Burning Man in Nevada, Oktoberfest in Germany, Holi in India, Rio Carnival in Brazil, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, and from my own hometown, Ultra in Miami, Fl. There are many different parties across the globe that are so colossally epic they attract people from all corners of the world. One of the most famous from the list of legendary festivities is the rambunctious nighttime event that is the Full Moon Party in Thailand.
Full Moon parties are held once a month on a stunning little island in southeast Thailand called Koh Pha Ngan. It’s an island that is super diverse and has activities that range from serene yoga retreats to crazy waterslide blowouts. The island is so small they don’t have an airport, but there are many easy ways to get there. You can find everything you need to know about Koh Pha Ngan, where to stay, what to do, and how to get there right here.
How to Full Moon Party in Thailand
The night started off at our hotel at 9pm. Mr. Nice (yes that’s his real name!), the amazing owner of our resort, arranged a van to take us and a couple other guests to the south part of the island where the Full Moon party is held. It cost us 200 baht (about $5.80 USD) each and took about 30 minutes. When we got to Haad Rin we were welcomed by a crowd of party-goers covered from head to toe in neon paint with the famous big bucket drinks in their hands.
We immediately headed to the closest 7-Eleven to stock up on some Leo beers. TRAVEL TIP: They’re the same price as Chang, without the morning Changover! And then we made our way through the crowds to enter Haad Rin Beach where the Full Moon Party is held. We paid 100 baht (about $2.91 USD) at the entrance and entered into what would definitely be a crazy night.
As soon as we entered I was greeted with what I thought was a slap in the face. When I looked back I realized it was a woman that had blessed me with the ceremonial neon paint. She smiled and waved and I laughed back. I was officially ready to Full Moon party! Right as you enter there is a hotel that’s built to resemble a ship. This hotel housed one of the biggest DJ’s on its stern so we headed right towards that insane crowd.
The bright full moon shone above us, the music was loud, and the waves crashing down behind us kept us cool as we sipped on our Leo beers. Suddenly a light caught our eyes and we looked to our right. There shining in the middle of the crowded beach was a super bright fire. As if we were flies attracted to a lightbulb, we headed towards the fire, along with hundreds of others.
There we came across this huge metal enclosure standing 30 feet high. We had seen it earlier that day and wondered what it was. Well we were about to get our answer. There were 6 men meticulously lighting metal pieces. We sat and stared for a few minutes until the fire read WELCOME TO THAILAND 2017.
The crowd cheered. It was seriously an incredible site and a perfect start to the night! We felt the warmth coming off the sign and sat mesmerized for a few minutes. We then set off to discover other areas of the party. We headed to the end of the crowd and found the infamous fire jump rope! And of course all the delirious, drunk people trying to maneuver through the fire rope without getting burned. Unfortunately most were unsuccessful, but the burns didn’t faze them. And it was seriously entertaining for us.
At one point in the night this guy came up behind me and lifted me right off the floor and onto his shoulders. We laughed and took a picture and ended up talking to him. He told us he was from Denmark and for some reason was obsessed with picking up as many people as he could that night. And then he went on his way to find more people to carry.
We talked to a guy from the Netherlands that just broke up with his girlfriend of 10 years, 1 week prior to the party. We watched the drunk fire jump rope with a Brazilian couple and swapped couple pictures. We chatted with a Swedish guy about his beautiful country. A German couple convinced us to visit Berlin. We ran into Canadians everywhere. There were people our age, people much older, and people much younger. Many different people from all walks of life and every ethnicity. We talked. We danced. We got to know a little of their stories.
Our night was a blur of colors, dancing bodies, ocean waves, and music. More beer runs. More exuberant DJs. More burns from the fire jump rope. More searching for bathrooms. More cooling off in the ocean waves. More staring at fire signs and drones flying overhead. More interesting conversations and interactions with party people from around the world.
We had an early ferry ride off the island the next morning (which we almost missed if it wasn’t for the amazing taxi driver who knocked on our bungalow door – thank god!) so we left around 3am. Driving back to our hotel we heard the party music get more and more faint. We knew we had just enjoyed a once and a lifetime experience that we will definitely never forget.
The Full Moon party is rowdy, grimy at times, but overall just an unbelievable place for people from all over the world to forget about their differences and dance, sing, talk, and drink together. The feeling that we are all the same and all came to experience this epic party was wonderful. With everything going on in America and in the world right now, it’s nice to see people who are decent and not scared or put off by others from a different culture, different race, different religion. We were all just there to enjoy the beauty and insanity that is the Full Moon Party in Thailand.
The Full Moon Party can end in disaster though if you’re not prepared! Here are some important tips so you can have the best experience!
- Plan ahead! All of the hotels are booked weeks ahead of a Full Moon Party weekend. A lot of them also require you to stay for a minimum of 3 nights and charge a higher price than a normal weekend. You can check the dates of Full Moon parties here.
- Get a hotel away from Haad Rin if you want some peace! Haad Rin is a lot of fun but it’s a party all day and night and can get very loud. I’ve also heard people try to steal from hotel rooms in Haad Rin during the Full Moon party so it’s safer to stay in another area. If you’re looking for some relaxation and peace of mind, get a hotel further north. We stayed at the Nice Sea Resort which was about 30 minutes away and loved everything about it!
- There are very few bathrooms and the ones that are open charge 20 baht (about $0.60 USD). Not a lot but there were always long lines and of course, no toilet paper. Bring your own.
- Wear a bathing suit under your outfit so you can cool off in the ocean! I didn’t do this and wished that I had.
- There are drugs being sold everywhere! But I heard from a couple locals that they will have police officers go undercover and try to sell drugs throughout the party. If you buy from them you get arrested, unless you offer them a cash bribe. My personal opinion, don’t make that mistake and ruin your experience!
- Don’t bring any valuables with you! We were warned by locals to leave everything at the hotel every single time we mentioned that we were attending the Full Moon Party. We left our GoPro and only brought our phones and some cash. Whatever you do bring, watch them! There are a ton of people all crowded together which means pickpockets are lurking. STYLE TIP: I wore this Travelon purse and kept both of our phones and cash in the locked section when we weren’t using them. It kept my stuff safe from pickpockets all night and kept my mind at ease so I could have fun.
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- Buy your drinks at 7-Eleven. They’re so much cheaper than buying drinks on the beach. A big 500 ml beer is about 49 baht (about $1.38 USD) and they’ll open them for you at the register. Beers on the beach were 150 baht (about $4.38 USD) 7-Eleven is only a 5 minute walk away. We did this all night and saved SO much money.
- Bring cash. Thailand is a cash country and the majority of restaurants, bars, etc. do not take cards. You also need 100 baht cash to get onto the beach for the party.
- Don’t litter guys! Unlike the rest of Thailand, there were actually a TON of trash cans throughout the beach. Don’t leave things on the sand and definitely don’t throw anything into the ocean! Let’s keep our earth clean so we can have more epic beach parties.
- Get a ride on a songthaew to take you back to your hotel. It’s a type of truck and you can hitch a ride with other people. Our hotel was a little far from the Full Moon Party and we were able to get a ride on one of these for 200 baht (about $5.80 USD) each.
- Dance until the sun comes up and talk to as many people as you can! We met people from all corners of the earth and had an absolutely amazing time at one of the biggest parties in the world.
Have you ever been to the Full Moon Party in Thailand or another epic party? Let me know your experience in the comments!