Full Moon Party faces Buddha Days, water shortages this month

The Full Moon Party (as seen from LOUD Hotel) will go on this holiday weekend, despite two Buddha Days and a water shortage. (via LOUD Hotel)

Local party and event organisers have scrambled to host the infamous Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Beach in Koh Pha Ngan this week while facing a number of setbacks. The country is seeing a surge in tourism due to the super-extended six-day holiday weekend, but that brings a downside for the partygoers on the island.

Normally the week of Full Moon is full of all-night parties for at least five days, with popular shindigs like Waterfall Party and OXA Beach two nights before Full Moon, the legendary Jungle Experience the night before, Maya the day after and another Waterfall Party two days after, along with many other weekly and monthly events around the island.

Part of the reason for the long weekend is the observance of Asalha Puja (Dharma Day celebrating the Buddha’s first sermon) today, August 1 and Buddhist Lent Day August 2. On those two days, the sale and consumption of alcohol are prohibited, which throws a wrench into an island known for the weeklong events of the Full Moon Party.

The show must (almost always) go on for the Full Moon Party itself, which is rarely cancelled short of a royal death or a pandemic. But it does bend to Buddhism and on months when a Buddha Day is observed on the night of the lunar full moon, the party will shift to the next day. This month the full moon is on August 2, but the Full Moon Party is on August 3. There is also a rare second Full Moon event on August 31 this month.

But the other parties have to make special arrangements for Buddha Days. Some cancel completely for the month and others shift to alternative dates. Waterfall Party should have been today but instead was on July 30 with over 550 people still in attendance. OXA Beach, on the other hand, moved its popular event to the day after Full Moon Party, according to a rep from the party.

“Since today is a Buddha Day, we moved OXA Beach to August 4 in hopes of capturing the crowd still on the island. Hopefully, they are not too hungover from the Full Moon and ready to party more!”

Full Moon Party also faces another strong hurdle in the exceptionally dry season. Koh Pha Ngan has run out of water. The island has been on water rations for a few months now with each area of the island only receiving water from the government lines for a few hours a day.

Different regions get water at different times, and the water sometimes flows for as little as one hour a day. Hotels are struggling to keep their water tanks full and have running showers and toilets when tens of thousands of people descend upon the island. Pontip “Sao” Chongkonphuet, manager of WET! a Pool Party Hostel by Wild & Wandering complained of the stress and expense.

“We have to call trucks to come to deliver water every day. Sometimes we pay up to 10,000 baht per day to have enough water for all our customers.”

Full Moon Party is now welcoming thousands of arriving guests, many of whom are unaware of Buddha Day and disappointed with two quiet days. But the parties will return the minute the religious holidays have passed. Meanwhile, the island of Phangan is praying for long heavy rains to replenish the water supply and finally bring back 24-hour running water lines.

EventsSouth Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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