Confessions of a Full-Moon Party Newbie

There is a big difference between a drinker and a partier, and I am definitely not the latter. The idea of an all-night rave with drunken tourists drinking out of communal buckets of booze – on sand of all places– sounded pretty awful, to me.

But my late partner saw the world through neon-colored glasses and he loved to dance. He would have loved the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach on Thailand’s Koh Phangan, and I was determined to check it out. Even though I was solo…and terrified.

meeting friends when traveling alone
View of the Full-Moon Party
Going into that party seems like a bad idea, right? Right?

If you’re looking for my post on “Full Moon Party Do’s and Don’ts” click here!

Full Moon Party Do's And Don'ts

Like everyone who visits Thailand, I kept hearing that there are some musts: visit an elephant sanctuary, attend a cooking class, get scuba certified, and go to a Full-Moon Party.

Well, I thought, since this year is all about stepping out of my comfort zone, I will do it. But I will NOT, under any circumstances, drink out of a communal bucket. That is where I draw the line.

Once on Koh Phangan, my first glimpse of Haad Rin Beach resulted from a (very) wrong turn while I searched for a yoga studio. After loyally following Google Maps across a backyard filled with a family having breakfast (they offered me some fruit), through a hole in a chain-link fence, and up a very steep hill filled with some sort of sticky, thorny plant, I gave up and admitted to being quite lost.

A very nice Thai woman at the top of the hill helped me pick the burs out of my yoga pants and waved me across a rickety porch toward what sounded like water.

Rickety Porch
Walking across this porch seems like a bad idea. But, hey, if Google Maps says so…

And there it was, Haad Rin Beach looking peaceful, clean – and nothing like a yoga studio.

Haad Rin Beach
The calm before the storm at Haad Rin Beach on Koh Phangan.

I took the very short walk across the beach and through the streets lined with clothing stores to my hotel (a much more direct route when skipping the back-country detour!) And I picked up my Full-Moon attire along the way.

Full-Moon Party outfit
Neon over neon!

I even found a suitable fanny pack with neon accents (bum bag for those from the part of the world where “fanny” means something very, very different.)

Fanny Pack
The Fanny Pack is Back! I think everyone had one of these at the party.

Then it was time to wait for the sun to set and the full moon to rise.

Full Moon Rising
“There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

On my walk to the party, I stopped to add a splash of neon paint to my arm.

Neon-paint job
No Full-Moon Party outfit is complete without a bit of neon paint.

And I was officially Full-Moon Party ready.

Here we go!

I had heard that the Rock Bar & Restaurant at the north end of the beach allowed for a quieter scene and a place to overlook the madness, and this piece of intelligence proved fruitful. I watched as people jumped over ropes of twirling fire and performed the limbo under sticks full of flames. (Fire and booze seem like a bad combination to me, but who am I to judge?)

View of the Full-Moon Party from the balcony of the Rock Bar & Restaurant.

It’s at the Rock where I met my Full-Moon crew, teaming up with a Canadian woman named Taz who invited me to join her table.

Full-Moon Party crew
The Crew

We walked together across the beach, singing 90s rap at one bar and flailing about in some form of failed house dance at the next – laughing all the way. Upon reaching the south end of the beach, I realized that my rickety porch from earlier that day is actually the famed “Mellow Mountain” named for the hallucinogenic shakes sold inside the dilapidated building.

While I did not opt for a mushroom shake…this did happen somewhere around two in the morning.

Bucket of booze
When under a Full Moon…

And then – after a night filled with dancing – the sun was somehow already rising.

Beach Happy
A morning stretch on the island of Koh Phangan.

While the Full-Moon party isn’t something I need to do every month, the experience taught me to keep my heart open to all experiences. (And it was totally worth the booze-bucket hangover.) 

Update 2020: It was here at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan in Thailand that I started on my sustainability journey. Read about how the Full Moon Party changed the way I travel here.

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    2 Comments on “Confessions of a Full-Moon Party Newbie”

    1. Pingback: Full-Moon Party Survival Tips | The Lens of Jen

    2. Pingback: I am a Scuba School Dropout | The Lens of Jen

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