best weed in asia

Consuming Cannabis Abroad: Marijuana Travel Tips for Southeast Asia

Saturday January 26, 2019

H ave you ever spent all day scrolling through Instagram and marveling at all the travel experiences people have? If you have Instagram, the answer might be, ‘yes.’ If it is, have you also wondered about any of these travelers consuming cannabis abroad? While you may have heard that consuming cannabis abroad is no big deal and that Amsterdam is a free-for-all and Barcelona has incredible ‘clubs’ for the socially savvy.

What you might not realize however, is that cannabis is still illegal in most countries around the world. Not just illegal, but very illegal. Punishments like ‘forever in prison’ and ‘execution’ might sound extreme, but it’s what you’ll find in some countries.

So, traveling abroad for cannabis consumption requires one to be extremely cautious.

Let’s look at a few places you can easily access cannabis, the quality of what you can find in Southeast Asia, what you should expect to pay for it, and the best places to consume.

First Things First

Before we get started, here are a few places you shouldn’t even think about consuming cannabis unless you want to risk dealing with some serious consequences. Because the risk isn’t worth it, never smoke cannabis in these countries:

Countries to Avoid Consuming Cannabis In:

  • Philippines: President Duterte is currently waging a war on drugs in the Philippines. If a local catches you smoking and shoots you in the face for it, no one would bat an eye. In fact, President Duterte once encouraged them to do so, even though he apparently uses cannabis himself.
  • Indonesia: You might think Bali and cannabis go together, and they do for many tourists. But, get caught with even one joint here and you could be getting a one-way ticket to incarceration. Seriously, not worth the risk.

That being said, there are some countries where the risk is worth it. Here are two Southeast Asian countries that might be worth visiting for the cannabis experience.

Cannabis in Thailand

Although the country recently legalized medical marijuana, take caution here because not all of Thailand is appropriate for consuming cannabis. While there are places in the north, like Pai, that are known for being hippie destinations. Other cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai pose much more risk.

The risk you take depends on who catches you with cannabis. For example, you can easily get cannabis from a tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok, but that tuk-tuk driver might immediately notify their police officer friend who will bust you and give you two choices: either empty your bank account of a couple thousand dollars for their own pocket, or spend some time in a notoriously disgusting Thai prison. On the other hand, get caught with cannabis by the Army, you won’t get the first option offered to you. Here a few ways to find cannabis without getting in trouble in Thailand.

  • Have a solid connection with another foreigner. You’ll find people like this in Pai. Just make friends, and you might be able to find some decent Thai herb at a good price.
  • Head to the bars and be discreet. This is a good way to find cannabis around the islands in the south. There are plenty of bars, often tucked away, where you’ll see others smoking freely and rolling joints on the tables. In these types of places, you’ll generally find brick weed. It’s not very good, but it’s cheap (a 50-gram brick is around 2,500-3,000 baht). You can also get pre-rolled spliffs for a couple hundred baht, but they’ll always be mixed with tobacco.

If you plan to consume cannabis in Thailand, Pai and the southern islands, like Koh Phangan, are your best bets. If you’re transporting it, keep it tucked tightly up under your privates as police aren’t allowed to frisk your genitals, ladies can also store it in their bras without fear of being groped.

Cannabis in Cambodia

If you haven’t heard of Cambodia, you’re not alone. It’s not a huge tourist destination. However, if you’re looking for the best country to consume cannabis in Southeast Asia, then Cambodia is your spot.

Cannabis has been used throughout Cambodian history as an herb in their food. Cambodians frequently cook with it and make tea with it. Strangely, very few locals smoke it. However, they have discovered the tourists do like to smoke it and they use that opportunity to make extra money (most Cambodians have very little income for reasons we won’t go into detail about here).

If you’re looking for herb in the biggest cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, just stop into any pizza place.

Not only can you freely order cannabis on your pizza or in a milkshake, but you can also speak discreetly with your waiter or the owner about purchasing some to-go. For $10-$20, they’ll slip you a bag that’s about the size of your palm. It’s not great stuff, and you might even occasionally get a seedy bag, but it’s better than the brick weed in Thailand.

In fact, most cannabis consumers will tell you that the best stuff in Cambodia is found further south. So, in Siem Reap, you’re more likely to get a bunch of seeds. In the south, like in Otres Beach, you’ll have a better chance of scoring something grown hydroponically and with a little better care. Again, it’s not fantastic, but you’re in Southeast Asia where it’s technically still illegal.

The same transportation suggestions apply as in Thailand. Tuck it away somewhere discreet. If you get stopped at a police checkpoint, they’ll gladly search your bags, open your cigarette boxes, and scour your pockets.

The Best Places to Consume Abroad?

Southeast Asia is not the best place to consume cannabis abroad, but it can be a pleasant experience if you keep your wits about you and procure and consume it discreetly.

Keep in mind that you aren’t in the West, your plea of ignorance won’t help you, and getting caught may mean you’ll be down a couple thousand dollars in ‘administrative fees’ that will be paid in cash to the happy officer who catches you. Stay safe and happy consuming!

Do you have any tips for travelers looking for cannabis? Share them in the comments below!

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Writing and Rhetoric, Michael started his journey in the cannabis industry managing content, communications, and technical writing for one of Colorado’s largest dispensary chains. In 2016, Michael pivoted to the ancillary sector to become PotGuide’s Content Manager and is now responsible for overseeing all of PotGuide’s editorial endeavors and content marketing strategies.

With a life-long passion for cannabis knowledge and education, Michael devoted himself to becoming a subject matter expert on marijuana at an early age. Now, Michael has worked in the marijuana industry for over four years helping break down negative stigma and promoting safe cannabis practices. An avid consumer himself, Michael has worked tirelessly to improve content marketing strategies for cannabis businesses and is devoted to creating meaningful content that is useful to a wide variety of marijuana consumers. Follow Michael on LinkedIn and Instagram for updates and insights.

Traveling abroad can be an exhilarating experience. If you're a cannabis consumer looking for information on marijuana in southeast Asia, then look no further. Keep reading to learn where to buy and consume cannabis in southeast Asia and how to stay on the right side of the law.

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The Top Five Weed-Friendliest Destinations in Asia

Potheads often overlook Asian destinations under the assumption that only Western countries can act as hotbeds of stoner culture. Singapore, a rich city-state in Southeast Asia, dishes out notoriously harsh punishments for holding even the smallest amounts of bud. Japan denies visas to those convicted of drug-related crimes in their home countries. Even celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, have been refused entry into the Land of the Rising Sun. With such strict penalties in place, it’s fair to assume that Asia’s not the place to toke up. However, nestled within certain cities lies a thriving sub-culture of young Asian locals and foreigners determined to shake things up.

#1. Chengdu, China

The capital of the Southwestern province of Sichuan, Chengdu, is famous for its tea culture, mahjong, pandas, and spicy hotpot. It’s also known as the best party city in Asia. Hidden away behind a shopping mall in a residential block, several apartments-turned-cafes sell beer, coffee, whip-its, and unofficially, weed. Less than three blocks away, a small shop sells a variety of smoking accessories from glass bongs to wooden pipes to rolling papers, all at an incredibly affordable price. The dealers come to chill in the evening and accept payment via cash, WeChat, or Alipay. The spot sits across the street from the infamous Jellyfish bar. Ask any foreigner where to go and they’ll happily guide you.

#2. Osaka, Japan

Despite Japan’s reputation for long work hours, excessive drinking, and a strict aversion to illegal substances, the city of Osaka stands in stark contrast to the rest of the nation. Similar to Chengdu, a bustling underground Hip Hop scene, relaxed vibe, and chill foreigners allow one to find anything their heart desires. Several smoke shops and a bar referencing Bob Marley point to the tolerance of local culture. However, the stuff itself has recently become harder to find, with most foreigners opting for monthly trips to Roppongi to stock up. It’s possible that as Japan gears up for the 2020 Olympics, tolerance of Nigerian dealers in Roppongi and smoke shops in Osaka will wear thin.

#3. Phuket, Thailand

Thailand is famous for its tolerant culture and vibrant landscapes which attract trashy Western and Chinese tourists alike. Though not every pothead partakes in the shenanigans associated with rowdy travelers in The Land of Smiles, a high prevalence of revelers makes finding weed easy. Ask any wasted British tourist in any hostel in Phuket, and they’ll all have leads. If that fails, ask the receptionist if you can pay a little extra for “information”.

#4 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Vietnam has begun allowing foreigners to purchase property in recent years, inevitably leading to a housing boom and more Westerners settling down in the country. Additionally, some investors in Asia are claiming that Vietnam is the new China. As labor costs in the mainland have risen, many factories have moved their operations south. Vietnam, as a developing country, has strict laws on paper but even low-level officials accept bribes. The majority of sellers hail from the African continent and prices should remain on par with China.

#5 North Korea

North Korea might suffer under the heavy-handed dictatorship of Kim Jung Un, but life for locals isn’t always a total nightmare. Western media tells us that famines plague the land as a tyrannical government monitors and controls every human interaction. However, The Hermit Kingdom seems to have no problem with weed. In fact, it’s technically legal. If you aren’t American and don’t mind paying thousands of dollars for a guided tour while leaving your valuable assets behind in China, give it a shot.

Potheads often overlook Asian destinations under the assumption that only Western countries can act as hotbeds of stoner culture. Singapore, a rich city-state in Southeast Asia, dishes out notoriously harsh punishments for holding even the smallest amounts of bud. Japan denies visas to those convicted of drug-related crimes in their home countries. Even celebrities, such as…