Haad Rin: Party hard in paradise

Haad Rin is a self-contained village dedicated to partying. Glorious, glorious partying. But that’s not all you’ll find here.

Party animals, lost souls, displaced hippies and plain ol’ tourists have been making their way to Haad Rin since the mid 1980’s when Khun Sutti Kuasurkul, then owner of Paradise Bungalows, organized a bonfire party on the beach to celebrate one backpacker’s departure.

He set in motion a sub-culture that would become world famous, be debated in Thai government and give small colorful buckets a whole new meaning.

Now, 50,000 or more revelers descend on Haad Rin each month. Even with countless bucket stands, fire shows and beach bars the party epicenter is still Paradise Bungalows. How quaint.

With renovated beachfront rooms, a spacious pool and a highly Instagrammable monument dedicated to the original Full Moon Party, Paradise Bungalows is your party HQ. Set up shop here and you won’t need to leave Haad Rin for at least a week – to sleep off that Full Moon hangover of course.

For a quieter Haad Rin experience (yes, it’s possible) stay at Seaview Sunrise Resort. This understated resort on the north end of Haad Rin is just far enough away from the hustle and bustle. It’s perfect for travelers looking for comfortable rooms and an authentic, friendly backpacker experience. Lounge on triangle pillows at the restaurant and you’ll be swapping stories and making friends in no time.

Wherever you are, the party’s not far away. At sunset join the crowds of revelers at Cactus. This well-known venue is a chilled out restaurant and beach bar by day, and an absolutely cray beach club by night. Neon face paint optional, buckets and beers required.

Wake up in Haad Rin (around noon we’re guessing) and head to Nira’s Home Bakery for a healthy brunch of eggs and ham, banana pancakes or a home style chicken salad baguette. You’re sure to run into your new friends from last night, if you recognize them.

It’s true that Haad Rin is filled with spots catering to tourists. The upside of this is the hangover-curing European food. We recommend Mama Schnitzel for a giant schnitzel sandwich before heading out for night #2.

For a low key seafood experience head to Lucky Crab. Don’t get distracted by the long menu, which is so thick it belongs on a backpacker bookshelf.  Stick to the fresh, tasty and reasonably priced seafood. Don’t let the shabby exterior fool you, there are long waits when it gets busy.

But beyond the parties, there’s another reason that Haad Rin is still so popular: it’s a gleaming turquoise bay with clear waters and wide sandy shores. Each morning the beach returns to its pristine state, thanks to local cleanup efforts.

LEO Beer led the way on this with their recent 60 minute Beach Cleanup on Haad Rin. Before the Full Moon Party began, LEO organized volunteers to comb the beach, pick up trash and spread awareness about keeping the environment clean.

So despite Haad Rin’s reputation for Full Moon madness, this beach has more to offer than just buckets and neon face paint. With a community spirit and a beautiful landscape to preserve, we hope Haad Rin stays the way it is for a long time to come.

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