It seems to be on every backpackers bucket-list; the famous Full Moon Party on Haad Rin beach in Thailand. These days more than 10,000 travelers head to Koh Phangan each & every month to fill up on buckets & dance the night away dressed in neon & ready to party!
For travelers to Thailand it is almost as if Full Moon has become a right of passage, & although there are numerous other parties available there each month (many that are arguably better ... or maybe just different) travelers flock to Full Moon & often let their guard down for a night of "unparalleled adventure."
The morning after, however, can often be an entirely different story. If you have somehow avoided the inevitable hangover & made it out of bed by noon (or are still awake in many cases) you will see the aftermath of poor decisions wandering the streets sporting bandages & crutches & wondering "where did I go wrong?" Now don't get me wrong, Full Moon is well worth the visit, but here are 5 tips to help you do it RIGHT & avoid being another Full Moon casualty.
Hotels & Hostels on Phangan island (& in Haad Rin especially) book up quick, & the closer it gets to Full Moon the more these hotels will charge you for a room (it's as if they can sense your last minute panic!) Plan & book your accommodations well in advance for this one & avoid getting ripped off or, & I speak from experience, having to pitch your hammock on someone's bungalow porch for the night.
TL Travel Tip: Most places require a four-night minimum stay during the Full Moon party, so consider that when you're scheduling & booking your travel plans.
ABIDE BY THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Think Full Moon & you'll also think "Buckets!" Oh the bucket; sand pales filled to the rim with a mickey of alcohol (that's 375 ml for those non-Canadians), 1 can of Coke/ Sprite & a Red Bull energy drink. Buckets are synonymous with Full Moon & available for cheap for your dinking pleasure. These buckets, however, are NOT meant to be consumed by only one person. Buddy up & share the love with your friends to avoid getting too drunk too fast.
TL Travel Tip: Don't just share buckets but share (& encourage) bottles of water as well. Not only will you need to hydrate more to combat your alcohol intake, but you are sure to dehydrate faster as you sweat it out in the heat & on the dance "floor."
SAVE BAHT FOR THE BATHROOM
Once you've shared a bucket or 2 & chugged some much-needed water, you are bound to be in need of a bathroom. Be sure to have some smaller baht on hand for this as bathroom use is charged per person per use at around 15 -20 Baht. Head further back from the bathrooms near the beach when nature calls & while you may not get a discount on price, you will often find those stalls to be slightly cleaner & not so crowded.
TL Travel Tip: Most guys (& some gals) choose to relieve themselves right there in the ocean, so try to avoid an evening dip (despite how tempting the cool ocean waves may be.)
PROTECT YOUR FABULOUS FEET!
As the night goes on Haad Rin beach will become littered with everything from broken glass to bottle caps ... DO NOT GO BAREFOOT. Having been to many a Full Moon Party myself, my best advice is to wear running shoes/ closed-toe shoes to best protect your feet. As ridiculous as sneakers on the beach may sound, you will not only avoid cuts & discomfort, but as the night goes on you will be glad that you have them for comfort as well.
TL Travel Tip: If your Full Moon happens to be a wet & rainy one, or you are arriving by boat & bound to soak your feet, consider hiking sandals over flip-flops (at the very least). Not only will they be harder for you to lose, but less likely to scoop up 'dangerous' debris.
PROTECT YOUR FABULOUS SELF!
My final tip to Full Moon travelers (& travelers in general) is to simply use common sense & look out for yourself in the same way that you would anywhere else. Ask yourself "if I were at home, would I take 10 tequila shots before attempting to jump rope using a rope of FIRE?" Perhaps you would, but most of you probably wouldn't (& probably shouldn't.) Would you walk downtown alone at night with a DSLR Camera around your neck, holding a handful of cash for drinks? Would you choose to take a nap on the sidewalk outside of a bar in your community?
You don't know me so I can't really say "don't do anything that I wouldn't do", but what I WILL say is "don't do anything YOU wouldn't do." Play it safe & exercise the same amount of caution that you would at any other event in any other city/ country. I promise you will have just as much fun this way ... probably more.
TL Travel Tip: If you are partying as a group, arrange a meeting point & time in case you get separated & so that you can share a taxi/ walk home together.
If you have been to Full Moon in Koh Phangan or have any survival tips to share please be sure to leave them in the comments below. Interested in visiting but don't know where to start? Get in touch with TL Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org & find out how you can attend without the stress of planning yourself.
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