Vice, always a magazine I either love or hate, has an interesting article on the Full Moon Party, which has made this island famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) over the last few decades. The basic thesis of the article, which I agree with, is that the party, which was once a fun hangout for people to dance and have fun on the beach, has been taken over by drunk, YOLO idiots who want to take drugs and rampage around Haad Rin without any respect for locals.
It’s a pretty accurate description. I was in Haad Rin during the last party, at least for the first few hours, and realized pretty quickly how out of place I felt. I was only 5-10 years older than most of the people there, but seemed like I was from a totally different planet. This is not a dig at all parties on Koh Phangan, many of which are fun. But the Full Moon Party has transformed from something that was once about kicking back with friends on the beach into a bunch of people, all massively drunk, destroying a town that was once very cool.
I won’t even talk about the litter and pollution, which is massive. The next morning, Haad Rin looks like a sewer mixed with a landfill, with beer bottles all over the place and water that’s equal parts sea water and human piss. The whole event has become a disgrace in many ways, which is why I’m not at all upset that the Thai police are thinking of banning it altogether.
Like I said, I’m not a killjoy and I like a party every now and then. There are many other parties and events on Koh Phangan that are a lot of fun. But the Full Moon Party is no longer one of them. It’s a totally annoying event that ruins Koh Phangan for the rest of us, since locals instinctively assume every foreigner on the island is another drunk YOLO fool waiting to do damage or offend people with their total ignorance of the culture and values.