Officially known as Koh Phangan, the Full Moon Party Thailand festivities have become a world-renowned institution. Its home is on the Southern tip of Phangan Island, more specifically at the crescent cove of Haad Rin Beach. Once a month, the 800-metre stretch of beach is transformed into what is probably the most prevalent open-air nightclub across the globe.
More than a dozen powerful sound systems help to create an energetic festival-like atmosphere with huge quantities of alcohol and great music. This remarkable event is listed routinely on many bucket lists as being among the experiences in Thailand that must be experienced to be believed.
Up to 30,000 people gather to party on the legendary strip of sand, beneath the glow of the full moon. The festivities last throughout the night and well into dawn. Attendees are charged 100 baht to enter the beach party; the funds are then used to clean up after the celebrations.
There are a number of stages and bars set up along the shoreline where you will be able to see international and local DJs. The genres include drum and bass, dubstep, hip-hop, house, trance, techno, reggae, pop and rock classics. Typically, the beach bars closest to the town of Haad Rin play party pop.
As you make your way down the beach, you will find that the music becomes heavier with fuller bass and more underground dance tracks. Additionally, painting yourself in neon body paint is a tradition and there are many strip lights available to make bodies glow and sparkle throughout the night.
The infamous ‘bucket’ is the beverage of choice. It contains of a bottle of vodka, whiskey, local sugarcane rum or another type of hard liquor. There is also some ice, a bottle of Red Bull and occasionally, mixers are included to water the drinks down a bit.
These colorful plastic buckets are designed for sharing. They typically have 6 straws for patrons to enjoy. They cost between 200 and 300 baht apiece and can be bought almost anywhere.
The Full Moon Party Thailand celebrations start early in the evening; however, it is highly recommended that you arrive roughly 22:00, at the earliest. This arrival time will increase the possibility of you making it through to dawn. This is the time when the festivities will kick into high gear with glow sticks and fire shows.
Most of the revelers typically start showing up at that time.
For an escape from the intense partying, you can head to one of the Haad Rin restaurants, which is just block away. There are also designated areas for individuals who have passed out from excessive drinking. Police watch over the area to ensure the safety of the passed-out revelers.
Preparing for the Event
If you are planning to attend the party, there are some obvious and not-so-obvious preparations that should be made; some are highlighted below:
Booking a hotel as within close proximity to Haad Rin is highly recommended as this makes it easier to get to your hotel afterwards. The closest or best hotels start to get booked to capacity roughly a week ahead of the party; therefore preparing well in advance is wise.
You will be able to get taxis to more remote Koh Phangan hotels throughout the night and if you stay at Koh Samui, there are boats available for transportation. However, trying to explain to the driver where you are staying after a few too many drinks could prove challenging. Ask for a few business cards from the reception area of the hotel to make life much easier.
In addition to the fact that partying with company is more fun, it is helpful to have trustworthy individuals around to look out for each other.
In Thailand, you are legally obligated to carry identification with you; however, you should not take an actual passport to the party. Lock your passport in your room and take along a photocopy.
The soft sand of Haad Rin Beach will become littered with broken object that could damage unprotected feet. Ensure that you wear a pair of flip flops or another type of inexpensive footwear, so that if they get messed up it won’t be a great loss.