During a typical two week holiday on Mae Haad Beach it is normal to sample Koh Phangan’s famous (and infamous) nightlife at least once. Mae Haad is excellent for snorkelling and relaxing but it is a poor spot if you are looking for crowds, a hedonistic atmosphere and loud music.
For those wanting a big party vibe the only choice is the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Sunrise Beach. The next best option are the Baan Tai parties. However, for those who don’t want a long journey in the back of a pick-up taxi, and for those who prefer smaller gatherings the best choice is the Moon Set Party at Haad Chao Phao on the West Coast of Koh Phangan.
Getting to Haad Chao Phao
Haad Chao Phao is a small beach to the south of Mae Haad on the west coast. It is not as busy or developed as Haad Yao. However, it does have fine white sand and beautiful rockery scenery. It is connected to the main western coastal road and takes about 10 minutes to reach from Mae Haad by either shared taxi or motorbike. The roads on this part of the island are mostly flat and mostly covered in concrete. This makes it a relatively safe journey to make at night.
In a shared taxi it should cost about 100 Thai Baht per person. If you hire a private taxi for you and your friends the total cost should be about 1,000 Baht. Scooter hire for 24 hours is about 250 Baht.
The Moon Set Party is held at the Pirates Bar. It is a funky little bar at the end of Chao Phao Beach. It is in a small cove that is empty except for the bar. This makes an ideal location for a party as it is away from accommodation. The bar is reached via a wooden walk way that goes around the headland at the southern end of the beach.
The bar itself is located in a wooden shaped bar. It is a ramshackle affair made partly from salvaged drift wood. It is set back against rocks. There is seating on the roof as well as at the bar. There is also a platform next to the sea with low tables and cushions great for chilling out.
Next to the bar is a stack of loudspeakers and a wooden stage. The wider area is decorated by white flags. During party nights numerous psychedelic decorations can be seen sporting the usual fluorescent colours and patterns. There is also a basic lightshow that adds to the party atmosphere. On big party nights like in December there is also a burning sign that reads ‘Moon Set Party’.
Moon Set Party
The Moon Set Parties occur mostly during the high seasons of January, July and August and the peak season at Christmas and New Year. The party dates are a little imprecise. They should be 2 days before the Full Moon Party and Half Moon Party. There is little to no effort made to use social media or a website to announce party nights. The net reveals the last party promoted through Facebook events was in December 2013.
However, not to worry: if you are staying anywhere along the west coast of Koh Phangan you will soon find out about the next party.
The party itself attracts about hundred people. It is a small cove and fills up with people. There is the usual Koh Phangan collection of trance and techno devotes who sway for hours on the dance floor while drinking buckets. There are also people just staying locally who have come to check out the party.
The atmosphere is relaxed. The music is loud (too loud if you don’t like trance and techno) but the event is not overwhelming like the Full Moon Party. You aren’t bothered by sex workers, police or those lost on magic mushrooms. In short the Moon Set Party at Haad Chao Phao is the best party on the West Coast – it is more than just a bar playing music and less than a large outdoor rave.