When we first started planning our trip to Thailand, we were on the fence about visiting one of the famous Koh Phangan island moon parties. We’d heard wild stories of the Full Moon Party from friends who had traveled the area: tales of over 30,000 backpackers packed on the beach, drinking buckets of the local rum mixed with Red Bull syrup (which, by the way, is illegal in most countries), dancing the night away to giant speakers pumping electronic music. We wondered if maybe we were getting a little old for this type of scene (spoiler alert: we weren’t!). So that’s when we started researching the Koh Phangan Half Moon Party.
Half Moon Party at Koh Phangan
The more we researched the Half Moon Party, the more it seemed like everyone not only recommended it, but many said that it was actually better than the Full Moon Party. We found that the Half Moon festival is a bit more low-key than the Full Moon. But don’t take that is a bad sign, it’s still a raging party.
The Half Moon Party at Koh Phangan is located in the middle of the island in the jungle, as opposed to on the beach. The Half Moon is also a properly organized festival ran by a private company called Half Moon Festival, as opposed to the free-for-all atmosphere of the Full Moon. The organizers have been running this festival for a while now and put on an awesome show!
Because it’s properly organized it does mean there’s an entry fee, but it also means that there are amenities that you’d be used to at any other festival around the world. There are proper bathrooms (I shudder hearing stories of the bathroom situation at the full moon, or lack thereof). There’s festival security to keep things safe when you’re partying until the early morning hours. And because of it’s structure event there’s just an overall festival vibe. Think of a tiny version of Coachella on magic mushrooms (but a hell of a lot cheaper!)
Half Moon Party Dates 2018
Although raging parties on Koh Phangan happen year round, in order to fully experience a Half Moon Party you need to get to one of the official events. Here are a list of Half Moon Party Koh Phangan 2018 dates:
- July 6th and 20th
- August 4th and 18th
- September 3rd and 16th
- October 2nd and 17th
- November 1st, 15th and 30th
- December 15th and 29th
If you’re already looking ahead to 2019 Half Moon Party dates you may need to wait until the end of 2018 to confirm dates. Most Half Moon Party dates are centered around other religious holidays to make sure they don’t clash with any ceremonies. When we get the official Half Moon Party 2019 dates we’ll be sure to post them here.
Koh Phangan Half Moon Party Set-Up
As soon as we entered the festival we knew we’d made the right decision to go to the Koh Phangan Half Moon Party. There was a certain buzz and energy around the entrance that was just willing us in to party! The entrance to the festival was relatively organized (it’s still a jungle party in Thailand!) and you could tell the organizers put a lot of thought into the set-up.
When you first enter through the gates there are a number of stalls to your left and right. There, artists are available to do black-light body painting at a cost, but it’s much more economical to do that at your hostel before-hand. It’s also a lot more fun to do it yourself! Close to the entrance is also where you claim your free drink, so you can get the party started nice and early!
There are three stages at the Half Moon Party: the Tribal Stage, the Funky Stage and the Urban Stage. The Tribal Stage is the main stage, offering the biggest acts of the event. There you’ll find international DJs playing the best electro, psy-trance and underground bangers. Mix in some epic lights, pumping tunes and a huge dance floor and you’ve got one hell of a party!
The Funky Stage is your place to go for House music and has a more mellow feel to it compared to the Tribal Stage. The Cave, which is the Urban Stage, plays your classic hip-hop and R&B tunes in an underground cave of lights, smoke and UV paintings.
Along with the stages there is also a section to buy food and snacks. The food is simple with pizza, Thai food, etc. and it’s actually pretty reasonably priced for a festival. If you’re planning on a big night you might want to eat before you get there to avoid cutting into party time, as well as pre-lining that stomach!
“Close to the entrance is also where you claim your free drink, so you can get the party started nice and early!”
We were a little nervous about the music because neither Jules nor I are massive fans of electronic. We can get down to some Groove Armada and Tiesto, but the more obscure psy-trance stuff is not really our favorite. Thankfully, whether you’re in our boat or love to get down to the hardcore stuff, you’re in luck.
The festival has a good mix of music to meet everyones needs. Because of the three different themed stages, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. When we first entered the festival around 11:30pm, DJ Rio Vegas was just coming on. He was introduced as one of the best DJs in the world, which was a pretty big stretch, but he was actually pretty good. He mixed mainstream songs, including some old-school, with electronic beats that everyone seemed to enjoy. It made for some great dancing and singing along.
The Half Moon Festival also announces which DJs will be playing at the upcoming party, so check out their website to see what’s in store for you!
The Half Moon Party Atmosphere
The crowd at the festival is a good mix, with more regular backpacker types than super hippie folks and hardcore trance fans. As Koh Phangan is a big tourist destination for all types, the Half Moon Festival also gets a variety of party-goers. As the night continues the music at the main-stage become much more psy-trance to keep those partiers awake and moving.
If you prefer mainstream electronic music, I would recommend heading to the festival a bit earlier, maybe around 11, or checking out the other stages. We were told the party doesn’t really get started until that time anyway. If you’re a big psy-trance fan, get excited to party all night!
Because the main stage was pumping so hard, we totally forgot about the other smaller stages until the end when were exhausted from all night dancing. As we were leaving we went past the smaller stage and heard the DJ was pumping some great electronic tunes with R&B features and a saxophonist accompanied him.
We had to stop by for a 5 minute dance because the music was that good. Unfortunately it was also about 6:30am at this point and our legs were on strike from dancing for so long. If you are bored with the music at the main-stage at any point, definitely check out what’s going on at the other stages!
” Not only is it safer to have a buddy, but getting down with your new group of friends is a bonding experience like no other “
Other Things to Know for the Half Moon Party
Half Moon Party Entrance Fee
As this party is an officially organized event, and not a free for all on the beach, there is an entrance fee. Tickets cost 1,500 Thai Baht, which is about $45USD, if you buy them at the gate. We’d recommend buying them online, or through your accommodation if you can, to avoid longer lines. They’re also cheaper if you buy them online, costing 1,390 Baht ($41USD). Both tickets come with a free drink and a Half Moon Party neck strap.
VIP Half Moon Party Tickets
For those looking for a little more comfort in the jungle you can also buy VIP tickets to the festival. These go for double the price at 3000B ($90USD), or 2750B ($82USD) for online, but offer a bunch of extras.
Along with your VIP entrance you also get VIP access to your own bathrooms, 2 free drinks, a Half Moon Party t-shirt, a private bar and a VIP zone next to the main stage. For those that like to party it up, but also have a bit of personal space, this might be a better option if you have the extra cash.
What to Do in Koh Phangan
If you’re heading to the Koh Phangan Half Moon Party, we highly recommend having a few days either before or after to check out the rest of the island. There are some beautiful beaches, fun moto rides and gorgeous jungle hikes. The island receives a lot of tourism from the parties, but there is a lot more to do than just down buckets.
From Koh Phangan you’re also a short ferry ride over to Koh Tao, where you’ll find some amazing diving, entertaining ‘cabaret’ shows and plenty more partying!
Where to Stay for a Half Moon Party
If you’re looking for a hostel, don’t miss Baan Thai Backpackers. It’s been one of our favorite hostels on our trip so far and the perfect place to stay for any Koh Phangan party. One of the biggest benefits of staying in a hostel is having the chance to meet people to go to the party with, especially if you’re traveling alone.
The Half Moon Party is the best if you have a bit of a crew to go with. Definitely check out whatever pre-party your hostel puts on to meet people. Not only is it safer to have a buddy, but getting down with your new group of friends is a bonding experience like no other. We were lucky to meet an incredible group that took our Half Moon experience from amazing to one of our favorite dance parties ever! Hey, we even ended up with matching Half Moon tattoos! Party safe and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!