A Guide to the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan in Thailand
If you have ever been to Thailand, you must have heard of the well-known full moon parties. Perhaps the most popular full moon party is the one at Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan. Many tourists flock to the small island every month to get wild.
In this article, we will tell you about our experience at full moon parties, including how to get to the party and estimated costs.
What is a Full Moon Party?
A full moon party is just that – a party every month during the full moon. However, there is also a half-moon party as well as the New Year’s Eve party, which are all pretty similar. The party on New Year’s Eve is a little bigger than the events on the other two occasions. But all in all, they are more or less the same.
Where Does the Full Moon Party Take Place?
Although full moon parties take place throughout Asia, the one on Koh Phangan is the most famous and perhaps the biggest of its kind. It takes place at Haad Rin Beach, which is the largest and most renowned beach on the island.
What Can You Expect from the Party?
Overall, it is just a huge beach party. All the restaurants on the beach sell drinks, and there are also a lot of smaller bars. Every 100 meters, there are platforms with musical vibes. On these platforms, you can dance and have fun, but you will also see people dancing everywhere. Interestingly, you will only hear the music of the platform you are standing next to – the sound is rarely mixed, except when you are right between two stages.
You can also buy a new drink every few meters. However, most cocktails are only sold in buckets. Unfortunately, the alcohol is not of the best quality and the taste leaves a lot to be desired. Well, that is Thailand. You can also get painted with neon colors – neon is the motto of these parties. But, the color only shines at the stalls where it is applied.
How To Get to the Full Moon Party
If you are already on Koh Phangan:
Haad Rin Beach is probably the most famous beach on Koh Phangan. If you are already on the island, you will have no problems finding your way. Grab a taxi, and off you go. However, a good tip is to get to the party as early as possible, because there might be long traffic jams on the streets to Haad Rin when another party is about to start.
If you are on a neighboring island:
If you are on one of the two neighboring islands, Koh Tao or Koh Samui, you can book a tour with a pick-up service at your accommodation. The best way to do this is to ask for this service in one of the nearby travel agencies that are typical for Thailand.
You will then be picked up by a taxi from your accommodation and taken to the pier, where a ferry will take you to Koh Phangan. But, remember, you will also have to get back after the party. On my last visit, the return trip from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui was a very nerve-wracking affair.
We had to wait about two hours until we were finally let on a ferry that would take us back home. As it is sometimes the case in Thailand, no one could tell us anything about the departure times, nobody knew anything.
Standing at some improvised port in the morning at 4 a.m. without knowing when we would finally get back home can be really exhausting. This is why it is better to start your journey home before you are completely drained.
If you are on the mainland:
If you are somewhere on the mainland in Thailand, you might want to book accommodation on the island itself.
As you could see in the last paragraph, the journey home can be a very unpleasant adventure. Therefore, we would recommend keeping it as short as possible. There are ferries from the mainland dock to the island, leaving from Surat Thani. Sometimes you will even be taken right to the front door of your booked accommodation.
Up until a few years ago, you could get mushroom shakes at the party fairly easily. But now there are stricter controls. One of the bars selling them was closed. We were told that the police carried out a raid, and that any drug-related activities are now strictly prohibited. So if you are looking for this drug, you will unfortunately be disappointed here.
Haad Rin Party Cost breakdown
Getting to the full moon party
- Speed Ferry from Koh Samui: price for pick-up service + ferry + taxi back to the hotel approx. 1,200 baht (VIP pass 1,700 baht, but it is not really worth it)
- Regular ferry: approx. 200 baht taxi to the port on Koh Samui: 200-1,000 Baht
- Taxi on Koh Phangan to Haad Rin Beach: 200-1,000 Baht
- Ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Phangan: about 350 Baht
Costs at the full moon party
- Entrance fee: 100 Baht
- Bucket of alcohol: 150-300 Baht
- Toilet fee: 20 Baht
The Dark Side of Parties at Haad Rin Beach
Like almost everything in life, this party also has its downsides. The biggest one is probably all the rubbish that is unfortunately produced. Even though they put up garbage bins all over the beach and ask everyone to keep the beach clean, there are not enough containers and even more importantly – people just don’t care.
The later it gets, the more rubbish you’ll see lying around. At some point the whole beach is covered in straws, bottles, plastic bags, and much more. There is also a lot of trash in the village. Although you have to pay a 100 baht entrance fee which apparently pays for the clean-up the next morning, a lot of people seem to think that with the tide, the sea will wash away a lot of the rubbish. Those who know Asia, know that even a lot of the collected waste will sooner or later end up in the sea, too.
Another negative aspect of the party is the toilets. Sometimes you have to walk really far to find one. In addition, you will have to pay 20 baht everywhere, which eventually becomes pretty expensive. So at some point, most people just go into the sea to relieve themselves, which is really disgusting. This is why we would really recommend avoiding the sea at late hours.
Finally, I should mention that the many drunk people do not exactly enrich the experience. If you are not on the same level, it can be really exhausting, especially on your way home. Also, you should really try to find a place to stay as close to the beach as possible if you really plan to go to the party.
Otherwise, getting home can be really difficult. Taxis, in particular, are not easy to get, and the drivers can charge quite a lot.
An Alternative: The Eden Party
Here, too, a lot has changed in recent years. When we went to the New Year’s Eve party at Haad Rin Beach three years ago, the Eden Party was pretty much unknown. No one knew about this party, and even the Thais claimed to have no information.
More recently, we found that the whole thing had become a popular mass event. The party itself is located on a remote beach, which can only be reached by boat or a two-hour drive through the deepest jungle. But it is definitely worth going there anyway.
Getting to the Eden Party
There are small boats running pretty much non-stop from Haad Rin Beach to the Eden Party. A single boat trip costs 300 baht and is a real experience. The boats are not designed for more than 10 people, and you will sit in the dark with nothing but a small lamp, while you and two or three Thais crash through the waves on the tiny boat. It’s a real adventure.
You should just make sure that the weather is reasonably calm because if the tide is too high, the boats won’t go. If you are already at the Eden Party, you either have to wait until the sea calms down, or you take the two-hour drive through the jungle. And this is can be terrifying. Believe me.
What should you expect from the Eden Party?
Back to the party itself. When you arrive at the beach, you will walk along a wooden path that leads up to a bar with loud music and dancing. But that’s not the actual party yet – it’s still about a 20-minute walk away in the jungle. As I said, the whole thing really is an adventure. Actually, you will have to experience it yourself to know what it’s like.
After a long walk, you will finally reach another bar with a much bigger dance floor, lots of very cool people and a lot of jungle magic.
The conclusion is: The way to this party is a real challenge and not for the faint of heart. But once you get there, you can spend one of the best nights of your life there. But keep in mind: The way home could be even harder than the way there. You can probably guess why.
Eden Party Cost Breakdown
Getting to the party
- Boat trip to the Party: 300 Baht
- Boat back: 300 Baht
Costs at the party
- Entrance fee Eden Party: 300 Baht
- Beer: 120 Baht
We think the full moon, half moon, and New Year’s Eve parties at Haad Rin Beach are by now absolutely overrated. It is just a horrible mass event that you might want to avoid.
Basically, you will experience humanity at its most despicable. But if you keep a reasonable level of expectations and a high level of inebriation, it can still be fun. With the buckets of alcohol being sold everywhere, staying inebriated isn’t difficult. Whether this is what you want for your vacation is another question.
If you want to have a really cool party, follow the crowd to the Eden Party. Here the party still has a little more “class” and you will meet very easygoing people.