While many Thai islands claim to have a Full Moon party, the original Full Moon party location is on Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is one of my favourite Thai islands and not only because it is home to the famous or infamous Full Moon beach party. The North of Koh Phangan has a wild and rugged beauty and you can stay in both budget, mid-range or luxury accommodation on this island.
When is the Full Moon Party in Thailand?
Once a month during the Full Moon. For details for the Full Moon party 2019 and 2020, see this website for updated Full Moon dates and schedule http://www.fullmoonparty-thailand.com/schedules.html. The Full Moon is not the only party that Koh Phangan has to offer so if your holiday dates do not coincide you can consider joining a Black Moon, Half Moon, Waterfall party and many more party options.
The best places to stay for the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan
I have now been to 6 Full Moon parties and stayed in various budget to luxury accommodation in Koh Phangan. It’s possible to stay on Koh Samui and take a boat to Haad Rin for the Full Moon party but personally I love Koh Phangan more than Koh Samui so I’d rather stay on the party island!
Where to stay for the Full Moon on a budget
The cheap hotels in Koh Phangan tend to be in the North of the island, approximately 40 minutes drive to Haad Rin beach, where the Full Moon Party is held. If you want to be away from the action and in a quieter area, I definitely recommend staying somewhere like SeaBoard bungalows, where I stayed with friends on a previous trip. It’s cheap, the bungalows are spacious and beach is lovely and inviting. Unfortunately there is no swimming pool but we spent all our time in the sea anyway! Check out Agoda for more prices and availability.
My sister and I stayed here a while back. It has incredibly cheap, basic bungalows (approximately 300 baht/9USD/8GBP) for two people, a pool and a small rocky beach. I definitely recommend this budget accommodation for the party if you are a backpacker but want somewhere as cheap as a hostel but your own room! It’s in the North so factor in a 200 baht songtaew (Thai style truck with two rows of seats) ride to and from the party.
Where to stay for the Full Moon Party – mid-range to luxury hotel on Koh Phangan
My new favourite accommodation on Koh Phangan is the amazing Divine Comedie. Located 20 minutes from Haad Rin by song taew (Thai truck), you are able to walk to the Challenge Koh Phangan, Infinity Hostel for a pool party and drinks and is a short 10 minute ride from the main jetty – Thong Sala pier.
This boutique hotel has unique designs inside, a rooftop hammock, pool with views of Koh Samui, a bar inside the pool, amazing food, a long beach outside (not ideal for swimming though as it is like a small lagoon area with lots of sea urchins!). Click here for more reviews, pictures and prices
How much does the Full Moon Party cost?
Be wary of Full Moon Party ticket scams. I have seen many websites advertising Full Moon Party tickets costing 1000+ baht! This is just not true. The Full Moon party in recent years has started charging 100 baht for a ticket and will give you a band upon entrance. Drinks are mainly in buckets and cost around 150-300 baht depending on your alcohol of choice. There are food stands along the beach and down the roads to help you pace yourself with your partying!
What to expect at the party?
Up to 30,000 people partying on a beach, fire shows – dancers and fire jumping ropes, a lot of dirty backpackers, neon paint everywhere, drunk people everyone, people having sex in the sea, people pissing in the sea, alcohol and food stands, dancing from 10pm-6am, roped off sleep areas for those who can’t quite make it until sunrise, a giant slide from the top of one of the bars, magic mushroom mountain at the end of the beach, a range of music from different stands along the beach and a night you may or may not remember!
What to wear to the Full Moon Party?
Most party-goers believe less is more at the party and I can’t say I disagree. I love painting and being painted in neon paint because you don’t get many opportunities to behave like an idiot in other areas of life. Last Full Moon I attended, I aimed for a sea theme…check out my drunkenly painted whale shark? I usually wear closed shoes because my friend stood on glass once during the party and almost ended up with blood poisoning! Many party-goers do go barefoot but it’s a personal choice of whether to risk it or not! Looking for more advice on what to wear and what to bring to Thailand – read this post.
Should I take my phone to the Full Moon Party?
I know what I am like and therefore I always leave mine at home and cheekily rely on others for photos.
Staying safe at the Full Moon party
Keep your valuables in a locked safe in your accommodation. It’s a night that thieves know everyone is out so hotels/hostels are more likely to get broken into.
Check the seal on all spirit bottles before the bartender opens the bottle to make sure it is legit alcohol and not a backyard brew!
No sex or any other shenanigans in the sea… people are pissing right next to you and I don’t even wanna contemplate what STIs you could catch from that!
Don’t swim in the sea if it’s rough. There was a very sad incident in which a tourist drowned in recent years so please avoid the sea if there are big waves.
My friends and I always arrange a meeting place when we arrive in Haad Rin as it’s very easy to become separated.
Full Moon party has always been linked with taking drugs. I’m more a fan of the Thai rum!
Do not ride scooters drunk and be aware other people will be drunk driving so I would never personally get on a scooter on Full Moon party night. There are always many accidents, including fatalities.
Do I have to stay a minimum of 4 days for accommodation booking?
Absolutely not. This is one of the hostel/hotel scams where they try to insist tourists stay and pay for a minimum of 4 nights. I have been many times to the Full Moon party staying in Koh Phangan on my weekends off from working in Bangkok so I can assure you this is not true. Most places in Haad Rin will try and insist on this. I know that Fellini Home does not insist on staying a minimum number of nights and it is possible to book in for one night. Therefore I think this is one of the best hostels to stay at for the Full Moon party – check out dates and availability here. Any accommodation outside of Haad Rin should not insist on this so make sure you are not being taken advantage of if you do not have the time to stay longer!
How to get to the Full Moon Party from Koh Phangan?
To travel to Haad Rin from other areas of Koh Phangan, your hostel or hotel can arrange a group songtaew (truck). It will cost between 100-200 baht one way depending on where on the island you are staying. For returning after the party, songtaews will wait until they are full before setting off so patience is often needed as you wait for party-goers to join.
How to get to the Full Moon Party and Koh Phangan from Bangkok?
To get to Koh Phangan from Bangkok I recommend flying to Surathani, bus and then the ferry. Alternatively take a night bus and then the ferry which can get you on the earliest boat and arriving by approximately 10am. You can book tickets for the faster Lomprayah bus + catamaran here, and on this travel Thailand website and alternatively you can use this Thai website. Bear in mind buses booked on the last website depart from different places in Bangkok as these are not tourist-only buses. Do not expect buses or ferries to arrive exactly on time – This is Thailand!
I feel like I’m not supposed to like the Full Moon Party. It’s a bunch of drunks ruining one of my favourite islands, Koh Phangan. I’m over 25, I live in Thailand and I prefer to avoid dirty backpacker places. Yet I’ve been to FIVE Full Moon Parties so far…
Check this website to check your Full Moon Party dates and plan your trip around a few days on Koh Phangan. One to party and the rest to recover. And explore the beauty of Koh Phangan.
Ultimately, the Full Moon Party is a giant party on a beach, attracting up to 30,000 people! So enjoy and stay safe using my tips!
Do stay till sunrise
Do wear shoes – I go for closed in pumps as there can be glass around as one of my mates’ can testify!
Do take a bumbag or just no bag! I take money in my pocket and that’s it!
Do get covered in dayglow paint and drunkenly think you are the next Pablo Picasso.
Do be patient with songtaews (trucks) when leaving. They will wait to fill up to make the most money possible. Remember the party can bring a lot of useful income for locals.
Do eat food! While it’s all about the buckets, the street food is pretty good and will help you keep going until 6am!
Do dance until the sun comes up
Do consider staying in the north of the island. It takes 40 minutes by truck but accommodation is cheaper, nicer and they don’t have that ridiculous “you must stay minimum 4 days” crap that Haad Rin hostels try on.
Do arrange a meeting point with your mates…you WILL get separated at some point!
Do pay entry, it’s only 100 baht and think of all the cleaning up people have to do the next day!
Do make new friends (coz you’ll probably lose your old ones!)
Do stick to one spirit in your bucket…yummy Sangsom (Thai rum) is my favourite!
Do kiss a dirty backpacker but…
Don’t have sex in the sea…ew. People are pissing in it!
Do NOT ride a scooter. People are killed every Full Moon and mostly from drink/drug driving.
Don’t take a nap in the nap area…Full Moon is NOT for sleeping!
Don’t wear your favourite dress! That neon paint does NOT come out.]
Bum Bags – very useful to have your hands free for drinking and dancing and to have your phone and money directly infront of you as the Full Moon can be a time for robberies. Buy your Waist Bag from Amazon.