I get it– the last few years have been a monotonous cycle of staying indoors and waiting for limitations to ease so we can have a little taste of freedom.
Of course, as one of the most visited countries in the world, Thailand knows what's up when it comes to having a good time. As it's starting to welcome tourists back into its crystalline beaches and majestic temples, the Full Moon Party is also back in full swing.
Whether you're planning your first visit or a returning guest wanting to get updates, I made sure to cover everything in this guide. All you have to do is pack your bags and get on that first flight out, stat!
What Is the Full Moon Party?
The Full Moon Party started as a small beach party held by a bunch of backpackers on a full moon in the 80s. It then turned out to be a bucket list item for every wanderlust who wants to have a good time.
From having less than 40 attendees on the first full moon party, it now attracts thousands of partygoers all wanting to drink and dance once a month. If you ask anyone what's the largest beach party in Thailand or Southeast Asia, they'll probably tell you it's the Full Moon Party.
There had been a few hiccups along the way as residents have complained about the noise pollution it caused the area in the past. The recent pandemic also put the festivities to a temporary halt, lasting for two years. But now that tourism in the country is picking up again, it looks like the Full Moon party is here to stay.
What Happens at the Full Moon Party?
There you'll find people sipping cocktails out of a plastic bucket, DJs from every bar playing the hippest tunes, fire dancers, glow-in-the-dark paints, and people jumping on a fiery rope heating the atmosphere… the list goes on! It has everything you've imagined the wildest beach parties to have and more.
They start the party at dusk when the moon begins to show up and illuminate the shores. The guests light up lanterns as part of the tradition before they break into a full-blown party with booze, blasting music, and neon paint.
Origins of the Full Moon Party
While nobody knows officially when or where the first Full Moon Party took place, many people have claimed that the party had its roots in Koh Phangan.
It all started in the 1980s when a group of tourists started partying during the full moon nights at Koh Phangan.
What started as small exclusive party that only insiders knew about became an internationally renowned party that thousands of tourists travel to party at every single year.
When Does the Full Moon Party Happen?
It's held every month (yes, you read that right!) around the night of the full moon. I'm saying "around" because most of the time, it doesn't only happen on only one full moon day!
Visitors arrive at the beach a few days before the actual schedule so that means there's always a celebration along the shores almost every night.
There have also been changes to the actual dates in some cases to make way for other festivities or events, such as the Buddhist holiday, where the consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
Is There a Full Moon Party in 2023?
Yep, you're in luck!
The border restrictions in Thailand are easing, and the country has welcomed guests back into the country since around January. You'll definitely be able to get to the country's most awaited events in 2023!
Full Moon Party Dates 2023
According to the official website, here's the schedule for the rest of the year:
- Sunday, July 2, 2023
- Thursday, August 3, 2023
- Thursday, August 31, 2023
- September 29, 2023
- Friday, September 29, 2023
- Monday, October 30, 2023
- Monday, November 27, 2023
- Wednesday, December 27, 2023
- Sunday, December 31, 2023
Keep in mind that this Full Moon Party schedule is only for Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan, the island notoriously known for Full Moon Parties. There are several Full Moon Party events, as well as Half Moon Party and Black Moon Party around Thailand, so make sure to check out their schedules for the parties!
Tip: Be on the lookout for official notices or announcements from the Thai government as there has been instances where the parties had to be canceled due to various reasons.
Where is the Full Moon Party Held?
As per tradition, they hold the party on the shores of Haad Rin Beach on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, in Southeastern Thailand.
Full Moon Party Venues
Most tourists head on to Sunrise Beach Club to join the festivities as the party starts as early as 5 days before the actual event!
There are also other areas where you can visit, depending on the level of partying you're into:
- The Rock- Named after the location it's on (a big rock), this is one of the top spots to be at if you want to get a good view of the whole celebration.
- Paradise Bungalows- Considered to be the top venue on the island throwing the best and baddest parties along Haad Rin.
- Drop In Bar- If you're up for drinking games, hip-hop tunes, and some fire shows, this place is for you.
- Zoom Bar- For those who are looking for a more intimate crowd with psytrance music filling the venue.
- Cactus Bar- Also one of the most frequented venues due to its convenient location, this bar plays a mixture of genres that will make you move!
- Tommy's Resort- This is where you'll get the Ultimate Full Moon experience! Party 'til the sun rises as local and international DJs take their turns on the 1s and 2s.
- Mellow Mountain- If you're looking to distance yourself from the chaos but still want a piece of the action, this is a good place to chill.
How to Plan for a Full Moon Party
Now you're all excited to hit up a Full Moon Party this year. Before you go, I recommend doing at least some preparation—even if you aren't a planner. Here are some things I'll go over...
- When's the best time to visit Thailand and a Full Moon Party
- Ways to get to a Thailand Full Moon Party
- Things to except, like drinks, foods, and activities
- Best places to stay in Koh Phangan
- A handy packing checklist for the festivities
Thailand's Seasons: When to Visit
Cool and Dry Season (December to April)
Thailand's cool and dry season is when everyone wants to visit.
This period of high season tourist traffic is from November to February. The weather is mild, making it perfect for exploring cities, historical sites, and national parks. The temperatures range between 25°C and 32°C (77°F to 89°F), and humidity levels are relatively low.
It's obviously the most popular time for people to visit for Full Moon Parties, but that also means it's crowded and more expensive due to the increase in travelers! I'm not personally a fan of going during this season and prefer to hit the start of less popular seasons.
Aside from the parties, the cool and dry season is ideal for immersing yourself in Bangkok's vibrant street life, indulging in water sports along the Andaman Sea in Phuket, or embarking on a cultural adventure in Chiang Mai.
Hot Season (May to August)
Thailand's hot season, also referred to as the shoulder season, brings soaring temperatures and higher humidity levels. From March to May, temperatures can climb above 35°C (95°F) in some regions.
Despite the heat, this season is an excellent time to visit if you prefer fewer crowds and wish to explore the country's stunning islands. Head to Krabi or Koh Samui, where you can soak up the sun on pristine beaches, indulge in water activities, and rejuvenate in luxurious resorts.
Remember to stay hydrated and take advantage of early morning or late afternoon outings to beat the heat.
Since the Full Moon Parties happen at night, this is often a great season to visit, especially if you time it to hit the start or end of the hot season. Do this and the weather may be more bearable for people who don't do well in extreme heat!
Rainy Season (September to November)
Thailand's rainy season, also known as the green season, may not be the first choice for many travelers, but it has its own unique allure. From June to October, the country experiences occasional downpours, but they are often short-lived and followed by sunshine.
That being said, lots of visitors still come to enjoy the Full Moon Parties during this season! This is because in the summer months, many international visitors come for their summer vacation.
Tourist numbers do go down from September to November. This is likely because it's known as monsoon season in Thailand—be careful if you're dates align!
But while you're traveling, look out for beauty! The landscapes turn lush and vibrant, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploring Thailand's natural wonders.
This is a great time to visit national parks like Khao Yai or venture to the northern region, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of cascading waterfalls and explore lush jungles.
How to Get to the Full Moon Party
If you're traveling by air, the best way to get to Koh Pha Ngan is through its neighboring island, Koh Samui. There is no airport on Koh Phangan so you'll have to catch a ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland of Thailand or from Koh Samui or Koh Tao.
Flights to Koh Samui from Bangkok ranges around 2000 to 3200 baht, but will go as high as 5000 baht during high seasons, so make sure you book early!
After taking a short flight to Koh Samui / Koh Tao from Bangkok, you can get on a ferry headed to Ko Pha Ngan.
From Koh Samui, you can take ferries from the Big Buddha pier or high speed boats from Nathon + Mae Nam Pier to Koh Phangan. Ferries operate at least 3 times a day and can go as frequent to every hour during the Full Moon day.
It'll take you roughly 1.5 hours to go from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan by ferries, but only 10-20 minutes by speed boats, but price can vary widely between the two.
There is also an option for you to do the bus and ferry or train and ferry combination, which you can book through online ticketing websites or agents in Bangkok.
Drinks, Food, and Activities
When it comes to partying at Koh Phangan, there's definitely no shortage of foods and refreshments to keep you partying all night long.
A huge theme and attraction for drinks at the Full Moon Party is its drink buckets. They typically contain a strong energy drink, a small bottle of alcohol, soda, and ice cubes. These drink buckets aren't for everyone though, so feel free to not mix in the energy drink or all of the alcohol into your bucket drink.
The typical mix is around 250-300ml of vodka or whiskey, Thai version of Red Bull, with the remaining being soda and ice.
These buckets will usually set you back around 250-500 baht, which is roughly 7-14 USD.
Where to Stay for the Full Moon Party?
Luckily, the island offers a lot of options for tourists who want to take part in the action. From high-end accommodations to budget-friendly hostels, you'll surely find one that fits your budget best.
Here are a few suggestions on where to book your accommodation, so you don't miss out on all the fun during the Full Moon Party!
Located just a minute away from the famous Full Moon Party venue, this property features a huge outdoor pool and a restaurant highly-recommended by guests. The resort has all the features one would look for in an accommodation. Plus, the rooms and the overall look are all very Instagram-worthy!
The first container hostel on the island! It's located right in the middle of everything, so you get to enjoy not just the Full Moon Party but also the Black Moon, Half Moon, and all other parties held on the island all month long.
Stay exactly where the party's at by booking a room at this hostel which is a collaboration between Drop In Bar and Phanganist.com, the island's leading online portal.
Not only will you get your money's worth with all its great amenities, but you also get some freebies like a free drink every night you party by the beach and barbecue every full moon as well!
Party Packing List
There's no specific things that you'll need to pack for the party, but there's definitely a list of things that'll make your life a lot easier, especially if you're not staying near the party.
Here are the essentials that you should consider bringing to the Full Moon Party:
- Closed-toe sandals, sneakers. Flip-flops not recommended!
- Loose and casual party clothes
- A small fanny pack that can store all of your personal items like your phone, wallet, keys, and some cash.
- Copy of your passport (In case you need them for ID)
- [Optional] Body paint
That's it! Pretty much everything that you'll need like water, food and snacks, or drinks will be available at the party, so no need for a backpack.
Munch on food and drinks, but be sure to save some cash for the bathroom! If you don't, you just might have to join the others in using nature's bathroom! All the more reason to wear a closed-toe shoe, am I right?
Full Moon Party Tips
There's No Entrance Fee
Although other festivals usually require the goers to book tickets or entrance fees in advance, you don't need that to attend the Full Moon Party!
The only things you need to pay for to have a good time are your food and drinks.
If anyone tells you to pay a certain amount to get the "ticket bracelet" to the event, you are most likely being scammed.
Some venues will likely charge entrance fees however, so be aware of that!
You Don't Need to Pack A Lot
The island is lined up with local stalls selling neon-hued outfits for the monthly festival, so leave all your OOTDs (Outfit of the day) behind and shop at the venue.
What a hassle-free trip, right?
If you're planning on being on the beach, be sure to wear closed sandals instead of flip-flops or opt for sneakers instead. This will protect you from any sharp objects like broken glass or sharp metals.
Book Your Accommodation Ahead of Time
Since there's an influx of tourists a few days before the festivities start, you have to book well in advance to avoid missing out on the best rooms you can book on the island.
Check Full Moon Party Freebies Your Hotel/Hostel Offers
Who would want to pass up on free stuff, especially while on vacation? Some hostels offer free drinks and food (like the Phangarist Hostel we mentioned above), so you can save up on a few bucks while having a blast!
Always be Alert!
Big crowds are fun, but they can also pose a great threat at the same time. Be mindful of your surroundings as you're still in the presence of strangers, no matter how cozy the atmosphere can get.
Make sure you don't bring your valuables with you to avoid losing them.
Planning to Join the Full Moon Party?
Want to experience the Full Moon Party for yourself? Why not plan an organized trip to Thailand by using Pilot.