The Full Moon Party is the party in Thailand. The bright moon casts a magic upon the proceedings. People of all nationalities happily dance, drink and get to know each other. The FMP is a modern carnival where the usual boundaries of society are for a few hours cast aside and people come together as one.
The origins of the Full Moon Party remain the subject for some debate. Several locals have stepped forward to claim that they started it all off. The most widely held version is that in 1987 Paradise Bungalows threw a beach party for someone's birthday that happened to fall on the night of the full moon. It seems unlikely that this was the either the first beach party on Haad Rin Nai or the first party to coincide with a full moon. However, legends must start somewhere.
For several years the party remained 'underground' - just the people in the know went to the legendary early parties which were sometimes invaded by the police looking to bust hippies smoking weed openly on the beach.
Gradually the party became more commercial. The cheap bungalow places on the beach were replaced with bars and big sound systems. Attendance numbers increased and by the new century the Haad Rin Full Moon Party was the biggest party in Thailand. It became a 'must do' for many backpackers traveling around South East Asia.
Today the party swells to 30,000 people at peak times in August and December. In 2010 a charge of 100 Thai Baht ($3) was set as entrance for all those arriving in Haad Rin on the day of the party. Since this is Thailand, be prepared for a small increase in the entrance fee every year.
The party is well organized; there are medics on call; guest DJs regularly play; and the police are more restrained now that the battle with the original hippies seems to be over. Other than a few drunken souls stepping on broken glass, trying to go for a swim or losing their wallet nothing bad happens at the party. Rather it is a time for celebration. A time to revel in good music, make new friends and experience the freedom of dancing all night on one of Asia's best beaches.
Here are a few pictures of the Full Moon Party to either whet your appetite or bring you back to your magic moment on Haad Rin Nok beach. Click on the image to see an enlarged image and then click on the cross in the upper right hand corner to reduce the image again.