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6 things to know before your first Full Moon Party


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Although there are many beach and jungle parties held throughout Thailand, the largest and most famous is at Haad Rin in Koh Phangan: the Full Moon.

Image credit: Thomas sauzedde on Flickr

The Full Moon Party is on many backpackers' bucket lists. Starting in the 1980s as a small birthday get together, the party now sees a whopping 10,000 - 30,000 backpackers attend each month. Covered head to toe in neon, accompanied by fluorescent paint and flower crowns, the Full Moon Party is an experience like no other.

I’ve been to the Full Moon Party twice now, and I've also experienced the numerous parties leading up to the main event. However, even I haven’t managed to escape running into some trouble. Famous events like this do not come without their pitfalls. So… here is my survival guide to the extravaganza that is the Full Moon Party.

Beware the buckets

All drinks at the Full Moon Party come in buckets, often filled with M150 (Thai Red Bull) and a 300ml bottle of liquor. They cost 200 baht (about £5.40), and because they're so cheap there is a tendency to over do it. Trust me, you only need one! 

Say no to drugs

Drugs are illegal in Thailand and drug related offences carry heavy penalties, inducting the death penalty. Police officers are known to go undercover at the Full Moon and pose as drug dealers to catch out drunken tourists. This will be one of the best nights of your life. Don’t let a bad decision ruin that!

Skip the burning rope

The day after the Full Moon you will see backpackers with bandaged hands, legs and feet, either after cut by the broken glass littered on the beach (wear closed shoes – NOT flip flops), or because they’ve skipped the flaming rope. Although it seems fun and daring at the time, injuries from a kerosene soaked flaming rope aren’t pretty. Please avoid this Full Moon ‘attraction’.

Known that theft happens

I know you will want to Instagram and Snapchat this amazing event, but this is a prime location for petty criminals to steal valuables from drunken tourists. Hang on tight to your phone, ID and money. Only take enough cash to cover transportation to and from the party and for a bucket… or two. Keep the remainder of your valuables locked up at your hostel.

Most hostels nowadays provide personal lockers in each room. If you are victim of crime whilst in Thailand, head to the FCO website for additional advice. 

Book transportation

Do not ride your moped to and from the party. I’ve woken up the next day to find many of my friends head to toe in road rash. Thailand rates second in the world for road fatalities per capita, behind Libya. During the 2016/17 New Year holiday period, 478 people died in road accidents in just one week. 

You also must have a license for the class of vehicle you're intending to hire. Thousands of visitors each year rent a motorbike and ride around Thailand totally unlicensed. However, it is illegal.

Book accommodation in advance

Many arrive and try to find last minute accommodation, but by this point most rooms are already booked.

Plan ahead and get somewhere decent and safe. I stayed a ten-minute taxi ride away, at Phangan Arena, Ban Tai. It allowed us to escape the intense action of Haad Rin, but still hosted the best pre-Full Moon events. Plus it was cheap!

Often backpackers who haven’t been organised end up sleeping on the beach intoxicated. Not only can this increase your risk of drowning, but also you are also at risk of being sexually/physically assaulted or mugged.

Also, if you arrive three or four days before the Full Moon, you often get discounted accommodation rates and you can attend all the lead up parties, like the Loi Lay Floating Party, Waterfall Party and/or the Jungle Party - so make the most of your time and book a hostel for a few nights. 

Lead image credit: Thomas sauzedde on Flickr

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