Koh Phangan was the second island we visited during our Thailand adventure, and our main reason for wanting to visit was to check out the famous Full Moon Party.
To get to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui, we took a ferry for about 10 USD a person. It is cheapest to book your inter-island ferry's at the pier, but many travel agencies will book a taxi/boat ride combo for you, which is helpful, for almost the same price.
Why Koh Phangan?
If you’ve done any research about things to do in Thailand, you’ve probably heard about the 1x monthly Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan.
The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan happens once a month in Haad Rin, and after reading up on it and watching plenty of Youtube videos on it, we knew we had to check it out.
Here’s what you need to know about the full moon party in Koh Phangan:
BOOK EVERYTHING IN ADVANCE! We waited until a few nights before to book our hotel (rookie move) and nearly everything was full. We even got to our hotel and they almost didn’t let us check in because they said they were overbooked (until they saw us vlogging and then upgraded our room...hmmm)
FYI waiting until the last minute to book your Thailand accommodations *usually* is the best way to save money and get last minute deals, EXCEPT when it has to do with the Full Moon Party.
Make sure to book your ferry tickets (to and from Koh Phangan) in advance as well - don’t expect to go to the party and then buy a ticket to leave the next morning. The boats/ferries/hotels all fill up quickly because most people try to come to Koh Phangan the day of the Full Moon Party and leave the day after.
Ferry bookings/taxis can usually be done through the hotel/resort/hostel you’re staying at, and when we were in Koh Samui our resort even had it's own ferry that went to and from the Full Moon Party, so it is possibly you'll even be able to book your accommodations on another island and just take a ferry boat to and from the Full Moon Party. I knew after a night of partying that I wouldn't be up for that, so we opted to get a hotel about 20 minutes from Haad Rin and just take the shuttle back and forth from our hotel, so that we could leave whenever we wanted. (My party-till-6am days are behind me 😂)
Taxis are EVERYWHERE, but I would still recommend coordinating a taxi to and from the Full Moon Party especially if you aren’t staying right in Haad Rin. As a matter of fact, I would recommend NOT staying in Haad Rin so that when you are ready to sleep you are away from the craziness/noise.
We stayed in Haad Yao which was great, and we even scheduled a shared taxi for 300 baht (about 10 USD) to and from the party that let us leave whenever we wanted to. (Something similar can be arranged through pretty much all hotels/hostels/resorts)
Full Moon Party Prices
Compared to the US, everything in Koh Phangan, even during the Full Moon Party, is extremelyu cheap. It was about 100 baht to get in the party (about 3 USD), buckets of liquor (small bottle + your mixer) were about 10 USD - and definitely enough for 2 people to share.
There is also tons of street food available at the Full Moon Party for great prices, you could definitely get a full meal for less than 3USD, but if you have any food sensitivities or preferences, don't expect for there to be many options for you (unless you're ok with mystery meat). Most of the street food was typical Thai fare: pad thai, fried rice, etc. (DELICIOUS but not super allergy-friendly).
Things to know about the full moon party
- You will have to pay to use the bathrooms, however most people (men) just go in the ocean (seriously, at any given time there were at least 50 men peeing into the ocean)
- There is lots of trash/broken glass on the beach, so definitely be careful and if you're worried about it, wear close toed shoes
- Everyone wears neon clothing and body paint! Don't worry, most places where you can buy your alcohol provide free body paint to paint yourself. There are also tons of places selling neon shirts, but unless you want to ditch the one you were wearing before, it's best to get one pre-party
- The Full Moon Party means lots of craziness, drunkenness, dancing and people watching. Most people start arriving around 9PM and stay until 6am or later...
- Make sure your hotel has AC!!! I thought after living in Maui i’d be ok with no AC but I am SO glad we made sure that everywhere we stayed in Thailand had AC because I would’ve been such a bitch without it (especially when hungover). The heat and humidity in Thailand is unreal - unlike anything i've ever experienced and I LOVE hot weather.
Besides the Full moon party...
Koh Phangan is SO much more than just a party island. We actually loved the beaches here even more than in Koh Samui. The island (away from Haad Rin) also had lots of healthy, vegetarian and vegan options, and even more coffee + breakfast spots than I had expected.
Again, motorbike is the cheapest way to get around or shared taxi. And they aren’t hard to find, just start walking in any direction and they will honk at you which is their way of asking if you want a ride.
Overall, I loved Koh Phangan (even more than Koh Samui, surprisingly) and not just because of the Full Moon Party. The beaches were a little nicer, there were more healthy food options, and it was a little quieter (especially once we got out of Haad Rin). I wish we could've stayed longer!
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Have you been to Koh Phangan, Thailand and the Full Moon Party? Tell me about your experience below!