Hi fellow Travelers,
Two of my buddies and I are going to be in Thailand for 2 weeks in January. Since the trip is a month away, we were curious if we should book a place to stay at Full Moon Party now (rates on booking.com are pretty expensive for Thailand) or if we can wing it and find something when we are already on Koh Phangan for cheaper? We also don't want to stay there for more than 3 days so the 5-night/7-night minimum rates are something we are trying to avoid.
Sounds like fun! If you want to play it safe so that you have something for sure, you should book in advance. It is possible to just arrive on the island and find a place, though it might be a little stressful (or super adventurous!) unless you're with someone who speaks Thai.
So the last time I was in Thailand about two years ago, I was with one American friend and two native Thai friends. My friends and I decided last minute while we were in Bangkok that we'd hit up the Full Moon Party. We bought our plane tickets for that week on AirAsia to fly to Surat Thani, sailed to Koh Samui, went to a travel agency there and booked a room for two nights for the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan that very day.
At the time, it was $60/night for a room with two beds at the Dewshore Resort. I recommend the Dewshore "Resort" with slight hesitation, and I put apostrophes around the word "resort" because I use it lightly, because it was not the cleanest or fanciest place, but it got the job done -- it gave us a place to sleep last minute at a fairly reasonable price. The rooms and bathrooms were kind of gross, but we didn't spend much time there, and the pool, and the huge private beach totally made up for it.
Also, one thing to note: it might be really convenient to stay on the beach so you can just walk there, but it's going to be really loud, and I think those are the more expensive places. So I wanted to let you know that Koh Phangan is a really small island and it's super easy to get around almost anywhere you stay, so don't be discouraged to book a room at a place that's away from the beach. There will always be cars to pick you up for really cheap, especially during the time of the Full Moon Party.
Have fun, and let me know if you have any other questions! :)
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I have done over 3 months worth of traveling in Thailand. I have done both the full and half moon parties. I never book accommodation until the day before or on the day. I have only got into trouble with this around the New Years full moon party. If you are going to be there a week either side of New Years then I would book now. If not I would wing it. Try agoda.com I find it the cheapest. Or hostelworld.com if you want that
That is peak season and the actual full moon time (and days before and after) can get pretty busy. But then again I have never booked myself when I go there but then I have never been to a full moon party and perhaps have been equally lucky to have not been there or noticed one when I was there haha. :-)
Not that I cared though there was one time I was there it was very busy indeed and that was probably the time.
You could book one room or one bunkhouse for the period for an emergency and all share it (or use it as a bonking shack) if you had too and I think that would be a wise move.
Otherwise I did suggest to my bungalow owning Thai friend that he should rent out that wet mattress I saw on the beach to some skimping young "farang kee nok" for say 20 baht per day so I think that whatever you decide you will probably survive provided you don't overdose yourself on drugs and alcohol while you are there or have a motor crash. Although I reckon they probably will have built a hospital or surgery there by now to cater to the moon partyers uhuh ;-)
If you like to get to Koh Phangan on January Fullmoon which is the peak of the season it is very recommended to book hotel in advance, otherwise it will be very hard to find hotel in a good price on arrival.