Once in a ‘Koh Phangan Full Moon’ Thailand’s Infamous Party

by Anna Lynch

Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party… the legendary monthly event – which as the name suggests coincides with the lunar full moon, is the Traveller’s Ultimate Party Experience.

Located 70km from Thailand’s mainland, Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan Island is transformed into an ‘all things fluorescent’ festival mecca.

You’ll find yourself immersed among flouro shirts, shorts, sunnies, beads and body paint adorning the many party revellers as they dance among the fire throwers. As you might imagine, all items are readily and numerously available once you arrive on the Island.

 

Body Art at The Full Moon Party Koh Phangan

Get Your 'Flouro On' For The Full Moon Party

The second thing you will discover at the full moon party is that the only thing outnumbering your fellow backpackers & party revellers will be the inexhaustible lines and lines of alcoholic ‘buckets’.

Again, as the name suggests, these involve…

  1. a plastic bucket – much like a child’s sandcastle bucket
  2. a bottle of alcohol – typically vodka, bourbon or scotch
  3. a mixer – normally red bull, coke, sprite or juice along will a large scoop of ice and a couple of straws.

 

Alcohol Buckets At The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan

Buckets of Alcohol at The Full Moon Party

Benefits of such a method of alcohol consumption tend to be…

  • a less costly alternative to the standard alcoholic beverages
  • avoiding the need for continual refills and
  • a ‘great’ Facebook photo opportunity?

Although as you will discover the event of purchasing a bucket from the innumerable vendors becomes an activity within itself as the lively and often overtly cheeky vendor sellers do what ever it takes to decorate their bucket booths in order to distinguish themselves from each other, so as to get your attention.

Take An Early Vantage Point To Watch The Night Begin To Unfold

We arrived by 6.30pm – just in time to watch the sun hesitantly disappear on the horizon in the knowledge of the party onslaught that was about to begin.

I suggest taking an early position for a cheeky cocktail at The Rock… which sits at one end of Haad Rin Beach and is one of the best places to chill out and get a view of the whole party as the beach burgeons with party-goers right before your eyes!

Alongside The Rock is Paradise Bungalows – the home of the original Full Moon Party and a great spot to get one of those ‘touristy’ picks. You will need to climb up a couple of large rocks so might be best to do before you’ve skulled your 4th bucket.

Should you wish to venture ‘inland’ off the beach for a change of pace and scenery during the night, check out the Same Same Bar and chill to some live music – busting out covers from rock to pop to a pumped up party crowd.

It was our experience that the crowd that had gathered for the party had just that in mind – to party and to party hard.

There was an exhilarating vibe on the beach throughout the night and the sand was the perfect base on which you could dance for hours and not even notice!

 

Full Moon Party Thailand

Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan Thailand

 

For Your Consideration…

We were informed by a couple we met early on in the night that they were off to find themselves a couple of ‘special shakes’ at the other end of the beach.

Not sure exactly how special these shakes were – given that when we bumped into the same couple an hour later, their night was clearly over before it had begun… as they were struggling to walk and looking for ‘shelter’ on the beach.

 

Part of The Full Moon Party Experience

Part of The Full Moon Party Experience

Beware the mesmerising, bewitching fire skipping ropes and slides dotted all along the beach.

I say mesmerising because people are mysteriously, seemingly against their will drawn to the kerosene soaked – fire engulfed rope… and I say bewitching as even the most conservative person will endeavour to jump this rope after a couple of buckets – something one might have considered ‘insane’ upon first arriving at the island.

Nasty burns tend to increase in line with alcohol consumption…

As the night progresses, the water’s edge inevitably turns into the local latrine for males and females alike… so if you are still in a position to care, probably best not to take your evening stroll along the waters edge as the evening festivities progress.

 

Skipping Rope Soaked in Kerosene at The Full Moon Party

Drunken Revellers Toying With Fire

 

Dining Options

There are a multitude of casual refuelling options for you during the night.

You can take a stroll back up off the beach to a sit down restaurant or indulge in some of the highly fat saturated but fabulous tasting and very economically priced – (read nearly free) vendor stall foods along the beach.

My rule with respect to eating from the vendor stalls is… if I don’t see it being cooked – then I don’t eat it.

Transport to Koh Phangan

We decided to stay in Koh Samui where we had been staying and take a speedboat across and back for the evening.

 

Full Moon Party Speed Boats

Taking a Speed Boat From Koh Samui to Koh Phangan For The Party

There are many speedboat companies ferrying party-goers to Koh Phangan to Koh Samui (we used Seahawke) and the boats generally cost between 700 and 900 baht for a return speedboat ticket including pick up and drop off on return to your hotel.

As the evening progresses the boats tend to get more and more behind schedule so an earlier boat is recommended – we were due to take the 5pm boat but didn’t end up actually leaving until 6pm.

The speed boat takes approx 15 – 20 minutes to get to Koh Phangan from the northern side of Koh Samui.

When we had enough and decided to leave about 2.30am – let me tell you even at this early hour it was absolute mayhem trying to bust your way through the hundreds of other drunken party goers trying to get home via the boat pier – best advice is to accept that its just going to take a bloody long while and refill your drink before leaving the beach!

So drink plenty of water, eat a decent meal and think about the advice your Mum would have given you if she were there… and you should come out unscathed with some amazing new memories from one of Thailands biggest parties.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen May 11, 2012 at 6:51 am

Haha, I had a bucket for my 21st…150 baht!

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Marc Valenitine May 11, 2012 at 6:57 am

Haha yeah their pretty potent… You gotta watch they use decent alcohol too.

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Ellen May 11, 2012 at 7:02 am

Hahaha, I can tell you now…1 x bucket, 6 x shots and $12 later, I was royally smashed.
Ellen recently posted..3 Reasons Backpacking In Southeast Asia RocksMy Profile

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Jake May 11, 2012 at 6:58 am

Hey Anna sounds like you have fun. I recently returned from Thailand and ive already got the backpacking bug again.

Thanks
Jake recently posted..3 Reasons Backpacking In Southeast Asia RocksMy Profile

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First Pitch Pitching Machines June 8, 2012 at 1:38 am

Full Moon Party here we come… see you in October…I hear this is a must do event, better that any spring break party in Florida, period.

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Marc Valentine June 8, 2012 at 4:17 am

You’ll have a blast… it’s an Epic night – that’s for sure. Though we haven’t made it to Florida yet!

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