Jungles, waterfalls, beaches: The epic lead-up to the Full Moon Party

Think the Full Moon is just one blazing neon night of partying until dawn? Think again, friend. Every month there’s an epic series of parties on Koh Phangan leading up to the Full Moon. So, bust out those feathered dreadlocks and get in the spirit of Koh Phangan’s island counter culture. 

Photo: Halfmoon Festival

It all starts with the Halfmoon Festival at Baan Tai two weeks before the Full Moon Party. Enter through a mysterious jungle tunnel and revel under the half moon sky with underground house and progressive trance beats. This party has a real festival feel with indoor and outdoor dance arenas, different DJ zones, several bars and food stalls. The party culminates in a fire and light show that welcomes in the sunrise. It’s a bright blazing feast for the senses.

Photo: Blackmoon Culture

Blackmoon Culture is a psychedelic trance party every month on the night when the moon can’t be seen and the beach is pitch black. And it’s the only other Moon Party on the beach. But unlike the Full Moon Party, which is spread across Haad Rin, Blackmoon is concentrated at one spot on Mac’s Bay near Baan Tai. So you can really feel the love and positive vibes from the crowd here. If you’re into peace, love and dancing until dawn then this is one party you won’t want to miss.

Photo: Loi Lay

For a laid back party in a unique location head to Loi Lay on Sunday. Loi Lay, which means “floating on the ocean” in Thai, is exactly that. Loi Lay’s wooden deck and bar float on the water, giving this funky venue its claim to fame. It’s the only Moon Party that really celebrates the ocean and all its beauty. Every Sunday the intimate party features DJs spinning techno and house music until the early hours.

Photo: Shiva Moon / Phanganist

Shiva Moon is an open air jungle party that happens three days before and three days after the Full Moon Party. Shiva Moon celebrates eastern culture, nature and island mysticism and it’s the most intimate of the jungle parties. Imagine dancing to trance beats in a lush valley decorated with mesmerizing neon paint and lights. Everyone around you is feeling the love and the music, starting with chill house and ramping up to intense trance beats. Shiva Moon also regularly features guest DJs from all over the world.

Photo: Maya / Phanganist

Pounding techno and trance music, trippy fire shows, blazing lights and dancing until sunrise. This is the mystical, jungle world of Maya. It’s one of the newest additions to the Koh Phangan party calendar and it’s held three days before the full moon in the lush, green jungle. The party takes place under giant florescent tents, which makes you feel like you’re under an alien jungle canopy. Fire dancers get the party going with elaborate shows and the celebration continues until sunrise.

Photo: Sramanora

Sramanora happens two days before the full moon and it’s one of the most unique parties in the world. Bold statement, we know. But imagine dancing until sunrise in a jungle paradise, next to a beautiful, cascading waterfall that flows right through your party. Dance on huge boulders or swim in the natural swimming pool beneath the waterfall. Music ranges from techno-house to progressive and there are different areas to dance, chill out, eat and drink. The party has taken on an authentic festival feel with art and light displays, fire shows, and even snake and scorpion shows. Needless to say, Sramanora is one of the most popular parties on the island. And guess what? The whole thing happens all over again two days after the full moon.

Photo: Jungle Experience

On the day before Full Moon, check out Koh Phangan’s famous Jungle Experience. This techno dance party is one of Koh Phangan’s biggest parties, partly because it takes place right before the full moon but mostly because of the unique culture of the party. Everyone gets dressed up in bright, crazy outfits that celebrate Mother Nature  Get your neon face paint ready, weave in a couple colorful braids, and get ready to let loose because this party is a sensory rush of color, music, sounds, tastes and people.

Photo: Leo Full Moon Party @ Cactus / Phanganist

This finally brings us to the beach party to end all parties; the fabulous, frenzied, fireball of a rager that is the Full Moon Party. The entire length of Haad Rin is dedicated to thumping music, dancing on the sand and death defying fire shows. Plus there’s drink stalls and beach snacks as far as the eye can see. It’s a party goer’s dream, down to the beach blankets set up so you can pass out in the sand. The main party places are Cactus and Paradise Bungalows, which was the original site of the full moon party way back when. Grab a bucket or a beer, and some neon face paint, and make this an epic night to remember.

Photo: Backyard After Party / Phanganist

Feeling the effects of a week of non-stop partying? We have the solution! One more party, obviously. The day after the Full Moon Party, join the rest of the survivors at the Backyard After Party. Backyard is a chill house party on a wooden deck with a sick view overlooking Haad Rin, where previous day’s epic Full Moon Party took place. With a clear view of the wide, open ocean and friendly vibes all afternoon and night, this party will have you feeling cheerful and content, no matter how bad your hangover is.

Header photo: Jungle Experience / Phanganist

Read more Party articles:

Get in on the Koh Tao Craziness with Koh Tao pub crawl

Show off your stuff at Thailand’s hottest beach clubs

The best spots on Phuket for sundowner drinks

Navigating Koh Samui’s party capital: Chaweng

Thailand’s most unique island nightlife