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How to Trip on Mushrooms in Thailand!

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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.


Sometimes I like to work by the beach.

Sometimes I like to work by the beach.

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.

Hammock by the beach, during sunset on Koh Phangan, Thailand

Hammock by the beach on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. The perfect sunset vista.

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.

Mushroom shakes for sale!

Anything you need!

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

About the Author: Jeremy Foster

Born in America, Jeremy, an IT specialist by trade, packed up his belongings and left home on an open-ended trip to Australia. Years later, he's still on the move and exploring other countries. He is now a mobile cocktail bartender and the head writer for travelFREAK! You can usually find him on either side of the bar, acting wanky and pretentious about booze.

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  • The Runaway Guide

    “drunk people and tripping people don’t mix well” should be a fortune cookie haha.

  • Derek4Real

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip. Sure, it might not have been the most productive day but hey, at least you were able to make something of it after the fact.

    The “happy shakes” are available in other tourist island hotspots throughout SEA, most notably Bali. I will say this though: if you’ve tried ‘shrooms before and are used to and comfortable with the experience, go for two instead of one ;) In this corner of the world it’s all field shrooms, versus the lab shrooms much of the western world is used to.

    Also, always choose OJ as your mixer. Trust me on this one.

    BTW I love your disclosure at the end. After a little situation of my own I had to add the following disclaimer in the legal speak section of my blog: “Any and all immoral or illegal events described herein are fictional. Certain names may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent alike.”

    Finally, I have to (regretfully) say damn you for beating me to the punch. I have a nearly identical post sitting in draft form but it is just one of a dozen that I’ve never gotten around to perfecting for publication. Guess there is no point in doing that now…

    • Jeremy Foster

      Yeah, Bali is known for it as well. Haha I would love to read your version, mate!

  • Stephen Schreck

    Haha what a crazy day :)

    I agree with Leif “”drunk people and tripping people don’t mix well” should be a fortune cookie haha.” Great line mate!

  • Anglo Italian

    After reading some news reports of poisonings last year after some milkshakes had been made using mosquito coils, I chose not to bother.

    I think that SEA has begun a process of condeming the rampant drug use by foreign nationals in the countries and I for one applaud it.

    • Jeremy Foster

      That’s pretty scary! I think the widespread use of drugs by foreigners is a part of the whole “amusement park” that is Southeast Asia. I think these areas need to change their approach, and the tourists need to enter these parts of Asia with a little more respect.

      • Anglo Italian

        Couldn’t agree more. I think that people should really look at how respectful they are in a new country instead of just flying in and behaving like they would at a frat party.

        Of course that there’s no smoke without fire too. There are a number of locals who do try to satisfy the demands of people wanting to have a ‘good time’ in the area, but I think many locals are already trying to shy away from anything where possible trouble with the police can occur.

        • Jeremy Foster

          Though, often times the police just get paid off. Saw it myself. Foreigners get to take drugs and the police walk away with a stack of bills in their pocket.

  • Jennifer Dombrowski

    Well, that certainly wasn’t on the menu where we stayed on Koh Phangan!

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