From Mushroom Trips to Pills, Raves and Murder – 30 Years of the Full Moon Party
How the beach parties at Hadrin on the south-east coast of Koh Phangan turned from a little hippy gathering into the infamous all-night sessions they are today.
Within minutes, my hopes of having a wild evening had been dashed. It was 11PM on a humid Friday night and I was weaving my way through the crowds on a packed-out Haad Rin Nok beach on Thailand’s Koh Phangan, home to the now infamous full moon party, which was well underway around me.
Competing beats clashed together from the bars lining the beach-front, and the fresh sea air was filled with a sickly smell from the cheap booze buckets on sale. Passing a pissed-up, neon-painted group of guys Insta-posing in front of a flaming hoop, I started to doubt why I came. This was not my kind of wild.
A few yards away was a circle of girls, iPhones at the ready as they waited to see what would happen to the next person to skip over a gasoline-dowsed-and-blazing rope (spoiler alert: they got burned).
Clearly, this was no longer the free-love hippy gathering that began on this very spot 30 years before.
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Photo Credit: Russell Kirby / Alamy Stock Photo
One thought on “From Mushroom Trips to Pills, Raves and Murder – 30 Years of the Full Moon Party”
Great article, totally sums up the sad metamorphosis that Koh Phangan, and indeed the whole of Thailand, has undergone over the past 30 years. I lived on Koh Phangan, on and off, between 2004 – 2007, and it was the most amazing place I had ever experienced during this period. The full moon party was free to attend, and only used to get no more than 10k vistors during peak season, and most of them would turn up a couple of days before or on the day, so the rest of the month the it was dead and really cheap. There were no hotels on the island in 2004/2005, but then the owners of drop in bar decided to build a vulgar resort and, along with the corrupt prime minister’s crack down on backpackers, in favour of package tourists, this spelled the end for Koh Phangan. Went back in 2012 and the place had totally changed, but I still enjoyed it. Went back again for the FMP on NYE 2017 and was nearly killed by a dangerous fireworks display that injured many of the 20k pissed up teens, crammed onto the small sliver of beach. I will never go back, ever.