Koh Phangan is an expensive island.. period. But even more so over the full moon craziness, with 50,000 (some months as many as 90,000) tourists flocking to the relatively small island every month to witness the world famous party first hand.
Over the messy 5 day period (2 days before and 2 days after full moon), prices for pretty much everything go up, especially in the more concentrated parts of the island like Haad Rin town. Having previously run a party hostel here on Koh Phangan, I was blown away at the amount of money some tourists end up spending over just a couple of days. That said, I do ‘get it’, you guys are on holiday and if you have it, why not spend it?.. It’s full moon, it’s not like you have a choice, right?…
WRONG!.. there are option and things you can do to really help you save those precious 20b notes. The same 20b notes you will probably lose on full moon night, along with your all your other valuable stuff.. please don’t be that guy. Read our quick, mainly common-sense guide. I wish somebody had told me this stuff for my first Full Moon Party… *sigh*
Stay a whole month – its cheaper
Picture this… you and some friends book 5 nights in a 20 bed dorm over Full Moon. (You have to book 5 nights because that’s the minimum nights stay.) You pay 1000 THB a night, totalling 5,000 THB for the 5 epic nights of madness… wheeey! bargain… *cough*.. It all seems so cheap when compared to back home, and again, you’re on holiday and it’s what everyone is did, so why not?
Well, it’s real simple.. It’s crazy talk.. Backpackers often don’d hang around in one spot long enough to realise you can get your own bungalow for a whole month for around 5,000b. Yeah, it will be pretty basic, but who needs hot water when its 35c outside? You could push the boat out a little if you wanted and spend little more, say 9,000b and treat yourself to an upgrade. Hell, you could spend 20,000b and share an awesome condo with your friends for the month. This would cover your full moon accommodation as well, and you could always just go hang out at a party hostel if you want to make some more friends! Staying here for a bit longer also helps you see it’s not all about full moon, there’s plenty more to the island mid month!
Make your own buckets of alcohol
If you weren’t already aware, the ‘go to’ alcoholic drinks container over Full Moon is a plastic bucket. They cost around 200-350 baht and are mainly full of ice, red bull and cheap ‘white spirits’… (then you wonder why you havent slept and been hungover for 3 days).. A good way to avoid the heart palpitations, crippling hangover and severe dent in your wallet (after buying 7 buckets for yourself and 3 for your buddy that lost all his money) is to just simply make your own buckets. Then you can pace yourself, go easy on the red bull and know whats going in your drinks. Most 7-elevens sell plastic buckets for 20b, they also have ice dispensers on their drinks machines.. a bottle of decent enough whiskey is 200b and a bottle of coke 30b. With all this you can get 3-4 buckets out of just 250b or so… Saving you a load of cash over the night! That said, the bucket stands are lovely and the locals running them are often a highlight of your night, so maybe buy your first bucket at a stand, give little bit back into the local community 😉
Don’t buy Marlboro Golds
Cigarettes in Thailand are cheap.. certainly cheaper than western countries anyway. This can make it almost rewarding to buy your favourite pack of cigarettes for a tenth of the cost you would usually.. But when your travelling on a budget, and in a country where you can literally smoke everywhere, it can be easy to start over spending on cigarettes alone. It’s worth noting that the cheaper Thai branded cigarettes are identical and cost even less. At Party Phangan, having gone through all the options over the years, our ‘go to’ pack is either the Playoff Reds at just 60b a pack, or iScore Reds at around the same price.. either are half the price of the American brands and you wouldn’t even know the difference.
Eat local Thai food
Cheap burgers and fries are cheap for a reason. If you want a good burger, you will have to pay for it. Which is fine if you have the money, but if your on a budget buying western style food can be expensive. Why not venture out a little and taste some Thai food, you are in Thailand after all, and they certainly know what they are doing when it comes to cooking. Often the best Thai food is found in the most unlikely of places. So stop being stuck up and go eat at that rusty corner shack, I bet that little old Thai lady knows how to cook a mean curry for 50b!
This is general common sense.. nobody wants to be in hospital on their travels, and being the cliche dude covered in bandages isn’t a great look. Hospital treatment can be expensive, especially if they know you have insurance and the cost of repairing the smallest of scratches on your rented motorbike is up to the owners discretion. The last thing you want after a night out is a 6000b repair cost and a 15000b hospital fee. Get a taxi.. it could save your life and the rest of your travel money.
Get water refills for 1 baht
This is common knowledge for locals and expats, but many tourists don’t even see the water refill stations on the side of the road, let alone use them. Save your first plastic bottle and then just refill it for a baht whenever you see a machine. When its 35 degrees outside and you’re drinking 6 litres a day (sweating out 7), buying water bottle from your convenience store can really add up. not to mention the impact all those plastic bottles do to the environment. hmmm… 17 bottles of water for the price of 1, and save the planet at the same time?! It’s a no brainer!
Some of the above tips are just plain common sense, some of them are little known insider secrets.. Either way, use them. You will thank yourselves when you leave the island with the same memories as everyone else (blurry) and spent 10x less. #FTW