Category Archives: Thailand

If You Play With Fire…

I promised a girl on Koh Tao I’d send a copy of a video I took of her friend.  Well, I’m a man of my word… and also of overkill.  The video clip evolved into a needed break from screening footage and into what you see below.

Everything was filmed on the island of Koh Tao Thailand at the Fishbowl Beach Bar, over a night or two, one night being the “Fire limbo”, which apparently is a thing.

The “Magical” Mushrooms Strike Again

This happend the morning before the Full Moon Party on Koh Pha-ngan, Thailand.  I wrote it but never posted it.  It’s too funny to keep off the site:

One early morning, or late night depending how you look at it, there was a kid passed out on the table next to me while I was eating dinner… or breakfast, at a restaurant on Haad Rin.   He was shirtless, shoeless, half soaked and half covered in sand.  About a half hour into my meal he slowly lifted his head and attempted to get his bearings.  So, I did the only logical thing;  I ordered him a beer.

Koh Phangan Rain Beer 3

We got to talking and he said the last two things he remembered was drinking a mushroom shake from “Mellow Mountain Bar” and then an hour and a half later waking up to the tide rising after passing out in the sand.  Apparently two short girls did try to warn him not to drink them as he was walking towards the bar, claiming they didn’t work.  They said they both had had one each and were on their second each, and still hadn’t felt anything… no one told them it takes over an hour to hit you and they only waited ten minutes before downing a second.  The end.  I have no idea what happened to them…

A Legend in Pink

When I was at the Full moon party in Koh Phangan we had a tight-knit family of fellow travelers staying at the hostel.  There was one person staying there that didn’t talk to anyone and only appeared a few times in five days.  I didn’t think much of him because we never spoke… but after a few additional sightings I now realize, I would be doing my life a disservice if I didn’t find him and beg him teach me his ways.  Here’s all I know:

Thailand

  • Island of Ko Phangan, 4:00am. Hostel – Sleeps with random girl in what was described by other traveler as “Most aggressive silent sex I’ve ever seen”.  First sighting after second day of check in.
  • Island of Koh Tao, 1:00am, 38 miles from original sighting. Bar – Walks by me in hot pursuit of group of girls.  Success unknown.
  • Bangkok, Ko San Road 8:00pm, 290 miles from original sighting – Walks by the bar I’m in, down the road in hot pursuit of blond girl (See photo).  Effort failed.
  • Thailand/ Cambodian Border 1:00pm, 429 miles from original sighting - Getting visa.

Cambodia

  • Siam Reap, Mad Monkey Hostel, 7:00pm, 519 miles from original sighting – On roof top bar wasted talking to group of girls.
  • Siam Reap, 11:00am, 519.1 miles from original sighting – See at the end of the road, driving by in a Tuk Tuk drinking a beer… 11:00am.

During all of the legendary sightings, he wears the same iconic pink tank top and radiates unlimited amounts of swag.  I hope he will accept me under his wing and teach me his ways!

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Full Moon Party Guide

There’s a few versions to the story of how the Full Moon Party in Thailand got started.  This is the one I believe;

Several travelers met each other on the small Island of Koh Pha-ngan and hit it off immediately.  They had such a great time together that when their visit was coming to an end they decided to have a party on the beach.  It turned into an amazing night with a full moon that lit the whole beach.  Each of them traveled telling others about this amazing party they had on the Island of Koh Pha-ngan during  the full moon.  People who heard their story interpreted it as a party that happens during the full moon on Koh Pha-ngan and they too wanted to have this great experience.  From there it snowballed.  People showed up partied and told others.  Repeat…

Today it’s a massive celebration of 20,000 – 50,000 people on the beach of Haad Rin on the island of Koh Phangan.  Many people will dismiss the party saying it’s lost it’s original charm as an underground party for those “in the know”, but it’s still a pretty amazing phenomenon.

What you need to know;

Where to Stay – You can stay right on Haad Rin, but it’s expensive and loud until 8am.  Many hostels require a minimum of 4-5 nights and for some the price almost triples on the night of the full moon (Avg. $15 a night, $39 Full Moon night), but you’re right in the action.  Another option is staying elsewhere on the Island.  My first full moon I found a bungalow for $4 a night on the west side of the island (and I split it with someone so it only cost $2).  Transportation on the island is easy and cost about $3 to go anywhere on the vans you see all around.  You can rent a scooter for cheap, but I heard one statistic that one person dies every full moon party drunk on a scooter.  The last option, which a lot of people do, but I wouldn’t recommend it, is to stay on Koh Samui and take a taxi boat over.  Think about a hangover then jumping on a giant cano shaped boat on the ocean with an unmuffeled car engine to get back to your bed.  No thanks.

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What to Do – Most get buckets of booze and get drunk.  Many fall under the spell of Mellow Mountain (Mushroom Mountain) where you can order the Infamous mushroom shakes.  If you dare to try one, take half!  You’ll be steeping over plenty of passed out bodies all party long which is usually the result of a full shake.

If you arrive early, not to worry, there are also several parties the days leading up to the full moon party;

Coral Bungalow Pool Party – There’s free transportation and it’s absolute mayhem.  One word of warning is the pool.  Everyone appears to be having sex in the pool with people they just met, so do the math… you’re probably not swimming alone.

Coral Jungle Pool Party

Jungle Party – Many say this is better than the Full Moon Party.  I think it’s just drunker.  While most are charging up for the Full Moon the true diehard party goers are here exercising their livers.  It’s has a cool jungle vibe but is small and lacks options (ie. Bars, ATMS, Music, etc).

Things to note:

Buckets! – When you handover 100 Bhat ($3) for a bucket, bottle of booze, Thai Red Bull and a soda, know that’s not what you’re actually getting.  What you’re buying is a left over bottle from the last party refilled with bathtub moonshine, some caffeine concoction and a can of soda.  Do what you like, but I’d recommend running to one of the several Seven Elevens and buying the ingredence yourself.  Won’t cost much more and you’ll know what you’re putting in your body.

Traveling alone –  What makes the full moon party amazing is the location and the people.  The dorm hostels with 40 person rooms sounds intimidating, but you’re bound to meet some amazing people and have a great night.  I stayed at “Full Moon Hostel” and would recommend it.

Thailand

I like Thailand a lot, but not for an obvious reason.

A friend from Bangkok looked at me and said, “You’re not very trusting and always suspicious of Thai people!”.  I thought about it for a minute and realized she’s right.  Because this isn’t my nature I had to think about why…

Bangkok, 2009 – Girl tries to smash bottle over my head for what some other kid said.  Happened my first hour in Thailand.

Bangkok, 2009 – Turn down seemingly underage prostitute several times.  She then asks me, “Take me with you?”; to rescue her.  Female pimp waited to prevent this.  Most disturbing experience in my life.

Bangkok, 2012 – Get on train.  Find out a bomb blew up the train last week.

Ko Phi Phi 2012 – A friend was run off the road by two Thai trucks.  They left him unconscious bleeding in a ditch.  American Dr. was the first to stop and help.

Ko Phangan 2012 – 50 meters away from where I was filming a guy walks into a bar and shoots a man in the face.  Shoots his friend too.

Bangkok 2012 - Was robbed of $115 US.

Koh Tao 2012 – Same friend who questions my trust for Thai people gets angry and throws a bucket of water into my bungalow.

And that’s just some of what I experienced.  There are other stories about beatings, murder, scams, extortion, robbery and police corruption.

But, I still like Thailand.  Why?  Everyone’s friendly.

What needs to be understood about Thailand are the “extremes”.  There is super wealth and extreme poverty.  They are the friendliest people in the world and are some of the scummiest.  Unparalleled beauty and rampant pollution.

Unfortunately when white boy American backpacker, Carl is walking down the road, the guy who cuts across six lanes of traffic to offer him a ride, usually doesn’t have charitable intentions; but he’ll still be friendly.

When you travel there’s always risk and you can’t stop bad luck, but you can make good decisions and prevent most of it.  Staying off scooters, watching your valuables and smiling will prevent 99% of the bad from ever happening.

While I’m not a big Bangkok fan, I respect it.  The rest of Thailand I love and would recommend it to anybody; from the mountains of Chang Mi to the amazing island beaches down south, I would take all of the bad for just a few days of the good… and that says a lot!

 

PS. – To get the shot of the rotary in Bangkok I had to stick the camera in a flower box dangling over the highway and strap it to the railing… but it worked!

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Friends to Feuding Neighbors

I met a friend from Bangkok while in Bosnia and decided to meet her again on an island in Southern Thailand.  We typically have a great time together until something serious needs to be discussed.  The arguments get so ridiculous, I won’t waste your time.  What I will tell you is that her strategy of “I don’t like you, I don’t want to see you… ever” (A problem resolution style I’ve grown accustomed to), finally got the response “Okay…”.

The problem is I needed the bungalow for the film and didn’t have time to find a new one and get another location release signed.

She wasn’t moving.

So, I packed my bags and moved next door.  Now we awkwardly live next to each other on a beach in Southern Thailand, a situation fit for a TV sitcom.

I’m now off to get a “No Trespassing” sign for my front lawn.

 

Update:  The night following my move out, I came home to a wet bungalow.  “Some one”… had thrown a bucket of soapy water through the window.  Fortunately my laptop, that was in the blast radius, was covered by a bathing suite which prevent any damage.  Also, If I hadn’t used a spare blanket to cover the window when I got dressed, the whole place would have been soaked.

Guess I was a little late with my no trespassing sign.

The Thailand Survival Pack

Surviving in Thailand isn’t always easy.  Weather you woke up with a sore ass or in a ditch on the side of the road, there is a guaranteed fix for anything Thailand can throw at you. First you must run over to the nearest 7 Eleven (The greatest store on earth and located every 20 feet in Thailand) and purchase the following.

Thailand Survival Pack

1. M-150 Energy drink.  Illegal in most countries because it contains actual amphetamines.

2. Ham and Cheese Toasty.  Should be illegal for countries not to have them because they’re so damn good!  Ham and melted cheese inside a croissant, cooked right at the counter and ready to eat.

3.  Chang… Oh, Chang.  If you’re not sure if you’re ready to get back out there after your Toasty and M-150, Chang will decide for you.  Change isn’t mixed during bottling, so drinking Chang is beer “Russian Roulette”.  The bottle may say 6.4% alcohol, but in reality the alcohol content varies between 4-12%, a range you’ll identify 10 minutes after your first bottle.

Any traveler who has been to Thailand can identify these three at a thousand yards and there’s a reason;  They’re not only good, they’re necessary to survive.  You can thank me later.

Drunk Kid Catches Face on Fire

I have a theory.

My theory is that most people would rather a short entertaining clip of someone hurting themselves than one that was well thought out and put together.  While this belief is not going to stop me from attempting to make the best backpacking movie of all time, I still think it would be fun to test it.

I was going to edit about 10 -15 similar clips together but instead I picked just one.  I’m going to give it a provocative title and a funny description and keep it short.  Let’s see if we can make it go viral!  Share it, send it to friends, have fun with it!

URL, To Share:  http://youtu.be/KF4bKfbIOJs

Home Made Condoms

Things are going to get wild tonight!  Just stopped by Mr. J’s, bought 10, and got 1 free!  For years myself and millions of others have had to deal with the 98% reliability B.S. that Trojan has been selling, but not today, not on my watch.  Mr. J’s “Home Made Condoms” comes with a 20 year guarantee!  Thailand – 1: Rest of the World – 0.

*Free smile + Song applies to breakfast customers only.