How to Get to Koh Phangan, Thailand for the Full Moon Party!

1:00:00 PM Pinoy Boy Journals 4 Comments

To start with, i lost a whole lot of entry on this so i am manually repeating everything. Damn. 

I got inspired to create a 101 on how to get to the Full Moon Party. A fellow traveler was asking me some information about it, so i thought it might be for the best to share it here in length. I've been there ages ago, last November of 2008. My bragging rights would be the only Filipino attendee at that time. I think. 

I am pretty sure you've heard about it from your friends, peers, family, heck even a random person you've met in a bar whose been to Thailand. Undoubtedly, the most popular party and the biggest beach party in the world is called Haad Rin's Home of the Original Full Moon Party.

Held once every month of the year, the Full Moon Party attracts thousands upon thousands of weary souls from around the world, eagerly needing a good kick of hedonistic pleasure. Whether be it the love of good electronic dance music or the love of a crowd that never leaves until sunrise, it is always a sure fire hit to every traveler to Thailand.

What started as a party for a couple of hippies who were then leaving the island back in the days, the event grew bigger and bigger. Some say getting more and more commercialized as years pass by. Honestly, it's the best party I've been to anywhere. But be reminded, the best has its worst. I will talk about that later on.

Full Moon Party is located in the beautiful tropical southern island of Koh Phangan in the province of Surrathani. Home to numerous waterfalls, rivers, deserted beaches and of course, endless bucket toting party animals roaming at the beach. At Haad Rin as they say, is where the party is at. The whole stretch of the beach from north to south is littered with neon lights, fuck bucket signs and loud amp music to suit everyone's taste for music. Just hang around anywhere you like.

But first how to get there?

There are heaps of ways to get there depends mostly on your budget, or the length of time you have to travel. From the capital city of Bangkok, I am pretty sure there are so many travel agencies you can go to ask about going here.

Say the magic words...

Koh Pha Ngan Full Moon Party.

For sure, that lovely Thai concierge already knows where you're heading. She will give you several options on how to get there.

If you have the money and want to be at the Haad Rin beach in the next five hours. Book a plane bound for Koh Samui, the beautiful island off the coast of Koh Pha Ngan, roughly less than an hour via speed boat. Charter a yacht and head there in style.

The most popular and apparently the faster route overland is via bus and boat package. The bus is a popular mode of transportation around Thailand, and most of the time, overcrowded. I really don't like long haul bus rides. It's cramped with too many people, the A/C is always on the maximum level, you cannot stretch your muscles, the seats may be a little too uncomfortable, worse if it doesn't recline. 

Here's my recommendation:
I traveled via train for the sole reason that i like to move a bit in the journey - where i can walk, where the space is bigger, plus it's almost always on time. I've tried the buses and it's the easiest to travel around but i am not really a fan. I highly recommend using the trains as mode of transportation because they're not overpriced. Also, it is very comfortable. I was actually very surprised then. I thought it would be a hassle, but i was sleeping the whole time.

Book a train package going to Koh Pha Ngan Haad Rin Beach Full Moon Party. 
Roughly, for about less than 1,500 baht, you get yourself a package that includes an overnight sleeper train, a bus, a ferry, a taxi and you're in the heart of the party.

Here's a scan of my ticket from Suratthani to Bangkok. It's probably the same ticket you will have, just the other way around. Last November 2008, i came from Krabi onwards Surat thani.

From what i know, there are about two trips going to Surrathani; gateway to the Full Moon Party. One departs around 8AM and the other at 7:30PM. You don't want to waste your day on the train right? Go for the night train, it doesn't only save you a night of accommodation, you will get to the ferry very early in the morning so you can maximize your time at the beach. 

Book a second class sleeper train, you get a bunk bed - choose the lower bunk, a good air conditioning system, and a night lamp just so you can catch up on your reading. Provide yourself with food as i am not particularly sure if you can buy snacks on the train. 

There's a communal toilet and sink so you can do your thing. For smokers like me, in between cars of the train, there's a place there where windows/doors can be opened so you can smell fresh breeze and smoke. The journey takes about 10-12 hours. It was seriously very comfortable.

You will most definitely arrive safely at the Surrathani train station. From here, there are a couple of convenience stores, food stalls where you can buy snacks, drinks before you head to the ferry port. The station isn't clean, but you can definitely see the change of pace of Thai culture. The people in the south are less manic than in capital city. You will need to ride an hour long bus ride towards the ferry. Don't worry! The view is spectacular. This is already paid for if you book the package. 

The boat ride is also surprisingly comfortable. It's free seating, so feel free to choose where you want to spend the rest of the hours waiting for the boat to dock to Koh Phangan. If you want to doze off, get the ones near a wall. If you want a great view, choose those in front. It's the same if you want a seat near the toilet. You may also choose the open air section at the back where a couple of seats are lined up. The air is fresh, and the view is  super amazing. 

One can freely roam around the deck. Just make sure your bags are carefully watched out. The journey takes about 4-5 hours depending on the waves. There's a little nook where refreshments and light snacks are sold. The prices are reasonable. But be prepared to swing left to right if the waves are huge. But the whole ride is pretty much safe.

You will know you're near Koh Phangan when you see the lovely green mountains to your right, the island of Koh Samui.

You will arrive in Thongsala Pier in Koh Phangan, where you'll ride a jeep to head to Haad Rin Beach. On the way there, you will pass by cliffs and numerous guesthouses and restaurants. The driver can drop you off wherever your staying. In my case, i was headed for the eye of the party. A few stops here and there, i was dropped off in a narrow road leading towards the beach of Haad Rin. Home of the Full Moon Party.

Going back will be the same route. I scanned the itinerary of my trip from Koh Pha Ngan Haad Rin Beach to Bangkok. As you see from the photo above.


flipnomad said...

...brings back cool memories...
i wanna go back!!! lol

hey flip, yah its one of the most exciting experiences of my life. did you go with friends? i was there alone. to be honest it gets a little lonely in the morning but at night, wala naaaa! hehehe

a lot of people say don't go to the full moon party, its crowded, not safe, etc... i think once in your life you have to go there, if you really like it feel free to come back again and again. like me.. hehe thans flip!

Anonymous said...

Hey Pinoy Boy!

Me and my friends are planning to attend FMP this September but we only have two days to spare in the island. I've asked a lot of guesthouses but unfortunately they do not accept online reservation less than 5 nights during FMP. My dilemma is can we just go there and take a risk and look for any guesthouse (I mean isn't it hard?). One more thing I'm choosing between bus+ferry or the train package, where can we book these transfers to and from Koh Phangan???

Hoping for your immediate response... Thanks! =)

yes, hi anon!

basically, when i went to haad rin in koh pha ngan for the full foom party, i arrived on the night of the big event. Although, i got a room, its not advisable. If you want to look for accommodations once you get there, arrive a day or two in advance.

Also, please note, if you're traveling overland. Its not near. Knowing you have two days, its always best to fly to surrathani or koh samui. but if you're set on that, ride the bus-ferry than the train-ferry because the former is faster. you want to get to haad-rin the fastest possible time.

once you arrive in bangkok, there are heaps of travel agencies along khao san road. they almost all have the same price. get the cheapest and the fastest!

its possible! and i say this to you, full moon party will change your life forever!!!