Koh Phangan Full Moon Party

Thailand’s Full Moon Parties – First-Timers Guide!

Running for over three decades, the world-famous Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand, has become a thing of backpacker legend. Every month, thousands of revved-up travellers flock to the sands of Haad Rin to experience the most epic beach rave on the planet. 

And the fun doesn’t stop when the skies go dark – the introduction of Half Moon and Black Moon events means that Thailand’s party calendar never really sleeps! 

If you’re curious about this epic shindig, you’re in the right place. We’re going to dive into everything you need to know about Thailand’s Full Moon Party, from wardrobe essentials and how to snag tickets to what other moon parties happen and when. So, grab the UV paint, we’re off to the best bucket-list bash on the planet! 


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Full Moon Parties in Thailand – A Beginner’s Guide 🌕🎉🥳

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History of Thailand’s Full Moon Party 🤓

The beginnings of the Full Moon Party (FMP) in Thailand are shrouded in mystery. Legend says it all started back in the 1980s at Paradise Bungalows in Koh Phangan. What began as a chilled evening with beachside songs among a few backpackers evolved into a raucous party illuminated by the light of the full moon. As stories about this legendary shindig spread across the hippie trail, more and more backpackers flocked to the island in search of a similar experience. In response to this new demand, a whole host of businesses sprung up, turning the moonlight party into a monthly event. 

Full Moon Party Vests being sold pre-party in Haad Rin
You can get your FMP wardrobe before the event on Koh Phangan!

Types of Moon Party in Thailand 🌑 🌒 🌓 🌔 🌕 🌖 🌗 🌘 🌑

Full Moon Party 🌕

While the Full Moon Party likely had humble origins, today, up to 50,000 people congregate on Haad Rin sands each month for a frenzied concoction of drink, dance and debauchery from dusk until dawn. The party officially finishes at sunrise the following day – though many backpackers will flake out a lot earlier!

The parties are famous for a range of music, from reggae, dance, house, drum and bass and trance. Entertainment comes in the form of getting absolutely trollied and watching fire dancers twirl across the beach. The Full Moon Party has become such a cornerstone of Southeast Asia Backpacker folklore that it has spawned a number of ‘spin-off’ parties including Half Moon parties and Black Moon parties (see below). 

The Full Moon Party schedule changes every year to coincide with yep, you guessed it… the full moon! If this iconic party is on your bucket list, make sure to check the dates in advance to avoid disappointment. 

YouTube video

Half Moon Party 🌗

This huge professional dance event takes place twice a month amidst the atmospheric setting of Baan Tai jungle, Koh Phangan. Playing an eclectic mix of tech, house, progressive beats and psychedelic trance, the half-moon festival is an all-night party showcasing the island’s finest resident DJs, with regular special guest appearances. 

With a huge sound system, unique UV illuminations, astounding fire dancers and live visuals, the event is a favourite of many of the island’s long-stayers. It’s easy to remember the Half Moon Party dates – they’re always one week before and one week after the Full Moon Party.

Big Crowd at the Half-Moon Party Koh Phangan
The Half Moon Party is a great alternative if you miss the full moon!

Black Moon Party 🌑

Underground trance and progressive beats resound through the air as partygoers dance on the beautiful sands of Mac’s Bay, Baan Tai Beach once a month. With unique décor, live visuals and an international DJ lineup every month, including special guests, the Black Moon Culture is an intense experience.

Despite this, it is the most chilled of all three parties. With less mainstream music, it seems to attract a hippie crowd and visitor numbers are naturally limited by the size of the beach. The Black Moon Party takes place once a month, two weeks before or after the full moon.

“My first ever moon party experience was Black Moon Culture. Everything was sorted out by our hostel, from our transport there to our UV paint! The whole evening was pretty chilled compared to what I had heard about the original FMP but that was great for us. It was an awesome place to meet other backpackers and we all enjoyed a drink and a dance!”

Sheree

When is the Full Moon Party? 📆

As you may have guessed, the Full Moon Party takes place on the night of the full moon.  The Half Moon Party is a week before/after and the Black Moon Party is two weeks before/after.

While this is the general rule, the parties are affected by local holidays. If the full moon coincides with a Buddhist Holy Day, parties are usually pushed back a day. This is because it is against the law to sell alcohol anywhere in the country on holy days. If there is a period of national mourning, the parties will also be cancelled. 


When Is the Best Time to Go to the Full Moon Party? 📝

If you want to experience the original Full Moon Party in all its glory, it is best to go during peak season, between late December and April. The summer months of July and August and New Year’s Eve are also popular times for visitors.

As a rule, Koh Phangan is at its quietest during October and November due to the rainy season. However, this isn’t to say that it is a bad time to visit. If you like fewer crowds then this could be perfect for you!

Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Up to 50,000 people go to the Full Moon Party during peak season!

The party officially begins when the moon comes out, however, if you arrive too early you may find yourself in the minority! We recommend arriving between 10 pm and 11 pm so you are not the first one there! 

Remember to factor in some time to finish off your outfit with UV paint – this is sold outside the venue and queues can get quite long! 


Full Moon Party Tips 🥳

If you’re heading to your first-ever moon party in Thailand, the following tips will help you stay safe and get the most out of the experience!

  • 🗓️ Book your accommodation and transport in advance 

Everything on the island of Koh Phangan including transport there gets booked up in advance around the time of the moon parties. Don’t leave arranging your accommodation to the last minute as you’ll likely have no choice but to stay somewhere very expensive. Be aware that prices on the island go up around the full moon and make sure to account for this in your travel budget. 

Dressed for the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan, Thailand.
A bit of pre-planning is essential to enjoying this epic party!
  • 📄 Bring a copy of your passport (but not the original!)

By law, you are required to carry a copy of your passport in Thailand. You should never take the original document with you to the Full Moon Party though, snap a photo of it on your phone or carry a paper copy. 

  • 🇹🇭 Carry the name of your accommodation in Thai to show songthaew drivers

Have you ever been trying to flag down a taxi while on holiday and forgot the name of where you’re staying? It’s easily done! To avoid this, carry the name of the place written in Thai (you can ask a member of staff at your hostel to do this for you) or grab one of their business cards to show your driver. 

  • 🎈 Make yourself stand out and arrange meeting points in advance

The FMP get super crowded and it is easy to lose people. Arrange a meeting point to find each other if you get separated. Also, carrying something to make you stand out in a crowd such as a balloon is a good idea. 

  • 🌊 Don’t go swimming

If you’ve had a skinful, it is a bad idea to go swimming. The moon affects the tides and can create strong currents. People die swimming at these parties. It just isn’t worth the risk. 

“Everybody uses the sea at Haad Rin as a toilet. You wouldn’t want to swim in there anyway…”

Kate
  • 🔥 Stay away from the fire jump rope

One of the coolest things about the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is the fire dancers and acrobats. While this is neat to watch, you should resist the urge to get involved and try fire skipping. Your coordination is challenged when you’re under the influence and the chance of getting hurt is high. Trust us, the next few weeks in Thailand will be pretty crappy if you’re nursing third-degree burns!

YouTube video
  • 💸 Only take enough cash for the night

While 99% of people are at these parties to have a good time, you will find the odd bad actor who is waiting to prey on someone a bit worse for wear. To avoid getting caught up in anything untoward, carry only the cash that you need for the night and make sure to split it across your body and bag. 

“Three of our group got pickpocketed for phones or cash. One lucky man got his passport back because someone found it on the beach. Don’t take anything you can’t live without.” 

Ryan
  • 🥘 Eat a hearty dinner

This is likely something that all you hedonists already know… eat a big dinner if you’re going out on the lash! It is always a good idea to line your stomach so there is something to soak up all that booze. You’ll thank yourself the next morning!

  • 💊 Don’t accept drugs

Drugs (except for cannabis which is a bit of a grey area right now) are illegal in Thailand. And, as the party hotspot of the country, the Full Moon Party is a great place to catch people out. 

Undercover police are known to frequent Haad Rin and arrest tourists trying to buy drugs. If you’ve ever seen Banged Up Abroad, you’ll know a Thai jail is not somewhere you want to end up!

  • 💳 Leave your bank card and passport at your accommodation

To avoid losing anything important on the beach, leave your bank card and passport locked away at your hostel. 

  • 🍹 Keep an eye on your drink

Drink spiking is not a common occurrence at Full Moon Parties but it can happen. Don’t accept drinks from strangers and never leave your bucket unattended.

Backpackers with buckets onKhao San Road
Keep a tight grip on that bucket!
  • 🍆 Bring condoms

Drop a group of young backpackers on a beach in paradise with lots of booze and drugs and anything can happen. Bring condoms just in case! 

  • 📞 Carry a cheap phone 

If you’re going to take a phone to the Full Moon Party, take a cheap one which you wouldn’t mind losing. Leave your brand-new iPhone in your hostel – you’ll be fuming if someone nabs it!

  • 🩴 Wear shoes on the beach to avoid cutting yourself on broken glass

While it can be tempting to wander around the beach with no shoes, feeling the sand between your toes, this isn’t the best idea. Glass regularly gets broken and parts of the beach are not always well-lit. Keep your flip-flops on to avoid cutting your feet. 

  • 💧 Remember to drink water

You might feel fine slinging back the buckets at the time but you’re guaranteed to regret it the next morning if you haven’t stayed hydrated! You don’t want to wake up with a mouth as dry as Gandhi’s flip-flops!

  • 🪣 Mix your own buckets if possible

Beware of the dubious spirits used in the pre-mixed buckets. Some of these are a form of moonshine and are seriously strong! Stick to only spirits that you know and if you can, mix your own buckets to avoid getting caught out!

“Buy beers or other beverages from the 7/11 right near the beach, [they are] the real deal and safe for consumption.”

Charmaine

Buying Tickets 🎟️

Tickets for the FMP can be purchased at the door. They cost approx. 100-200THB per person and the money goes towards cleaning the beach after the party. Once you have paid for your ticket, you will be given a wristband. Make sure you keep this on as it is your proof of entry. 

It is not possible to buy tickets in advance unless you are purchasing a package deal which includes transport. Even then, entrance may not be included so be sure to check in advance. 

13 Day Full Moon Party Experience, Thailand
Book everything in advance to avoid missing out!

Getting There 🚢

The moon parties are some of the most famous events in Thailand and demand is huge, especially for the original Full Moon Party. Make sure you book your accommodation and transport in good time if you are travelling independently – we recommend using 12Go Asia as the ferries to Koh Phangan fill up days in advance. 

Tour companies all over the country offer party packages which include transport. You can travel from several popular tourist hubs such as Bangkok, Koh Samui and Phuket. Bear in mind that there is no airport in Koh Phangan. 

From Koh Phangan…

If you are already in Koh Phangan, you can get to the Full Moon Party via ‘songthaew’ (taxi). These wait along the route from Thong Sala to Haad Rin and cost around 100THB. If you are staying in another part of the island, your accommodation can arrange your transport for you. Never ride a moped to the party, drunk driving is just stupid. 

From Koh Samui… 

If you want to travel from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan independently, you can get a ferry. These run daily from a variety of docks across the island (which dock depends on the ferry company). 

  • Lomprayah – Maenam dock
  • Seatran – Bangrak dock
  • Haad Rin Queen – Big Buddha pier
Sunset over the beach in Koh Samui.
Lots of people stay on Koh Samui and buy FMP packages.

A number of companies offer Full Moon packages which include return transport on board a ferry from Koh Samui. Alternatively, you can opt for a speedboat package. Speedboats return every hour. Make sure to enquire whether there will be a lifejacket for each person on board. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

From Bangkok…

Full Moon Party packages are available from Bangkok. They will usually include a flight to Koh Samui or Surat Thani and then a ferry to Koh Phangan. Alternatively, it is possible to take a night bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then catch the ferry over to Koh Phangan from there. 

From Phuket…

You can fly or take a boat from Phuket to Koh Samui. From there, you will need to catch the ferry to Koh Phangan. 


Where to Stay in Koh Phangan, Thailand 🏠

Koh Phangan is always busy around the time of FMP and accommodation sells quickly. Some of the best accommodation options will put minimum stay lengths on bookings. It is always recommended to book ahead of time to ensure you have somewhere to stay on the island. 

The most popular backpacker enclave Haad Rin is full of all sorts of accommodations; from your rough backpacker digs to swanky flashpacker resorts. If you’re looking for somewhere quieter, try Sri Thanu or Haad Gruad (Bottle Beach). Koh Phangan is not a large island and you are only ever an hour’s drive from anywhere you want to be. Most places that you stay on the island will help you organise transport to the party spots too!

If you fail to secure accommodation in Koh Phangan, it is possible to stay on a neighbouring island and get a tour package with accommodation that will transport you back when the party ends. However, these can be expensive and returning to Koh Samui on board a ship may not be the best idea when you’ve got a few buckets sloshing about your belly! 

If you’re staying in Koh Phangan, check out some of our favourite accommodation providers below:

“We stayed in Tanouy Gardens for the first full moon party of 2023, great place, awesome staff, its 10 mins away from the full moon party, the garden crew take you down, it costs 100 baht and you get a taxi back for 150 baht. It’s an awesome place.”  

Taffy

Moon Parties in Thailand – FAQ

Where is the Full Moon Party?

Thailand’s Full Moon Party takes place on Koh Phangan, specifically, Haad Rin Beach. 

Is there a dress code for the Full Moon Party?

Many travellers wonder what they should wear at the Full Moon Party. The answer is that it is up to you! Most backpackers opt for cool casual wear, like shorts, dresses, tank tops and flip-flops. The FMP party look is finished with UV body paint and glowsticks. So essentially, the brighter, the better!

How much does it cost to go to the Full Moon Party?

Tickets to the Full Moon Party tend to cost between 100-200THB per person. Accommodation starts at around 300THB but room prices can double or even triple during this time. Buckets generally cost around 350 THB each. 
Full Moon Party packages from Koh Samui cost upwards of 1,300THB, however, you should always check whether party tickets are included. 
Note that there is a different price for both the Black Moon and Half Moon Parties. Tickets to the Black Moon Culture event cost around 600THB and the Half Moon Party costs around 640THB per person. 

Is there a Full Moon Party on New Year’s Eve?

Going to a Full Moon Party is one of the best ways to spend New Year’s Eve in Southeast Asia. Technically it is only a Full Moon Party on New Year’s Eve if the date happens to coincide with a full moon, however, there are always beach parties on December 31st. A big fireworks display takes place at midnight. If you want to enjoy a Full Moon Party on NYE, book in advance – this is peak season. 

Are there parties other than moon parties on Koh Phangan?

Yes! Check out the waterfall party, jungle experience and Loi Lay floating bar and lounge party if you’re still craving more backpacker bashes!


We here at Southeast Asia Backpacker think that all backpackers should experience Thailand’s Full Moon Party once in their lives. A legendary bash world over, it has become something of a rite of passage for revellers! 

And, if the crowds of the FMP are a bit overwhelming, you don’t have to miss out.  With Half Moon Festivals and Black Moon Parties littering the calendar, there are events to suit partiers of all stripes.

So slather than UV paint and grab your glowsticks – a hedonistic rave-up on a beautiful tropical beach awaits! We’re sure it’ll be a night to remember (even if you do forget)! 🤪

Sheree Hooker | Editor @ South East Asia Backpacker + Winging The World

Sheree is the awkward British wanderluster behind Winging The World, a blog designed to show that even the most useless of us can travel. Follow Sheree’s adventures as she blunders around the globe, falling into squat toilets, getting into cars with machete men and running away from angry peacocks. In recent years, Sheree has also taken on the role of editor at South East Asia Backpacker.

Find her on: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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