Tucked away in the glorious Gulf of Thailand is the tranquil, laid-back island of Ko Pha-Ngan, popular with families and hippies alike, and often compared to its larger neighbour Koh Samui. The tropical island boasts upscale resorts and incredible nature, with steep hills, thick jungle, superb scuba diving and crystal-clear beaches. However, it is the Full Moon Party that has put this scenic little patch of earth on the map.
As its name suggests, this legendary party follows with the lunar calendar, celebrating the arrival of the full moon in spectacular style – give or take a day if the full moon’s arrival happens to clash with buddhist holidays. A full moon pulls the high and low tides to their extremes, and so does the full moon party. Each month it is responsible for the ebb and flow of up to 30,000 excited revellers.
The first full moon party started back in the 80’s. It started as simple farewell party among friends for an Australian traveller who was returning home. The parties were a more laid-back affair in its early years, much smaller and more geared towards the psy-trance crowd. The party has since gained momentum, along with an international reputation for being a hedonistic playground. These days the Full Moon Party attracts a predominantly young backpacker crowd, keen to dance the night away beneath starry skies while playing with flaming skipping ropes and hoops, donning neon body paint and bright clothing, and guzzling beers and cocktails served in buckets.
When night falls, there is a sense of anticipation as the crowd await their first glimpse of the bright full moon. As the moon rises, so does the energy among the revellers. Right along Haad Rin’s Sunrise Beach, the night sky fills with a cacophony of DJs all playing a diverse mix of music, including commercial dance, techno, drum and bass, reggae and trance music. Revellers party until dawn, watching the sun rise over the waves – a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
For those eager partygoers who can’t wait a whole month to do it all again, the island is also home to the Half Moon Festival which takes place twice a month, known for its tech, deep-house, progressive house and trance sets.
While the parties have gained international notoriety, they only take place on the southern most tip of the island, leaving plenty of the rest of the island free for visitors looking for a bit more peace and quiet.
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