It’s said to be one of the best bashes the 21st Century has to offer. Most of us have heard about it. Many of us have dreamt about it. Millions have conquered it. Thailand’s Full Moon Party is undoubtedly a bucket list item we should all tick off at some point. This February, Ben and I did just that.

While researching this notorious shindig, we discovered it takes place on a number of islands throughout Thailand. We chose Koh Phangan as our party destination of choice, as it’s the original Full Moon Party island and it’s said to host the biggest and best event.

Expectations were high; doubts were low. We were ready to pop our Full Moon Party cherry. Except for one thing. We had to do the customary pre-party shop, which involved buying fluorescent everything…clothes, jewellery, hair flowers, hats, glasses and body paint. It’s one of the few occasions where it’s important to look like everyone else. We’d discover why later.


Before we knew it, 10pm had arrived and it was time to start “the walk” to the beach. It was hard not to get caught up in the anticipation and thrill of it all. As we made our way through the windy little streets and side allies – the techno beats taunting us every step of the way – we finally felt our feet hit the sand. We looked up to see everything we’d imagined…and a whole lot more.

To start with, there must have been 50,000+ people covering the beach from end to end. Drowning in UV light, the moving sea of technicoloured fluoro was making itself known. So were the signature liquor buckets, slippery slides, hula-hoop rings and flaming skipping ropes. Drunken daredevils were jumping right into the action while epic circles of rowdy onlookers formed around them. This was nuts!


We slowly made our way down the beach, attempting to find some breathing space. So it seemed, there were dozens of stages and DJs spaced along the sand to make sure everyone’s “scene” was covered. Tech house, techno, psytrance, garage, rave, drum ‘n’ bass and electrohouse all seemed to draw strong crowds, each with their own dance styles and substance preferences.

I started to tell myself I was getting too old for this. But, then I looked around and realised people of all ages were in on the fun. I’m talking teens, adults, parents and grandparents alike. I had no excuse! Then I remembered what a Full Moon Party veteran had told me the day before, “It’s a special event where people of all ages, races, preferences and backgrounds unite to have a good time – free from judgement and rules.”


And so it was true. The fluoro dress code was an invitation to be both anonymous and part of a community. So it seemed, the only thing left for me to do was let go and succumb to the debauchery. But, for some reason, I couldn’t. The Full Moon Party was almost too much to take in. I could literally do whatever I wanted. But, I felt like an animal that had been released into the wild for the first time, only to discover it wanted the safety of its pen.

So, I sat in the sand and decided to watch the theatre before me. Was it the best party in the world? Not for me in the place I was in. However, if I’d been in the mood to go it alone (you are guaranteed to lose your friends), test my limits and let go all of the stresses and expectations of “real life”, I have no doubt it would have been the best party of my life.

It’s not all bad news though. The following night, I finally found my bliss at the Full Moon After Party. It was a smaller, more intimate event – much more my style. I felt safe to be free because I knew there was only so much I could get up to in this environment and everyone else was at the same level.


Overall, I found the Full Moon Party season to be a worthwhile and memorable experience. It made me realise it’s fun to sample things that test your limits rather than live by them. A number of Koh Phangan addicts looked like they’d lost themselves to the party scene a long time ago – it wasn’t a pretty site. But, then again, they all had smiles on their faces.

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