Thailand: Full Moon events escape Koh Phangan party ban

THAI authorities are putting a kibosh on Koh Phangan’s notorious debauchery, forbidding most of the notoriously loud and narcotics-addled parties that draw throngs of young Westerners – not to mention lucrative tourism revenuies – to the small, idyllic island.

On Sunday the Bangkok Post reported that Koh Phangan’s district office officially announced the ban and said it is being enforced because of “complaints by island residents about noisy parties which disturbed their way of life.” The article went on to describe how Full Moon Parties will still be permitted, but added that dark moon parties, jungle parties, half moon parties, and similar events falling at other points in the lunar will be outlawed.

While venue owners and potential attendees may have been dismayed by the announcement, they were not likely surprised by it. After all, as the Post article noted, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry has been working since December to “rebrand the island’s image from that of a Full Moon Party destination.” But bans on Koh Phangan festivities have predated that government initiative. A similar prohibition was placed on all such celebrations on Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Koh Tao this past October, after a young British couple was found murdered on the latter island.

Tourists at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan Thailand. Pic: AP.

Tourists at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan Thailand. Pic: AP.


At the time, CNBC quoted several critics and proponents of the ban. Daniel Voyce, a 31-year-old Australian tourist, told the news outlet: “I think on Koh Phangan, it will cause some problems, the smaller parties (the Jungle experience for example) were the best parties there.”

However, Voyce’s view was far from the consensus. The report also quoted Matteo Benoldi, an island hopping Italian photographer, who said that Koh Phangan’s all night parties “are the most horrible things. You will not see more than tourists getting drunk and aggressive, it’s better without them.” That notion was echoed by Warangkana Anuwong, senior research analyst at Euromonitor International, who said: “the ban might also attract other groups of tourists seeking a more peaceful holiday destination.”

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