I’ve been hearing about Thailand’s Full Moon Party for decades, and despite my 3-month trip to SouthEast Asia back in 2016, I never made it to the massive beach fiasco.
When I arrived in Thailand in October of 2022, I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, Thailand’s Full Moon Party far exceeded my expectations.
The beaches were packed with 20,000 plus travelers, locals, fire dancers, pop-up bars, food stands, marijuana dispensaries and so much more.
It’s hard to believe that the tiny island of Koh Phangan hosts such a massive event every single month, but I’m sure glad they do because everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime!
Here’s a complete guide to Thailand’s Iconic Full Moon Celebration.
Table of Contents
What Is Thailand's Full Moon Party ?
The Full Moon Party, held on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand, is one of the world’s most famous beach parties.
Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, the Full Moon Party has become a staple of the backpacker trail and a bucket-list experience for many young travelers.
But what exactly is the Full Moon Party, and what can you expect if you attend?
The first Full Moon Party was held in the late 1980s, when a small group of travelers and locals gathered on the beach to dance and celebrate.
Over the years, the party has grown into a massive event, attracting tens of thousands of people each month. Today, the Full Moon Party is known for its wild atmosphere, with revelers drinking, dancing, and partying late into the night.
When Does Thailand Host Full Moon Parties?
Thailand’s Full Moon Party is a monthly celebration held on the night of the full moon. It takes place on Haad Rin Beach, a crescent-shaped stretch of sand on Koh Phangan, an island in the Gulf of Thailand.
The party typically starts around dusk and goes into the early morning hours, with thousands of revelers dancing to the beat of pounding music and glowing under the full moon’s light.
How Much Does The Full Moon Party Cost?
Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party costs 200 Baht, which is about $6 USD. You will be given a wristband upon arrival and can come and go as much as you’d like during the event.
If you are staying directly on Haad Rin Beach, you likely will not need to pay as your hotel will be located inside of the party.
What Should I Expect At a Full Moon Party?
So, what can you expect if you attend the Full Moon Party? First and foremost, be prepared for a late night – the party often doesn’t get going until around midnight, and it can go on until sunrise.
We made it back to our guesthouse by 3 AM, but the music was still pumping until morning. In fact, many hostels kept the party going all through the next day.
The Full Moon Party is also known for its heavy drinking culture, with visitors indulging in cheap alcohol, often purchased from street vendors. If you’re looking to party hard, the Full Moon Party is definitely the place to be.
If you don’t drink, that’s 100% okay too! I met plenty of people having the time of their life completely sober! In fact — I recommend it! You’ll remember the whole night and likely avoid some dodgy situations.
In terms of music, the Full Moon Party features a variety of genres, from electronic dance music (EDM) to reggae and hip-hop. Multiple stages are set up along the beach, each with its own DJ, and the partygoers move from stage to stage as the night goes on.
The music is loud and the beats are relentless, so be prepared to dance the night away.
Are Full Moon Parties In Thailand Safe?
This is a question I get asked pretty regularly. And the answer is, well, quite subjective. When it comes to safety, you’re the defining factor.
Like all parties, drinking too much, indulging in party drugs, taking drinks from strangers, and avoiding a backup plan can lead to dangerous or undesirable situations.
There are plenty of people wandering around the beach trying to sell drugs to party goers, and with that there is no guarantee of safety. Not only are you unaware of what substances you’re actually purchasing, but you might be involved in an anti-narcotics sting in the process.
The Full Moon Party is known to have undercover police officers targeting travelers who participate in illicit activities. Trust me, Thailand does not take drug use lightly, and the last thing you want to happen on vacation is to end up in a foreign prison.
Another factor that is less controllable, is the people around you. Sure, you and your friends might be high quality humans, but there are a lot of people who don’t fall into that category.
There are various reports of theft and violence from previous years, thus I recommend leaving all of your valuables at home.
If you MUST bring something with you, make sure it’s close to your body, like a fanny pack, and consider putting a small lock on the zipper to prevent pick-pocketing.
If you want to stay safe, here’s my two cents:
- Drink tons of water leading up to, during, and after the event.
- Have a designated meeting spot for you and your friends.
- Tell someone in your home country your plans and check in with them regularly.
- Don’t purchase or participate in illicit substance use.
- Eat a full meal before the party & don’t be shy about snacking between dancing.
- Keep your valuables locked up at home or closely on your body.
- Find out where the police station is prior to the event should anything happen.
All in all, head into the party with a solid plan and you’re sure to have the experience of a lifetime.
Do I Need to Book My Stay In Advance?
YES! I can not stress this enough. If you plan on attending the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, you need to book your stay ahead of time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in a fancy resort or a tiny hostel– the rooms will book up quickly. I recommend booking at least one week in advance.
We messed up and booked three days before the party, and there were little to no choices left.
It’s also worth mentioning that prices will be raised the day before, the day of, and the day after the event. This seemed to be true for all accommodations on the island.
Where Should I Stay If I Plan On Attending the Full Moon Party?
Deciding on where to stay is arguably the most important part of attending Koh Phangan’s Full Moon Party.
First and foremost, as mentioned previously, the party takes place on Haad Rin Beach, and you should strive to stay as close as possible to this area (unless you want to stress out).
Despite the island’s small size, it takes about 30 minutes to get from one side to the other and taxis are limited. They are also much more expensive than in other areas of Thailand.
If you choose a hotel or hostel that is far away from Haad Rin Beach, you run the risk of being stranded until the next day or having to pay a high price to get home.
Usually, I’d suggest riding a scooter, but realistically, it’s not safe for a situation like this. Especially if you plan on drinking.
Choosing a nearby place to stay will allow you to take breaks between dances, access all of your personal items, and provide a safe space for you and your friends should you need one.
My friends and I stayed at the Family House Resort, which was a 10 minute walk from the party. It was close enough to walk and just far enough to have a little bit of quiet towards the end of the night.
We also had friends staying at Wet!, which is a hostel near Haad Rin Beach. They had an amazing pool, outdoor bar, music, lockers, and a fun community area for people to hang out and socialize. We loved it so much that we checked ourselves in the day after the party!
What Should I Wear to the Full Moon Party?
When it comes to party attire — I hope you get as excited as I did! There are tons of shops selling custom full moon party gear, body paints, flower crowns, and funky sunglasses that are perfect for the event!
Don’t be afraid to get creative and jump out of your comfort zone. Trust me, you won’t see many people dressed in “normal” attire.
Even though the party is at night, it will still be hot and humid. Especially when you factor in the thousands of sweaty bodies crammed together.
I recommend wearing something comfortable and breathable. Many girls (including myself) wore bathing suits and cover-ups.
One thing to note is just because you’re in a swimming suit doesn’t mean you should jump in the ocean. Unfortunately, the ocean seems to become the perfect bathroom for everyone staying on opposite sides of the island. Do yourself a favor and save the swimming for the daytime and possibly a nearby beach.
One last tip about clothing is to wear sandals that strap onto your feet. You would not believe the number of people I saw with one or no shoes on. It’s really easy to lose your sandals while dancing among the crowds. And while it’s tempting to opt out of shoes completely, there is a lot of broken glass on the streets and beaches.
Is the Full Moon Party Just For Young Backpackers?
In short, the Full Moon Party is for anyone and everyone. I saw all age groups, including families, checking out the event from time to time.
Yes, there will be a ton of backpackers at the Full Moon Party, but you will meet people from all walks of life here! So grab your dancing shoes (or should I say strappy sandals) and get ready to dance your way into the new moon!