There’s a few versions to the story of how the Full Moon Party in Thailand got started. This is the one I believe;
Several travelers met each other on the small Island of Koh Pha-ngan and hit it off immediately. They had such a great time together that when their visit was coming to an end they decided to have a party on the beach. It turned into an amazing night with a full moon that lit the whole beach. Each of them traveled telling others about this amazing party they had on the Island of Koh Pha-ngan during the full moon. People who heard their story interpreted it as a party that happens during the full moon on Koh Pha-ngan and they too wanted to have this great experience. From there it snowballed. People showed up partied and told others. Repeat…
Today it’s a massive celebration of 20,000 – 50,000 people on the beach of Haad Rin on the island of Koh Phangan. Many people will dismiss the party saying it’s lost it’s original charm as an underground party for those “in the know”, but it’s still a pretty amazing phenomenon.
What you need to know;
Where to Stay – You can stay right on Haad Rin, but it’s expensive and loud until 8am. Many hostels require a minimum of 4-5 nights and for some the price almost triples on the night of the full moon (Avg. $15 a night, $39 Full Moon night), but you’re right in the action. Another option is staying elsewhere on the Island. My first full moon I found a bungalow for $4 a night on the west side of the island (and I split it with someone so it only cost $2). Transportation on the island is easy and cost about $3 to go anywhere on the vans you see all around. You can rent a scooter for cheap, but I heard one statistic that one person dies every full moon party drunk on a scooter. The last option, which a lot of people do, but I wouldn’t recommend it, is to stay on Koh Samui and take a taxi boat over. Think about a hangover then jumping on a giant cano shaped boat on the ocean with an unmuffeled car engine to get back to your bed. No thanks.
What to Do – Most get buckets of booze and get drunk. Many fall under the spell of Mellow Mountain (Mushroom Mountain) where you can order the Infamous mushroom shakes. If you dare to try one, take half! You’ll be steeping over plenty of passed out bodies all party long which is usually the result of a full shake.
If you arrive early, not to worry, there are also several parties the days leading up to the full moon party;
Coral Bungalow Pool Party – There’s free transportation and it’s absolute mayhem. One word of warning is the pool. Everyone appears to be having sex in the pool with people they just met, so do the math… you’re probably not swimming alone.
Jungle Party – Many say this is better than the Full Moon Party. I think it’s just drunker. While most are charging up for the Full Moon the true diehard party goers are here exercising their livers. It’s has a cool jungle vibe but is small and lacks options (ie. Bars, ATMS, Music, etc).
Things to note:
Buckets! – When you handover 100 Bhat ($3) for a bucket, bottle of booze, Thai Red Bull and a soda, know that’s not what you’re actually getting. What you’re buying is a left over bottle from the last party refilled with bathtub moonshine, some caffeine concoction and a can of soda. Do what you like, but I’d recommend running to one of the several Seven Elevens and buying the ingredence yourself. Won’t cost much more and you’ll know what you’re putting in your body.
Traveling alone – What makes the full moon party amazing is the location and the people. The dorm hostels with 40 person rooms sounds intimidating, but you’re bound to meet some amazing people and have a great night. I stayed at “Full Moon Hostel” and would recommend it.