Full Moon Parties in Thailand

Official Dates for 2017 for the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan

Thailand Full Moon Party
••• Face painting is a fun ritual at the Full Moon Party in Thailand. Paula Bronstein / Stringer / Getty Images

The dates for the Full Moon Party in Thailand vary, and despite the name, they aren't always on the actual night of the full moon.

Dates are sometimes altered so that they do not coincide with Buddhist holidays that often occur on full moons because of the lunar calendar. Elections, both local and national, and important holidays in Thailand can also cause the party dates to change because of bans on alcohol sales.

To be safe, find out what you should know before going to the Thailand Full Moon Party. Also, please remember that even though a few revelers use recreational drugs during the full moon party, drugs are illegal in Thailand. The party is much more patrolled and scrutinized than it once was.

About the Thailand Full Moon Party

Thailand's Full Moon Party held monthly on the island of Koh Phangan is one of the largest beach parties in the world. Although the party once began with a focus on EDM/electronic music, you'll now find lots of different music genres blasting up and down Sunrise Beach.

Attending a full moon party has often been considered a rite of passage for backpackers traversing the unofficial Banana Pancake Trail throughout Asia. Party-goers paint themselves with fluorescent body paint, grab a bucket of alcohol, ideally, with Thai Redbull, then keep going until the sun rises on the beach.

To keep revelers busy between full moons, a lot of other beach parties take place between official full moon parties, although the government has tried to limit or shut them down altogether. Some other popular parties include the half moon party, black moon party, and Shiva moon party.

Although not officially full moon parties, the Christmas and New Year's Eve parties are the largest, sometimes drawing a crowd of 30,000 or more travelers to Thailand during the high season.

Full Moon Party Location

The Thailand Full Moon Party happens every month on Sunrise Beach on the east side of Haad Rin, a peninsula in the southern part of Koh Phangan. Koh Phangan is an island in the Gulf of Thailand (the same side as Koh Samui and Koh Tao).

Because of the notoriety, full moon parties are often celebrated in other party spots around Southeast Asia, such as Perhentian Kecil in Malaysia, Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, and Vang Vieng in Laos. These parties are much smaller than the original one that began in Thailand.

Traveling During the Full Moon

Oddly enough, you might need to consider the moon phase when traveling in Thailand during the high season.

The full moon parties have become so popular that they actually alter the flow of budget travelers throughout Thailand. Lots of backpackers head to Chiang Mai and Pai between full moons, then south to the islands about a week before the party.

The transportation infrastructure, mainly buses, and trains, often become bogged down about a week before and a week after the full moon parties. Sometimes grabbing a cheap flight is the best way to get from Chiang Mai to Koh Phangan.

Accommodations on the northern part of nearby Koh Samui also fill up a few days before the party.

Meanwhile, Koh Tao might be extremely quiet for a week as people take the short boat ride over to Koh Phangan. After the party, revelers often migrate back to neighboring islands or other beaches on Koh Phangan such as Haad Yuan.

Thailand Full Moon Party Dates for 2017

The schedule for parties is subject to change and does so regularly; confirm the dates while in Bangkok before booking passage to Surat Thani and on to Koh Phangan.

Plan to arrive several days in advance for any hope of getting a hotel room during the busy season months. Even outside of the regular season, which is from November to April, you'll encounter crowds of college students on break and travelers during the summer.

These dates are tentative and could change by a day or two if they happen to coincide with Buddhist holidays or elections.

  • Jan. 12
  • Feb. 12
  • March 12
  • April 11
  • May 11
  • June 9
  • July 10
  • Aug. 7
  • Sept. 5
  • Oct. 6
  • Nov. 3
  • Dec. 3
  • Dec. 25 (Christmas Party)
  • Dec. 31 (New Year's Eve Party)