The best beach party on earth or an overrated, over-commercialised bucket-fest?
Located on the gorgeous party hotspot of Koh Phangan, Thailand, for over twenty years the world-famous Full Moon Party has enticed thousands of revved-up travellers each month who flock to the island to experience the most famous beach rave on the planet. And now, with the added allure of the ‘Half Moon Festival’ and ‘Black Moon’ Parties the island has become even more of a seductive magnet for party-seeking travellers the world over… So is the Full Moon Party something that you should experience JUST ONCE in your life? Or is it an over-rated and over-commercialised event that’s lost any sense of its originality? It’s up to you to find out!
If you’re interested in finding out what all the fuss is about, or perhaps you’d rather experience one of the alternative parties on Koh Phangan, then read on…
Want to party with a group? Check out these tours…
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The Original Full Moon Party – Haad Rin, Koh Phangan
There are various stories about the origin of the Full Moon Party, but so one rumour goes, it all started with a group of backpackers playing guitars on the beach to celebrate someone’s birthday party. Whoever’s party it was, it must have been one cool kinda guy or gal to have left behind such an impressive legacy! Today, up to 30,000 people congregate on Haad Rin Sands each month for a frenzied concoction of dance, drink and devilishness from dusk until dawn. Smear that multi-coloured paint all over your body, get a glow stick in one hand and a bucket in your other and get ready to party!
Fee: 100 baht fee to access the party, which is paid upon entry to the beach.
The Half Moon Festival – Baan Tai, Koh Phangan
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 DJ’s, 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 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.
Fee: Tickets cost 1,200 baht on the Half Moon Festival website prior to the event, or 1,400 baht on the door.
Black Moon Culture – Baan Tai, Koh Phangan
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 line up every month, including special guests, the Black Moon Culture is an intense partying experience.
Fee: 600 baht to enter. Tickets can be bought through Phangan Bookings.
Official dates on the Black Moon Culture website.
(Also, check out:)
- Waterfall Party, Koh Phangan.
- Jungle Experience
- Loi Lay Floating Bar & Lounge Party
Where to stay in Koh Phangan?
The most popular backpacker enclave ‘Haad Rin’ is full of all sorts of accommodation; from your rough backpacker digs to some swanky flashpacker resorts. As the tiny area fills to the seams every month with party-going backpackers, the accommodation can get booked up pretty fast! Consider arriving a few days earlier and securing your room to make sure you don’t end up kipping on the beach!
There are tonnes of great places to stay in Koh Phangan located in some beautiful areas. If you’re looking for somewhere quieter try Sri Thanu or Haad Gruad (Bottle Beach). It’s not a large island and you are only really ever an hour’s drive from anywhere you want to be. Most places that you stay on the island would help you organise transport to the party spots!
What else is going on in Koh Phangan?
While many people make Koh Phangan an essential part of their backpacking trip solely to attend the Full Moon Party, it seems that many don’t stay long enough to discover all that this stunning island has to offer. If you stick around for a while as the hangover subdues, the shakes from too many buckets have calmed and you’ve managed to rid the aluminous paint from your hair, you’ll discover a very different island.
Becoming more and more famous for its yoga, meditation and holistic therapy centres, particularly on the west coast of the island, Koh Phangan pays attention to detox as well as ‘tox’. With excellent good value for money restaurants, both Thai and Western, as well as Muay Thai boxing, diving, snorkelling, deserted beaches and some lesser-known underground parties… many long-term travellers find this place hard to leave!
Check out our guide to Koh Phangan Island here.
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