LearnThaiwith Us!Start Learning!
The Thai islands are famous for their party atmosphere – perhaps none more so than Ko Pha-Ngan. Home to the legendary Full Moon bash every month, this island has been a mainstay on the well-beaten Banana Pancake Trail for many years. Let’s take a look at partying on Ko Pha-Ngan, beginning with the one that started it all:
Legend has it that the Full Moon Party began with a couple of backpackers gathered around a fire with a few acoustic guitars and beers back in the 80s. Word spread about the monthly lunar gatherings, and they continued to attract more and more revelers. These days, upwards of 30,000 people descend upon the beach of Haad Rin every month to cover themselves in day-glo paint, drink cocktails out of buckets, and dance the night away under the glow of the full moon. With such a big crowd and a wide variety of intoxicants, it’s not surprising that the party has developed a bad reputation. There have been plenty of assaults and robberies throughout the years, as well as injuries and even fatalities. Should you attend Full Moon, be sure to stay with a group, wear some kind of shoes to avoid stepping on glass, don’t buy any drugs (the dealers are often undercover police officers), and keep your valuables at your hotel’s front desk, as break-ins are very common during the party. With a bit of common sense and a good group of friends, the Full Moon Party can be tons of fun. Don’t burn all your energy, though, because there’s lots more going on after dark on Ko Pha-Ngan.
Ko Pha-Ngan loves lunar-themed parties so much that the island had to go ahead and add two on top of Full Moon. The Black Moon Culture event takes place on Baan Tai once a month when the moon cannot be seen. Whereas Full Moon is actually a bunch of smaller parties packed in together on the same beach, Black Moon is just one big party. Fueled by psy-trance and tons of UV decorations, it’s quite the psychedelic scene.
In between these two, there’s also the Half Moon Festival. These parties go on one week before and one week after Full Moon in the decked out jungle of Baan Tai. The set-up of this party is quite impressive, and there are usually 2-3 different stages going on so you can choose which music you’d rather dance to.
Twice a month (one and ten days before Full Moon), you can head deep into the jungle for a wild night out. Much smaller and tamer than the lunar parties, the Jungle Experience features what just might be the coolest stage ever – a neon-lit cheetah head. If you’re not feeling the music here, you can always watch the Muay Thai fights as there’s a ring set up right in the middle of the party. As per usual, you’ll find the professional body painting, buckets, and fire twirling that seem to be present at every island party in Thailand.
Two days before and one day after Full Moon, you can party at a waterfall in the Baan Khai jungle. Starting around 10 PM and going all night long, there are two different stages pumping out a variety of electronic music to keep you grooving. There’s also an all-night BBQ, in case you need something other than Chang or Sangsom in your stomach.
Should you find yourself on Ko Pha-Ngan during Songkran (the Thai New Year celebration), get ready for a massive water fight and party. Pick up a water gun, a bucket, some balloons, or whatever you can get your hands on, and hit the streets to get soaking wet. There’s a very colorful parade, and even a stage with a dance floor set up next to a 7-11. The Songkran celebration here isn’t quite as famous as the ones in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, but it’s a great time nevertheless.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of options for a wild night out on Ko Pha-Ngan. There’s more to this island than just partying, though, including some epic scuba diving. Stay in and lay off the sauce at least one night so you can get out there to dive places like Sail Rock. We’ll have a video from this great dive site soon, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.