How to survive the Full Moon Party: Koh Phangan, Thailand

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The Full Moon Party is an all-night party on the beach in Haad Rin on the island of Koh Pha Ngan in Thailand on every full moon. 

Supposedly the tradition started in 1985 at Paradise Bungalows on the beach and 20-30 travellers attended. Now up to 30,000 travellers attend each event and it’s synonymous with Thai tourism. 

Since I saw the party featured in the film The Beach (fabulous film, highly recommend) I have been desperate to go – the idea of a huge fluorescent party on a beautiful beach that goes right through till sunrise the next day sounded way too cool to miss out on.

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The Full Moon Party website will tell you when the next party is and all the boring info that you need. 

Over the years the Full Moon Party has come to get quite a bad reputation as some tourists have been mugged, got into fights, had serious accidents, or even gone missing here. 

Therefore, I wanted to give you my completely honest opinion of the party…

Including terrible quality photos as tip number 1 is don’t bring a fancy camera or anything unnecessary as there’s a lot of theft. 

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First things first, in the days running up to the party you’re going to need to buy a fabulous outfit. Part of the fun and the draw of the party is that you get dressed up in fluorescent outfits and use neon body paint to your heart’s content. 

Literally every single shop on Koh Phangan sells all manner of vest, t-shirts, shorts and accessories emblazoned in ‘Full Moon Party’ and there’s neon body paint in every colour imaginable. 

Of course, you’re in Thailand so it’s also all super affordable too! 

Nathan and I spent the whole morning of the party day driving around on our little motorbike (more on Nathan’s questionable driving in a future blog post I’m sure) checking out all of the shops and bartering for the best deal. 

There’s absolutely tonnes of designs to choose from so if you have the time then it’s really fun to take a few hours and shop around. My top tip for this is don’t go to Haad Rin itself as most tourists just stay here so the outfits can be overpriced. Head to Thong Sala (where the boat comes in) for the exact same outfits for half the price. 

I had heard that a top would cost you the equivalent of 15 GBP but Nathan and I both managed to get tops that we loved for 5 GBP each. We also got 3 pots of body paint, a paint brush and a floral headband for me for about 4 GBP more. 

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The getting ready (for me) was the most fun bit of the night as I hadn’t needed to get dressed up properly for ages as we’d been travelling for quite a while already so I spent a fair few hours painting both of our bodies. I’m no artist but I was very pleased with my handiwork!

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We decided to head out around 10/11pm as we really wanted to make it right through to sunrise and didn’t want to peak too soon. 

The only way to get from the other villages to the full moon party is by huge pick up trucks where they pack you in like sardines. Road safety is literally not a concept in Thailand, they even had drunk people perching on the roof of the trucks!

 

All taxis are a flat rate per person from anywhere on the island at 200 baht per person/ 5GBP which is very pricey compared to everything else in Thailand. 

We got shoved into a very overloaded pick up truck with a group of very drunk Argentinians dancing and singing very interestingly. 

We went at the end of dry season and it was absolutely chucking it down so if there’s any chance of rain then buy one of the clear plastic cases for your phone and be prepared for your intricate body paint to get ruined.

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If you look in the background of the above picture, you’ll be able to see how wet it was! The crazy flooding meant that everyone was hiding in the shops at first. 

Luckily the rain had stopped by midnight and we were able to go onto the beach, where the proper party is…

Imagine thousands of people, in little to no clothing, covered in florescent body paint, very very drunk (and probably many on drugs too), fire pits and fire breathers everywhere… that’s the Full Moon Party.

If you’re not someone who enjoys going out, you’d definitely hate it. But for us it was an exciting, hedonistic adventure. 

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The classic drink choice is a ‘bucket’ of Thai whiskey or Thai vodka and all manner of interesting mixers. We started with a bucket of Thai vodka (soooo much cheaper than the better known brands) and strawberry juice which was hideously strong but did the job nicely. 

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A good tip is to buy your buckets from the stalls lining the back streets as they’re literally half the price of the same drinks on the main beach.

I’ve also heard some horror stories about drinks not being what they should be so make sure that you watch the person pouring it and even request them to open a sealed bottle if you’re really not sure!

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The vibe is anything goes and it’s the same for the music too. There’s a multitude of different DJ’s in front of each bar and you’re welcome to wander along the beach picking and choosing your favourite songs. 

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There’s a lot of trance/dance music but also some 90’s, R&B, and even reggae. 

There’s also drinks stalls on the beach and fire breathers which is very cool to watch but not advisable to get involved with after you’ve had a drink! We saw one guy with horrific burns all over his legs from falling when attempting a fire skipping rope – not for the faint hearted! 

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We had a great time, drank too much and met loads of lovely people from all over the world including Spain, Germany and Belgium. In terms of meeting fun, vibrant people it’s amazing as everyone is travelling too and up for having a memorable, exciting time. 

Cue a little montage of blurry, low quality images of me with some of the fabulous people we spent the night with… 

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At 6:30am the sun first started to peek through the dark clouds…

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And you could see some of the hilarious, non-existent outfits that people were wearing. Literally anything goes in terms of outfits, some people wore only underwear and many people were just in swimwear. 

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Definitely a place to leave your inhibitions behind!

There were people passed out everywhere and the sea was full of people swimming, weeing and engaging in none-PG activities… 

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Even at 7am the vibe was still electric, with people continuing to dance and drink well into the morning.

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I don’t know who this guy is but he was super drunk, funny and friendly and for me this perfectly sums up the kind of people that we met at the Full Moon Party and the fantastic  night that we had…

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At 7am we embarked on another treacherous truck ride as the heavens completely opened and we met even more wonderful, funny people on our journey home – literally every second of the night was full of laughter. 

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For me, it was the most hilarious, fun and cool night out that I’ve ever been on and a must-do for anyone travelling Asia. 

However, it’s definitely worth keeping these few tips/tricks in mind to have a night as successful as we did!

  1. Only take the essentials and keep them tight to you with a bumbag inside your clothes. Phone, money, hotel key – that is all. (and lipstick)
  2. Drink alcohol only. Also, make sure you know where it’s come from and that it’s legitimate! Buy from the stalls off the beach or from the little shops and keep it local to keep the costs down.
  3. Be friendly and chatty and talk to everyone as most people are here to make friends and have a great time
  4. Don’t accept alcohol or anything else off of anyone that you don’t know
  5. Do NOT get on a motorbike drunk afterwards!!!
  6. Watch from afar but don’t go too near the fire pits and fire breathers – that guys burnt leg will haunt me forever!
  7. If you don’t like to party and don’t like a ‘lairy’ environment, give it a miss entirely 
  8. If you’ve come with someone (which I would advise) then stay with them at all times, even going to the bathroom at the same time. 
  9. Don’t wander off by yourself and don’t go walking into the bush area as there are snakes and all sorts of other dangerous things lurking
  10. Don’t wear nice shoes as they’ll probably get ruined but also don’t go barefoot or take your shoes off as there is glass everywhere by the end of the night!
  11. Take some toilet roll/tissues as there was NONE
  12. Budget the expensive taxis into your money for the night
  13. Stay away from the sea as the things I saw happen in there… stay well away!
  14. GET DRESSED UP, DRINK, DANCE, MEET NEW PEOPLE AND HAVE FUN.

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8 thoughts on “How to survive the Full Moon Party: Koh Phangan, Thailand

  1. Whoa what a fun experience! Definitely something that’s on my bucket list. I see so many people on snapchat going to this festival. Glad you made it out safe and alive, since the partying can get out of control sometimes!! I love your face paint!

    Simply Lovebirds

    Like

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