I slapped my palm against my forehead. I was supposed to be getting work done today!
“But we already ordered you one! Come on, man. You have to!”
I had just arrived to the southern Thai island of Koh Phangan. There were nine of us in total, staying together in a small group of bungalows. Apparently, at that moment, in the middle of the afternoon, my friends had decided to order mushroom shakes.
No, I’m not talking about portabella smoothies. I’m talking about those mushrooms that make you see crazy colors, experience a different reality, and make you fall over in giggle fits.
Yeah, those ones.
(Side note: they also make dogs talk and inanimate objects come to life.)
Elsewhere in the world, people eat them raw, make pancakes, or cook them into a serving of carbonara. In Thailand, the land of fruit smoothies, the best way to trip on mushrooms is by ordering a shake!
I had planned on sitting by the beach, editing some photos, answering some emails, and doing my daily social media duties. It had been a few days since any work got done and today was definitely going to be that day.
I had only just gotten my bags into my room when a plump old Thai lady started shouting at me.
“What flavor you want!?”
I really was not expecting this. Today was supposed to be a work day!
I paused and sighed with hesitation.
“What flavor you have?” I shouted back.
My friends all cheered with joy, ecstatic at the fact that I had decided to join their tribe. They insisted that I had to try the banana shake. Never the advocate for that particular fruit, though, I chose mango. It’s not like either one of these was going to mask the taste of something that is literally grown in elephant poop.
It was 4pm and the sun was well on its way to bumping heads with the horizon. We drank our shakes, sat in big comfy chairs and lazed in hammocks by the beach. We went swimming, told stories, talked nonsense, laughed uncontrollably and bonded over this incredibly unusual experience.
But, in Thailand, it’s not really that unusual. Many bars and coffee shops let you purchase one of these “happy shakes” right at the counter! Some advertise it and some don’t, but they’re always available! Before you indulge, though, there are a couple things you need to consider.
Find the Right Ones
You don’t want to scammed or ripped off, and I’ve heard plenty of reports of people buying shakes with no result. It never hurts to ask your friendly tour guide or bartender where to get one that is safe and reliable. They’ll know the scene and likely won’t point you in the wrong direction.
I haven’t heard reports of people buying shakes that are too strong, so don’t worry about taking too much (unless you drink two). Enough people travel to Thailand, and order mushroom shakes (yes, there are always people taking mushrooms in Thailand!), that the guys with the blender know just how much to give you. Make sure you order one from the right place and you won’t have a problem. I think I can say with complete certainty that nobody who takes mushrooms wants a visit from the devil.
Consider Your Environment
If you decide to trip on mushrooms in Thailand, it’s imperative to position yourself in a comfortable and safe setting. Make sure you are with people you trust who you know you can count on. Bad trips are almost always prompted because of uncomfortable environments or people, so find a private beach, guesthouse, or a big open field. A busy bar in Bangkok probably isn’t the best place to be (you won’t find a mushroom shake in any big cities, anyway) because you are surrounded by a lot of people you don’t know, don’t trust and who are probably too drunk.
The fact is, drunk people and tripping people don’t mix well.
So, if you intend to try something a little different while you’re in Thailand, and drinking a “happy shake” is your cup of tea (or, well, you know what I mean), just take these words of advice into account: find one that you know you can trust and make sure you’re in a comfortable and safe setting. Remember, a mushroom trip can last from 6 to 12 hours, which is quite a long time. Don’t commit to doing anything for the day or night, except acting totally weird.
What about you? Do you have any tips for people who want to partake?
Disclaimer: I don’t condone drug use of any sort, and I am not an advocate for eating mushrooms or doing drugs of any kind. Remember, drugs are illegal. If you intend to consume, please do so responsibly and heed all general safeties. This article is not intended to persuade, but rather to inform.
Please also note that this story is entirely fictional and definitely did not happen…
Photo credit: HereIsTom