The Full Moon Party is legendary in the backpacking world for being one of the craziest parties on the planet. Staged every Full Moon on Haad Rin Beach on Thailand’s Koh Phangan, the decadent event plays host to thousands of young foreigners chasing the ultimate in hedonistic indulgence. Whether you’re into trance, house, or banging chart toppers, this party should be top of your list if you’re looking to get your kicks in the sand. We joined the revelry in September 2016, and had one of the most memorable nights of our lives. If you’re looking to do the same, here are 12 things you should know to ensure your night is unforgettable.
1. THE FULL MOON PARTY IS *OFFICIALLY* 12 HOURS LONG.
The party rages from 6pm until 6am; that’s a whole 12 hours of fist-pumping, fire dancing, and full-frontal nudity. The bucket drinks are strong and if you manage the full 12 hours, you’ve reached the upper echelons of partying hierarchy (and maybe its time to sort your life out?). There is nothing like making it to 6am to watch the sun rise gingerly in the sky, illuminating the carnage that has taken place in the previous 12 hours. When the incessant neon laser lights are extinguished and only the hardcore, MDMA-bingers are left standing, it is quite a haunting sight.
2. …BUT SOME PEOPLE PASS OUT ON THE BEACH BY 11PM.
Let’s face it, you aren’t going to be having your first drink at 6pm – we certainly didn’t. The likelihood is that you will be in one of the hostels or bars that line the streets of Haad Rin; they are all hellbent on getting you party-ready. As you might imagine this leads to premature intoxication and some pretty sorry sights if you arrive at the party a bit late. We decided to head down to the beach at around 11pm and even then people were vomiting, stumbling, and sleeping catatonically in the surf.
3. THE DRINKS ARE STRONG.
There is a legend about Thailand that the alcoholic drinks that come in buckets are super strong. All the stories are true. Between four of us, we got through four buckets in 7 hours. You might think we’re a touch lightweight or over cautious, but I’m telling you… these drinks are strong.
4. THAI RED BULL IS BANNED IN THE UK.
This is just one more reason the Full Moon Party is mental. The Red Bull used in the mixed drinks is close to the stimulant drug, speed, and is so strong it is banned in the UK. If you have heart or circulation issues, you probably shouldn’t be there in the first place, but steer clear of this energy drink.
5. THE BUCKETS DON’T COME PRE-MIXED…
…and don’t accept any drinks that are. At this party, you hand over your money and pick up a toy bucket, a bottle of alc, and a mixer or two. They should ALL be sealed. If your alcohol bottle appears to have been tampered with in any way, demand an unopen bottle. You might feel a bit awkward or rude doing so but its worth it; you never know what might be drinking otherwise.
6. MOST PEOPLE WEAR FLUORESCENT, TIE-DYE CLOTHING.
The Full Moon Party is another chance to show your budget-backpacking resourcefulness and dress up in fluorescent tie-dye outfits. Koh Phangan is absolutely full of stalls selling fluoro tops, dresses, skirts, shorts, singlets, and all sorts of other accessories. We literally spent hours just shopping for our outfits and we had so much fun customizing and getting ready. You should also chuck on some fancy fluoro paint on your face in the completely unique under-eye-over-brow pattern. The idea is to make a fool of yourself and lose your inhibitions just for one night. Embrace it!
7. IF YOU JUMP THE FLAMING ROPE, YOU WILL GET BURNT.
Okay, so there is a flaming jump rope. I’ll just put that out there now. If you choose to go anywhere near it, then power to you, but frankly you’re a fool. You will 100% get burnt. Think about it, you’re completely sozzled and can hardly walk straight, and you see this flaming rope of death wielded by dispassionate Thais (whose job it is to burn you). What on earth would make you want to jump that rope? The only way this rope stops swinging, is if you get in its way – and you will. There is no winning this game of jump rope. It will beat you. And it will hurt.
8. BE CAREFUL WITH DRUGS.
Drugs have always been a part of travel in Thailand; the utopia-seeking characters in Alex Garland’s The Beach depend on drugs to survive. The Full Moon Party is a veritable treasure trove of substances to the point where if you’re not on something, you might feel left out. That being said, drugs are HIGHLY illegal in Thailand and getting caught by the less than reputable police is simply not worth the risk. We avoided them altogether because they can result in harsh prison sentences and in serious cases, even the death penalty. If all that’s not bad enough, you’re risking your health.
9. WEAR PROPER SHOES.
This is quite self-explanatory really.
Thousands of very drunk people + glass bottles + sandy beach = said glass bottles smashed all over the beach and lightly buried just under the surface of the sand ready to slash you open.
You really don’t want to slice your feet open. Your flip-flops aren’t quite going to cut it.
10. THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE.
It is one of the most popular parties on the planet and the fact that it occurs every month does not seem to deter people. Hostels and other accommodation book up weeks before each party, and rooms are in such demand that when you book, you often have to book for a minimum of 5 nights. It’s difficult to know for sure, but estimates range from 5000 to 30000 people descend on Koh Phangan every Full Moon Party depending on the time of year. That is a ton of other revellers!
11. IF YOU WANT SOME SLEEP, DON’T STAY NEAR HAAD RIN BEACH.
Before we arrived in Koh Phangan we read on several other blogs that we shouldn’t stay near Haad Rin Beach. It was only after waking up the next morning that we realized what great advice that was. Seriously, if you plan to get any sleep after the party – whatever time you finish – stay away from the main strip. We stayed a few beaches over at Silvermoon Resort which has cabins and a private beach for you to recuperate the next day. The owner and his family are wonderful and the owner’s wife even came to the party with us.
Another thing to consider is the safety aspect, the further you are away from the party, the less likely you are to have your stuff nicked while you’re partying.
12. IT WILL BE ONE OF THE CRAZIEST NIGHTS OF YOUR LIFE.
This is the most important part – it will be one of the craziest nights of your life regardless of what happens. If you do it right, stay safe, pace yourself, and party all night long, you will have one of the best and most memorable experiences of your life. We will never forget going to the Full Moon Party and staying on the beach until the sun rose above us, streaking amazing blues across the sky.
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