Full Moon Party
Koh Phangan, Thailand
The world along with the infamous Full Moon Party is never the same because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The old Full Moon Party died with it and has since undergone a rebrand - back to the roots, back to nature concept...
Next Full Moon cycle: 26 May 2021 (Moon rises at 18:33 hrs)
Please keep up to date with local current COVID-19 restrictions. Regardless, everybody is welcome to enjoy the evening gathering under the full moon twilight on Haad Rin under social distancing rules.
How it Began
The Full Moon Party began in the 1980s as a small and harmonious pow-wow amongst a handful of travelers on the roads less traveled in the 1980s. In recent decades, this 3 day monthly event has now transformed the Southern Thai island of Koh Phangan into a backpackers right of passage. In pre-pandemic times, the monthly rave would attract up to 30,000 visitors on a single night, which all took place on the 400-meter stretch of Haad Rin's white sand beach.
One cannot deny the almost inevitable fate of paradise lost, especially for a rural community faced with the growth of mass travel over the last few decades. Haad Rin has become yet another sordid playground for those seeking a unique and inexpensive experience, which is exactly how the event is advertised to them around the globe. Corporate Companies have found a way to directly market the event towards young school leavers and party-goers around the world through cheap travel packages.
On arrival, the excessive and encouraged nature of the party, alongside of the ‘anything-is-allowed-here attitude’ creates a swarm of drunken destruction on the roads, the beach and the sea. Over the years the party has seen many causalities including drowning, drug overdoses, rape, alcohol poisoning, endless injuries, fights, stabbing, third degree burns and even murder.
This is of course - all before we even start to investigate the damage caused to the environment in which the party takes place. From the party goers, it is estimated that each will consume between 1-3 buckets of alcohol, which are served with a minimum of 2-3 plastic straws. This means that on a single Full Moon Party night, between 20,000 and 270,000 plastic straws alone are left behind. Although there are clean-up teams that clear the beach the following day, the garbage that is collected by the currents and swept into the ocean cannot be recovered.
Three days of cheap partying results in irreversible damage to the environment in which it takes place. We all share this world, and if we continue to behave in such a way, how long can we enjoy it for? The damages are visible as abandoned and empty concrete structures that carpets Haad Rin, a ghost town for most of the time, even before the pandemic.
The party became just another money grab. Party zombified with cheap quality music, tacky t-shirt merchandises and DJs tired on repeat. Creativity stalled and given up. Full Moon Party in all its glory became just another unconscious party on paradise lost. Robbed of life, and void of soul.
A rebranded Full Moon party - Local crowds singing and playing live music gather around a fire pit to celebrate the Full Moon cycle in a rebranded Full Moon Party "Back to the Roots" in front of Tommy Resort on Haad Rin beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand. March 2021.
The sudden interruption in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the opportunity for all of us to reassess the world we live in. A hard reset button was pushed. With borders in lockdown, worldwide quarantines and isolation periods, Nature has flourished. The seas are cleaner, destruction to the environment halted and air is less polluted. People now understand that if we make less of a footprint, the world will be all the better for it.
We want to be be better than yesterday. We need to be creative. Creativity & the arts bring value to local communities through creative economy. Not only it beautifies the landscape, it brings in quality people and expands the local mindsets. Artists and families flock to Haad Rin once again. The space flourishes and everybody become a better human being. Life worth living for.
A large number of local business owners on Haad Rin have expressed support for a complete rebrand of the Full Moon Party, never ever wanting to go back to how it became during its later existence. The newer generation of Haad Rin business owners, sons and daughters alongside with local foreigners who made this island home, are taking the helm and pushing for change.