Opinions vary greatly on the subject of the Full Moon Party but whether you hear positive or negative feedback there is no denying that it’s something to cross off your list of things to do in Thailand.
Option 1: Train
My favourite and most exciting way to travel through Thailand is on the sleeper train. You can leave from Hua Lumphong (Chinatown) or Bang Sue (near Chatuchak Weekend Market) to your destination; Surat Thani. It’s also useful to note that you can purchase tickets for any journey within Thailand from any Thai railway station, so you don’t need to buy your tickets from Bang Sue even if you are planning on leaving from there.
There are about 6 trains that leave every evening start from about 4:30pm, the journey takes roughly 13 hours, I’ve rarely experienced delays and sometimes even arrived early but delays can happen.
Tickets cost ~650B for an aircon sleeper upper bunkbed and ~750B for a lower bunkbed which includes fresh sheets, a pillow and a cover. It can get a little nippy at night due to the aircon so be sure to take a hoodie.
You can buy rice dishes, Thai deserts, crisps, water, juice, beer and coffee from sellers that walk up and down the carriage until around 10pm, after that there is a food/drinks carriage which sometimes becomes a social meeting point for travellers to drink beer, play cards and listen to music.
Once you arrive into Surat Thani train station, exit and head towards the little internet cafes, this is the easiest place to sort out transport to the island. Here you can buy a joint bus and ferry ticket for 450B. You could do this a little cheaper yourself by going into Surat Thani town and using the local minibus service to the pier then buying an individual ferry ticket but I usually find that it’s not worth the hassle.
Once you get to Thong Sala Pier on Koh Phangan just tell one of the Songthaew drivers which hotel you’re staying at and they will take you there with others staying in a similar area. Pier to hotel is usually 100B (this may have risen recently). I always opt for hiring a scooter from one of the nearby scooter rental places which costs 150-250B per day depending on which bike and how long you want it for, discounts are given for longer stays.
NOTE: Read what you sign, if you damage the bike then you will need to pay for what you damage and have signed your name to.
Option 2: Fly
Flying saves you a bit of time but usually costs a little more, book a few weeks in advanced for the best deals with Air Asia or Nok Air. Your flight leaves around 6am so you’ll need to be at Don Meuang at around 4am, I recommend arriving two hours early as it can get very busy for these cheaper, early flights and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can buy joint tickets from the website all the way to Thong Sala on Koh Phangan. Look for the island transfer options.
If you haven’t purchased a joint plane ticket then after you land in Surat Thani airport there are a couple of desks offering island transfers which as above includes bus and ferry, one is expensive and one is cheap, I’ve never worked out why as they seem to both offer then same service. Try both and obviously opt for the cheaper one.
Option 3: Bus
Don’t take the bus. If you do end up taking the bus, don’t book it from Khao San Road unless you’re using Lomphraya (ticket office on Rambuttri Road). In general, don’t keep any valuables in the luggage compartment below I have seen people lose everything except the clothes that they were wearing and some change in their pocket.
This is the centre of the Full Moon Party, it’s located on the South East tip of Koh Phangan. Everything in this area is within walking distance so if you plan on stumbling home in the early hours, this is the easiest way to do it.
Yes it’s better to book in advance for Full Moon but there is always accommodation available in the area. I’ve been twice without booking before and found a room straight away. If you want a hostel though you have no chance.
Many hostels and hotels require at least at 2 day booking and some places require 5-7 days (although this is rare).
Baan Thai and Thong Sala
You’ll find the cheaper hostels and hotels along the road leading to Haad Rin, if you’re worried about getting to and from the party, don’t be. There are songthaews (public vans) running up and down the road 24/7, just wave your arm and pay the driver 100B when you get off.
Pro tip: ask someone from the hotel to write the name and location of your hotel in Thai, the road is a long road and looks very different at night so don’t go getting lost.
Rest of the island
If you’re staying elsewhere on the island then it’s likely that you’re staying in a resort or something similar. They will provide transport for you but it’s going to cost a little more and won’t be as frequent.
Full Moon Party
If you’re outside of the main Haad Rin area then you’ll need to pay 100B entry on your way in. If you get there before 7 then you can just walk in and avoid this fee but it’s not really a hefty entrance fee compared to the Half Moon party which is now 1000B.
Right, first of all, it’s compulsory to be dressed in luminous clothing which you can purchase from all over the island if you don’t have any.
I always go barefoot for a couple of reasons, firstly, you’re always on the sand so you don’t need shoes or flip-flops, secondly, you’re probably going to lose them. Just don’t bother. There is very little glass around as most people are drinking from buckets.
I also always take my phone but that’s because I know I’m very good at checking on it and keeping it safe, you may not be.
Buckets! The standard drink of the Full Moon Party. If you haven’t tried the national drink Sangsom then now is the time. Grab your bucket from the road instead of the beach, the beach is more expensive and doesn’t give you a whole, unopened bottle. It’s worth just walking up the road for a minute to grab something that you can trust.
Don’t. There are drugs available but there are also undercover police trying to sell drugs to you to catch you out. If you’re caught then expect to pay a very hefty fine(bribe) to avoid jail time.
It’s all very well creating a meeting point but I know that after a few drinks it’s hard to commit to. Keep updating your meeting point in relation to where you are, it can take a while to get from one side of the beach to the other.
After Full Moon
Try something different. Eden hosts a party every Tuesday and Saturday. A small bar on a secluded spot just round from Haad Rin beach, you’ll have to take a boat there which costs 250-300B each from the beach. A bit pricey but worth it. Great DJs, great vibes. Do it.
If you have any more suggestions or spotted some information that needs updating then please comment below, I’d love to hear your views.