I slapped my palm against my forehead. “But we already ordered you one! Come on, man. You have to!”
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to. In some parts of Thailand, mushroom shakes are about the easiest thing you can buy, and when the timing is right…well, the timing is right.
About three hours prior I had arrived on the southern Thai island of Koh Phangan. There were nine of us in total, staying together in a small group of bungalows, and at about 2pm, one of our buddies (there's always one) had ordered a round of happy shakes.
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, magic mushrooms are eaten raw. In Thailand, the land of fruit smoothies, the best way to take shrooms is by ordering a milkshake.
On that particular day, my plan was to sit by the beach, edit some photos, answer some emails, and do my daily social media duties. It had been a few days since any work got done and today was definitely going to be a productive day. Right?
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. 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 went with 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 now 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 some parts of Thailand, it’s not really that unusual.
What to do on Koh Phangan when you're not drinking a shake…
Finding Mushroom Shakes in Thailand
It's worth mentioning that the insurgence of mushroom shakes in Thailand is due almost entirely to the presence of tourists. It's not a “local delight.” Most popular on the islands, you'll find them in party spots like Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phuket, Tonsai, and more.
Most bars and coffee shops let you purchase one of these “happy shakes” right at the counter, even though some advertise it and some don’t. They're almost always available, so all you have to do is ask.
Before you indulge, though, there are a couple things you need to consider.
You Need to Be Careful
First and foremost, there are legal implications involved, and the consequences are very, very severe. I do not recommend doing drugs in Thailand. If you choose to do so, it is entirely at your own risk.
Second of all, if you insist on doing them, make sure you're safe. It's better to get a good batch than a bad one, and you don't want to end up in any sort of dangerous situation. If you're determined, 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.
Lastly, don't take too much. One smoothie is all you need. Enough people travel to Thailand and order mushroom shakes (there are always people taking mushrooms in Thailand), that the guys with the blender know just how much to give you. Order one from the right place, with the right amount, and you should be okay.
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.
Honestly, 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), please heed my advice.
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.
How to get to Koh Phangan:
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Disclaimer: Drugs are illegal. I don’t condone drug use of any sort, and I am not an advocate for eating mushrooms or doing drugs of any kind. If you intend to consume, please be safe. 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…