Planning a trip to for Koh Phangan New Years Eve…? Well, maybe you should re-think that decision! But please don’t let the title mislead you; I actually love Koh Phangan! The epic parties, the house music, the stunning beaches, the international backpackers; this island and the vibes here are are truly spectacular!
Many people criticize Koh Phangan as being purely an island of debauchery, and that the full-moon party is too touristy and commercialized – ignore them! It’s truly one of the best party islands in South-east Asia, and I’ve actually had some of my favorite nights of my Asia travels on Koh Phangan. I’ve experienced some insane parties, had a wild 25th birthday here, and made countless awesome new friends here!! (If you’re reading this, you know who you are).
So with no better options, and an urge to experience the infamous New Years Full Moon Celebrations, I made plans to go to Koh Phangan. I had spent Christmas on Koh Tao (which I really loved, but was ready for a change. So I booked transportation online from Koh Tao -> Koh Phangan, headed to the ferry, and my Koh Phangan New Years adventures began.
When I got off the ferry, I instantly headed to my favorite hostel on the island – ECHO BEACH BACKPACKERS. I arrived on the night of the 31st, so I started preparing for the night…A.K.A — neon colors, body paint, and pre-gaming. The following 24 hours was a blur filled with lots of dancing, partying on the beach until sunrise, afterparties, fire dancing, a lost iphone, magic mushrooms on mellow mountain, and much more…
I’m not going to lie, I really did have such an amazing night! From partying along the beach for a few hours, and then heading up to Merkaba for some proper techno; it was a solid time celebrating the coming of 2015. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “If you had such an amazing time, why wouldn’t you go back to KP for New Years Again? Well, let me explain.”
#1 Everything on the island cost 2 or 3 times
In 2014, I traveled to Koh Phangan for the full moon parties in both January and February. I had heard that all the hostels and hotels get booked up early for NYE, and they are a little pricier, but it was just out of control. I feel like I could open up a hostel in KP just for NYE and make enough money to last the full year at the prices places were charging. I’m talking $51 per bed in a shared dormitory with mediocre facilities with a minimum stay of 4-7 nights.
As well, I noticed that all the prices for motorbikes, food, alcohol, taxis, laundry, and a few other things had gone up. I know it’s high season in Thailand, but it almost felt like a tourist trap. Thank God for 7-11 Toasties and Hong Thong whiskey. Even the ferry prices from Chumphon and Surat Thani to Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui were raised much higher than the standard prices.
#2 Koh Phangan has better parties basically every other night
There’s a reason thousands of backpackers flock to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. This is the “Ibiza” of South-East Asia. Every night of the week, there’s something to do. It can get a little intense. It’s like, c’mon. Give me a day off. But the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) hits me hard, and I always end up going out. Just look at the party schedule below. From the Jungle Party Experience, Half Moon, Black Moon, Loi Lay, Maya, Merkaba, Guys Bar, Eden, and of course the full moon parties.
#3 There’s just too many people
I know this sounds weird, as it’s a giant party, and you think, the more people the better right? Well for me, this was not the case. It’s packed, crazy, and crowded everywhere you go. Back during the full moon parties in January and February it was not nearly as packed, but just as much fun. There’a always people to meet, but too many people just gets frustrating. As well, this also caused some serious annoyances when it came to the ferries. There was always a delay, so many backpacks, and it just took a lot of time.
I’m writing this a bit late (due to computer problems) as it’s been a couple weeks since I was on KP, but I did have one crazy experience. But would I go back for Koh Phangan? No. It’s easily one of my favorite places to party and let loose in South-East Asia, but it is honestly like that pretty much year round. Take my advice. If you’re spending NYE in Thailand, celebrate in Bangkok or Chiang Mai. They both have a ton of stuff going on, and won’t rob you of a ton of money. (Then after NYE, you could cruise down to KP for the January or February Full Moon).
Where To Stay in Koh Phangan…?
I’ve now visited this magical party island at least 4 different times now, and here are my top accommodation recommendations. If you’re still planning on going during New Years Eve, understand that you will need to book a minimum of 4-5 nights at most hostels to experience the madness.
AirBNB – Want a cool travel hack? Sign-up for a new AirBNB account and get $40 off your first night. That’s basically a free night in Thailand! Whenever I travel with friends in southeast asia, we all do it and save heaps of money. There are a ton of really cool AirBNB’s on Koh Phangan, and would be a great way to experience the Full Moon New Years. I obviously wouldn’t recommend this for solo travelers though, as you’ll want to find a cool / social-hostel.
ECHO BEACH BACKPACKERS – This will always be my favorite hostel on the island, but that’s because I’ve had some very special memories here. It’s not the cleanest or most comfortable, but it’s an absolute blast! There are better hostels for sure, but if you’re looking for a good time check it out. Check for rates & availability.
THE COAST RESORT (Adults Only) – Perfectly located resort, beautiful rooms, and is one of the best-sellers on the island. You would definitely love staying here, and there’s always amazing deals going on which is a huge bonus! Check rates & availability.
Planning a trip to Thailand?
Check out a few of my other posts on this amazing country! I’ve spent a lot of time traveling and backpacking around Thailand, and it’s one of my favorite countries to travel through!
- 3 Weeks in Thailand | Travel Itinerary
- The 9 Best Hostels for Backpackers in Thailand
- The 10 Best Music Festivals in Thailand
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand [Instagram Checklist]
- Marijuana & Drugs in Thailand
Before my first ever trip to Thailand, I actually bought the two lonely planet books below. They are seriously amazing, and answered so many of my questions.
Read Reviews for the books below