The full moon has a significant spiritual effect on mankind, it is mysterious and has us guessing about the real meaning behind it. A few years back someone on Koh Phangan in Thailand found the true meaning behind the full moon, namely a reason to throw a monthly beach rave that attracts over 20.000 people every full moon.
When the party just started out is was more of a gathering of a bunch of hippies that sang songs and smoked weed on the beach. Now it is this massive dance rave where people drink magical mushroom shakes and buckets of alcohol. The atmosphere at the parties is however always happy, upbeat and you notice that everyone is just there to have a good time.
This is one of those parties that you have to visit once in your life, just to say “been there done that”. Just a tip – there are many full moon parties around Asia, but the one and only and not to be missed is the most popular one in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Where to stay?
So, you have decided to go, exciting stuff heading your way! You can go about going to the Full Moon party two ways. You can go to Koh Phangan early (say about 4 to 5 days in advance) or you can travel on the day itself.
If you decide to go to the island early it is advisable to book your hostel beforehand, hostels start to get full 3 to 4 days before the party. You can also decide to stay a few days after the party to get some rest or enjoy the island a bit longer, because there is loads to do and see!
If you decide to not book a hostel and show up on the day of the party I would recommend you to stay on Koh Samui or at least travel from Koh Samui. You can take the boat to the island around 4, this way you arrive, you have some dinner, dress up have a few drinks and rock up to the party. You will have to party all night or find a quite place to crash (which you will NEVER find, I promise you..). This way you can leave on the first boat towards Koh Samui (and your bed, you’ll be missing it pretty bad by now), if I remember correctly the first boat leaves around 7 or 8 in the morning. My personal opinion is that this is doable, I did it when I went to the half moon party (we can talk about this some other time) and even though I was tired and had to nap quite a bit the day after, I wasn’t as broken as I thought I’d be.
My recommendation for the full moon party is to stay on Koh Phangan and come a few days early. This way you can also attend the pre-party the night before, it is held in the jungle and has a really cool vibe! Some even say that it is better than the full moon party!
Food and drinks
Drinks are fairly cheap at the party itself. Comparing them to western prices you’re paying almost nothing, but if you are just to Asian prices it might seem a bit pricey. The main drinks sold are the buckets, you’ll get a bottle of liquor (or something that looks like it) and some soda to mix it with.
If you get the munchies after all that drinking and dancing you can just go to the vendors that can be found all around. They can serve you with some of the best snacks around.
Here is where I need you to read closely. Littering is a MASSIVE problem on Koh Phangan, especially on the nights of the full moon party. It is not necessarily that it stays and lies around on the beach, it’s worse! After a full night of partying the beach is filled with trash, between 7 and 8 AM the tide comes in. And I guess you can imagine what happens, all the cans, bottles and wrappers you’ve thrown on the beach earlier on now get swapped up by the sea. Probably killing some poor sea creature or bird and ending up on another beach somewhere in the world. So please think about the environment before you decide to throw anything away, just take a little bag and put it in there and throw it out in a proper trash can.
- Don’t go to the full moon party alone! If you come to the island on your own, try to meet some new people in your hostel or on the boat, people are taken advantage off all the time. If something happens you are going to want to have a friend there, even if it is someone you just met, it beats being alone in a crisis every time.
- Avoid the fire. Every single party people get burned, sometimes so severe that they end up having to fly home. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the fire.
- Don’t go in the ocean. As no other I know that a midnight dip after a night full of partying sounds like the best idea. It is however not smart at all to do this. You’ve probably had a few drinks, you are in unknown waters and you don’t know how strong the currents are. Please take this advice and don’t go near the ocean once you’ve had a few drinks or when it’s dark.
- Watch your drinks. We all want to believe that everyone is as nice as they look. Unfortunately it has been proven time and time again that trust is something that has to be earned. Being drugged and taken advantage of is not an experience you want to undertake on a holiday. Just make sure that you watch your drink, and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
- Drugs – I’m not your mom, but be smart and just stay away from them. They are often more trouble than fun.
So.. Should you go?
YES YES YES YES, even if this is not your cup of tea, the full moon party is one you have to experience. These legendary parties have become so popular for a reason, they are fun! A lot of fun actually. Don’t believe all the stories you read, you don’t even necessarily have to believe mine. But trust me when I say that if you find yourself on Koh Phangan during one of these nights, don’t just skip it.
I asked around for some stories about real experiences from the full moon party. They aren’t all positive, or negative they are real opinions. However, as I’ve said many a times before, everyone is different and has a unique view on things, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if someone else has a bad or good experience, that it will be the same for you.
This is not real Thailand..
Carmen from Carmen Everywhere
The Full Moon Party or Feast of the full moon is one of the craziest nights in Thailand and known worldwide. No wonder why, since throughout the year, at least once a month, thousands of young travelers gather at the beach in the island of Ko Phangan to dance all night until the sun rises. In my opinion, this is one of the best traps in sunny Thailand. What to expect: mediocre music, binge drinking, drugs and prostitutes. The Full Moon in Thailand: a living example of the abject mass tourism. Great for those who love to drink and party. Lots of people peeing and throwing garbage in the sea. People dressing in such a vulgar way that you’ll laugh.
I was there with a girl and a guy. Neither of us the partying types. As said, it was ok for just one night but my advice is that you keep alert of your surroundings and don’t drink to a point where you can’t interact with your environment. My friend got severely burnt in his arms from one of those firework games they do during the party. It wasn’t his fault though, we were at a reasonable distance from the fireworks. There was a group of drunk and really young people next to us and suddenly somebody pushed one of them, who fell towards my friend, causing him to get hit by the burning stick of the fireworks.
There was no minimal safety signs around the fireworks, neither first aid personnel. Thank god I had a first aid kit in my suitcase back in my hotel room, which I always carry with me when traveling. That did for the night and he got it treated at the local doctor the next day.
Apart from this horrible experience for my friend, I don’t think I wasted my time there because it’s a party I had wanted to try at least once in my life, but never again. This is not the real Thailand and the crowd is overwhelming.
Safe environment + Full Moon Party doesn’t work
Kelly from Kelly Ella Maz
As much fun as the Full Moon Party was, it was so disappointing to see how much garbage and litter was on the ground. It’s unavoidable with crowds this large, but what makes this worse is that the tide comes in around 8am (as the party starts to wind down) and the water sweeps away all of the garbage before it can be cleaned up. It was such a surreal, fun party but it was a bit of a buzzkill to see how badly it was impacting the environment.
The full moon party was an unforgettable experience
Jo from Wander With Jo
I went to the Full Moon Party last year and it was an amazing experience. Me and my friends loved the whole vibe of Koh Phangan, the people, and the rocking party goers. It would probably be nice to just go there and stay on the “non-full moon” party days as well. The party scene is pretty crazy with thousands of crazy people splattered across a small stretch of beach – You can imagine how it can get, right?
Well, we loved it. Drinking a magic mushroom shake at the party was on our list so we tentatively made our way up to mushroom mountain. Saw some people totally zonked out of their minds there and reminded ourselves of the early morning ferry we had to catch back to Koh Samui (we came “just” for the party – literally) – and changed our minds.
All is all, we met people from at least 20 different countries and everyone was super excited to be there – it was a great party.
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