Authored by Christopher Majsak
No-one throws a beach party quite like Thailand, and if you’re thinking about heading to Asia and define yourself as “young”, you’ll probably want to plan your trip to coincide with the full moon.
Happening as you guessed it, on the night of each full moon, Thailand’s Full Moon Party is completely off the charts; an all night beach party which sees up to 40,000 people show up each month.
The party begins at dusk and there are more than a few different bars to dance and party at as you make your way along the beach. The beach explodes into a dancing frenzy as different DJ’s play their mix, drunken backpackers cover their bodies in neon paint, and limbo under kerosene soaked ropes.
Inspired by my friend Dan Sellers’ post about “How to Survive a Full Moon Party“, I compiled a similar list of do’s and don’ts from my experiences at this iconic event.
Tips for Surviving Thailand’s Full Moon Party
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Tip #1: Make Sure to Roll With a Crew
Whether it be friends you’ve traveled with from home, or people you meet at your hostel, when attending the Full Moon Party, make sure you roll with a crew.
With close to 40,000 other party goers all congregated together on Haad Rin, the Full Moon Party is undoubtedly one of the largest parties on earth. Because the crowds are so huge, the party can be very chaotic, and it’s hard to find people you didn’t arrive with. Rolling with a crew to enjoy each other’s company is key.
Tip #2: Pregame Hard (or Bring Some Roadies Along With You)
Compared to the Western world, everything in Thailand is quite cheap. Though this goes out the window at the Full Moon Party. With the exception of the cheap entrance fee (100 baht, or $3), expect to pay Western prices for canned beers and the small plastic sand buckets filled with liquor, soda, and energy drinks. These will set you back $12 or $13 each.
In addition to being a wise move financially, pregaming at the hostel may prove to be one of the highlights of your entire night. Our hostel threw a 2-3 hour mini party where we got to know each other and helped to adorn one another with neon body point (see #3).
Tip #3: Deck Yourself Out in Neon Clothes and Body Paint
Even if neon is not part of your daily wardrobe, the Full Moon Party is the time for you to rock it. Popular attire includes “Full Moon”, tank tops, neon shorts, and fanny packs to hold your valuables. Body paint is also extremely popular.
During our pregame party we had fun decorating each other with various words and designs using the bright colors graciously provided by our hostel. Now is the time to let loose and go a little crazy.
Tip #4: Have a Meetup Plan With Your Crew
Since this is such a large party, there is a high chance that you or other members of your party will find yourself separated from one another. Phone service is unreliable, so set a designated time and place to meet halfway through the party, so you can all be reunited in case someone or others get lost.
Luckily, my group ended up being able to stay together the whole night, which gave us a lot of shared stories and memories.
Tip #5: Don’t Arrive Too Late
A lot of people are fixated on still being on the beach when the sun rises, around 6:30/7ish. Thus, one might think that it is better to go to the party later, around 12 or 1am. I highly recommend that you don’t leave your accommodation any later than 11pm.
40,000 party goers means that there will be a multitude of traffic all trying to get to the same place. This causes huge backlogs, and you could find yourself waiting in traffic for close to an hour! By leaving a bit ahead of the crowds, you’ll get to maximize your time at the party.
Tip #6: Wear Shoes or Some Type of Protective Footwear
Even though you’ll be partying on a beach, flip flops won’t cut it come Full Moon Party time. Unfortunately, when people are drunk, they often lose their environmental consciences and choose to discard their trash on the beach. This could include a multitude of things, but glass is undoubtedly one of them.
Wearing some form of shoes ensures that your feet will be properly shielded from whatever debris you may come across.
Tip #7: Do Not Participate in the Flaming Jump Rope
I feel as though this is common sense, but people become more daring when they’re drunk. Every year, the flaming jump rope claims numerous casualties during the party. Victims can be spotted with large bandages, and sometimes be mistaken for having been in a motorcycle accident.
Even if you are a good jumper and can still utilize your coordination in that environment, rope twirlers don’t abide by any rules and are known to switch the speeds at whim as they try to trip you up. Other random people could jump in as well, thus tangling the rope, and possible catching you with it.
Safer alternatives include the fire limbo or the water slide, a slide about 20 feet high slick with water that lands in the sand. Unfortunately, even these aren’t entirely safe at a party with a crowd of 40,000.
Tip #8: Don’t Go in the Ocean
While a midnight swim may seem alluring when you are intoxicated and pumped with adrenaline, I highly advise you to risk the urge.
Since using the actual bathrooms cost 20 baht, many people opt to relieve themselves in the shallow waters. Not a pleasant thing to wade through!
Tip #9 Stay at Smile Hostel
Smile Hostel was the best! We were located around 15 minutes away from the party, which was close enough to make it easy to get to, though far enough away that none of the craziness could be heard from our room.
The owner, Boy, was very helpful during the 4 nights we stayed on the island, and always had good food and activity recommendations to fill our time. The hostel provided a great atmosphere for socializing, and the rooms were clean and had A/C, albeit a bit cramped.
Tip #10: Don’t Set Your Expectations Too High
There is no doubt that the Full Moon Party will prove to be great time. But was it the most fun I’ve had at a party before? Probably not.
It’s a great chance to hang out on the beach with people from around the world and see a lot of crazy things. Most people have a great time getting into the full spirit of things, but, it’s best to keep your expectations low so you’re not disappointed in the end. This way you won’t leave with any regrets. Unless you do the flaming jump rope that is.
Has anybody else every been to the Full Moon Party or has a crazy party experience while travelling?
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Photo credits: Feature photo & Pinterest images by Joe Stump. Tip #1 photo by Roslyn. Full Moon Party Bar Staff by Roslyn. Tip #3 photo by Matteo Pieroni. Crowds by Roslyn. Flaming jump rope by Duane Storey. Flaming limbo by Roslyn.