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Laos Part II of III: Shrooming in Vang Vieng

Shrooming in Vang Vieng

It is easier to find mushrooms/drugs in Vang Vieng than to find an actual pharmacy. Wherever you go there are special menus offering opium cigarettes, opium teas, mushroom milkshakes, mushroom teas, plain mushrooms, weed pizzas, weed milkshakes and even a dangerous combination milkshake with all three ingredients blended in at once. Once you are done with the alcohol and tubing in Laos you will probably be lured into participate in this hallucinogenic subculture like I was while visiting Vang Vieng.

Me and my friends wandered off to a place called Kiwi Bar located slightly outside the party district of Vang Vieng. Kiwi Bar was practically empty when we arrived but definitely had some character to it. We decided to sit down for a beer and a chat with the owner who not surprisingly was from New Zealand himself. After not too long the subject landed on mushrooms and how easy it is to get them in Vang Vieng. Shrooming in Vang Vieng is more or less a custom for a visiting tourist and by accident a neighboring elderly female bar owner strolled into Kiwi Bar with a bag full of freshly picked psilocybin mushrooms. Within minutes the owner cooked up a tea for himself and soon after my friends ordered plain mushrooms and a milkshake as well. I quickly followed suit with a mushroom instant coffee. Yummy.

The Trip

The mushroom / Nescafe mix I received tasted pretty good for being a shroom shake. I usually like eating normal mushrooms (read: shiitake and whatever else non-hallucinogenic mushrooms there are) and didn’t find the magical ones distasteful at all. The more experienced person in our group gobbled down his mushrooms whole with a glass of coke. We ate/drank all of our mushroom servings in 20 minutes and went on to play pool after.

After about an hour of pool things started turning slightly weird. The wall next to me had taken on the shape of a wavy fabric. Upon further inspection i realized it was an enormous flag. After all, the pirate ship I was so confident we were now on was sailing the seven seas and the wind was picking up. The pirate flag was waving harder and I was getting more confused; the mushrooms had kicked in.

As time stopped to a halt, we went to work. Kiwi Bar is generously decorated with empty marker-friendly walls and the owner quickly supplied us with markers to depict whatever we were seeing or experiencing. Since my vision had been blessed with an Instagram-like mesh of geometric patters, I set out to draw them. The closer I looked on the wall the more complicated the shapes became and my squibly drawing didn’t make them justice. One can only try.

After drawing to our hearts content we sat down for a drink of cobra-scorpion alcohol which hurt our mouths pretty bad. The mushrooms were now in full control and my spirit seemed to float further away from my body for every cobra shot I took. Seeing myself sitting there gave me a very eerily feeling and I quickly slipped back in somehow. Well back inside (I know, this is getting very out of hand but bear with me) I could see my innermost self as a sphere of light that was slowly being peeled off layer by layer until a golden shiny ball of pure love and self was revealed. I felt my mother’s love like I did when I was an infant and an enormous uncontrollable smile started to occupy my face and the urge to draw and create overcame me stronger than ever. These mushrooms seemed to be extra-everything.

A few hours of illusion and timelessness passed with states altering between playing darts, playing pool, doing push-ups and revisiting that horrible bottle of serpent alcohol we had become fond of. After some eternal moments of happiness we decided to abandon ship and venture out into the hostile Laotian world for some food. Vang Vieng seemed like a barren post-nuclear free-for-all anarchy where our insignificant western souls could be consumed by evil hawkers, street vendors and intoxicated gap-year demons at any moment so we decided to head back to safety and shelter at the bar almost immediately after after. Walking back, I accepted that time would forever stand still and the reassuring words of the bar owner rang repeatedly and hopelessly in my head: “enjoy the trip, remember you are great and have fun. It will end before you know it.”

As we approached our trusted Kiwi Bar I was literally hanging onto a silver string attached to the inside of my head inside my body, clinging on for my life while a whirlwind of madness tried to suck me into its wrath while my subconscious body walked me back every so calmly and smoothly. Delusions, hallucinations and transcendental experiences intertwined with badminton, small talk and accepting work at the Kiwi Bar as promoters until our experienced shroom-tripper suggested we drink orange juice to end our trip. Whether this worked or not I am not sure, but the C-vitamin quickly took the edge off things and an hour later I was back in Laos. Whew.

The Return

As should be obvious to you by know, these were very powerful mushrooms. Our seasoned expert kept praising them while I kept contemplating my vastly transformational experience that I remember vividly until this day. If you ever decide to try shrooming in Vang Vieng, reiterate  what the Kiwi Bar owner told me: “enjoy the trip, remember you are great and have fun. It will end before you know it.” Make sure you are in a good mood and only ingest shrooms while in a quiet, comfortable and creative setting.

If you end up shrooming in Vang Vieng at the Kiwi Bar make sure to mention that I sent you. The owner might not remember me anymore but send him my best wishes anyways. Oh, and the Kiwi Bar has a “high or your money back” policy. Yeah, you read that right. Welcome to Vang Vieng.

After shrooming, Karl and his friends had become very tired and needed a deserved break from all the evils of Vang Vieng. To read the third part in the trilogy on Laos, continue reading here: Recovering from and Leaving Vang Vieng (coming soon). Or read the first part: Tubing in Laos.

5 replies on “Laos Part II of III: Shrooming in Vang Vieng”

Haha wow! What an experience! My partner and I are heading to Vang Vieng in a couple of months and we are contemplating a shroom trip while we’re there (myself a seasoned shroomer, my partner a shroom virgin) and I’m not sure if this account has made it more or less enticing haha
As kiwis we will be sure to check out Kiwi bar as it sounds great, and I suppose we will see where our journey leads us… 🙂

I’d like to add that Koh Phangan is NOT worth seeing if you’re only in Thailand for a couple of weeks or less. the drugs are weaker and poorer quality taken as a whole on average (unless you need some M. Amph, just find a beautiful hard working lady and ask her…the ladies of the evening OR moto-taxi guys know where lots of things are), it isn’t clean as it’s being trashed constantly, lodging is limited and 2-4x as expensive. that’s IF you make the 15hr bus ride without breaking down or without getting pick pocketed on an overcrowded, light-scarce basic package van or mid size tour bus. If drugs, having a rare 1 night blow-out, EDM, and glow sticks are the most meaningful things get for you, there are more “meaningful” bars in BKK. The full beach was not as overwhelming as I’d thought, and there is no sense of community among party-goers, IF some degree of camaraderie develops between otherwise unfamiliar people. There is even more of a cultural disconnect between Local residents and farang, because most thai ppl see the moon party as just a tad less libertine than pattaya, and occurring with lunar stages. remember that where there is a party, sex trafficking is promoted with less fear, and protected by bribes or officials. Alcohol and YaBa are what comes to mind for many Thai people when one mentions koh phangan. Both cause heedlessness, as using substances is not a poor spiritual practice unto itself, but they cause even the best hearted people to violate additional if not all of their other moral precepts because of its effect on personality and mindfulness.

If You were trying to get out of BKK for a few days, head on down to Koh Chang. it’s less than 3 hr from BKK, so not as remote or scenic as Koh Tao, but it’s not visited as much so it’s clean, it’s inexpensive, a beach can be yours for hours on hours if you’re the side kind of opposite side that White Sands are on. just make sure you go to a slower, less crowded part of the island. There are mushroom shakes there. Also I’ve found it true that the BEST milkshakes may be pricey (1000+ baht), but will also come with a take away bag of enough fresh mushies to eat on for the following 4 days

I wasn’t told how lackluster the moon party would be, but warned it was a waste of time but like most ppl, I had to see it for myself. Perhaps if I didn’t have the wealth of experiences from attending fantastical mega festivals and outdoor edm/dance events at locations seeing attendance overflow of 30% or more (around 200 or 20,000 extra people). Other large events i’ve been to are rife with opportunities to easily behold the size, scale, and energy of the crowd one is in… Size and Scale are always among the most memorable and inspiring aesthetic elements for people who go to large gatherings. Unfortunately, the moon party concentrates on a handful of small dance stages/areas, as provided by a bar/club which each tend to play EDM/dance from a selected genre, and that genre/sub g. stays for the night. As in: banana bar is featuring drum and bass for say a half moon party(they use every point in the lunar month to justify putting on a party), no other establishment will play drum n bass. same idea as going to a club that plays your preferred genre to dance to. The stages, and some of the sprawling crowd started wandering up and down the corridor between the soft dry sand and the surf in what would be pitch black without the moon. The well spaced, tightly packed, brightly lit stages/platforms help you see strangers and be seen. however, there are large dark, unstructured corridors through, around, and adjacent to the platforms for DJs, the nearby Dance stages, and/or the areas of beach farthest from the surf (where the bucket stands set up shop). In short, it IS a spectacle (probably), but i don’t know anyone who has been able to take in the view so the magnitude of the event (the thought of the “biggest party” on the beach implies that the magnitude of the event piques many peoples interest. perhaps getting on something tall for a second to catch a jaw dropping gander at a sea of people; or sharing elation, tension, euphoria, and general “electricity in the air” feelings with tens of thousands of strangers that connect bc at some point everyone experiences an aspect of group consciousness/awareness : group>me. I went looking for an experience that would be unique and inspiring compared to my other experiences but instead I was overwhelmed because it was difficult to look out at over more than 30% of the crowd at a time and everything was extremely superficial and commercialized.PS also paid 1500 THB for a night to sleep on a concrete floor… bc rooms were filling up, and i roomed with several others but got short straw. The one day in the group was a pretty cool Canadian dude but just like all Canadians he’ll be really polite and friendly but at first opportunity self-preservation becomes the priority


Thanks for sharing this account. I’m going to be in the region over the next few months and have a tentative interest in taking some shrooms out there, something I’ve done before a few times (some good trips, some not-so-good) but not for a few years.

I was wondering if you or anyone reading this post has firsthand experience of tripping on mushrooms while being on prescription meds for depression/ anxiety (I take SSRI antidepressants). Obviously it’s something to be careful with, I think that a low dose would probably be fine but interested to hear first-hand testimonies.

Look forward to reading your other posts abotu Laos and SE Asia 🙂

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