Parties to celebrate the full moon – or use it as an excuse for revelries – have been held on the island’s Haad Rin (Rin Beach) since 1985, when the first one was staged for a couple of dozen travellers.
These days the parties regularly attracted 20,000 to 30,000 “lunatics”, with the bars along the beach pumping out R&B, hiphop, house or disco music until dawn.
It’s now firmly on the must-do list of every traveller in Southeast Asia. Fireworks, luminescent body paint, bright lights, acrobats and other entertainers, and mad antics such as skipping blazing ropes, all fueled by buckets of alcohol – well, you can see the attraction.
The next one is on July 17. Sensible advice from the website fullmoonpartykohphangan.com:
Take enough money, maybe split into several pockets – B3,000 should be enough to cover all eventualities;
Take a copy of your ID/passport. Leave the original in your hotel safe or use the safes provided by many travel companies at Haad Rin;
Don’t take bags as they are easily forgotten after a few buckets;
Wear shoes or trainers – there will inevitably be broken bottles on the beach;
Make sure you have enough clothes to cover up the morning after. It gets hot very quickly.
The Full Moon Party used to have a reputation for the easy availability of recreational drugs. These days, however, there are plenty of undercover police mixing with the crowds. Get involved with drugs and you risk spending years in a Thai jail.
To get there, ask any travel agent. They’ll be happy to arrange for your boat trip out and back and accommodation on Pha Ngan if you would rather not sleep off your revelling in the beach.
If you miss the Full Moon party, there are half-moon parties around July 8 and 23 and – an altogether darker experience – the “black moon” party on July 30.