Haad Rin is the main tourist town on the beautiful tropical Thai island of Koh Phangan. It used to be a hippy hangout until the dramatic rise of the Full Moon Party as the best and biggest regular beach party in the world. The economy of Haad Rin and indeed much of the island is now reliant on the 20,000 people who regularly descend on Koh Phangan for the big party.
Despite the fact that Haad Rin is a tourist trap it is not such a bad place. The town is small and restricted from growing by the geography of the area. It is less busy than Chaweng on Koh Samui and is also free of go-go bars.
Instead the narrow roads of Haad Rin are lined with shops, restaurants, gyms and guest houses. There is one nightclub called Club 9. You can find Indian, Israeli, Japanese, Thai, Australian, English and Scandinavian food in the many bars and cafes of Haad Rin.
For those who like going out at night and having a few drinks Haad Rin is definitely the best place to do so in Koh Phangan. There are bars with live sports, guest beers and happy hours. There are also Muay Thai shows to enjoy.
As the full moon approaches Haad Rin starts to fill up and the prices for Haad Rin accommodation go up to peak season prices. The bars on the beach and in the town hold warm up parties. The Drop in Club has a foam party just before the FMP to pull in the punters.
As you might imagine, on the night of the party Haad Rin becomes a place of mayhem. Everywhere there are bodies daubed in fluorescent paint having fun or passed out. The main party is on the long Haad Rin Sunrise Beach but the whole town heaves with people during the event.
At the start of the Full Moon Party the event was largely un-policed and free. Now there is a strong police presence at the party and they charge people entering Haad Rin on the night.
If you love to meet people and party on a beach then Haad Rin will be heaven for you. If you want to go to sleep to the sound of waves lapping on the shore scratch Haad Rin from your list.