Full Moon Party | All You Must Know if Going For the First Time
Considering I had the chance to live in Thailand for a year, I have also been to the full moon party more times than I ever thought I’d go in a lifetime.
I remember before I ever went to Asia, the Full Moon Party seemed like the ultimate bucket list item. Everything about it seemed amazing: A massive open-air party in a beach in Thailand, where people painted all in neon colors would dance under the full moon until sunrise.
I couldn’t wait to have my first experience. Luckily, my first house in Thailand was in Phuket, meaning I was only a bus + boat ride away from Thailand’s most infamous party.
I know as an expat in Asia sometimes it can be scary to trust the system, the transportation… Is it safe? Is it legit? Are they ripping me off in any way?
Luckily to you I’ve been through all the good and bad parts of the whole experience, and after going to the Full Moon party 4 different times, I believe I have gathered enough knowledge and expertise (at least what I can remember after 2 or 3 buckets) to make anyone else’s life much easier when going to enjoy it for the first time.
What is the Full Moon Party?
A once a month beach party that takes place in Koh Phagnan, an island to the North of Thailand.
It is a party that takes place on the beach and has various different stages throughout the coast, playing all different types of music (from commercial music – a seemingly favorite in Thailand – to electronic, reggae, hip hop, basically music to all tastes).
How do you get there?
There are no airports at the island and people come in by Ferrys.
Getting there all depends from where you come from, but the normal route would be through Phuket or Koh Samui
- From Phuket: In Thailand you will see there are thousands of tourism companies who will arrange to take you to Koh Phagnam. The usual scheme would be for you to pay around 550THB (a little less than 20 USD), they pick you up with a van and take you to the port, where you take a catamaran to Koh Phagnan (and the ferry price can range from 15-30 USD, depending on the time. You can check schedules here.;
- From Koh Samui (closer): if you are in Koh Samui, you just take a direct boat to Koh Phagnam
PS – I am not a Koh Phangnan fan to stay the night to sleep (where the Full Moon takes place). My recommendation is to get a hotel in Koh Samui, and take a taxi boat to and from Koh Phagnam. This way you party, but still sleep and wake up in a nicer island.
PPS – Most resorts in Koh Phagnam require a minimum 3-5 night stay during the Full Moon Party, so another reason to go to Koh Samui (I myself never stayed the night in Koh Phagnam).
How often does the party happen?
How often do full moons happen? Yes, EVERY month there is a full moon party, exactly on the first day of the full moon (so keep in mind that the day always varies in the calendar)
How long does it last?
It starts from dusk and ends the next day in the afternoon time, where the last zombie party goers remain, most-probably passed out in the beach
Fun Fact: There is a sleeping area as well where you can sometimes find your drunk friends there asleep. My friend was not so lucky and couldn’t find the sleeping area, so by the end of the night we found her sleeping under a bench in a bar. True story.
Is there an entrance fee?
Yes, you pay around 1000 THB (approximately 30 USD) to enter the party and you will receive a bracelet
Are the buckets safe to drink?
When you arrive in Thailand you will immediately realize the way of drinking is through buckets. They literally have thousands displayed, and you can choose a combo to drink (i.e. a soda/red bull, with vodka/whisky/rum and a whole loooooot of ice). These buckets are cheap (aprox. 200 THB, which would be 6 USD) and they get you DRUNK, so yes, go for them and join the crowd!
TIPguaplous: The closer you are to the beach area, the more expensive they will cost you. Another good way to buy cheaper alcohol is to stop at a local 711 (they are everywhere in Thailand).
Do people use drugs there?
Yes and no. Basically people use drugs everywhere, even in countries where there is death penalty (such as Indonesia), so nowhere is exactly ‘’drug free’ I believe. But doing drugs in Thailand is extremely risky, especially if you are caught. The police can be corrupt and will bribe you (and locals can also rat you to the police for a bribe). Don’t be stupid, as even smoking a joint there could put you in jail… Thai jail..
Avoid the ocean
There is a reason the water is warm… And not because of the Pacific Ocean.
Fire Rope, Fire Hoop, Fire juggling…. FIRE!
Thais have a certain obsessionwith fire and you don’t have to be too long in the country to observe this. Literally all parties have a fire performer. But the ones in Full Moon are dynamic, meaning, people can interact with the fire!
Yea, pretty crazy!!
So, for instance, you soak a rope in gasoline, light it on fire, and the Thais swing it around for the tourists to jump it, one after the other, and yes, DRUNK…
It is so stupid that I can’t understand how does this even exist!!!
Mass mentality tells you it is safe. ‘’If everyone is doing it, it MUST be safe’’
Well it is not and even though the Thais do this every day and have ‘’experience’’ it is in no way a safe thing to do.
Cris had a 2nd degree burn to his arm when he went last time. Yep…
Full Moon Party Pro Tip – Buy Your Own Paint!
So this is my biggest recommendation to all Full Moon Party goers. The first time I went, I paid one of the local Thais to paint my arm and it did look super cool and well done. It is kind of like getting a henna tattoo: you select your design and where, and they paint it (but as you can guess, it is not ‘cheap’ – at least for Thai standards, you are getting ripped off). So after I couldn’t help but think that everyone that I saw with a cool paint design to have been ‘’ripped off’’
But that is not the tip I want to give. Hey, if you want a nice design and don’t mind paying, go for it!! Many people did and do!
BUT, the second time I went with my friends, we decided to buy a kit with all the paint colors for like 2 USD beforehand
What happened is that we started drinking a bit in our bungalow while getting ready and for fun we decided to paint each other. At first the drawings started cute, but as the alcohol kicked in it just became a major mess. I remember I was drawing a sun in my friend’s leg and didn’t have where to clean my hands, so I cleaned them on my other friend’s back, and so it started.
By the end of our pre drinks we were all covered in nonsense and glowing in the dark like crazy, but we couldn’t stop laughing and we had the best time painting each other and by far we were the most originals in the party. I strongly recommend buying a paint set and have some pre drinks while painting each other. It was the best part of the night! (we liked it so much we did it every other time we went back)
Have you ever heard of the black moon? What about the half-moon? Or even, the Jungle Experience?
Basically, if you miss the Full Moon Party, no worries!! There are thousands of other parties just like it in other days of the month (but smaller of course).
To me, I must say I LOVED the jungle experience. It is muuuuch smaller, in the middle of a forest, much more secluded. It feels like a more exclusive party. I strongly recommend the jungle experience if you have the chance.
Even though my travel life has made me a bit skeptical to these major tourist events, and spite the obvious highly commercialized side of this party, it still remains as a pretty awesome must-do when going to Thailand. And considering the fact that it is packed with thousands of drunk party-goers coming from everywhere in the world, it really doesn’t have the hazards of fights or annoyances you would expect (I actually had the impression that people misbehaved much more in any party in London than in the Full Moon, from what I observed). People really are there to have a good time.
Have you ever been to the Full Moon Party? Did you also ever find your friend sleeping under a random bench? Share your crazy stories!