Every full moon, the island of Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand becomes a whirlwind of fire and fun, drawing backpackers from far and wide. Legend has it that this mammoth party was first started by a small group of travellers in the 1980s. Today it has grown to see 10,000 excitable revellers filling the beach every month.
It’s rightly on many a bucket list, but experiencing a Full Moon Party the correct way can take a little prep. Luckily we’ve got it covered. As prior full moon partygoers, we’ve quickly learnt how to avoid any potential pitfalls. Here are some tips to ensure you have nothing but an epic time!
Get the Date and Place Right
Venue: Haad Rin beach, Ko Pha Ngan – 30 minutes boat ride from Ko Samui, and three and a half hours from the eastern mainland (Surat Thani Province).
2014: 6th November, 6th December, Xmas party: 25th December, NYE party: 31st December.
2015: NYE after party: 1st January 2015, 4th January, 3rd February, 5th March, 3rd April, 2nd May, 2nd June, 30th June, 1st August, 29th August, 27th September, 27th October, 25th November, Xmas party: 25th December, NYE party: 31st December.
Book Accommodation in Advance
Accommodation can fill up really quickly on Ko Pha Ngan, especially around the time of the Full Moon party. Last minute hikes in room prices often occur – but are avoidable if you book in advance. In fact, prices in and around Haad Rin can seem expensive compared to other areas of Thailand, but you can still expect to find a two-person bungalow from as little as £12 a night.
The other option is staying a few kilometres away from the party, where you’ll find double rooms from around £7 a night. Alternatively you could hop on the ferry to Ko Pha Ngan on the day, party the night away before getting the ferry back the following morning. But this is not recommended on a hangover – expect to see more than a few ‘hardcore’ revellers with their heads over the side of the boat!
Don’t Take Valuables
Although crime is rare at the Full Moon party, there’s no need to put yourself at any unnecessary risk. Leave your valuables in the hotel safe and take only necessities such as phone, money and room key. If you can get away with not bringing a bag, then do, it’s easy to misplace it in the chaos – zipped pockets are the way forward!
Stick Close to your Friends
It’s so very easy to get lost among the crowds and the level of noise can make it very hard to find your friends. Add in the fact that the people around you may be more than a little tipsy and you can suddenly find yourself feeling very alone in a sea of complete madness. Stick close to your buddies and have an easy-to-find meeting point that you head to as soon as you lose each other!
Don’t bow to peer pressure and don’t get mesmerised by the pretty fire patterns after one too many Sambuca buckets. Fire is dangerous! As is fire skipping, fire limbo and well, anything fire! Watch from a distance and don’t be surprised when some other foolhardy partier gets burnt!
Show Your Colours
The full moon party is all about embracing other nations and coming together as one – to um, have a great big party! Show your love for Thailand and Ko Pha Ngan with clever use of body paint.
Go Hard or Go Home!
If you’re not decked head to toe in neon, wearing the most ridiculous headpiece ever and proudly sporting glow-in-the-dark artwork then you’re in the wrong place. This is a once-in-a-lifetime/monthly opportunity which means you need to put the effort in. Getting ready is all part of the fun – so make sure you commit 100%.
Arrive Fashionably Late
There’s always the odd partygoer who’s crashed out on the beach by 10pm. Avoid this casualty by arriving late. You don’t need to get there until at least 10pm – after all, the party’s all night and you want to see sunrise. Plus, you’ll find plenty of warm-up parties dotted around, and the treetop bars are a great place to start the night in style.
Keep Your Shoes On
While it might be tempting to feel the sand between your toes, the Full Moon Party results in a lot of debris on the beach – from broken bottles to erm, vomit and well, people asleep on the sand! Keep your shoes securely on your feet – and watch where you’re stepping!
Don’t Enter the Sea
…You never know what you might stumble across! The sea can quickly fill up with all sorts of rubbish, not to mention the fact that some partygoers don’t think twice about using it as their personal toilet. And then there’s the obvious fact that swimming plus alcohol equals disaster.
Relax and Have Fun!
Most people who experience a Full Moon Party have the times of their lives and horror stories are extremely rare. After all, everybody is there for one primary reason – to have fun! As long as you apply a little common sense you will have an amazing time.