Photo: Meet the FMP.

Thailand's Full Moon Party

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It’s around 02:00 at Greenpeace Restaurant in the heart of Ko Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Party and Nat is up at the counter trying to pay the bill for our table. “What did you have? We have no idea what you had,” says one of the Burmese staff “Just pay me whatever you think is right.” He’s distracted, busy trying to deal with a Western guy who is covered in his own faeces, so Nat passes him a few hundred and we move on.

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Much has been written – both good and bad – about Thailand’s Full Moon Party and, after experiencing the August 2014 party, we’d say it is just about all true. The party is a breathtaking amalgam of excess, swinging from hedonistic to horrible between steps, yet with a dreamlike and other-worldly misting thrown over it. It’s a remarkable testament to both human physical endurance – particularly of the eardrums – and abject greed and stupidity.

A non-party day at Haad Rin. Photo taken in or around Thailand's Full Moon Party, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand by Stuart McDonald.

A non-party day at Haad Rin. Photo: Stuart McDonald

The Full Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan happens ostensibly on the night of each full moon (though it is sometimes shifted a day to accommodate other Thai cultural sensibilities) and takes place on Haad Rin beach – a stunning dust-like white-sand beach towards the southern tip of the island. The party originated back in the 1980s but by the time I first tried one in 1993 it had already strayed far from its purported origins – my most memorable event was seeing a fellow traveller shot in the back with a firework.

Fast forward 21 years and while the party hasn’t aged well it still draws tens of thousands of people and plays a pivotal role in the economy of the island. So what’s a party like? With a handful of travelling companions we tried the Super Moon FMP.

A dusk Haad Rin arrival saw roads already full of mostly young backpackers – foreign and Thais – cruising the streets in their dayglo FMP T-shirts. Groups of friends, often decked out in matching dayglo, wandered the streets snacking and drinking. The preferred poison was buckets: a small plastic bucket filled with a half bottle of liquor (vodka, gin and Thai whisky are popular) then topped with a bottle or two of RedBull, ice and a mixer of your choice. The logic is the liquor gets you smashed while the RedBull keeps ... Travelfish members only (Around 2,000 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Location map for Thailand's Full Moon Party

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Popular attractions in Ko Pha Ngan

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ko Pha Ngan.

Best places to stay in Ko Pha Ngan

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ko Pha Ngan.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Pha Ngan.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Pha Ngan.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Pha Ngan.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Pha Ngan, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Pha Ngan? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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