Thailand’s world-renowned Full Moon Party is perhaps one of the craziest parties in the world. Tens of thousands of people pack a short strip of Koh Phangan’s beach for a wild night of dancing, drinking, and debauchery.
I went during September, which is supposedly one of the tamer months as the hordes of British, Australian, and American backpackers typically have to return to their home countries for school or work and cause chaos there instead. Despite this, the party was still incredible, and thousands of people packed the beach that was so peaceful earlier in the day.
I checked out the beach around sunset to have some preliminary beers and check out what was happening. The full moon rose shortly after and I felt like a little kid. Here I was, at the world’s largest gathering of full moon enthusiasts, ready to celebrate the visibility of our favorite floating space rock in its entirety.
18 hours later, I made it to my bed and crumbled into a pile of rubble. What a night.
It was one of the craziest and most fun nights of my life, but also occasionally pretty stressful. There were a lot of things that I wish I prepared myself for that could have made the night go a little more pleasant, or at least more smoothly.
Without further ado, here is your ultimate survival guide to Koh Phangan’s party of legends.
Stick With Your Squad
The Full Moon Party isn’t exactly unsafe, but it is a lot more fun with your friends. The whole mentality of our squad was to stick together, but since I am incapable of doing anything right, I got separated from everyone within ten minutes. I wandered aimlessly around the beach for far too long, occasionally encountering a familiar face and fist pumping with them for a few minutes before trying to find my other friends. Dancing and going crazy is a lot more fun when you and your friends have a little dance circle going where you’re just screaming the words to every song. Drunkenly walking alone in the rain was not that much fun.
You also never know what could happen, and although the beach is pretty packed, there are some stretches that are devoid of clubs which means that there might not be anyone around to help if something happens. Who knows? You could fall into the ocean and drown. Or step on glass which apparently happens quite frequently, which brings me to…
Wear Proper Shoes
You’ll be on a beach, so it would make sense for you to wear flip-flops or even go barefoot, right? Wrong! It is extremely unfortunate but when you put thousands of drunk people together, proper disposal of their finished drinks into the garbage bins provided is not guaranteed. In fact, it is very uncommon. Nothing puts a downer on your day like cutting your foot open on some glass, so wear something with thick soles and keep your feet protected. Most of my friends opted for sneakers, I went a little riskier with my fake Vietnamese Birkenstocks. They did the job well enough.
Leave Your Valuables At Home
As much as all of your friends back home want to see your “epic 2017 full moon party” GoPro video, it’s better to leave the camera back in your room. You will probably lose it or get it stolen. I brought my phone and regretted it the entire night. It was pouring down rain half the time and instead of being carefree dancing in the rainstorm like the flower child that I am deep down, I had to worry about keeping my phone dry and making sure it still worked every ten seconds. Even if it wasn’t raining, checking to see if no one has pick-pocketed you really sucks you back into reality when you should be getting lost in the moment at a festival like this.
Trust me, the friends that really care about you will welcome your stories with open arms once you get back home. Don’t waste your time Snapchatting the entire night to show off to people that you truly, deep down, don’t even care about. Bring enough money to buy as many buckets as your heart desires. And also copious amounts of drunk food. Fanny packs are probably the most ideal form of carrying things around that I’ve discovered. Not even joking. Keep some money in a fanny pack and get crunk all night without a care in the world.
Be A Good Person
Everyone’s here to have fun, man. There’s no need to try to get into fights with someone who accidentally bumped into you.
The beach is depressing in the morning once the sun rises and the people clear out. Pick up a little trash on your way out, and try to properly dispose of your stuff during the night. There’s plenty of trash cans on the beach and there’s plenty of trash in the oceans already.
If she doesn’t want to dance with you, she doesn’t want to dance with you, bro.
~Spread the love~
Aside from those tips, I’ll give you a general time frame of what to expect from the Full Moon Party.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying close to the beach where the Full Moon Party takes place, then disregard this time frame. I was a five minute walk from the beach and didn’t ever take advantage of it. You can go back to avoid paying for a bathroom, grab some snacks, grab some drinks, try to regroup with people, or just chill from the sensory overload that the FMP can be.
If you’re not staying within walking distance, then this recommended schedule could potentially be helpful.
Head to the beach a little before the sunset, giving yourself time to scope out your surroundings. There’s also a lot of cool decorations all over the beach that you can look at before the beach gets too crowded. Grab a beer, watch the sunset, and watch as the night gradually comes alive.
I ate at The Rock on the far side of the beach and had some drinks there to start off the night. It was actually pretty cheap, and there was a DJ outside and the decorations and lights over on that side of the beach were much livelier than on the other side. I probably would have stayed there at a lot longer if my hostel wasn’t walking distance.
After The Rock, we went to Dancing Elephant, which was our absolutely amazing hostel. Even if you aren’t staying there, it is a fantastic place to pregame, and hundreds of people fill up the street between the two sides of the hostel to dance and drink. If you aren’t interested in pre-games and just want to get to the party right away, the clubs and bars on the beach will already be playing music.
Trust me when I say you have to pace yourself, though. This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you are drunk by 10 or 11 PM (which admittedly, I usually am), you will not make it to the promised land. I’ll explain where the promised land is in a bit.
I made my way to the Full Moon Party a little bit after midnight. I would have preferred to go a little earlier, but the time and the pouring rain helped in weeding out the fakes. Like the older people who go just to FaceTime their friends back home and the Instagram girls who throw on some face paint, snap some pics, and leave. You know the type. It started raining right when we were about to leave, and we tried waiting it out but I got impatient. Even in the pouring rain, it was poppin’. Honestly, the rain might have even made it better. Watching the rain pour through the flashing strobe lights and watching the hordes of people not give a f*ck got me exponentially more hyped for the festivities that were about to follow.
Like I said, pace yourself. There’s no need to drink a bucket every twenty minutes. I honestly survived off two buckets and a few beers the entire night, stopping for water and street food a few times just to refuel and rehydrate. I spent most of the night dancing by myself, wandering around aimlessly, and watching people do the obscenely unsafe flaming jump rope of death. Like I said, don’t split off from your group.
Thankfully, our hostel had the sense to coordinate meeting points at certain times. I also didn’t pay attention to those. Thankfully, everyone else found my lost puppy ass self.
The next couple of hours were a lot of fun, and watching the sun rise slowly over the beach was a memory I’ll never forget. There were hundreds of people still dancing, with hundreds more just sitting by the beach after an epic night out. It was beautiful, and physically, I wanted to call it a night right then and there, but peer pressure.
We took a boat taxi to a bar called Eden. Hopping onto that boat at sunrise and riding away from the Full Moon Party towards unknown territory was one of the best impulse decisions of my life. The setting of the bar was unreal, with us having to climb up massive rocks to get to this secluded little place in an already secluded part of the island.
The vibes were chill and the vibes were good.
Eden isn’t exactly part of the Full Moon Party, but I highly recommend checking it out while you’re in Koh Phangan. It closed at 9 AM so we took a boat taxi back to Full Moon beach, ready to go to bed.
But nope. I found my second wind (honestly more like my sixth or seventh wind) and rallied the troops to go to the official after party at a place called Backyard.
Another bar, another incredible view and another few hours of fun. There is no shortage of music and good vibes on Koh Phangan, and although everyone usually only comes for the Full Moon Party, the island is always partying and you should stay a few more nights to see what a true Koh Phangan party is like.
Overall, the Full Moon Party is what you make of it. If you go for any other reason besides to just have uninhibited fun, then you might want to reconsider. I still think it’s worth checking out even if you aren’t much of a partier. The best part of the Full Moon Party is there’s nothing preventing you from doing whatever. You can come and go as you please. You can go to party. You can go to socialize. You can go to dance. You can go just to eat from the multitudes of food carts that line the street just for the full moon party.
No matter what the reason is that you want to go, you can’t go wrong with a Full Moon Party.