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How Much Money do I need to do The Full Moon Party?

50-baht-beer-and-food

People often search for information about the costs concerned with going to a Full Moon Party in Haad Rin. Many backpackers are on a tight budget and have lots of places to visit and things to do. They need an estimate of costs to decide whether they can afford to go to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. It might be that they are half way through their holiday and realise that things are more expensive in Thailand than first thought. With a heavy heart they need to balance their expectations of Thailand with the growing debt mounting in their bank account back home.

To help with planning I have compiled these notes to expenses associated with getting to the FMP. Please note that the figures given are ‘ball park’ figures. Prices have a habit of going up (not down) all the time.

Transport

The cheapest form of long distance transport in Thailand is coach. Local buses are even cheaper but less convenient. You can get a one-way ticket from Khao San Road in Bangkok all the way to Thongsala in Koh Phangan for just over 1,000 Thai Baht. It is an overnight journey and not comfortable.

For slightly more comfort you can get a second class sleeper ticket on the train from Bangkok to Suratthani for about 1,200 Thai Baht. You have to factor in another 500 Thai Baht for transfers and ferry.

You can fly from Bangkok to the neighbouring island of Koh Samui for about 4,000 Thai Baht (one way) and then pay at least 500 Thai Baht for taxi and ferry to make the 30 minute hop over to Koh Phangan.

Fly and ferry deals that use budget carriers and airports on the mainland cost about 3,000 Thai Baht one way per person for the trip from Bangkok to Koh Phangan.

haad-rin-queen

Getting Around

If you stay in Haad Rin then you probably won’t have any transport costs for getting around. Everything you need is in Haad Rin, and everything is in walking distance. If you decide to stay elsewhere on the island then you will need to rent a moped (250 to 300 Thai Baht a day) or take shared taxis. It is 100 Thai Baht to get between Thongsala and Haad Rin. Add another 200 Baht for beaches on the West coast such as Haad Yao and Haad Salad. Add another 300 Thai Baht for Thong Nai Pan. Add at least 500 Thai Baht if you catch a taxi late at night / early in the morning from the Full Moon Party

Accommodation

If you are travelling on your own the cheapest accommodation is found at one of the numerous hostels in Haad Rin or Baan Tai. During the Full Moon Party expect to pay a bit less than 500 Thai Baht a night. Also be aware that many places will expect payment of 4 or 5 nights in advance.

If you are a couple you can get a basic bungalow in the hills overlooking Haad Rin for about 1,000 Thai Baht a night. Add more luxuries (air-con, hot water, wifi) and you pay more. Also the closer you get to Haad Rin centre and Haad Rin Nok (the party beach) the more you will pay.

While many bungalow operations and hotels now have online booking, the cheapest places and the cheapest bungalows are often unavailable for online booking. It is first come, first served. This means if you want a cheap place to stay you need to arrive a couple of days in advance.

Lots of people find Full Moon Party accommodation in Haad Rin bad value for what you get. They prefer to get a decent bungalow in Maenam or elsewhere on Koh Samui and then hop on a ferry to Koh Phangan on the night of the party. The Haad Rin Queen goes from Maenam to Haad Rin regularly throughout the day and costs about 300 Thai Baht per person.

Costs on the Night

cheap-eats

It costs 100 Thai Baht to enter the Full Moon Party. The ticket barriers are before the beach so if you are staying on the beach at Haad Rin Nok you can avoid paying the entrance fee.

You can buy fluorescent paint at the 7-11s in town for under 100 Thai Baht. Fluorescent tattoos from a beach artist cost significantly more.

Beers in bars cost about 50 to 70 Thai Baht for a small bottle. A standard Thai whisky bucket from a bucket stand costs about 250 Thai Baht. Add another 50 to 100 Thai Baht if you opt for an imported spirit in your bucket.

cheap-israeli-food

To go to the toilet at a bar costs about 10 Baht a pop. The sea is free but urinating on the beach or in the water is frowned upon and not environmentally friendly. Remember public displays of nudity can get you in serious trouble in Thailand.

Cheaper alcohol can be found at the 7-11 stores in town. They stay open and offer prices about a third cheaper than the bars.

menu-board

A special shake (euphemism) is at least 500 Thai Baht at a time, maybe more. Expect to pay even more for other controlled substances. Remember extricating yourself from the police could cost you over $1,000 in ‘fines’.

Food in local eateries and street stalls can be as little as 150 Thai Baht. Naturally the fancier the establishment, the more you are going to pay for a meal. If you are not fussed you can get crisps (10 Thai Baht), pot noddle (30 Thai Baht) and water (10 Thai Baht) at a 7-11. They also have Chinese dumplings and very odd sandwiches. As you wander around Haad Rin you will see various blackboards on the street showing promotional prices. Remember Thai portions are small. People often find themselves eating 5 times a day on Thai portions.

Pitfalls

There are a number of costly mistakes that numerous people make every Full Moon Party. Avoid these and you will be saving yourself lots of money:

  1. Bringing valuables to the party. Cameras and smart phones are easily stolen and sold on. Turn your back for a moment and they are gone.
  2. Getting involved in the fire dancing. The medical centres in Haad Rin are full of people being treated for burns the day after the party. The centres inflate their prices as they expect tourists to claim back the costs from their insurance.
  3. If you hire a motorbike you will need to leave your passport as a damage deposit. If you crash the bike the vendor will know (it’s like a sixth sense). They will be demanding between $600 and $1,500 in damages. Until this is paid they won’t return your passport. No one will help you negotiate a fairer deal. The same is true of Jet Ski operators. The central government in Bangkok made noises about regulating the Jet Ski business but nothing has changed in Koh Phangan.
  4. Don’t get caught with drugs.

Finally

People tend to bring about 2,000 Thai Baht to the party. The rest, if they are sensible, they leave in safety deposit boxes back at their resort. Most of the 15,000 people at the average party are friendly and honest, but of course criminals, opportunists, sex workers and revenue motivated police are among the happy people looking for victims. Stay with a group as if you are all getting drunk. It is hoped that at least one person might remain sober enough to steer the group away from costly trouble.

Oh and wear something on your feet to avoid cuts. What can start out as a small cut in Thailand can soon turn septic and require medical attention.

Some More Reading

Review of Wild and Wandering Backpacker Hostel and Bar
Guide to Baan Tai Hostels