Full Moon Party
Full Moon party say what?! Hold up, wait a minute! For those of you unaware of what the Full Moon Party is let me explain… it's a giant, rave-like beach party held on Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan every month… on the Full moon. The Full Moon party brings roughly 30,000 people each time… Massive would be an understatement when describing it. All bars / clubs located on Haad Rin beach go all out and have parties of their own as well. Attending one of those parties has been on my bucket list since my early twenties. I am an old lady now being in my 30s and all but when in Thailand and when in Koh Phangan a Full Moon Party was too good to pass up!
We had secured accommodation in a beach bungalow complex in-between Haad Rin beach and “downtown” Koh Phangan so that we are close to the action but not too close so we could still get a good night rest. Like I said, old lady status here. We had made plans with our friends Emily and Felix and then we ran into our friends Juliette and Leti (who we met in Chiang Mai) so it seemed like the stars were aligning and we had a really good crew for the party.
So Friday, June 9th was the day! We all got together and had a few drinks at the beach before heading to the party… randomly our crew had acquired two additional members - two boys also from France and for the love of me, I cannot remember their names. Anyway, we managed to make it to Haad Rin beach alive despite trying to haggle with a few cab drivers. Cab rides, no matter the distance on Koh Phangan run at 100 baht per person (just under $3 US) and surprisingly they do not increase their rates for big events such as the Full Moon party. In all honesty they could be charging a lot more since everyone was headed that way and the only way there is by cab or scooter. But since it’s a party and the roads are small and winding a scooter doesn't seem nearly as safe.
After a very bumpy and silly ride through the crowds and traffic we finally got near the entrance. You have to start through this corridor-type setup and then you follow the streets towards the beach. Along the entire way we were greeted by a massive crowd of people, several street vendors offering beer and buckets of spirits and of course lots of food. NOW HERE IS A BIG TIP - you can bring in any drinks or food that you want, which helps to save some money. However, before you go through the “corridor,” make sure to buy your beverages (there is a 7-11 right outside of entrance) ! Otherwise, if you hit the 7-11s inside the “area” than you will pay at least double if not more than you would pay outside.
To get to the actual party we needed to pay a fee of 100 baht each which goes towards cleaning up the beach after the party is over. I don't know if it's because I am used to the States where we pay crazy entrance fees to clubs or venues but 100 baht seemed like a bargain - the beach gets pretty trashed by the end of the party with beer bottles and random garbage everywhere. So to me, it was well spent.
Once we got into the party it was a little overwhelming at first, I have to admit. Every other bar on the beach is blasting loud music, some good and some bad and you have to push through the sweaty bodies. We found a cool spot where the music was good and we danced, we drank, we laughed, we people watched and it was a good time. Leti had gotten some fluorescent paint on the way in (very popular at this party) and started painting smiley faces on everyone. Us, strangers dancing, innocent people just happening to walk by….it was pretty hilarious and most people enjoyed it.
On our way out we had to maneuver between all the drunks and the passed out people that outlined the beach. It was a funny sight to see because it looked like a giant adult sleepover minus the comfy pillows and blankets.
At the end of the night, ready to head back to the hostel, hungry and a little intoxicated we stopped at a street cafe and grabbed some Pad Thai. Now if you didn't know, there is such a thing as Thai spicy, but automatically most vendors will make a mild or medium for foreigners - sometimes even when you ask for the spicy or Thai spicy. So, whenever I get Pad Thai I automatically add red pepper flakes to get it to where I like it. This time, I did my usual routine and sprinkled the entire plate with a healthy amount of those spicy flakes. However, turns out this vendor serves the dish at the high level of Thai spicy. I unfortunately wasn’t the only one who suffered as Emily made a similar mistake. It got to the point where our eyes were watering, lips were burning and nose was running like a faucet. I finally gave up and gave my plate to Loren as she is the spice loving queen and even she was calling it really effing hot! We chugged a berry yogurt drink (only good option at the time) which helped but maybe wasn’t the best thing to mix in the belly. Needless to say, we learned a good lesson of trying our food before we spice it up.
We lost the French guys somewhere along the way but the remaining six of us jumped into a taxi and headed back to the hostel. We had a very interesting ride back, including the driver stopping off at a 7-11 for about 10 minutes, still don’t know what he just HAD to get during our drive. The driver was a bit of a lead foot and we had a very bouncy and fast ride back, don’t worry, none of us lost our Pad Thais. We ended the night with farewells to the French girls as they were headed somewhere else the next day.
The night was definitely memorable, the people we were with made it fun, but overall we realized it’s not our scene anymore. It was quite disappointing to see the beach trashed like that… we have heard that the locals are not very fond of all the tourists and now we know why. People visit Koh Phangan due to its party scene, and there is a different kind of party almost every night - Black moon party, Jungle Party, Half Moon, Full Moon, Waterfall parties, etc… It’s a big source of income for everyone on the island however the island gets destroyed after every single party and especially the Full Moon one since it’s the largest of them all. The locals do a great job cleaning up after but regardless it’s hard to keep up. If you are in the mood to go all out and party and drink buckets of booze (although some are spiked and some add methanol for the alcohol - so we DO NOT recommend this, just bring your own bottles or drink beer) then you will probably have a good time. We had some fun dancing and being silly with friends and it was great because none of us took it very seriously. If you do go, just make sure to be safe and that you and your friends are on the same page.