Travel Journal: Fear and Loathing in Thailand


JOURNAL ENTRY #1 – Saturday, 1st of January, 2011

I will try to colour code my journal, I think red will suit Thailand, I’ll decide what colours to use for Cambodia and Vietnam when I get to writing those entries. So any text in red is word for word as it is in my diary, while the text in gray is either after thoughts or rewordings of my actual entries to omit some personal details. Also all the names will be omitted in place of letters.

At the end of 2010 I made a trip into South East Asia. I didn’t have a return ticket, and I didn’t know what to expect. Waiting for my plane at the airport newsagent I found a small leather diary, I decided at that moment that I would keep a journal of my travel experiences. What follows are excerpts from that journal; the good times, the bad times, and all the times in between. The experiences I had were often strange and exciting, and yet the best times were always the most simple, such as catching a 12 hour night train and being gently rocked to sleep in a tiny bunk bed next to an open window. I also had some horrible experiences, which will also stay with me. Within the first couple of days I had an accident which eventually put my sanity on the boil, but ultimately led to a complete reconstruction of my outlook on everything, for the better.

Marlboro Red

I didn’t start writing in the diary until after the nye full moon party. The plan was to fly from Melbourne to Bangkok, stay a night there. Fly to Koh Samui the next morning, ferry to Koh Phangan for the full moon party… We hadn’t planned on anything beyond that, but knew we would probably end up ‘island hopping’ to places like Koh Tao and  Phi Phi Island, before somehow ending up in Northern Thailand/Laos. I don’t remember much of landing in Thailand, except that it was dark, and our taxi driver didn’t speak english, I also remember the cigarette packets were really strange here. Some of the pictures were pretty fucked up, but one of them put the widest grin on my face. It was an image of a thai man holding a baby while he’s carelessly blowing cigarette smoke into the babies’ face. The look on the baby is priceless! We checked into some hotel, I didn’t write the name down, and I don’t think I will ever go back anyway.

The first entry was about the full moon party, I honestly don’t remember much of that night, and a lot of what I do remember will never grace the net. But I will dot point some of what happened:

  • Flew to Koh Samui, C somehow missed the plane, or wasn’t allowed on I don’t remember which, but it was very funny. We were offered free sim cards upon leaving the plane, and then at the baggage collection we were talked int buying phones to complement our new free sim cards, quite genius if you ask me! We got on a ferry which took us full speed towards Koh Phangan…Thailand
  • Checked into our bungalow’s at Buritara Resort (Koh Phangan), one of our pre booked bungalows had been taken already, we had a feeling that on nye it would be a first come first serve deal with accommodation considering how many people needed a place to stay. Amazingly, the staff offered us to stay in the owner’s penthouse, which was ridiculously huge.

Entering the resort

  • Strolled towards the chemist to stock up on drugs. My only over the counter drug buying experience prior was in Indonesia, there you had to buy a prescription for whatever you wanted from a doctor and then take that prescription to the chemist. The prescriptions were cheap and it was easy enough, but it was impossible to get it straight from the chemist. So I told the group to wait behind so I could go in and try and talk the talk with the woman behind the counter, it would be much easier to get her to hand over the goods if it was just one person asking, rather than 8. Surprisingly the woman didn’t give even the slightest shit and dished out drugs like they were lollies, we all flooded in and bought sheets of xanax, valium, ritalin, oxycontin etc etc. It all was very, very cheap (350 BHT a sheet). R a slightly chubby mate of mine wanted to buy duramine, this diet pill which apparently works a lot like speed. He said he wanted it for the high, but it was clear that he wanted to lose some weight.
  • We retreated back to our suite with our drugs and started drinking and doing lines etc. We then got a tuk-tuk to the main beach and bought some buckets. There were tables full of the stuff, each sand bucket was a different colour and was full of bottles of vodka, bourbon, sprite, kratingdaeng (red bull) etc.
  •  Went to pee in the ocean as I really needed to, a little wave came out of nowhere and knocked me over, my phone was completely fucked and I got pee all over myself. Some others also peeing in the ocean had a good laugh at my expense.
  • Countdown, I remember a lot of fire! I also remember losing my sandals and walking on a lot of glass, seeing a lot of people fucking. And I even saw a guy attempt to rape a girl on the beach, me and R ran up to her and threw the guy off. The girl was passed out… I don’t remember what happened after that, all I remember next was me and R looking for N and C, finding N with his shirt off being loud and yelling at strangers, something about their mum’s being a slut. I went into the 7/11 on the corner and when I came back out N was holding his nose, while blood was pumping out of it like a faucet. R became furious and demanded to know who did this to him, N said nothing. R cracked N’s nose back in place, N eventually caved in and pointed to these two blonde girls and said ‘he was with them’. We walked over to the girls, apparently he had been mouthing off to their brother, and after calling his mum a slut he hit him in the face. I think he deserved it, but R got way too involved and ended up running after this guy. He came back moments later telling us to run away as he was being chased by a group of big asians. We hid in the jungle for what must’ve been at least an hour, R’s hand was covered in blood.Blood
  • I don’t remember anything else, except it being bright out all of a sudden, my cousin D was completely lost, and there was no way for us to look for him without risking getting beat up. So we looked desperately for a way home, a transgender prostitute wouldn’t stop following us either, we spotted a tuk-tuk in the distance, ran for it, and jumped in the back. Cool getaway!

R after full moon, still haven't slept

All in all the full moon party was shit, I had heard stories of mythic status about the parties when they had first started happening, but nowadays it is so completely hyped up and full of kids that it just wasn’t fun. We went back to our resort, R and I decided to go for a walk to find somewhere to get a massage. On the way we saw these two white men with thick beards crouching down over a dog on the curb. The dog was on it’s belly and was panting very fast, it’s tongue had given up and was parked on the gravel road. “how long has the dog been like this?” I remember asking.
“we’ve been here for about half an hour” one of them said. I took a long drag from my cigarette, looked at R, and nothing more was said. We sat there and watched that dog die, it looked quite peaceful though, it never looked as though it was in real pain. But there was nothing we could’ve done to save it’s life. After it died, we offered to help the men carry the dog into a wheelbarrow and bury it next to a tree. Turns out the men had been living in Thailand for about 10 years and had even set up their own scuba diving business in Koh Phangan. They gave us their business card, which had a cartoon squid on it which we immediately recognised from some of the signs we had seen near our resort. They told us we would have a free dive for helping them out, we were stoked and said “seeya tomorrow!” R and I eventually found a place to get a massage, R passed out and was snoring loudly during the entire massage, it was very funny. I felt sorry for the girl though so I woke him up.

Crashed at 5pm, woke up the next day at 9am, and D had returned.

2 thoughts on “Travel Journal: Fear and Loathing in Thailand

  1. Pingback: The Worst Party in Asia | Roads & Kingdoms

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