Thailand is an amazing country and amazing landscape, people and sights. It’s famous full moon party on the island of Koh Phangan was started by backpackers in the late 80’s.
That initial spark has ignited into one of the wildest backpacker parties in the world. Once a month during the full moon,10 – 30 thousand people gather on the beach to celebrate with body paint, dancing, and a few too many drinks. Go ahead and get a little crazy, but bear in mind these backpacking travel tips to help you get through the night.
Full Moon Party Backpacking Travel Tips
This party is wild and filled with madness and although I knew what to expect, it didn’t prepare me for the craziness of that fateful night, it was like surviving a tropical storm.
No hangover in my life compares to the one after the full moon party. I shuttered awake the morning-after in a mindless zombie state. For the next two days, I found myself shuffling out of my beach bungalow for water and food and then retreating into the cool darkness of my hut.
The pain and suffering caused me to miss a lot of majestic temples, white sandy beaches, and crystal blue water that surrounds the island. So why am I sharing this with you? Basically, because I want to serve you a silver platter of Full Moon Party tips to spare you from experiencing the same.
Getting to the Full Moon Party
From any major city in Thailand, you can book a bus/ferry ticket.
Travel time from Bangkok takes over 10 hours so I suggest the overnight bus.
This will save you a night’s accommodation and also make the trip pass faster since you will most likely sleep through the majority of it. Prices vary between 20-40 USD. If you want to avoid the bus ride, the closest airport is on the neighboring island of Koh Samui. From Koh Samui the ferry is only a couple hours.
When to Go and When to Book Your Ticket
It is wise to arrive on the island at least a few days in advance.
If you are not heading to the island until the day of the full moon, make sure you at least buy that ticket a week in advance as the ferries sell out extremely fast before the full moon party. Leaving the Island If you are planning on leaving the island the day after the party, you will also want to buy your return ticket a week in advance.
The first couple days after, the ferries are just as crowded by people trying to get off the island as they were with people trying to get on. My advice is to at least plan one day of relaxation and recovery. Trust me, you will not want to travel the day after the party anyways. Also keep in mind that the longer you stay, the less advance you need to book your ticket.
You also need to book your accommodations in advance.
When 30,000 people suddenly flood an island, things tend to get cluttered and chaotic quickly. Fighting the crowds at the dock, while trying to wrangle yourself a bed isn’t something you’ll want to deal with, especially when it can be easily avoided. Plus, without preparation, there is always the chance that you will end up sleeping on the beach. You really don’t want to do this. There are always drunk people passed out on the beach during the full moon party.
I recommend staying on the other side of the island.
The beaches are less crowded and more enjoyable. My friends and I had a few lazy days floating on the water, walking the beaches, and biking without fighting the crowds. Plus, sharing a cab makes it cheap and easy to get to the full moon party. Our cab ride took approximately 40 minutes and cost each of us around 5 USD.
Chances are, the place you are staying can sort out your ride for you if you give them advance notice.
Staying on the other side of the island is also cheaper.
How Much Does the Full Moon Party Cost?
Naturally, a high demand means prices for accommodations skyrocket but I paid only $20 a night. Feel the Rhythm and the Rhyme. It’s Full Moon Party Time Thailand is a pretty inexpensive country; however expect to spend a little more than an average night out.
I spent between $30 – $50 (900-1,500 Baht) during full moon party week. That is a lot for Thailand!
You can actually do it for a lot less.
Full Moon Party Guide: Tips and Tricks
1 – Watch How Many Buckets you Drink. Buckets are the most popular drink at the full moon party and drinking too many can be dangerous. An average bucket contains a bottle of Samsong (Thai Whiskey) and two Thai red bulls equal to 4 or 5 western red bulls. Not exactly a health drink.
One bucket will get you hyper. Two buckets will have you stumbling down the beach like a drunken Olympic runner. Three buckets and you have so much energy that you will be convinced that time slowed down, however you are so drunk, you won’t remember it.
I would limit it to only one, at the most, two buckets; then move on to a less deadly combination. Certainly don’t drink seven.. *Cough* In general that is a fantastic Southeast Asia Travel Tip
2- Drink Water. Hydrating while gettting drink is important. Enough said.
3- Turn Down Drugs. Of course, this is always a good idea no matter where you are but especially on this island. Thailand has very strict drug laws.
During the Full Moon Party random strangers will come up, all over Koh Phangan, to you and try to sell you drugs. Just shake your head no and walk away immediately.
Never ever buy them.
There are a lot of undercover cops who either are posing as drug dealers or watching for drug dealers. Once you finish the sale, you will be arrested. This will result in either doing jail time or giving them a bribe with can cost between $200 – $1,000.
4- Don’t overdo your Pre-gaming. You know your limits. I’m not going to tell you how hard to party, but I would caution you not to overdo it at the start of the night. The party lasts from sundown to well after sunrise.
The Full Moon Party is a marathon, not a sprint.
5- Don’t go swimming. I am telling you this for a couple of reasons.
a- I suspect many people use the ocean as a bathroom during that night.
b- You have been drinking and risk the possibility of drowning which has happened in the past. Don’t take any unnecessary risks.
6- Have an escape plan. Write down the name and address of your hotel/or hostel. This makes life easier when you are trying to get back, especially if you are staying on the other side of the island. I suggest asking your hotel or hostel for a business card. If they don’t have one, have them write it on a blank card in both English and Thai.
7- Get Wild! The party starts raging as soon as the sun starts to go down and it continues well after the sun comes up.
8- Go to The Other Islands. Right next store, only a couple hours by ferry, you have some other beautiful other Thai Islands such as Koh Tao, where you can face your fears and become a scuba diver!
I arrived at the party around 10 p.m. and got back at noon the next day. I danced, I laughed, and I attempted to limbo beneath a stick engulfed in flames. The Full Moon Party is about being completely free, expressing yourself, and celebrating life. Have fun: jump a fire rope, do a little body painting, and dance your ass off. However, remember, it can get messy out there.
This Full Moon Party Guide and Tips are mere suggestions to help you get through your nights on Koh Phangan in one piece. The more Backpacking tips and tricks you have, the more you will enjoy the experience.