Jan 27 2013
The Full Moon Party has made Ko Pha Ngan a draw for backpackers and travellers the world over. For those who have been to this massive party, which can see as many as 50,000 (some even claim 100,000) 20-somethings packed into one beach, it’s easy to see why (or why not!).
If you’ve been to Haad Rin, you’ve probably heard or noticed that the beach is not what it used to be. Back in the early ’80s, when groups of young travellers first started coming to Haad Rin, it was, apparently, spectacular. The beach had soft, white sand, completely unlittered by litter from humans, and when they noticed how the light bounced off the sparkling azure waters during the Full Moon, they were inspired to throw a party. But as with many things, what started off small exploded, and Ko Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Party is now one of the biggest beach parties in the world.
If you’re up for a big night out, dancing until sunrise, head to Haad Rin Nok (Sunset Beach) any time after 22:00 on the night. You’ll have to pay a 100 baht entrance fee unless you can find a clever way of getting into the party — swimming there is always an option, but since partiers tend to use the ocean as their personal latrine at Full Moon, it’s not recommended. Happily, this entrance fee is put to good use — a clean-up crew has been employed to clear the rubbish from Haad Rin the next day, among other environmentally-friendly practices that the money helps to fund.
The major parties are at Cactus Bar and Drop Inn Club, both of which play hip-hop and R&B-type music, and Tommy Resort, which plays electro and tech house. But there are loads of other sound stages, bars and clubs to choose from in between. No doubt you’ll find the one that suits you best quickly.
Entertainment abounds at the Full Moon, with every club trying to get their patrons involved in activities like the fire limbo, the fire jump rope, jumping through a fire-y hoop… Do you see a trend here? Fire shows are also a common sight. Try not to get burned.
Mellow Mountain, at the end of the beach (to the far left if you’re looking at the sea), provides a chilled out atmosphere for travellers to relax and get away from the craziness of the party. You may hear it referred to by its other name, Mushroom Mountain, so-called because they sell mushroom shakes (yes, the drug kind) from behind the bar. Drugs are strictly illegal in Thailand, and Ko Pha Ngan is no exception, so indulge at your own risk. Don’t assume the person offering to sell you any drugs is not a police officer. Thailand has a different view of entrapment to what you may be used to.
A few words of advice: don’t bring any valuables, and if you do, make sure they are secured to your person somehow. Pockets are ideal. Better to not bring anything, though you’ll want to bring some money for a bucket or two.
Be careful as the buckets are cheap and often do not contain the brand of alcohol advertised (Haad Rin bucket sellers are notorious for making moonshine at home, and pouring it into Stolichnaya, Absolute, Jack Daniels, and other brand name bottles).
Furthermore, don’t get too wasted, and watch your back. Be careful not to let anyone plant drugs on you (it happens). While anyone can be a culprit — including of course other travellers — be especially careful of Thai gangs, who have, at times, allegedly been responsible for injuries, shootings and rapes around the Full Moon.
See here for a selection of places to stay along Haad Rin.
Furthermore, be sure to peruse this classic collection of Full Moon Parties pics from Travelfish member Kananga. Do you really want to look like these people?
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