5 Awesome Alternatives to Thailand's Full Moon Parties

Fire shows are common on Koh Phangnan's Haad Rin Beach | © Davidlohr Bueso / Flickr
Fire shows are common on Koh Phangnan's Haad Rin Beach | © Davidlohr Bueso / Flickr
Thailand’s Full Moon Parties are legendary, with numerous people descending on the beaches every lunar month for a full night of revelry and hedonism. The island of Koh Phangan, notably the beach of Haad Rin, is the home of the awesome parties, though many other islands have started hosting huge beach parties, too. But what if your itinerary doesn’t include Koh Phangnan or your dates don’t coincide with the full moon? Or, if the intense debauchery of the FMP just doesn’t appeal to you? Fret not, for here are five fantastic alternatives for fun-filled nights of dancing, drinking, and cavorting.

Half Moon Parties, Koh Phangan

Swap the beach for the jungle and party all night long at a Half Moon Party, another of Koh Phangnan’s open-air lunar events. The Half Moon Parties take place every two weeks, falling one week before and one week after the Full Moon Party. More akin to an organised music festival than a drink- and drug-fuelled mess, thousands of people come every fortnight to dance to the awesome beats and sink some buckets. Neon body paint is still very much on the agenda too. If you feel peckish head to one of the food stalls to refuel before bumping and grinding to the DJ’s tunes.

Grab a bucket or two for the Half Moon Party © Kullez / Flickr

Waterfall Parties, Koh Phangan

Another Koh Phangnan party in the jungle, the Waterfall Party is one of the biggest techno raves in all of Asia. Electronic beats thump from the gigantic sound system and the international DJs know how to get the crowd moving. Fire performers, acrobats, and other entertainers provide plenty of visual stimulation. The lights also bounce off the gorgeous waterfall and rock pools near the main dance floor, and the surrounding rock formations take on an almost other-worldly appearance in the dim light. Held each month for two days before and two days after the Full Moon Party, it’s a great alternative if you want to attend a more techno-focused and less boozy all-nighter. It’s also great if you just want to keep the party going for longer!

There's no need to be sky with the body paint at the Waterfall Party © Joe Stump / Flickr

​Black Moon Parties, Koh Phangan

The lesser-known and more chilled-out of Koh Phangnan’s moon-centred beach events, the Black Moon Parties (officially known as Black Moon Culture) take place on Baan Tai beach. You’ll still feel right at home daubed in neon paint and waving glow sticks, but the overall vibe is a lot more peaceful and mellow. Florescent artwork and psychedelic designs cover the DJ stage, and the hippie vibe is strong. The hypnotic sounds of psychedelic trance fill the air and the thousand-strong crowd dances and chills on the sands.

Ready for some Black Moon Party fun © layer1ne / Flickr

Patong Beach and Bangla Road, Phuket

If you’re skipping Koh Phangnan altogether and spending your beach time along the Andaman Coast, every night is party night along Phuket’s Bangla Road. Close to Patong Beach, the drinking and dancing may not actually take place right on the beach, but it’s just a short saunter to dip your feet in the sea and feel the sand between your toes. Bangla Road is frenzied, with revellers making their way from bar to bar, gawkers taking in the sights, bar girls fishing for punters, and people trying to sell everything from cheap shots and club admission to tacky bracelets and tickets to ping pong shows. Keep it cheap and grab a bucket from a street vendor or a cold beer from a convenience store, or pay the premium prices for a drink in front of a pole-dancing stage. Whether you’re into drinking, dancing, flirting, or hooking up, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Bangla Road is one of Phuket's hottest night spots © Nicolas Lannuzel / Flickr

Walking Street, Pattaya

Just a few hours from Bangkok (itself home to a great night scene) and located along the Thai Gulf, Pattaya may not boast Thailand’s best beaches but it can lay claim to some of the nation’s naughtiest nightlife. Another place where the parties take place on all nights of the week, Walking Street proudly labels itself as Thailand’s Sin City. Attracting a diverse range of people, there’s a bar or club for everyone; couples can have as much fun here as groups of young friends and solo travellers looking for some adult nighttime entertainment. Ping pong shows, pole dancing, prostitutes, and coyote dancers are part and parcel of the Walking Street night scene, though you’ll also find chilled-out joints with mellow music, pool tables, and pub grub.

Pattaya's Walking Street offers plenty of variety at nighttime © vishwanath Hawargi / Flickr

It’s worth keeping in mind that islands such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phi Phi have jumped on the FMP train too, offering smaller and more laid-back beach parties for the full moon if you really want to channel your inner werewolf and frolic in the moonlight but don’t quite fancy the chaos on Koh Phangan.