Tourism Minister visits Full Moon Party, supports later curfew

PHOTO: The Tourism Minister visited Full Moon Party and vowed to support it. (via Pïchät)

The Full Moon Party week is just wrapping on the island of Koh Pha Ngan, and while attendance was down, there was at least one special attendee that could influence the future of the party. Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn visited Haad Rin, home of the iconic party that draws tens of thousands of tourists to the island each month.

The minister saw the huge boost to tourism that the party brings as young tourists from around the country flock to the south of the island each month and fill accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops and vowed to support the Full Moon Party. He observed people arriving on the island all day and well into the night on speedboats operating from Koh Samui for hours after the normal ferries have finished for the day, and saw people disappointed at early closures of what was an all-night party before Covid-19.

He intends to request the Interior Ministry and Cabinet to make an exception to allow Full Moon Party to run until 4am, though the last few months the party has unofficially run at least that late anyway. Before the pandemic, the event officially went from 8pm to 8am with afterparties launching at 7am.

Many partygoers found the visit from the Tourism Minister intimidating, as his entourage of police, army soldiers, and administrative officials including the deputy governor of Surat Thani was a frightening show of authority to travellers trying to drink and dance on the beach.

This month’s party saw about half the attendance as the post-pandemic peak of about 20,000 people last month, partly because local organisers attempted a last-minute date change from August 13 to 12. The change was a correction as the full moon in the sky was August 12, but confusion over the Queen Mother’s birthday prompted the party to be scheduled on August 13 and then revised to August 12 when it was made clear that the holiday was not a Buddha Day and did not have a ban on booze and partying.

The date change with limited promotion, especially in English, was too little too late with thousands cancelling their bookings for August 13 upon learning of the last-minute change, though many top venues around town threw parties both days.

Speedboats and ferry companies have seen a resurgence of business since Covid restrictions mostly eased in May with ferry companies like Raja and Lomprayah selling out days in advance before and after Full Moon Party, and Seatran relaunching its service to Koh Pha Ngan from Koh Samui and Donsak on the mainland. They have been slowly regrowing since the first post-shutdown Full Moon Party returned in November of last year.

Several other notable parties are returning to the island known for gatherings and events with Half Moon Party relaunching this month with lukewarm attendance as they expanded to a two-day festival and doubled their price from before the pandemic. The popular Jungle Experience is slated to relaunch in December before Full Moon Party as well.

The Tourism Minister seemed inspired by the huge event, and the excited tourists enjoying it, as he called for locals to create a safe and welcoming environment to cultivate tourism.

“The visitors said they enjoyed travelling to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan and experiencing the Full Moon Party or the Half Moon Party. I’ll ask the cabinet and the Interior Ministry to approve the extension [until 4am]. The Full Moon Party has a unique appeal to people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

EventsKoh Samui 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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