• full moon party koh phangan

The Facts: Staying on Koh Samui for Full Moon Party

Have you been told that staying on Koh Samui for full moon party and just take a boat across to Koh Phangan to rage? Whoever told you that is crazy!

The reason people, including us, stay on Koh Samui, is because it’s really expensive to stay on Koh Phangan (where the full moon party takes place) if you call to book ahead, and if you just show up you might not find a room. Being nearby islands, we were advised wrongly to stay on Samui and take a shuttle across. We weren’t the only ones… hundreds of people fought for space.

full moon party koh phangan

The Facts ( a few tips on what to wear)

  • The shuttle speedboats can only take 18 people- at least our boat. If you book to go across at 11:00, and so do 100 other people, guess what? You’re not getting on that boat for hours. One hotel doesn’t own the boat, many hotels use the same shuttle services and they are NOT communicating. They only schedule in for their guests and add it to the pile. When you show up you’ll take a number… and wait. The shuttle cost 1,000 baht per person.
  • It takes 20-30 minutes to get across, and then you wait for that boat to come back. That’s about 1 hour for each group. So if you want to do this still (don’t!) take booze and pregame while you wait.

full moon party koh phangan

  • The boat will get you soaking wet and freezing cold.
  • On the way back, you’ll be expected to wait in line for your particular shuttle you’ve already paid for, for HOURS. People were literally pushing others in the water. Drunk, and 3 A.M. and you have to wait for hours just to get home… no thanks
  • You can take a long boat back if you want- that’s what Ben and I did. It’ll cost you about 3,000 baht (100 bucks or so) and it’ll be around 40 minutes of pure torture. I love adventure. I wasn’t afraid of grade 5 rapids, or bungee jumping, or canyoning… but this… I cried off and on the whole way back. It was terrifying! Pitch black, the driver standing in the back of a boat that looks like it could split in half, riding parallel to the waves, each one coming at the boat like it will capsize it. No matter how close we got to Samui, I always felt like we were in the middle of the ocean about to die. The waves were BIG, and the boat would jump so high, if I held on any tighter to the seat my fingers would have broken. But, even that risk of death was better than waiting hours for a shuttle speedboat. Plus, Ben loved it.
  • Another reason people think staying on Koh Samui is better: on Koh Phagan while you’re at the party, locals will raid your hut and steal everything. The huts aren’t hard to get into. Here’s a thought: If you book through your guesthouse on Samui to go to another island for the night, isn’t that a perfect chance for locals on Samui to rob you?
  • Saving money is the number one reason people do this. A lot of places force minimum stays of 5-7 days during full moon party at 10x the normal rate. From talking to people on Koh Phagan, it wasn’t difficult for any of them to find a place to stay as long as they were willing to pay about 3,000 a room. If you split that with friends it isn’t that much money. In the end, booking well enough ahead of time we would have spent less staying on Koh Phagan. Most places in Thailand, booking ahead isn’t necessary at all, but full moon party we didn’t want to risk it, which is why we chose to stay on Koh Samui.
  • Even if you don’t stay on Koh Samui, you should make time for it- it was my favorite island!

full moon party koh phangan

  • Granted I was in a horrible mood and didn’t really want to be there, but the full moon party had lots of really young wasted kids in neon shirts that read “FULL MOON PARTY”. It was packed chaos, and according to people who went years ago compared to now, it’s starting to become somewhere you’d rather skip. I think I’m getting old or something because lately, I hate being at these huge parties, or maybe Thailand just left me jaded.
  • Other than where to stay- make sure you pack a cute outfit when backpacking Thailand so you have something amazing and fun to wear (literally anything goes) but for me, I wore a tie dye skirt from ASOS and a tank top, but lots of girls just wore swim suit tops. Another great option is short shorts with a psychedelic/crop top.

full moon party koh phangan

  • You can buy neon shirts at the Full Moon party, but you can get them on any island anywhere and might be nice to sleep in and keep as a souvenir. If you’re really going to rage it doesn’t matter much what you have on. They also have body painting which sometimes stains clothes.
  • Take more baht than you think you need- they’ll be selling cute flower headbands on the streets… or you might want to buy a matching tattoo with someone. I swear I didn’t. Almost though!

full moon party koh phangan




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Rachael January 29, 2014 at 2:59 am - Reply

    Wow, you’ve really given me something to think about! I feel kind of torn now. I don’t really have 5 nights I can spend on Koh Phangan to meet the “minimum stay” requirement. I am kind of tight for time. I will have to explore other options. Thanks for the post, it was really informative. Now I just have to figure out what the heck to do! Thanks again.

    • Rachel Jones January 29, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

      Yeah, I think the only way staying on Koh Samui would work ok is if it isn’t that crowded the month you go. When I was there the UK kids were on school break so it was packed full.

  2. Sharell Cook February 8, 2014 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Ugh. It sounds like it’s really changed for the worse there. I went to the full moon party in 1999 (15 years ago… gasp!) and stayed on Koh Samui and took a boat across. There was no waiting and the boat wasn’t even crowded. I don’t think I’d like to go to the party at all now. :-(

    • Rachel Jones February 8, 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Wow I bet it was a lot different back then! I definitely won’t be going back to another full moon party!

  3. Lisa January 28, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply

    I headed to KPN a week before the full moon and found inexpensive room. No pressure to book a week. We watched the scrabble of people coming off Samui boats and literally running to get to guest houses first.
    This was back in 2001 and as this post is now 4 years old am wondering what the situation is now!!

Like the Article? Leave a Reply