targeting drunk tourists to steal from.
Don’t go over to these people and act like a clown. Don’t even look at them. There have been some ugly episodes of murder on Koh Pha Ngan between tourists and local thugs in Haad Rin. There are also several tourists who have vanished on the neighboring island Koh Tao.
So there is a high probability that there is a group of local people in this area who are not happy about foreigners coming to their land.
So. Should you go to the Full Moon party? Fuck yes! Just be a little bit smart and take care of yourself.
It’s possible to party hard and party smart at the same time!
They also play a ton of good music there. Make sure to have Shazam installed on your phone so you can find out what the tunes are named. 🙂
Full Moon Party is probably the biggest beach party in the world and the visual experience can be quite intense.
So even tho I personally don’t like it so much, I defiantly think that you should experience it at least once!