Out-and-out Guide to Thailand’s Full Moon Party

Do you like the sound of partying in paradise? Well, we may never know how that’s like. But, we definitely have got a close second for you. That’s precisely what being at a full-moon party in Thailand feels like! Imagine the perfect night, with warm ocean, surfs wetting the soles of your feet, your hair blowing in the refreshing sea-breeze, while you sway to live party music under a big, yellow moon! These are only some of the things that make Thailand beach-parties the place to be on full-moon nights.

In the mid-1980s a group of travellers in Koh Phangan marvelled at the beautiful full moon and arranged a party along the majestic Haad Rin beach, to celebrate the night. Soon it became a regular event to party on full-moon nights, and once tourists got the word out, people from all over the world came to join the celebrations. This is how the famous full-moon parties originated, and more than 30 years after their inception, they’re still going strong at the same place where they started. If you are thinking about joining the fun, here’s an account of what to expect:

Flamboyant Ambience  

A full-moon party is a grand festival of blasting music, dancers decorated in neon body paint, unlimited drinking, and dazzling fire shows. The party begins with the sun setting and making way for the moon, illuminating the white sands of the beach in its beautiful light. Small tables are lined up on the beach, and thousands of lamps are lit along the shore. A crowd gathers for the party in colourful beach attires and various designs made with brightly coloured neon paint, all over their bodies. As the night progresses, the music blasts and the dancing frenzy begins. You can take a break from the festivities to wade out to the sea to enjoy the warm surf of the Gulf of Thailand.

Music and Entertainment

All genres of music – techno, commercial, punk, reggae, drum and bass and blues are played live from various podiums. Emcees and DJs conduct the events of the evening and keep the energy of the crowd up. Jugglers and fire-eaters entertain the crowd. There are impromptu firework displays. There are drinking games, fire-rope jumping, fire-limbo stick games and other party games to keep the revellers entertained. One such party game unique to these parties is the ‘Burning Rope’, where the idea is to get as many people as possible jumping a rope doused in kerosene and lit on fire and spin it so fast that the flames go out.

You can join the dancing masses or lay back and grab a drink or a bite from the many beach traders. Lots of beach shacks, restaurants and beach traders sell delicious snacks and sea-food platters at these parties. One of the things worth mentioning is the buckets of giant cocktails sold by the vendor stands. They come with five straws to share among friends and are the iconic drink of the full-moon party.


There are a lot of options to stay at Haad Rin Beach, ranging from resorts and hotels to bungalows and hostels. Another option is to book accommodation at a less busy, nearby island and travel to Koh Phangan by ferry for the party.

Ways of Getting There

The easiest way to get to Koh Phangan is to take a short flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui and catch a ferry to the island. Train and bus routes also connect Bangkok to Koh Samui. Ferries also ply between Koh Phangan and mainland locations like Chumphon and Surat Thani.

Safety Issues

The full moon parties being a major tourist attraction, authorities ensure it is a pleasant experience for all by restricting the usage of drugs. Still, there are a few general pointers to keep in mind, as with any party involving a beach and a large gathering of people:

  • Keep track of your alcohol consumption so that you are alert enough to enjoy the revelry and to keep an eye on your belongings.
  • Wear covered shoes, like sneakers. Going barefoot or wearing flip-flops may make to prone to injury from being stamped on or cutting yourself on things lodged in the sand.
  • Unless you are very confident of your abilities, avoid skipping on the burning rope. Sometimes it doesn’t work as intended, and people end up with burn injuries to nurse.

When in Koh Phangan, even if you are not travelling with a group, you are likely to meet fellow party-goers and vacationers who you will quickly develop a rapport with because everyone is looking to meet and hang out with new people there. You also make friends at the various day-activities that Koh Phangan has to offer.  If you are looking for an exciting vacation, Koh Phangan and its full moon parties will give you memories to cherish for a lifetime.


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