The Full Moon Party in Thailand has become a bucket list item for many of us island-hopping around the “Land of Smiles”.
The party has garnered an infamous and dubious reputation. And with good reason. It’s one of the most hectic and out-of-control parties on the planet.
Whenever I am near Koh Phangan, I can never pass up a full moon party. It is a chaotic, fun, wild night.
I always walk away with great/blurry memories. And while those memories are blurry, I remember enough to write the best Thailand full moon party guide on the Internet.
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know. We will talk about cost, where to stay, when to go, what to expect, things to do; things NOT to do, and staying safe. Plus more!
THAILANDS FULL MOON PARTY
THE COMPLETE GUIDE
The full moon party takes place on Koh Phangan – in the Koh Samui Archipelago.
Other islands in the archipelago are the scuba diving, party island of Koh Tao, and the resort filled, honeymooner island of Koh Samui.
Thailand’s full moon party beach lies on the southeast part of the island, outside the little town of Haad Rin. (The long stretch of beach is also referred to as Haad Rin.) The Full moon part is wild, but there’s also a quieter side of Koh Phangan to discover.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT A
FULL MOON PARTY
Have you ever seen Pinocchio? Do you remember the scene towards the end of the movie where they go to pleasure island?
A place filled with vibrant rides and attractions. That caters to your every desire and need. An island where everyone’s going nuts and giving into their vices. Well, that’s like the full moon party.
The beach has a carnivalesque atmosphere. There are colorful lights, massive slides, and other rides. Along the beach are limbo poles, and jump ropes engulfed in flames, where inebriated backpackers test their balance and skill at the risk of getting burned.
And body paint. Everyone’s covered in neon paint, sipping on buckets.
WHAT’S A BUCKET?
It’s a small pail – like the buckets you used as a kid when playing in a sandbox. These are the adult version and typically consists of coke, Thai Whiskey (sang som), and Thai red bull.
They are strong! And get you where you want to go fast. So pace yourself or you’ll pass out on the beach before the party gets started.
The full moon party gets out of control fast. Most of the people are backpacking Thailand after all. And backpackers know how to get out of control. But it’s an unforgettable night (unless you drink too many buckets in which case you won’t remember anything).
GETTING TO THAILAND’S
FULL MOON PARTY
There are a few ways to get to the full moon party. But they all involve ferries as the airport on the island remains unfinished.
GETTING TO KOH PHANGAN VIA BUS & FERRY
A popular backpacker route starts in Bangkok. From there, take the overnight bus and ferry to Koh Tao. There’s another bus that leaves earlier in the day, but the overnight bus a night of accommodation.
Bus times in Thailand are guidelines more than exact times. So when they say the bus and ferry trip takes a total of 9 10 hours. Expect it to take longer. (This trip cost $20-$40.)
From Koh Tao’s port (Mae Haad Pier) you can catch the ferry to the port of Koh Phangan (Thong Sala Pier).
A lot of travelers head to Koh Tao a couple of weeks before the full moon party. Here they immerse themselves in the islands scuba diving and beach bar culture.
It is possible to get a bus / ferry from Bangkok to Koh Phanagen.
FLYING & FERRY FROM KOH SAMUI
Another option involves flying into Koh Samui. And from here takes the ferry. This is the quickest option. But it’s also the most expensive. Bangkok Airways operates almost all the flights in and out of Koh Samui.
KOH TAO TO KOH PHANGAN FERRY INFO
Time: The ferry takes between 1 and 2 hours.
Cost: Expect to pay $15 – $27 (450 – 820 THB)
KOH SAMUI TO KOH PHANGAN TRAVEL INFO
Airport: Samui International Airport (USM).
Cost: Flights prices change all the time. I’ve flown to Koh Samui for as cheap as $70 but have seen flights cost upwards of $300.
I would plan to spend $120 on a flight.
WHERE TO STAY ON KOH PHANGAN
Accommodation fills up fast, so it’s vital to book in advance.
Also, expect to pay more than average; prices skyrocket during the full moon party week.
Ban Haad Rin has a lot of options for places to stay, such as hostels, Airbnbs, and hotels.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed staying on the other side of the island rather than surrounding myself with the nonstop full-moon madness of Haad Rin.
It’s much cheaper and lets you escape the parties when you need a break.
There is no shortage of tuk-tuks and cabs, making it easy to get back and forth from the parties.
But if you don’t have confidence to make it back to your guest house across the island after partying all night; then staying in Haad Rin’s the safest choice.
If you decide your going at the last minute and can’t find a place to stay, then approach a hostel.
Many of the hostels will let you pay to store your gear for the night. And then you can stay out partying all night.
Of course if you don’t want to stay on the wild island, and would rather get from koh samui to koh phangan full moon party, there is a speed boat option.
WHERE TO STAY ON KOH PHANGAN
Best Hostels in Haad Rin
Best Accommodation Outside Haad Rin
WHAT TO WEAR
Thailand’s a pretty conservative with dress, but this doesn’t apply too heavily tourism islands like Koh Phangan. which cater to backpackers and budget travelers.
And the full moon party takes place on a beach so you’ll see your fair share of bikini’s, tank tops and swimming trunks.
Of course, it’s not a full moon party without body paint! You don’t need to buy it beforehand. All over the party are places that sell paint so you can deck yourself in the traditional neon colors.
AT THE FULL MOON PARTY
Note: There are not full moon party tickets. However, there is an 100 baht entrance fee.
As you enter the beach, you’re stepping into the largest beach party in the world.
I’ve been to full moon parties with as little as 10,000 and as many as 30,000 people. The party officially starts at 8 p.m. but gets going around 10 p.m.
The events and attractions change over time. But there are always jump ropes and limbo poles engulfed in flames for you adventurous travelers.
Pro Tip: Drinks are served in plastic rather than glass. But if you plan on doing the fire jump rope, shoes are better than sandals. People get burned on their legs and feet taking part in the fiery fun.
Along the beach are bars pumping all different music like drum and bass, techno, and reggae.
For those who want to stay on the beach instead of venturing into the bars, don’t worry there are bucket stands for quick cocktails on the go. (Watch out for fake alcohol).
The beach isn’t the only place the party rages.
There are other nearby clubs and bars that people stumble to throughout the night. Eden, Backyard Club, and Cactus Bar are a few favorites.
Overall, Thailand full moon party’s full of binge drinking, out-of-control behavior (It’s not uncommon to see people having sex on the beach), and total chaos. Thailands full moon party is a breeding ground of fun and craziness.
The party rages from sunset to well past sunrise. It’s something you have to see to believe and while it is a blast it is important to stay safe.
WHEN IS THAILAND FULL MOON PARTY
Planning your trip to Thailand? Don’t forget to plan around the party!
Below are the 2020 dates for Thailand’s full moon party.
THAILAND FULL MOON PARTY 2020 DATES
Here is a complete list of full moon party dates 2020.
- Thursday 9th January 2020
- Sunday 9th February 2020
- Sunday 8th March 2020
- Tuesday 7th April 2020
- Thursday 7th May 2020
- Friday 5th June 2020
- Monday 6th July 2020
- Monday 3rd August 2020
- Tuesday 1st September 2020
- Friday 2nd October 2020
- Friday 30th October 2020
- Sunday 29th November 2020
- Friday 25th December 2020 (Xmas)
- Monday 28th December 2020 (Xmas)
- Thursday 31st December 2020 (New Year)
8 TIPS TO SURVIVE
THAILAND’S FULL MOON PARTY
DON’T DRINK TOO MANY BUCKETS
Buckets are the most popular drink at the full moon party. And drinking too many can be dangerous. To refresh, the average bucket contains a small bottle of Samsong (Thai Whiskey) and two Thai red bulls. Thai red bulls are insanely strong and each bucket contains 7- 10 western red bulls.
One bucket will get you hyper. Two buckets will have you stumbling down the beach like a drunken Olympic runner. Three buckets and you have so much energy that you will be convinced that times slowed down (however, you are so drunk, you won’t remember it). 4 buckets and you’ll be passed out on the beach.
Not exactly a health drink and terrible for the heart. And hangover (trust me).
I would limit it to only one, at the most, two buckets; then move on to a less deadly combination. Certainly, don’t drink seven. Like someone I know did at their first full moon party. *Cough*
DO DRINK WATER
Hydrating while getting a drunk is important anywhere. Enough said. But Thailand’s a very hot and humid country.
So at the full moon party, you’re sweating out all the good stuff while taking in all the bad. Make sure to balance your water and booze intake.
DON’T BUY DRUGS; IT’S A SCAM
Thailand has very strict drug laws. And local police have mastered a system during the full moon party. Random strangers will come up to you – all over Koh Phangan – and try to sell you drugs. Just shake your head no and walk away immediately.
Never ever buy them.
There are a lot of undercover cops posing as dealers or watching known drug dealers. Once you finish the sale, you will be arrested. This will result in either doing jail time or an expensive “fine” which cost between $200 – $1,000.
DON’T PREGAME TO HARD
Thailand’s cheap, so pregaming isn’t necessary. But I understand some people want to show up to the party with a buzz. Remember the party lasts from sundown to well after sunrise so pace yourself.
Like Oktoberfest -The Full Moon Party is a marathon, not a sprint.
Don’t go too hard in the beginning
DON’T GO SWIMMING
I’m telling you this for a couple of reasons.
First, the ocean doubles as a bathroom during the party.
Second, drinking and deep water don’t mix. People have drowned in the past. Don’t take any unnecessary risks.
DO HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN
Write down the name and address of your hotel/or hostel. This makes life easier when you are trying to get back via tuk-tuk or cab, especially if you are staying on the other side of the island.
Ask your hotel or hostel for a business card. If they don’t have one, have them write it on a blank card in both English and Thai.
WATCH OUT FOR FAKE ALCOHOL
Watch out for Fake Alcohol – I won’t go into all the damage drinking fake liquor can do. But it’s bad!
If you buy your booze from the bar, bucket stand, or 7-11 then chances are your safe. Watch whoever’s pouring your drink. If they open a bottle, that’s sealed, it’s fine. If they pour a clear liquid out of a water bottle or your drink taste a little funny, think twice.
Also, if someone approaches you on the beach with a water bottle full of clear liquid chances are its fake booze. Not only does it get you sloppy drunk quickly, but it also has terrible side effects like making you go blind.
HAVE A BLAST
The party starts raging as soon as the sun begins to go down and it continues well after the sun comes up. Go for it! Enjoy the party and have a blast.
My full moon party review is two thumbs up. However, if you’re not into wild nightlife then the full moon party in Thailand is a hard pass.
THAILAND’S FULL MOON PARTY
FULL MOON PARTY TICKET PRICE
The ticket price for the full moon party cost 100 TBH (around 3 USD). You buy this as you enter the beach.
HOW MUCH DO BUCKETS COST?
Drinks are cheap in Thailand. But drinks at the full moon party cost a little more than usual.
Expect to pay around 200 to 350 TBH per bucket. ($6 – $11 USD). This price depends on the type of booze and the size of the bucket.
I spend around $50 (1,500 TBH) at the full moon party.
But I tend to go wild at these sort of things. And that is a lot for Thailand! You can do it for much less if you stick to your budget.
HOW MUCH DO HOTELS AND HOSTELS COST?
Hotel and hostel prices rise the week before the full moon party. You will end up paying much for than the normal price in Thailand if you’re staying in downtown Haad Rin. But still not crazy expensive. Hostel dorms will cost somewhere between $15 -$20. Private rooms range from $40 – $100.
However, if you stayed on the other side of the island the prices are much more reasonable. I’ve stayed in a private beach bungalow for as low as $20 a night on the other side of the coast. The best places to find cheap accommodation is booking.com and hostelworld
ON KOH PHANGAN
The full moon party has become such a worldwide sensation that the locals keep throwing more and more “moon“ parties.
There’s a hefty line-up of parties leading up to the full moon party. Like jungle and waterfall parties.
But there are also half-moon parties. Which take place between the full moon and new moon. There are no moon events, known as black moon parties. and Shiva moon parties which take place three times a month.
So whenever you visit the island a party isn’t far behind.
HISTORY OF THE
FULL MOON PARTY IN THAILAND
The first full moon party was a spontaneous event in the early 80s. Started by a small group of 20 – 30 travelers who gathered in Koh Phangan because they thought the island was the best place to see the full moon in Thailand.
Koh Phangan was a sleepy little island few traveled too, even electricity was new to the island. The party gained steam in the early 90s through word of mouth. And after being printed in a few guidebooks it exploded in popularity.
With the rise of social media and blogs, it has become the biggest beach party in the world. The party continues to draw crowds of up to 30,000!
The future of the party remains uncertain as not all the locals like the party. And the government has expressed their distaste for the party.
However, for now, the party booms bigger and louder than ever.
This guide to Thailands full moon party will help you stay safe, have a good time and know what to expect.
Hi, I’m Stephen Schreck (pronounced like Shrek; but don’t worry, I’m not green.)
At 21 I fell in love with travel. Since then my adventures have taken me to over 80 countries in 8 years.
Now my biggest passion is helping people just like you, reach their travel dreams!
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FULL LIST OF OTHER PARTIES & DATES
THAILAND HALF MOON PARTY 2020 DATES
- January 3rd & 17th
- February 1st & 14th
- March 1st, 16th, & 31st
- April 12th & 29th
- May 12th & 29th
- June 13th & 27th
- July 12th & 28th
- August 10th & 25th
- September 9th & 24th
- October 9th & 23rd
- December 7th & 21st
JUNGLE EXPERIENCE FESTIVAL 2020 DATES
- Wednesday, January 8, 2020 – 22:00
- Saturday, February 8, 2020 – 22:00
- Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 22:00
- Monday, April 6, 2020 – 22:00
- Wednesday, May 6, 2020 – 22:00
- Thursday, June 4, 2020 – 22:00
- Monday, July 6, 2020 – 22:00
- Monday, August 3, 2020 – 22:00
- Tuesday, September 1, 2020 – 22:00
- Friday, October 2, 2020 – 22:00
- Friday, October 30, 2020 – 22:00
- Sunday, November 29, 2020 – 22:00
- Monday, December 28, 2020 – 22:00
WATERFALL PARTY KOH PHANGAN 2020 DATES
- Tuesday, January 7, 2020 – 20:00
- Saturday, January 11, 2020 – 20:00
- Friday, February 7, 2020 – 20:00
- Tuesday, February 11, 2020 – 20:00
- Friday, March 6, 2020 – 20:00
- Tuesday, March 10, 2020 – 20:00
- Sunday, April 5, 2020 – 20:00
- Thursday, April 9, 2020 – 20:00
- Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – 20:00
- Saturday, May 9, 2020 – 20:00
- Wednesday, June 3, 2020 – 20:00
- Sunday, June 7, 2020 – 20:00
- Sunday, July 5, 2020 – 20:00
- Thursday, July 9, 2020 – 20:00
- Sunday, August 2, 2020 – 20:00
- Thursday, August 6, 2020 – 20:00
- Monday, August 31, 2020 – 20:00
- Friday, September 4, 2020 – 20:00
- Thursday, October 1, 2020 – 20:00
- Monday, October 5, 2020 – 20:00
- Thursday, October 29, 2020 – 20:00
- Monday, November 2, 2020 – 20:00
- Saturday, November 28, 2020 – 20:00
- Sunday, December 27, 2020 – 20:00