Phangan Colour Moon

Phangan Colour Moon had its opening night on the 9th December 2014. It has never been held before and marks the start of something new for Koh Phangan: an event successfully organised by the Island and Regional governments which appeals to both Thais and tourists alike.

Normally these types of evening event are primarily aimed to appeal to local Thais, with a small number of tourists visiting out of curiosity more than anything else. They normally have little more than a Thai dance stage, a small fun fair, some markets stalls, and a lot of food and beer stalls. Phangan Colour Moon Festival went well beyond this formula with a well thought out and organised set of attractions going on through the night.

Fashion Show

The fashion show was in three parts, with one presenter speaking in Thai and the other in English. The first, and longest, part of the show featured half a dozen professional models showcasing original Thai fashion designs based on the theme of Koh Phangan. There was a heavy emphasis on beach and party clothing often incorporating the traditional batik fabrics made exclusively in Southern Thailand.

The second part of the show involved body paint skills modelled by young female tourists. Body painting is a highly developed art on the island and it features heavily on party nights. Anywhere except Koh Phangan this probably wouldn’t be considered fashion, and indeed the girls were not wearing much.

The third part of the show was a modelling competition between workers at two of the local resorts, Buri Rasa Resort in Thong Nai Pan Noi and Grand Sea Resort in Thong Sala, and the Lomprayah ferry company. As well as modelling each team designed their own costumes. Lomprayah came first, Buri Rasa Resort came second, and Grand Sea Resort, which decided to field the night’s only male model, came last.

Music Stage

Throughout the evening the stage featured a succession of Thai and Western musicians playing a largely acoustic set of chilled-out guitar based music which is as much a part of the local music scene as the progressive hard dance music Koh Phangan is best known for.

Illuminated Harbour

The harbour was lit up with fishing boats with their green lighting rigs turned up to full brightness. The green lights are used to attract squid and fish at night. The use of the lighting on fishing boats moored in the harbour was a clever way to bring the fishing industry into the festival and fishing remains a key part of the local culture and economy. Phangan wouldn’t be Phangan without it.

Local Culture and Eco-Tourism

In addition to the entertainment stages, there were a number of other stalls and exhibitions dedicated to local culture and the local environment.

Coconut farming is very important to Koh Phangan. For most the 20th Century coconut farming was the main industry on the island. As well as being good to eat, coconut has proven medicinal benefits particularly the oil as a food supplement and health and beauty product. Local producers have started to capitalise on this by producing their own range of oils and beauty products manufactured on the island. Another more creative, and unusual, use for the coconut was the walkway constructed with coconut shells. The idea is that by walking on the shells you get a therapeutic foot massage.

The hull of retired Thai Navy warship HMS Phangan was opened up for the night for use as an impromptu art gallery. At one time HMS Phangan was a US navy tank ship. This internal space is perfect for events and easily accessed by the large ramp which in former days was used to load and unload tanks. The art show featured a number of different media including tattoo exhibitions, painting and line drawings and a fascinating display of photos of Koh Phangan over the last 120 years with the earliest photos being of King Rama V at Than Sadet waterfall.

Last, but not least, were the exhibitions about the marine life in the Marine Park areas around Koh Phangan; some of the local dive operators, most notably Sail Rock Divers, assisted by showing underwater videos and answering questions about the local sea life and conservation.

Next Year?

For those of you who missed the festival, the question is whether it will be on next year? No one is sure yet and there have been no public announcements to say whether it be will held again for the Colour Moon in 2015. However, given the success of this year’s event we believe it is sure to be held again next year.

Update for 2021

The Phangan Colour Moon Party didn’t catch on. It was polite, progressive, cultural and environmentally friendly. It was also lacking in appeal to the 30,000 party goers that descend monthly on the island. While Bangkok generals, some business owners and locals want to address the environmentally cost of the parties, as well as the reputational damage to the island by promoting alternative festivals, the majority are resigned to hosting the big parties.

Will the Full Moon Party Start Again?


This is a very good question. Such a good one that CNN and the BBC have both run stories on it, seemingly using the same material. And that is no surprise: so much of Thai tourist culture is a copy of something else that succeeded in making money.
If you set up a bar that draws lots of custom for having draught beer, the other bars will reluctantly follow suit. If moped hire becomes popular, before you know it dozens of places are renting out mopeds. If one place gets a plethora of yoga devotees, before you know it other resorts suddenly discover they are in fact on a spiritual journey. There seems to be a dearth of new ideas for making money; better to try something that has already been proved to be successful. And hence the reluctance to move on, or try something different.

Where is this going? Well, my guess is that the Haad Rin monthly parties will continue because it is a veritable cash cow. The organisers have become rich. The landowners in Haad Rin have become rich. The rich can do what they want unless the police step in, and then the police can sometimes have marvellous amnesia and pretend they never had any objections all along.

This is all somewhat guess work. Thailand is the land of the free, and yet it has been several years since they’ve had an election. You can’t use the USA or Europe to understand the political system of the country. There aren’t any locally elected councillors to scrutinize by-laws, no local political parties posting pamphlets and knocking on doors. And then there is the police.

It is instructive to remember the fiasco of Koh Phangan Airport. It is not unreasonable to expect surveys and land purchase agreements to quickly uncover if land is designated as protected national park. However, this was only revealed after Kan Air failed to secure funding partners for the stalled project. It wasn’t the rules that prevented the airport being built, it was a lack of suckers ready to put forward money.

The BBC and CNN interviewed local business owners many of whom would like to see the Full Moon Party better regulated, with more policing, and more concern for the environment. Indeed, many sense that ‘up market’ holds the keys to more tourist dollars. Perhaps a FMP for polite east Asians? They could drink watery beer, wear face masks and go to bed before midnight. They would be less offensive than the fuck bucket brigade. But back in the real world…

Asking people to wear face masks and social distance at a Full Moon Party is ludicrous and would be viewed as a total kill joy for those avid Full Mooners, many of whom regard themselves as immune to the coronavirus. People gather in their masses for the anarchic experience; considering themselves unlikely to get burnt by the fire rope, get raped or drowned in the sea.

And the organisers of the Full Moon Party know this. They have clout on the island. It would take considerable determination for the junta in Bangkok to halt the parties.

It is more likely that the vagaries of fashion, the whim of what is cool to be more of a decisive factor in curbing the excesses of the party. There is always the next ‘in’ place to top the must-do list of young travellers. Just as overnight it seemed that tattoos were the last word in street, so a new unmarked generation will just as quickly leave older generations looking decidedly out-of-touch for having blue inked skin. Don’t expect any local diktat to tone down the party. The only reason the party was put on hold was because the tourists vanished. When they return so will the DJs, buckets, flaming ropes, dealers, night walkers and bucket sellers.

Full Moon Party Hostels

The Party Hostel 1 Star – from 800 THB
18 bed dorm and 2 bed private rooms. Central location.

The Party Hostel

Electro Hostel 1 Star – from 800 THB – CLOSED
10 bed mixed dorm and private rooms. Good quality.

Electro Hostel

Seventeen Hostel 1 Star – from 775 THB
Centrally located hostel. Mixed dorm rooms and free WiFi.

Seventeen Hostel

Bed N Bar Hostel 1 Star – from 750 THB
Rooms of 8 bunk beds. Free lockers and WiFi.

Bed n Bar

Gallery 1 Star – from 600 THB
15 bed dorm. Aimed at musicians and artists.

Maddy Hostel 1 Star – from 560 THB
6, 11, and 19 bed mixed dorms. Fun atmosphere and activities.

Maddy Hostel

Moon Dance Hostel 1 Star – from 550 THB
2 x eight bed dorms sharing 2 bathrooms. Clean with air-conditioning.

Moon Dance Hostel

Our House 1 Star – from 530 THB
10, 12 and 36 bed dorms. A/C, lots of toilets and bar.

Our House Hostel

Dancing Elephant HQ Hostel – from 485 THB
19 and 40 bed mixed dorms. Lots of on-site activities & facilities.

Dancing Elephant HQ Hostel

Peach Guesthouse 1 Star – from 380 THB
Budget private rooms for backpackers. Very basic.

Peach Guesthouse

Om Ganesh Hostel & Restaurant 1 Star – from 320 THB
Long running hostel with freebies around the time of the Full Moon Party.

Om Ganesh Hostel

Jaya Hostel and Guesthouse 1 Star – from 255 THB
6, 12, 16, 20 and 22 room dorms. Private rooms as well. In centre of Haad Rin

Jaya Hostel and Guesthouse

Fubar Guest House and Hostel 1 Star – from 220 THB
6, 17 and 22 bed mixed dorm rooms. 2, 3 & 4 person private rooms also available.

Fubar Guest House and Hostel

Phangan Hostel 1 Star – from 180 THB
3 air-conditioned mixed dorm rooms. Central location.

Phangan Hostel

Full Moon Party Venues

The Full Moon Party is not one party, it’s a lot of smaller parties taking place at the bars running the length of Haad Rin Beach. Every venue is different which is what makes the Full Moon Party so popular – there is something to suit everyone! This is our guide to the different bars, running North to South along the Full Moon Party beach.

UPDATE: Obviously, when the party is back after the covid-19 crisis, there will be a number of changes to this list as new leaseholders of the Haad Rin bars will look to re-brand. I also think trance and hard progressive techno will give way to newer forms of EDM.

Mellow Mountain

mellow mountain

Mellow Mountain is a laid back wooden bar perched on the hill above the sea. Mellow Mountain attracts an older and mellower crowd than the rest of the Full Moon Party with a mix of Techno/House/Funk. Catch DJ Lai from Thong Nai Pan on the decks at around 2 am for some original and upbeat house mixes. This is a great bar to either chill out or dance. The action’s all inside over looking the Full Moon Party. Lots of room to dance or chill out with drink sat on some cushions.

Tommy Beach Club

Tommy Resort

This is one of the four big venues on the Full Moon Party beach (the other three are The Cactus Bar, Drop Inn Club and Paradise Club). This place gets packed on Full Moon Party night with two sound systems on the beach outside the front of the bar. There is a lot going on here throughout the night. They have a good line up of DJs and play a mix of Psy-Trance, Tech House, Techno and Electro House. Tommy Beach Club has a club like feel with a giant laser, dance podiums, UV lighting, fluorescent sculptures and a fire wall. You are likely to want to spend some of your night at this bar.

The Orchid

the orchid

The Full Moon Party’s only Drum and Bass, R’n’B, break beat and hip-hop bar. This bar is one of the smaller venues on the Full Moon Party Beach. It has a loyal following who pack onto the covered concrete dance floor. People tend to come here for the music. It’s a good place to dance as well if you don’t particularly like the big crowds.

The Cactus Bar

cactus bar

Probably the busiest bar on the beach. They put on a good show with a fire show and pretty girls dancing on the bar. The music is more commercial than the other bars on the beach with the playlist ranging through 70s ,80s, 90s, Hip-Hop, Dance, Electro, Dance, Drum and Bass and classic dance ‘anthems’. The music appeals to a really wide range of people. Like the Tommy Beach Club they have fire wall, dance podiums and fluorescent sculptures. Good bar inside as well with two-storeys. Arrive early if you want to get seats for yourself and your friends. Keeping your seats all night is a bit more difficult!

Vinyl Club

Vinyl Club

Vinyl Club is a small club with a big sound system. Resident DJs Kay and Jok play Hard Techno and Psy-Trance to a cool crowd intend on partying hard until the early hours of the the morning. There isn’t much room inside the bar but plenty on the beach. Don’t expect to see the DJs playing vinyl.

Zoom Bar

Zoom Bar

Next door to the Vinyl Club and a very similar kind of club. They have a DJ booth overlooking the beach which is pretty cool. This bar has an unfortunate recent history – this is where tourist Stephen Ashton was shot dead at the beginning of 2013. Robert got caught in the cross fire when an island resident shot at another island resident. Not the fault of the bar, and it doesn’t mean that this bar is any less safe than another – it could have happened anywhere.

Drop Inn Club

Drop Inn Club

Launched in 1989, this a mainstay of the Full Moon Party. At points during the night they can attract up to 10,000 people. It gets busiest when their music starts to connect with the crowds. They play a wide range of music a lot of it falling into the category of ‘popular music’. This said at points during the evening they play really good House and Techno. The music is up and down, like everywhere at the Full Moon Party. You need to move from place to place as the music changes.

Paradise Bungalows

Paradise Club

This is the original Full Moon Party which started around 1983 by a certain Mr Suti. He put on a small party for some backpackers on full moon night and carried on doing it every month after. Starting out with only 20 to 30 people partying around a bonfire, the number of people who now go sometimes tops 30,000. Paradise is the place to experience the ‘old skool’ Full Moon Party. This is the place where they do the notorious fire rope skipping. Lots of party goers come away from Full Moon Party night with burns to their leg after trying this one. Be careful! They also have a fire wall and a rock slide. Paradise is a must visit when you go to the Full Moon Party. They play mostly House and Techno music.

The Rock

The Rock

The Rock is a laid back bar on top of a big rock at the Southern end of the beach. the Rock is run by the legendary Mr Suti and has an ‘old skool’ feel with wooden floors and palm leaf roof. This is a good place to chill out and you get a good view of the party but away from the madness. If you do decide to take time out be sure to try one of their cocktails, by far the best on the Full Moon Party beach. The music is generally Funky and Soulful although it changes in tempo throughout the night.

Top Ten Full Moon Party Hotels

Starting with the best, this is our list the top ten places to stay in Haad Rin during the Full Moon Party:
#1 The Coast
Haad Rin’s newest and hippest resort.

#2 Sarikantang
Fantastic resort on a beautiful stretch of beach

#3 Best Western Phanganburi Resort
International standard resort with pool and spa.

#4 Palita Lodge
Luxurious resort right in the centre of the party action

#5 Phangan Bayshore Resort
Large beach front resort with great rooms and a party atmosphere.

#6 Sea Breeze Resort
Smaller and quieter resort with luxurious air-con bungalows.

#7 Blue Hill Resort
Affordable hillside resort with stunning views.

# 8 Rin Bay View Bungalow
Value for money beach front resort with friendly atmosphere.

#9 Paradise Bungalows
The original Full Moon Party venue. The place to get into the party atmosphere.

#10 Thaniza Beach Front Resort
Lovely quiet and relaxed beach front resort.

Read More

Best After Party
10 Best Full Moon Party Hotels

Where is the best place to stay on Koh Phangan

The Island of Koh Phangan has a diverse range of accommodation options and small towns and villages each with their own character. Some will appeal to certain types of visitor more than others. It can be difficult to choose where to stay as the guides will tend to tell you that everywhere is great, which in their own way they are, but this is of little help in choosing where to stay.

Here is our guide to choosing the beach location which will suit you best.

1. Luxury in Koh Phangan

Thong Nai Pan Noi

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

If you are looking for a luxury break in Koh Phangan then you should head to the small village of Thong Nai Pan Noi in the North East of the island.

Thong Nai Pan Noi has one of the best beaches on Koh Phangan. It’s about 800 meters long with clean white powder sand which slopes gently into the water. Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach is perfect for swimming from December through to September. The beach is within a sheltered bay and the sea is perfectly calm most days. It’s popular with families as children can play safely in the water.
Better Than Sex
Better Than Sex Restaurant and Lounge
Luna Lounge
Luna Lounge

Thong Nai Pan Noi has a small laid-back village with a good range of independent restaurants. The best two of these are Luna Lounge and Better than Sex at the edge of the village. Both restaurants serve good quality Thai, European and fusion cooking. The food at Better that Sex is slightly better than Luna Lounge, with some unusual Burmese dishes, such as curry with sour mango, and good Italian pasta and pizzas. Also worth mentioning are Jip Shop which serves tasty Thai food at mid-range prices, and Baan Muay Thai which serves authentic Thai food at very cheap prices – try the ‘Kanaa Moo Grop’ (Chinese cabbage fried with crispy pork in light oyster sauce) and ‘Gai Pad Prio Wan’ (Thai style sweet and sour chicken).

Visitors to Thong Nai Pan Noi have no fewer than 4 luxury resorts to choose from. If you bear in mind there are only a total of 6 luxury resorts on the whole island you can understand why we describe Thong Nai Pan Noi as THE luxury destination in Koh Phangan.

Buri Rasa
Buri Rasa from 2,900 THB per night

BOOK BURI RASA RESORT

Buri Rasa is Thong Nai Pan Noi’s newest resort which opened for business in 2012. The style of this new resort is something of a departure from the design of typical luxury resorts in Thailand. The rooms are a bit smaller, and the design is more modern with pastel colours rather than dark heavy wood tones. You get a lot for your money at Buri Rasa with room prices approximately half that of the other luxury resorts in Thong Nai Pan Noi. The beachfront location is excellent as is the hotel restaurant and bar, which are similarly good value for money. The rooms are very comfortable and guests benefit from the newness of the fittings and furnishings. The ground floor rooms feature very nice terraces with chairs and tables leading onto either the garden or the beach. Overall a reliable and good value choice, particularly for couples.
Panviman
Panviman Resort and Spa from 2,600 THB per night

BOOK PANVIMAN RESORT

Panviman is one of the first hotels on Koh Phangan having opened way back in 1987. It has changed a lot since then with a lot of new rooms and facilities having been added. The design style of the resort can best be described as ‘eclectic’ which is a reflection of its organic development over the last 25 years. The newest rooms, which are luxury individual cottages, are the best. The Presidential Suite built right on the rocks at the water’s edge on the headland is spectacular. The sliding glass doors open onto a private plunge pool and terrace right on the shoreline. The hotel rooms are nicely appointed and we have enjoyed staying there on numerous occasions. However, they are packed closely together and you feel as though you lack privacy on your balcony when the hotel is full. The dining options at Panviman are good. There is a cliff side restaurant where they serve a sumptuous buffet breakfast, and a beach restaurant with a BBQ and excellent Thai menu – in our opinion the best Thai food on the island.

Rasa Nan Da
Rasananda from 7,762 THB per night

BOOK ANANTARA RASANANDA

Koh Phangan’s most luxurious and most expensive hotel. The rooms range from hotel style to private beachfront bungalows where your terrace leads onto the sand. Built in 2008, Rasananda was a ground breaking development in the island’s hotel scene, and rivals the established resorts on Koh Samui and Phuket. It was Rasananda that established Thong Nai Pan Noi as a destination in the itinerary of the international ‘jet-set’. Several celebrities such as Jordan (Katie Price) have stayed at Rasananda.

The location and the construction of this resort is great, however, we feel that it is slightly let down by the standard of the catering. By comparison with the rest of the island its international menu is good, however, by comparison with resorts in the Maldives or the Caribbean it still has some way to go. Our feeling is that they would have been better off doing simple things well, rather than attempting a more complicated menu and failing to hit the mark. The supply chain of products in Southern Thailand makes creating a truly international menu very difficult. This said, there are so many restaurants within a short walking distance; the quality of the resort restaurant is not a deciding factor when you make a booking decision in Thong Nai Pan Noi.

UPDATE: Rasananda is currently offering Japanese cuisine. This appears to be more of a successful departure.
Santhiya
Santhiya Resort and Spa from 4,700 THB

BOOK SANTHIYA RESORT

Santhiya is a self-contained resort with the Island’s largest swimming pool, complete with faux waterfall. If you have children they will happily entertain themselves for the whole holiday in the pool whilst you relax with a drink at the poolside restaurant and bar enjoying the panoramic sea views. The accommodation is split between hotel blocks and individual cottages, some with private pools. The resort is a truly magnificent construction, made largely in wood along the design style of the Northern Thai Lanna culture. The reception and restaurant are masterpieces of intricate wood carving, all designed by the owner who is an architect.

The decision to use this much wood works well in the communal areas but has proved a poor one when it comes to the older cottages, which alas are looking slightly tired now. It was built in 2004 and the original rooms are in need of some modernisation. How much you enjoy your stay may well depend on which rooms you get.

This is the most successful hotel on the Island with a constant stream of visitors from all over the world (particularly Asian countries) on package tours. The vast majority of the visitors enjoy their stay and tend to remain within the confines of the resort for the whole time they come to Thong Nai Pan Noi. This is partly because the catering is good, and partly because it is slightly difficult to reach the main beach and village from the resort. If you want to easily access the local restaurants, as opposed to having a resort based holiday, you might be slightly better off staying at one of the other hotels.

2. Parties in Koh Phangan

Half Moon Party

Half Moon Party

Most of the people who come to Koh Phangan come for the parties. If you fall into this category you are best off staying in the Ban Tai area, which is the beach running northwards from the main port town Thong Sala. Many people immediately opt for staying in Haad Rin which is the location of the Full Moon Party, however, you are much better off staying in the Ban Tai area for three main reasons. Firstly, aside from the Full Moon Party, Ban Tai is where most of the action is. The Ban Tai area is close to the Half Moon Party, Jungle Experience, Loi Lay party, Ban Sabai after party, Black Moon, Sramanora Waterfall Party, MerKa Ba and Ku Club. There is something going on most nights throughout the year. Secondly, by staying in Ban Tai you can access a really good range of restaurants and bars. The restaurant options include the excellent Fisherman’s Restaurant, fast food at the Food Factory, or Muu Gra Tat, a type of hotpot cooked at your table, at Hell’s Kitchen. Lastly, and most importantly Ban Tai is much more relaxed than Haad Rin. The constant influx of often badly behaved tourists to Haad Rin has given the locals something of a hard edge.

There are lots of affordable accommodation choices in Ban Tai, many with a pleasant beach side location. Depending on your budget, you might consider one of the following three resorts:
The Beach Village
Beach Village from 250 THB per night
If you are on a budget, or don’t care too much about where you stay because you haven’t come to Koh Phangan to sleep, The Beach Village is an excellent choice. They have a range of dormitories beds and small inexpensive bungalows. They also have a swimming pool, a bar and restaurant, and host the popular Rhythm and Sands party. This is a good choice if you are on your own and you want to meet people.

Milky Bay
Milky Bay from 890 THB per night

BOOK MILKY BAY RESORT

This is a very nice bungalow resort in peaceful garden setting. It’s a cut above the other Ban Tai bungalows resorts with 6 different room choices. All the rooms have air-con and satellite TV making them great places to recover from the night before. There is a pool, restaurant and gym, where they teach Muay Thai, on-site. Milky Bay is a professionally run resort from the same people behind Lime N Soda and the Food Factory.

3. Families in Koh Phangan

Haad Salad

Haad Salad

Haad Salad is a small tucked away bay. Pirates used to hide here, hence the name which means Pirate Bay. It’s a bit away from the parties and crowds that come to Koh Phangan. Everything tends to shut down (except the Reggae Bar on the edge of the village) at about 9 pm. The peace and quiet, in combination with the value for money family friendly resorts, makes this an ideal place for a family holiday.

There are things to do and see a short taxi journey away. There is great snorkelling in Mae Haad, which is the next beach. About 3 km to the North is Chaloklum where there is a range of activities such elephant trekking, archery and wake boarding. To the south is Haad Yao which is a great swimming beach with a lively town.
Salad Beach Resort
Salad Beach Resort from 1,200 THB per night

BOOK SALAD BEACH RESORT

Salad Beach Resort is the most popular resort for families on the West Coast. It’s value for money, it’s friendly, and the facilities are a good standard. It’s busy all year round and you should book in advance. There are lots of things in the hotel grounds: beach front restaurant, pool, spa, supermarket, and motorbike rental shop. The resort is fairly large with 53 rooms, about half bungalows and half hotel rooms. All the rooms have air-con and satellite TV. The hotel rooms all have balconies, and the bungalow have verandas where you can sit outside. The accommodation is set within a lovely landscaped garden with water features.
Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa
Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa from 4,200 THB per night

Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa is one step up in luxury from Salad Beach Resort and two steps up in price. The two hotels are next door to each other. The rooms and bungalows are better: bigger and better furnished. There are two restaurants, the main restaurant and the beachside BBQ terrace. The resort runs a very popular Thai cookery course with the jovial Chef Tummy. There is also a large beachfront swimming pool, which is filled with saltwater – good to know if you are allergic to the chemical used to clean the water in the pool.

4. Peace and Quiet in Koh Phangan

Mae Haad

Mae Haad Beach

There are plenty of deserted beaches in Koh Phangan. However, many of these are difficult to get to and have too few facilities for most visitors. Of the beaches you can get to fairly easily, and have enough restaurants, telecoms connectivity and shops to satisfy most visitor’s basic needs, Mae Haad beach is probably the most peaceful.

Mae Haad is a sleepy little village with a handful of restaurants, bars and resorts. There are also a couple of independent shops including Om Bakery. It tends to only get busy during the late morning and afternoons with people who come here for the snorkelling, which is the best on Koh Phangan. There is a coral reef about 25 metres from the shore line with plenty of fish – the area is a protected national park. Snorkels and flippers can be rented by the hour from Island View Cabana. As well as snorkelling, and chilling out on the perfect beach, there is also a waterfall in the jungle about a 10 minute walk from the beach.

In Mae Haad you have two good accommodation options:
Island View Cabana
Island View Cabana from 300 THB per night
Island View Cabana has classic Thai style wooden beach bungalows right on the beach. There aren’t too many of these left now on Koh Phangan as the larger resorts have gone ‘up market’. There are 4 grades of bungalow, some have air-con and fridges, others fans. It is not the luxurious rooms or facilities which you come here for, it’s the beach front location. If you are after a beach and inexpensive days chilling on a great beach, you can’t go wrong with booking at this resort.
Mae Haad Bay Resort
Mae Haad Bay Resort from 2,300 THB per night

BOOK MAE HAAD BAY RESORT

Mae Haad Bay Resort is a decent 3 star resort. The rooms feel luxurious. There are 7 room types, the smallest is a generous 45 sqm. Bear in mind that the average room size in a smart Bangkok hotel is 32sqm. The largest room is the massive 129 sqm Sunset Beachfront Suite Room. The centre piece of the hotel is the impressive swimming pool and adjacent decking area. All the rooms look onto the pool area. This great hotel has an open air restaurant & BBQ, a lobby lounge and a poolside bar. It’s close, but not right on, the main Mae Haad beach. The walk though is less than 1 minute around the side of the resort.

5. Beach Lovers in Koh Phangan

Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach

If the most important thing for you is the quality of the beach, then we recommend Bottle Beach (‘Haad Khuat’ in Thai) in the North East of Koh Phangan.

Bottle Beach used to be a hippy enclave with no electricity and very basic bungalows. It was, and still is, a little bit difficult to reach. The road to Bottle Beach starts near Thong Nai Pan Noi and it’s rough going in places. The road journey to Bottle Beach requires a 4×4 car or a white knuckle ride on a motorbike (you can do it on a moped but we don’t recommend it). The other way of getting to Bottle beach is by long tail boat from Thong Nai Pan or Chaloklum. There isn’t much there, a few bars and restaurants and no real night life. The beach though is fantastic and very good for swimming in the sea. There is a certain charm to Bottle Beach and it’s a good place to chill out for a few days.

Bottle Beach has only four resorts. The best two are:
Haad Khuat Resort
Haad Khuat Resort from 400 THB per night

BOOK HAAD KHUAT RESORT

Haad Khuat Resort has 15 hotel rooms, which are quite good, and 13 bungalows which are very basic. The hotels rooms are probably the best rooms on the beach, and the restaurant here does the best food.
Bottle Beach 1 Resort
Bottle Beach Resort 1 from 700 THB per night

BOOK BOTTLE BEACH 1 RESORT

This a bigger resort with 6 different room types. The cheapest, the standard fan bungalows, have the best location the beach. The quality of the room though goes up with the deluxe bungalows. This family run resort has lots of character. The service here works on ‘island time’. This is a relaxed place and a few delays with the orders doesn’t seem to bother the clientele much.

6. Foodies in Koh Phangan

Phantip Market

Panthip Market

The best food is to be found in, and around, the main town Thong Sala. For authentic Thai food your best bet is Phantip Market in the centre of Thong Sala. From around 4 pm there are around 40 market stalls selling a wide selection of Thai dishes for the cheapest prices on Koh Phangan. If you are after a taste of Southern Thai cuisine try one of the rice and curry shops. There are some unique southern dishes such as Gaeng Som (yellow curry), Khua Kling (very spicy dry mince pork curry) and Gaeng Sataw (spicy thick curry with a bean similar to a peeled broad bean).

For more refined dining you should head along the Ban Tai Road towards Haad Rin and then towards the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Fish at Thips both close to Ban Tai Pier. For European food try John’s Bistro or Santorini both in the centre of Thong Sala. There is also a very good, and relatively inexpensive, Mexican Restaurant called Ando Loco just on the outskirts of Thong Sala. The owner’s giant Margaritas are legendary and his home grown chilli gives the food that authentic Tex-Mex taste.

The list of really good restaurants in this area goes on and on. There are some small ‘treasures’ to be found if you search around. One particularly good restaurant is just around the corner from Home Mart. Coming from Ban Tai turn right immediately after Home Mart and immediately on your left you will see a small restaurant on your left. There is no English menu, but probably the best Issan food on the Island. Ask for ‘Laab Moo’, ‘Namtok Moo’, ‘Gai Yang’ and ‘Khao Nio’ for a taste of authentic Issan food. You won’t be disappointed, but be warned this food is very spicy and they don’t tone it down for the tourists!

There are lots of places to stay in Thong Sala. These are our two recommendations, one is a bungalow resort, the other a hotel.
Lime N Soda
Lime N Soda from 560 THB per night

BOOK LIME N SODA RESORT

Lime N Soda is the perfect kind of beach bungalow resort. Cheap and well maintained with a swimming pool and affordable on-site restaurant. The bungalows are fairly basic but good value for money. This place gets very busy around Full Moon but is a really pleasant and laid back place to stay for the rest of the month. It’s an easy walk into Thong Sala or to Ban Tai Village where there is some good nightlife.

Baan Busaba
Baan Busaba from 950 THB per night
Baan Busaba is the kind of well-run and nicely furnished mid-range hotel you find all over mainland Thailand, but not unfortunately in Koh Phangan where most of the accommodation is either bungalows for party goers or more upmarket accommodation for families. You might not think about staying away from the beach during a trip to Southern Thailand, however, we say give this hotel a go. It’s a slice of metropolitan comfort with a good range of satellite TV channels and a comfy bed. The only downside of this hotel is that it’s about a 1 km into the centre of Thong Sala and a bit further to Ban Tai. If you ride a moped then it’s a very simple straight road into town and onto Ban Tai. If riding mopeds is not your style then you can normally find a motorbike taxi or songthaew (pick-up truck taxi) who will take you the short drive back to the hotel at night.

7. Detox in Koh Phangan

Agama Yoga

Yoga in Koh Phangan

Whilst Koh Phangan is best known for its party scene, and more recently its emerging luxury tourism market, it has a long history of yoga, meditation and alternative therapies. Meditation and fasting is an important part of the Thai Buddhist culture. For a traditional Thai Buddhist ‘spiritual detox’ go to Wat Khao Tam in Ban Tai. For a cleansing herbal steam bath try Wat Po temple also in the Ban Tai area in the South of Koh Phangan.

For a yoga and detox you are best off heading to the west coast of the island around Sri Thanu and Haad Yao. Agama Yoga in Sri Thanu is the number 1 yoga centre on Koh Phangan. There is also the Yoga Retreat on the main road from Haad Yao to Chaloklum. There are also some places on the west of the island where you can learn Thai massage. C&M Study Centre in Sri Thanu runs massage courses as well as Thai language and cooking classes. You might also want to visit Chantima Massage and Holistic Massage Training centre where they offer an impressive range of beauty treatments and 5 day Thai massage courses. Our sources tell us that the courses are professionally run and the centre is kept very clean.

UPDATE: Agama was embroiled in controversy a few years ago when its head swami was accused of sexual misconduct. He fled the island and the authorities.
Ananda Wellness Resort
Ananda Wellness packages from 4,000 THB
Ananda Wellness is a hotel where they run detox programmes combining fasting, herbal detox, colonics, massage, yoga classes and steam sauna. There are courses for different periods of time: 3.5, 7.5 and 11 days. The accommodation is either bungalows or hotel rooms. They are adequate but basic. In addition to the facilities related to the treatments and courses, they have a salt water swimming pool and restaurant called ‘Love Kitchen’ which serves vegetarian and vegan food, as well as a full Thai menu.

Best After Party

Backyard Party

The success of the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Sunrise Beach has had a profound effect on tourism on Koh Phangan. A good idea can always be repeated. This is an article of faith for Thai business ventures. And so Koh Phangan has spawned not only a growing number of other party events but even its own dance genre. Along with the parties there is now a big demand for after parties. The exuberance of youth and dance music culture means that 12 hours of revelry is not enough. The best of the after parties on offer is without doubt held at the Backyard Pub. It has become the unofficial Full Moon Party After Party.

One of the requirements for an after party is that it is in a new location. People want to move on from the debris strewn and dwindling fun of the main event and go to another spot that is busy and gives off a ‘happening’ vibe. The Backyard After Party is located in the jungle on the Haad Rin headland about 15 minutes walk from Sunrise Beach. It is a new spot, but conveniently not too far away.

The action kicks off at 11 am the morning following the Full Moon Party. There is a steady trickle of colourful party people who come to the bar looking for more tunes, buckets and fun. There are always a few people who skip the main party and turn up at Backyard fresh and ready to go.

The bar is in a cool jungle setting. There is plenty of room to dance inside. It is an open plan bar with no walls. The party spills out to the dance area outside. Upstairs there is a large balcony with wooden flooring and speaker stacks where people throw shapes to the music.

Many of the bars along Haad Rin Nok stick to one genre of music. They also have resident DJs. The best of these DJs often make it up to Backyard to play sets. Although there is no fixed style played at Backyard Party, it is often the hard progressive trance sound pioneered in Koh Phangan that comes from the decks.

There is a good atmosphere at the bar. People are friendly; the survivors from the FMP are full of the joy that comes from a great night out under the full moon. Moreover, the police have gone home after a night patrolling the main party.

Location

To get to Backyard Pub go down the main street of Haad Rin that runs parallel to Sunrise Beach. Head South. Follow the road around to the right up the hill. Just before Same Same Bar take the left turning up the hill. Follow this path until you hit a right turn, and you are there. But really, don’t worry – just follow the crowds, or ask someone: you will get there!

Entrance Fee

It’s free to go to the Backyard Party

Bring

Sunglasses, suntan lotion and a few Baht for drinks.

10 Best Mid Range Full Moon Hotels

The most convenient place to stay if you are going to the Full Moon party is Haad Rin town, which borders the famous party beach. Save yourself the hassle of getting transport to and from the party and stay in Haad Rin for the fun. Getting there is no problem, but getting back can be a pain and it can be expensive. But be warned……….

  • Some of the accommodation in Haad Rin is very poor quality. If you want somewhere to stay which is nice, stick to our list below. The Coast is also really good, as is Best Western Phanganburi, but they are both slightly further away from the Party.
  • You need to book well in advance. Rooms fill up very early, often months in advance. Our advice is to look at our list of party dates below and get booking as soon as possible.

2021 Full Moon Party dates

28th March 2021
26th April
27th May 2021
24th June 2021
26th July 2021
23rd August 2021
21st September 2021
22nd October 2021
19th November 2021
19th December 2021

1. Sarikantang Resort & Spa

Sarikantang Resort

Location: Haad Rin (beach 5 minutes away from Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Standard Bungalow – 1,400 to 2,200 THB
Most Expensive Room: Sea View Villa – 4,500 to 5,900 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay
Description: Really nice resort located on the beach front on the other side of the peninsula from the Full Moon Party which ensures guests more peace and quiet. The resort has two shared pools, a Spa, and a beach front bar and restaurant. The rooms are decorated in modern tropical style. All are air-conditioned, with satellite TV and mini-bar. The Sea View Villas have separate bedroom, living room and dressing room. There is also a jacuzzi on the terrace.

BOOK SARIKANTANG RESORT

2. Palita Lodge

Palita Lodge

Location: Haad (on the Full Moon Party beach)
Cheapest Room: Villa Garden View – 1,800 to 2,900 THB
Most Expensive Room: Suite Type A (With Living Room) – 5,000 to 6,400 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay & compulsory buffet dinner (500 THB)
Description: Located right on the party beach this is somewhere to immerse yourself in the party atmosphere. The resort has lots to do with a pool, bar, restaurant, pool tables and ping-pong tables. The room prices include breakfast and all room are air-conditioned, with satellite TV, private terraces and mini-bars.

BOOK PALITA LODGE

3. Sunrise Resort Koh Phangan

Sunrise Resort

Location: Haad Rin (on the Full Moon Party beach)
Cheapest Room: Outside Standard Room – 930 to 3,500 THB
Most Expensive Room: Thai House Villa Beach Front – 4,000 to 8,500 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay
Description: The resort is in the centre of the beach and its noisy on the Full Moon Party night. It has a pool and beach front restaurant. Some of the accommodation options are a bit basic, although they do provide free WiFi. The Standard Rooms are fan only and have no TV. The Thai Villa is, however, very good quality. Its built in a traditional Thai Lanna style out of hardwood and has sea views from the private terrace. The Thai Villa has air-conditioning, fridge and satellite TV.

BOOK SUNRISE RESORT

4. Rin Beach Resort

Rin Beach Resort

Location: Haad Rin (beach 3 minutes away from the Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Guest House – 1,100 to 2,400 THB
Most Expensive Room: Boat House – 5,000 to 10,000 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period you must arrive 7 days before the party night
Description: Located by the ferry pier on the other side of the peninsula from the party beach this is a quieter and more family oriented resort. It has a large shared swimming pool and restaurant. All rooms are air-conditioned, and come with hot water, satellite TV and safety box. The unique selling point of the resort is the row of large boat shaped guest rooms. These large rooms are decked in traditional style and feel very luxurious.

BOOK RIN BEACH RESORT

5. Neptune’s Villa Hotel

Neptune's Villa

Location: Haad Rin (beach 5 minutes walk away from the Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Standard Bungalow – 1,550 to 3,300 THB
Most Expensive Room: Super Deluxe Beach Front – 7,000 to 14,500 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay, arrive at least 2 days before the party
Description: On the other side of the peninsula, a short way out of the town, this is a quiet 48 room resort offering both bungalows and rooms in a hotel block. There is a large pool and sea view restaurant. All rooms come with breakfast, air-conditioning, satellite TV, balcony and hot water. It also has a 10 bed dormitory. Overall, a nice laid back resort.

BOOK NEPTUNE’S VILLA HOTEL

6. Amaresa Resort and Sky Bar Koh Phangan

Amaresa Resort

Location: Haad Rin (hillside 7 minutes walk away from the Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Fan Room – 590 to 1,410 THB
Most Expensive Room: Ocean View Room – 1,650 to 3,880 THB
Booking Restriction: None
Description: This is one of the more unusual resorts in Haad Rin. Its out on the tip of the peninsula in a densely wooded area. Its has spectacular beach and sea views over to Koh Samui. It also has a restaurant dramatically perched on the cliff edge. Up until 2011 all the accommodation were very basic wooden bungalows with fans, balconies and not much else. The resort still has these bungalows and they are good option if you want a cheap and ‘old school’ stay. However, they now also have a number of extremely nicely built wooden houses which come with satellite TV, hot water, air-conditioning and tea/coffee maker. If you like staying in ‘Eco-style’ houses then this is the best option for you in Haad Rin. This is a really good, if unusual, resort and will suit you if you want to go to the party but have the option of getting away from it when you have had enough.

They’ve have recently upgraded the resort. It now includes a bar with decking perched on the edge of the hill. It’s quite a view to enjoy with a cocktail.

BOOK AMARESA RESORT AND SKY BAR

7. Blue Hill Resort

Blue Hill Resort

Location: Haad Rin (hillside 10 minutes walk away from the Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Seaview Deluxe Hotel Room – 800 to 2,650 THB
Most Expensive Room: Seaview Villa – 1,100 to 3,530 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay
Description: This resort is a short way outside of Haad Rin town, although not beyond walking distance. It is set on a steep hillside. On the plus side this means all the rooms and bungalows have spectacular sea views. On the down side it means climbing stairs, although they have installed a lift. The resort has a swimming pool with adjacent bar and open air restaurant on a wooden decking area. There are small number of rooms and bungalows (30 in total) and they are pretty good quality with air-conditioning, satellite TV, WiFi and balcony/terrace. The Seaview Villas are large at 36.5 sqm and feature teak furniture.

BOOK BLUE HILL RESORT

8. Cocohut Village Beach Resort & Spa

Cocohut Village Beach Resort

Location: Haad Rin (on the Full Moon Party beach)
Cheapest Room: Wooden Bungalow – 1,880 – 2,820 THB
Most Expensive Room: Pool Villa – 6,240 – 11,290 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay and compulsory cocktail party (750 THB per person)
Description: This is one of the most luxurious resort in Haad Rin. There is a real variety of types of accommodation and they all come with air-conditioning and satellite TV. At the bottom of the range is the Wooden Bungalow which a respectable 28 sqm with private balcony. The most expensive option is the Pool Villa which is a massive 76 sqm and has a balcony over looking the sea featuring a an 18 sqm jacuzzi. The resort itself has a large swimming pool, restaurant/bar and spa.

BOOK COCOHUT VILLAGE BEACH RESORT

9. Phangan Bayshore Resort

Phangan Bayshore Resort

Location: Haad Rin (on the Full Moon Party Beach)
Cheapest Room: Superior Garden View Bungalow -1,600 to 4,150 THB
Most Expensive Room: Beach Front Room Building – 3,100 to 5,650 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period you must arrive 7 nights before the party
Description: This a large resort aimed at groups of 18 to 30 year olds. It features large hotel blocks around a big pool, although it does have some bungalows. The design is similar to resorts in some of the large European beach resorts In Spain or Greece. There is also a beach front restaurant. The rooms all come air-conditioned, with satellite TV and mini-bar. This is a successful commercial enterprise aimed at a particular type of customer. If you are after a safe familiar style of accommodation then this may be the place for you.

BOOK PHANGAN BAYSHORE RESORT

10. Blue Marine Resort Koh Phangan

Blue Marine Resort

Location: Haad Rin (beach 7 minutes walk away from the Full Moon Party)
Cheapest Room: Garden View Cottage – 1,000 to 2,350 THB
Most Expensive Room: VIP Cottage – 1,850 to 3,550 THB
Booking Restriction: Full Moon Party period there is a minimum 5 night stay
Description: Good value for money option with rooms set in a relatively peaceful garden setting. Many of the rooms have a sea view and all have air-conditioning, TV and private balconies/terraces with hammocks. This is a friendly, if slightly basic, resort with a laid back feel. If you come here expecting luxury you will be disappointed. The resort though is adequate, quiet and get a good return for the price of the room. There are a lot worse places to stay in Haad Rin.