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Thailand's Full Moon Party 25 years on
Once a peaceful gathering, the wild beach extravaganza now attracts 20,000 hardcore backpackers looking to party.
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2013 11:25
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Koh Phangan, Thailand - According to those there in late 1988, the first Full Moon Party on Thailand's Koh Phangan was a peaceful gathering of travelers from around the world, the full moon providing the only light available at night on the remote island.

Today, 20,000 people regularly cram the shores of Haad Rin beach, attracted by cheap alcohol, readily available drugs and, of course, the lure of a party often referred to as a backpackers' rite of passage in Southeast Asia. 

This month's party was typical of what it has become 25 years later. A tawdry scene of increasingly intoxicated 20-somethings, each holding onto their buckets of booze as they stumble along the beach for hours on end. As the sun rose, hidden behind a grey blanket of clouds, the night's excesses were laid bear. Bodies littered the beach, semi conscious, surrounded by broken bottles and plastic buckets. 

Over the past few years there have been multiple reports of murders, sexual assault and widespread theft. Nothing serious was reported at this month's event, but the police tent on the beach - a new development recommended by the British Embassy - saw a steady stream of revellers in various states of distress throughout the night.

The following images are of one night on Haad Rin beach. Despite its many issues, Thailand's Full Moon Party remains quite the spectacle.


/George Henton/Al Jazeera
People start to gather in the sea by Haad Rin beach hours before the start of the Full Moon Party.


/George Henton/Al Jazeera
A man stands in front of a display at a body painting station during the Full Moon Party.


/George Henton/Al Jazeera

A burning "hello and welcome" message to revellers on Haad Rin beach during the Full Moon Party.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

Revellers are silhouetted on a platform on Haad Rin beach during the Full Moon Party. The party attracts nearly 20,000 people.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

Two young men limbo under a burning wooden pole during the party.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

Revellers dance on a stage on Haad Rin beach.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

A man dives through a burning ring of fire during the Full Moon Party. Each year, dozens of party-goers are sent to mainland hospitals because of severe burns from "fire dancing". 



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

A DJ performs for the crowd on Haad Rin beach.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

Two men jump over a burning rope on Haad Rin beach.



/George Henton/Al Jazeera

A woman walks out into the sea as the sunrises after the party has come to an end on Haad Rin beach.




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images:
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captions:
People start to gather in the sea by Haad Rin beach hours before the start of the Full Moon Party.;*;A man stands in front of a display at a body painting station during the Full Moon Party.;*;

A burning "hello and welcome" message to revellers on Haad Rin beach during the Full Moon Party.

;*;

Revellers are silhouetted on a platform on Haad Rin beach during the Full Moon Party. The party attracts nearly 20,000 people.

;*;

Two young men limbo under a burning wooden pole during the party.

;*;

Revellers dance on a stage on Haad Rin beach.

;*;

A man dives through a burning ring of fire during the Full Moon Party. Each year, dozens of party-goers are sent to mainland hospitals because of severe burns from "fire dancing". 

;*;

A DJ performs for the crowd on Haad Rin beach.

;*;

Two men jump over a burning rope on Haad Rin beach.

;*;

A woman walks out into the sea as the sunrises after the party has come to an end on Haad Rin beach.

Daylife ID:
4e57398b64f8a33f15b81af70453d8fa
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera;*;George Henton/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
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