The Full Moon Party: History, Tips, and dates on Koh Phangan

THéo COurant

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The Full Moon Party: History, Tips, and dates on Koh Phangan

Over the years, the Full Moon Party has become an institution, even a must for travelers visiting Thailand. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of the essential information and helpful tips you should be aware of.


History of the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

Dating the first Full Moon Party seems difficult, but there is a general consensus that it took place in the 80s. Some sources mention 1987, while others claim it was in 1988. However, it is challenging to determine an exact date since celebrating the full moon in a Buddhist region is, in itself, a common occurrence. What is not so ordinary is the gradual transformation of a religious festival into a purely hedonistic party, devoid of its original sacredness.

On the other hand, the geographical epicenter of the Full Moon Party is well-defined: Haad Rin, a small village located at the southern tip of the island. Some even suggest that Paradise Bungalow played a significant role in the early days. Although the initial parties were relatively intimate, the introduction of the captivating electro and techno music of the early 90s attracted a growing number of enthusiasts. Soon enough, this brilliant concept became a must-attend event for backpackers of that era.


The Sound and the World

In the present day, the Full Moon Party has expanded to include 10 large sound systems scattered across the two beaches of Haad Rin. As a result, the full moon period attracts a significant influx of tourists. During the low season, an average of 8,000 people attend the party, which surges to over 30,000 during the high season. Consequently, the population density per square meter becomes extremely high, bordering on suffocating.

The majority of attendees are relatively young, and Thai people are not as commonly seen. The festival follows a Western-style format, with both positive and negative aspects. Although the presence of police on the island was scarce for a considerable time, they are now highly visible. While many activities are tolerated, it is crucial to exercise caution to avoid getting caught engaging in the consumption of certain substances or engaging in inappropriate behavior.


What About Rest?

Haad Rin alone boasts approximately 5,000 rooms (prior to the pandemic). However, due to high demand, it may be necessary to seek accommodation outside the city. Nevertheless, this option presents several advantages, including tranquility and a more enjoyable experience during your downtime. For those who wish to be in close proximity to the festivities, it is highly recommended to book your room well in advance to secure the best possible location.


Please note that during the Full Moon Party, there is a significant increase in room prices. Additionally, while the party used to be free for a considerable period, there is now a small entrance fee of 100 baht. The party dynamics have changed, and it has evolved into a lucrative business.

How Long to Enjoy the Full Moon?

The recommended duration of stay on Koh Phangan depends on your preferences:

For a night-time experience: If you’re on Koh Samui, you can opt for a one-night party experience. Take an evening speedboat to Koh Phangan, party all night, and return to Koh Samui the following morning.

To fully enjoy the Full Moon Festival: Allocate 2 to 3 days, which includes the day before the festival and an additional day for recovery or exploring the island.

To discover the island: A week is sufficient to explore the diverse attractions, beaches, waterfalls, temples, and local markets.

For an immersive experience: Some individuals choose to stay for a month or even longer, particularly digital nomads attracted to Koh Phangan’s relaxed ambiance and vibrant community.

In summary, the ideal duration of stay depends on your interests. However, allotting 2-3 days for the Full Moon Festival and a week to explore the island are popular options.

A Few Tips for the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan

  • Instead of carrying your original documents, it is advisable to bring a photocopy of your passport.
  • If you have a Thai bank account, consider using app transfer as a convenient payment method.
  • Going to the party with a group and sharing the experience is a great idea!
  • Pack light, but stay cautious: Towards the end of the evening, the beach tends to be littered with bottles and party remnants. Pay attention to your footing.
  • The inviting sea may tempt you for a swim, but exercise caution. The currents can be dangerous, and certain times of the year may bring jellyfish encounters.
  • Remember to stay hydrated, especially during the early morning hours, and opt for water as your beverage of choice.

How Does the Full Moon Party Take Place?

The Full Moon Party commences as soon as the moon emerges, typically around 7pm. However, most attendees begin arriving around 10pm to kick off the festivities. The party continues in full swing throughout the night until sunrise, which occurs at around 7am. It’s crucial to manage your energy if you intend to stay until the end!

Following the party, you have several options. You can choose to extend the celebration by joining one of the lively after-parties. Alternatively, if you prefer a more tranquil experience, you can participate in the beach clean-up. This provides an excellent opportunity to contribute positively while enjoying the relaxed ambiance of Koh Phangan.

The Full Moon Party dates for 2023

-----Sunday 4Sunday 2Thursday 3 and Thursday 31Friday 29Monday 30Wednesday 27 and Saturday 31

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