Parties in Koh Phangan
The Full Moon Party (FMP) is usually held on the night of the full moon; however, not exclusively so. If it clashes with a national holiday when there is a ban on selling alcohol then the party is moved to a day before or after the zenith of the moon. All the other parties such as the Half Moon Party, Jungle Experience and Black Moon Party are all planned around the full moon party dates. This is to attract some of the thousands that make it over to the island for the FMP. If you stay in Haad Rin or Baan Tai during the full moon period you quickly come to realize that everything is geared around the big party on the sunrise beach.
At other times Haad Rin is very quiet. Indeed several of the main beach bars don’t even bother to open outside of the party time of month. To ensure the maximum pay back from the party all the resorts and hotels in Haad Rin and Baan Tai enforce a minimum stay policy of 3 to 5 nights.
The Full Moon Party
The party starts a few days before the actual event. The beach bars crank up the music to entertain the masses who come to Haad Rin looking for a bungalow. These parties include a foam party at Drop in Club.
The party is free for those who stay in Haad Rin: those who arrive for the night of the party have to pay an entrance fee of 100 Thai Baht.
On the night of the party all of Haad Rin becomes over-run with people decorated in day glow paint, drinking alcohol and looking for tunes and fun. The main action occurs on the longer Sunrise Beach (Haad Rin Nok). All along the beach are bars with loud music systems. Each bar sticks to a certain genre of music. The varieties of music on offer include trance, techno, drum and bass, progressive house, R & B and Hip Hop.
Between the bars are numerous stalls selling bucket sets that consist of a quart bottle of spirits, coke or sprite and red bull.
The crowds spill out from the bars and all along the beach. You see people dancing in the water and those who don’t want to pay for a toilet using the sea as a urinal.
There are plenty of fire dancers and usually some fire attractions where party people pick up nasty burns that will need treatment the following day.
The mood of the party is one carnival riotousness; generally all in good fun and friendly atmosphere. However, criminals are active during the party – selling drugs, going through the pockets of drunks, snatching bags and breaking into bungalows. In January 2013, Stephen Ashton was shot at the FMP.
Have fun but be aware of the risks.
The Half Moon Party
The Half Moon Party is always one week before and one week after the Full Moon Party. This party attracts about 1,000 people and is held in the jungle near the village of Baan Tai. It costs 600 Thai Baht to enter. This party includes 1 free drink. The party starts at sun down and goes on until sun up the next day.
The evening starts with a live band act. After that a series of DJs take to the decks all getting progressively harder. The genre is the techno / trance sound developed on the island that is a distant cousin to the pioneering Goa trance of the 1990s.
Black Moon Culture
Black Moon Culture has moved from Mac Bay in Baan Tai to further back in the jungle at a place called ‘Magic Mountain’. It’s on a hill and has a great sunrise view. It is a nice location for this small party that usually attracts 300 or 400 people. This party is held 2 weeks after the Full Moon Party. It costs 300 Thai Baht in the high season but drops sometimes to as low as 100 Thai Baht in the low season. The DJs play psy–trance. This event harks back to the Goa trance parties in India in the 1990s.
Jungle Experience as with the Half Moon Party is in a clearing in the jungle. It is located on the road between Baan Tai and Thong Nai Pan. It is about 1 km from the Thong Nai Pan turning. This turning is next to the Baan Tai 7-11. The Jungle Experience is held 4 days and 1 day before the Full Moon Party. It costs 300 Thai Baht and the cover fee includes 2 free drinks. The DJs play tech, progressive house and trance.
Sramanora Blue and Green Waterfall Party
This is held in a purpose built indoor /outdoor venue next to a waterfall in the jungle near Ban Kai. That is the beach next to Baan Tai. The party always features the minimal house of Peter G. It is a free party (if you go before 11pm) and attracts just a hundred or so people.
The party is held twice a month around the full moon. No surprises there!
The best after party spot for the Full Moon Party is the Backyard Party. It is at a bar on the headland just a short walk from Sunrise Beach (Haad Rin Nok). It gets going the morning after and pumps out the tunes until the sun goes down.
Baan Sabai on Baan Tai beach has an after party after most of the major parties mentioned above. It is a resort that clears its restaurant area for parties. It is a free party with mostly trance and techno DJs.
Rhythm and Sands Festival is a day and night long rave on Baan Tai beach. It costs 500 Thai Baht to enter. It is based on the famous New Zealand Party. It is hard to tell if this party will become a regular event.
Other notable dance venues and events
- Loy Lai Floating Bar (Baan Tai)
- Pirates Bar – Moon Set Party (Haad Chao Phao)
- Ku Club on Baan Tai beach has a DJ party every Friday and Saturday night
- Anahata Lounge in Ban Kai has a minimal house party every Saturday night
- Urban Party at Nic’s in the center of Haad Rin kicks off every Monday at 8pm
- Merkaba Beach Club is an impressive club with swimming pool that has regular parties on Wednesdays and also holds other party nights. It is located near Blue Hill Resort on the road between Haad Rin and Baan Tai