Koh Phangan is synonymous with its infamous Full Moon Party that partiers flock to in their thousands. Buoyed along by that party’s beat it can be easy to forget that the rules are different in Thailand. Very harsh penalties await those that ignore Thailand’s law.
Partier on Haad Rin Nok © joestump
Koh Phangan is one of the world’s most famous party destinations, largely thanks to the monthly Full Moon Party in Haad Rin. With over 20,000 people coming to the some of the biggest parties each year, drug use has inevitably become part of the event and the island’s culture.
Stories of magic mushroom shakes, acid and other drugs are easy to find online from visitors to Koh Phangan, often with claims that police on the island take a relaxed approach to dealing with drug use.
This may have been true once, but it’s no longer the case. The police frequently arrest people for drug use on Koh Phangan, particularly at the full moon parties. Since the Bangkok bombing and Paris terror attacks, the police presence at the full moon party has increased considerably.
Drug use, even of marijuana and other drugs that aren’t harshly penalised in the West, is strictly illegal in Thailand. Penalties are severe, and it’s far from impossible that you could face a very long jail term just for a being caught with a small amount of drugs.
Every year, people are arrested at the Full Moon Party for drug use. Even selling or possessing items related to drug use is forbidden in Thailand. In April of 2015, several Russian tourists were arrested for possessing marijuana and several homemade bongs and face serious penalties.
Some of the people arrested for drug possession on Koh Phangan manage to avoid dealing with the Thai court system by paying huge bribes. Others face very long sentences in the massively overcrowded and extremely unpleasant Thai prison system.
The easiest way to avoid getting in trouble for taking drugs on Koh Phangan is to avoid having anything to do with drugs while you’re in Thailand. Penalties are extremely harsh, the police are completely unsympathetic and you face the risk of spending a long time in a nasty prison for what would be a minor crime in many Western countries.
Worse yet, many of the people that might offer to sell you drugs in Haad Rin and other parts of Koh Phangan are undercover police officers, or third parties that work with the police to turn in their own customers and collect huge bribes.
There’s an additional reason not to take drugs on Koh Phangan: low quality, often dangerous drugs and lack of medical care. Many of the drugs sold on Koh Phangan (including the famous mushroom shakes) are cheaply made and have all sorts of undesirable chemicals added.
If you take illegal drugs and have a serious health reaction, your options are very limited on Koh Phangan. There is only one hospital on Koh Phangan and it’s very small. The closest hospital is more than one hour away on Koh Samui. You could also be arrested for drug use after you have been treated, compounding what is already a serious problem.
Thailand’s drug laws are no joke, and every year, many tourists are put in prison for drug-related crimes. It’s easy to have fun on Koh Phangan without taking drugs. By doing so, you’ll enjoy the best of the island without facing the risk of a long prison sentence, serious injury, or even death.
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Koh Phangan Travel Guide:
- Koh Phangan – A Very Quick Travel Guide
- Full Moon Party Koh Phangan
- Drugs on Koh Phangan
- Full Moon Party Accommodation on Koh Phangan
- Things To Do On Koh Phangan
- Places To Eat On Koh Phangan
- Koh Phangan Villas For Rent
- Where To Stay On Koh Phangan
- Koh Phangan Day Trips
- Koh Phangan Weather
- How To Get To Koh Phangan
- Koh Phangan Airport
- Koh Phangan Beaches