Once a paradisal retreat for wandering hippy types and New Age mystics exploring Southeast Asia in the late ‘80s, the Island of Koh Phangan is now one of the most famous party destinations on the planet. Known primarily as the home of the ubiquitous Full Moon Party, once a month it hosts youthful revelers from the West who come in search of unbridled hedonism and legendary beachside raves. The action is centred around the otherwise unassuming bamboo villages of Haad Rin, which all go full throttle for the monthly party, spilling onto the beach and pumping with endless streams of techno, house and bass until the morning sunrise. Attending a Full Moon is now something of a rite of passage for backpackers on the Thailand circuit, and while more and more self-styled party destinations have begun popping up elsewhere in the Gulf and Andaman, this one’s endless buckets and soaring attendance mean there are few that can seriously compete.
This legendary event has become one of the real backbones of Thailand’s Island tourism, attracting more than 30,000 revellers during the high season and showing no signs of slowing down. If you’re thinking about heading here for a night of bamboo bar raving and heavy bucket cocktails then it’s definitely worth booking ahead, because every accommodation is guaranteed to fill up!
In the wild depths of Baan Tai jungle this exclusive trance and dance event claims to be one of the original underground partying experiences on Koh Phangan. Expect laser shows, heady light displays and UV-painted flower gardens showcasing the more psychedelic side of Thailand’s jungle flora, along with in-house DJs that are veterans of the Ibiza mega clubs of Europe. Pants and shirt are probably optional, but neon body paint is non-negotiable.
Whether because of the heady mix of bucket cocktails and high-energy hedonism, or the genuine mystic beauty of the Thai sun during the early hours, the appropriately-named Sunrise Beach is famed for the magnificent morning views that grace the horizon here, splaying deep reds and musky greys right from the end of Haad Rin peninsula into to the village of Hat Rin in the north. In short, the perfect place to end the party!
Kick back and relax in this homely bamboo bar to the back of Thong Sala Beach, where clusters of post or pre-Full Moon Party revellers sip fruity cocktails to the soundtrack of lapping waves; the former soothing their hangovers, the latter gearing up for a night on the booze. Located just a few meters from the shore, it’s the perfect place to get some much-needed rest and relaxation on Koh Phangan.
Part of the crème de la crème of accommodations on Koh Phangan, the luxurious Anantara Phangan Rasananda resort incorporates a series of private cottages and peaceful jungle gardens right on the beachfront. What’s more, it’s located far from the inebriating party joints on the south side of the island, offering an environment where guests can enjoy some more chilled-out pursuits like yoga, free diving or even a spot of wine tasting in the on-site cellar.