Koh Phangan; where to find rooms at Haad Rin for the Full Moon Party

Also check out these other guides to Koh Phangan and its beaches:

The Full Moon Party on Phangan's Haad Rin Nok beach is the world biggest and most famous beach party. As up to 20,000 young revellers descend on this beach each month (in high season) they create what is surely the biggest regular, monthy party of any kind in the world. There are countless websites and blogs devoted to this event, so I will not focus on more of the same, but on this site’s speciality, the beachfront accommodations, the beach and its surroundings, and what to expect here during and out of Party time.
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Rin Nok Beach gained its stature due to the original natural beauty of sand and water, the surrounding green mountains and the fact that it faces directly east – and thus the rising of the full moon directly out of the sea. As I suggest below, the condition of the beach remains surprisingly good, and I have removed my negative comments from 2010 when I found the beach out of party time to be quite dirty. By 2017 it had improved significantly, though the little commercial community at the back has continued to go the other way, over-built and ugly. See the comparison with my 1994 photos at the end of this page.
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The pressure on accommodation is so great during the party periods that overflow crowds fill most accommodations on the island, even those on far-off beaches like Bottle Beach where you need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle or boat to get in and out. Getting a room right here on Haad Rin, where you have the convenience of being able to walk a few steps from you room to the party, is a privilege that requires booking many months in advance.
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Many more revellers are accommodated on the ‘back beach’, Haad Rin Nai, where many small hotels hold hundreds of rooms built specifically for the party crowds. Those lie empty through the rest of the month, with only the true beachfront resorts facing Haad Rin having guests the whole time. After the back beach fills up the island's south coast beaches, Ban Kai and Ban Tai, then absorb the greatest number of party goers.
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Here we show the true beachfront accommodations right on Haad Rin Nok Beach, while the cheaper accommodations along the back beach are shown on Haad Rin Nai, accommodation beach for the Full Moon Party. Also, there’s additional accommodation close to the party at that hidden surprise nearby, Sri Kantang Beach.
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Haad Rin Nok's accommodation right-on-the-beach – front row views of the party

Finding rooms on Haad Rin Nok varies from super difficult, to relatively easy. It all depends on your time of the month. If you want a front row seat to any of the year's 12 full Moon Parties be prepared to book long in advance, and pay a premium. And most hotels now only accept minimum bookings for a few nights during the Party period.
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All hotels shown here look right over right over the party, though those at the top end have it a little quieter. From any of these you can wander into the party to do whatever, then simply stroll home to bed at any time of night. This is a luxury for the very few, for thousands of party-goers are forced to make a long trek to find their rooms, often a long stagger to the back beach, or a long and arduous taxi-truck ride to beaches on far corners of the island. In high season even Bottle Beach 1 Resort, just about the most difficult resort to get to on Phangan, has a dormitory that gets crammed with party goers – and it’s a long, rough trek both ways between there and Haad Rin.
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Phangan Sunrise Resort
This is the closest thing to a ringside seat you can get at the Full Moon Party, with 3-star comforts. It’s small and pleasant, with good rooms. It’s only the luckiest of party goers who can get a room here and simply take a few steps from the party to their bed. Like most other resorts in the area, Sunrise has a three night minimum booking for the Party period. At Sunrise you can even take in the party while lazing in the swimming pool.
Outside Party times this is a quiet, low-key and friendly little resort.
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Phangan Bayshore Resort
This is a very respectable 3-star resort with plenty of space, a large swimming pool and uite a bit of greenery. While it obviously provides perfect accommodation during the Full Moon Party – just a couple of steps from room to sand – it also makes for a pleasant, quiet resort during the three weeks out of party time. It could also be good for families.
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Tommy Resort
This offers a very green ambiance, with nice open lawns facing the beach and rooms immersed in tropical gardens. A great place to retire to after enough partying; but how to get a booking in such a nice place as this at a time like that? Many months in advance is the only answer.
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Sri Kantang Beach – hidden luxury accommodation right by the party

Sri Kantang Beach is not really a secret – but not many people know about it. Even those who stay right on Haad Rin often don’t realize that just over the nearby hill yet another beach lies in hiding, Sri Kantang. As a venue for the Full Moon Party this is near perfect. It’s just 5 minutes’ walk away, yet the hill closes out much of the sound, giving guests in the three beachfront hotels here a peaceful hideaway.
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The beach here is tranquil and pretty, though it does have the offshore reef and resulting shallow water. Perhaps the one distinct negative is the route to get here; the too-narrow lane winds tortuously through Haad Rin’s hot, dusty and ugly little commercial village.
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Haad Rin Nok; a beautiful quiet beach outside Full Moon Party time

Despite the huge pressure this beach faces each month as countless thousands of party goers descend upon its sands, and the thoughtless development of some of the resorts here, Haad Rin Beach is surviving surprisingly well. Happily it has Mother Nature ever-ready to do her cleansing and rejuvenating magic with her spring high tides, which thoroughly cleanse the sand right up to the resort walls. Every morning beach cleaners can also be seen doing their sweep, collecting the plastic that inevitably washes up overnight.
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The condition of the beach is surprisingly good once the party crowds have completely dissipated, and their leftovers have been thoroughly cleared. And it’s surprising how peaceful Haad Rin can become in the two week periods midway between parties.
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Haad Rin can provide a very normal holiday for couples or families in those two 'off' weeks. Aside from the alcohol booths and their lurid signs, one would hardly suspect such a huge event happens here so often. At quiet times there are more people on this beach than on most other Phangan beaches, but it's not a crowd.
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Then, during the week prior the party, things begin to change as an entirely new crowd trickles in from all parts of the world with just one thing on their minds, party. They quickly fill all available beachfront accommodation then spill over to the many small hotels, rooms and guest houses on back beach, Haad Rin Nai. Haad Rin's monthly transformation has begun, and for those seeking a tranquil beach holiday it's time to move on.
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Phangan's Haad Rin; that busy, ugly tourist village behind the beach

It happens every time a beach resort in Thailand really takes off. The business people arrive to snatch up the land from the coconut farmers, usually cutting it up into such tiny plots that each new owner out to catch a slice of the tourist dollar has little choice but cut down every tree and cover his entire holding with concrete. The result is the same at all Thai beach resorts; hot, treeless, concrete tourist villages adorned by tangles of electrical wiring and the tacky signs of over commercialization. Simply put, Haad Rin's tourism village is treeless, hot and very, very ugly.
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The only positive thing it achieves – aside from stocking up tourists – is the provision of a relatively safe passage over the 500 metres between front and back beaches. The streets and lights allow drunken party revellers to make their way from beach party to their rooms along Haad Rin Nai, the back accommodation beach, without getting lost or waylaid in the dark.
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The gallery holds some old photos displaying of the evolution of this commercial village from 1994, when it was still a coconut plantation with scattered buildings between, to its present form.

Then there’s a shot from 2010 and some more recent photos from 2017. You decide if this is appropriate development of a supposed ‘tropical paradise’ or not.

Full Moon Party, Half Moon Party, Black Moon Party, Shiva Moon Party, Pool Party

There are so many signs around Koh Phangan advertising parties of different kinds that one wonders how much party can one island really sustain? With just one famous monthly event Phangan has already established itself as the island party scene of Thailand. But people will always copy and try to get a little of the fame and money to rub off onto their piece of turf.
I cannot vouch for any of the parties here, nor whether they will still be going or remembered when you make it to Koh Phangan. They come and go each year or two. But the signs do make for interesting reading. And no matter when you arrive on this island, there will be someone somewhere trying to entice you to their resort or beach to party the night away, and leave a little of your cash on their turf.
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There is one party however, that you can be sure will still be happening – it’s been going on almost as long as the Full Moon Party itself, and does not look like dying anytime soon. That’s the regular pool party in Coral Bungalows. Established long ago by a local couple, it is now run by the son, nickname Best, who speaks excellent English. Coral is on the back beach, Haad Rin Nai, but is usually accessed from the main road out of Haad Rin, near the top of the first hill.
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a little history

Here is a collection of party signs from 2010. They change from year to year, with events that don’t catch on soon disappearing. One or two of them is still going.
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by John Everingham