Surviving Thailand’s infamous Full Moon Party

After extending our stay on Thailand’s Koh Tao to finish our Advanced Diving cert., we are many days late to meet friends on Koh Phangan for the infamous Full Moon Party. Tad is already in Thailand and reaches the island without much trouble, but Ash flies in to Bangkok and has to navigate her way down the coastline on a series of buses and ferries, before arriving in Koh Phangan and learning that the hostel we booked doesn’t actually exist. Aristo and I read all of this in a number of frantic emails from Ash, but don’t have enough wifi to even send a response before we have to ferry between islands. By some miracle, Ash finds rooms in the otherwise booked-out town and we manage to find our way there.

All the details: Full Moon Party

Cost: There is no cost associated with Full Moon Party, so the only thing to pay for is alcohol. Large buckets of mixed drinks only cost around 200THB, and contain nearly half a bottle of spirits and several cans of Red Bull. It’s a bad idea to drink more than one of these if you don’t handle alcohol well; actually, it’s probably advisable to buy alcohol from a shop and mix your own drinks anyway. I did not have a great experience personally and I’m pretty sure my drink bucket was spiked with either pure methanol or drugs.

Getting there: Full Moon Party is held on Koh Phangan, which is accessible via ferry from Surat Thani for 500THB. 

Where to stay: Booking anything online in Thailand is always far more expensive than finding local accomodation when you arrive, but it might be necessary unless you plan to arrive several days before Full Moon Party, as everything will be fully booked by other party-goers. Look for something near Haad Rin so you can quickly and safely return to your room after the party (don’t be that person asleep on the beach).

Top tips: Try one of Koh Phangan’s other parties, such as Jungle Party. We found Full Moon to be absolutely overwhelming and the drinks to be a dangerous cocktail of mysterious substances, but Jungle Party had far fewer people and the bars offered a better regulation of what you are actually drinking. We paid about 500THB for tickets to this event, but all enjoyed a better evening and felt much safer.

Tonight, it’s jungle party out in the middle of (you guessed it) the jungle. It’s actually incredibly fun and far surpasses any fun had at the main event.

Full Moon Party the next night is just as you might imagine. Beaches crawling with tourists in neon shorts (shirts absent) with large buckets of alcohol sloshing everywhere and booming bonfires every few hundred metres. I’m pretty sure it’s actually metho in the buckets, and a lot of people seem quite unwell (myself included).

I can’t say it’s the highlight of my time in Thailand. To be honest, it’s probably the lowest point. I know a lot of hype surrounds this festival, but it’s such a backpacker gimmick. I’ve become a horrible snob as of late; I hate when I’m overseas yet surrounded by exclusively backpackers, I hate when those backpackers act like college frat boys, and I hate when travel gets turned into an excuse to get fucked up 24/7 and just behave like 16 year olds at our first party. I love a good night out as much as the next person (ok, more), but I can’t stand the kind of partying that went on at Full Moon.

We are haunted for days by the resulting hangovers, but fortunately we have many more days poolside/beachside to recover, plus the exciting find of a Reggae Bar that sells joints for a few dollars and screens movies all day. Much more enjoyable.

Read more about our travels through Thailand