I’m renting a jungle bungalow in Thailand right now and I don’t know if I’ll make it another night.
I’ve rented a small private bungalow on an island called Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s tucked up in the jungle, very private, but hard to get to (you have to drive up a small trail on a motorbike in order to reach it). It’s a bare-bones setup. Just a desk, a bed under a mosquito net, and spotty Internet (enough to do basic stuff like browse Reddit, but you can’t really stream anything).
I’ve been traveling around Southeast Asia for a few months now, spending most of my time partying in bigger cities and I thought this would be a nice rest… a place to connect with nature, detox from all the alcohol, and find my spiritual side.
But something terribly wrong is happening. It’s filling me with a greater sense of dread with each passing night and now I’m fearing for my life.
It started as just a small, dirty-yellow light shining in the darkness.
The first night I didn’t pay it much mind. There are some other bungalows in this area that people rent out, so I thought it was somebody with a light on their porch.
The second night I saw it again, but this time it was larger. It had grown from the size of a baseball to the size of a basketball.
By the third night I could tell it definitely wasn’t a light shining from one of the bungalows. I had checked around that afternoon and there’s nobody else up here.
It’s Songkran right now (Thai New Year) and most of the tourists are in big cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai where the larger celebrations will be going on for the next three days.
However, the island is also packed with tourists right now, but they are all down at Haad Rin on the beach or Thongsala near the market or on the other side of the island in Chaloklum, the little fishing village.
They’re definitely not roughing it in a remote jungle cabin at the base of mountain, a 20 minute dirt-bike ride from any paved road.
It seems as if I am completely alone here.
Last night was the fourth night the light appeared and this time I was determined to find its origin.
Now, before I continue, I need to explain a little bit about the sounds you hear in the jungle at night.
There are two main sounds….
The first one is the cicada. The cicadas in Southeast Asia are the loudest in the world. And at night it’s pretty much all you hear — it’s deafening actually. In Bangkok — even with all the traffic — the nights were actually QUIETER than nights in the jungle.
Their sound starts as a low rumble, then grows to high, sustained pitch. It can even sound mechanical at times — like a buzz saw trying to cut sheet metal…yet dozens of them surrounding you. Buzzing saws out in the darkness.
Recordings of it don’t really do it justice, but if you want to get an idea of what it sounds like listen to this: https://youtu.be/yfNxYvp7ot0
The other sound is the Tokay gecko. This large, bumpy, neon-colored gecko can be aggressive if you mess with it, but mostly stays out of the way eating various insects.
Yet, this gecko has a very distinct sound. It starts off with a kind of clucking — cku-cku-cku-cku. It does this “clucking” for a few rounds. Then, it starts doing its famous call. “Toh-kay!”
People hear different things. Some say it sounds like its name “Toh-Kay!” others think it sounds like “Geh-cko!” I heard that Americans during the Vietnam War joked that it sound like “Fuck-you!”
It’s hard to explain, but you can hear their distinct call on this recording: https://youtu.be/V66nsqL88SE?t=5
Besides these two token jungle sounds there really is no other noises that SHOULD be heard. There’s no jungle cats in this area, the monkeys actually hang out closer to the shore.
All I should hear at night is the buzz-saw like pitch of the cicadas, and the clucking call of the Tokay gecko.
So you can imagine my fear when last night (the fourth night the light has been showing) I heard a deep, resounding, guttural chanting.
The closest thing I can compare it to is Mongolian throat singing…..
It was so loud it drowned out the sound of the cicadas — it reverberated.
I don’t know if it was even in a language that is spoken on Earth, but there were definite words being chanted.
Then the light appeared.
I had planned to run toward it this night, to find out where it was.
But for some reason I could not move.
I was frozen in waking paralysis.
I felt like I was in a trance — the chanting pounded in my head. It was vibrating every tissue and organ in my body, the same as when a car drives by in the city playing a deep, deep bass from its stereo. A bass so deep it vibrates the asphalt and moves up straight through your shoes and causes your teeth to shudder.
As I stood, stiff as a board, paralyzed, vibrating, the light grew bigger than it had been the last three nights.
This time it was as large as a tractor tire.
Yet even with the light so bright and round, it shone on NOTHING around it. The trees…the ground…none of it reflected the light.
It was as if reality itself was tearing open… as if the things I saw in front of my eyes had a perfectly round hole poked in it, a hole the color of a setting sun over a dusty, desert landscape.
And that’s when I saw it.
A writhing, twisting slime. It had no discernible shape at first. It was as if a blob of liquid metal that was being pulled and pushed from a million different directions, but the metal was black. Matte black.
Then the squirming, smooth black liquid-metal blob began to form take a shape.
The only way I can describe it is it looked like the exoskeleton of a giant insect, but made up of thousands of small geometric shapes.
This…thing crawled out of the opening and “plopped” on the ground, sort of like a baby would “plop” out of an elephant that just gave birth.
I watched in horror as this thing quickly got up….then scampered away into the darkness.
The terror I felt was the same kind one may feel if they walk into a spider’s web in the woods. A panic.
It’s the immediate thought of “where is it? Is it on me?” Each little strand of webbing could be “it”…the spider.
So you brush every part of you, stomp your feet, comb every inch of your body just to get “it” off of you.
Watching that insectoid thing scamper off into the darkness underneath my bungalow — as big as a Great Dane — was that feeling amplified to levels I cannot put into words.
Suddenly the light simply disappeared and the chanting stopped abruptly as well.
The light didn’t fade away and neither did the chanting. It was as if somebody just flicked the “off” switch.
It was there…and then it wasn’t there.
In an instant the paralysis lifted and it caused me to expel my breath — as if I had been punched in the stomach.
For a moment I wondered if I had even been breathing the entire time… but the thought quickly turned to that creature.
Where was it?
I ran back inside.
I shut the door, I locked the flimsy locks.
And suddenly I was struck with the horrible realization of just how exposed I really was.
Thin walls, a mosquito net for cover, plenty of cracks in the floor. Anybody with the strength of a 13 year old boy could break through my door with a few strong kicks.
I sat under the mosquito net listening…just waiting for the sound of scampering….scratching…some sign of this creature.
But there was nothing.
As I write this now it’s about 7:30 PM. I haven’t slept a wink since the event last night.
I do not know if the light will appear again tonight, but if it does, it usually starts around 1AM.
I did notice something today, though.
Like most houses or buildings of any kind in Thailand, there is a “Spirit House” out front.
It is supposed to house protective spirits. A kind of “guardian” over the building.
I never paid much attention to these. I love the way the look — they are always beautifully designed. Some are big, some are small. But besides that, I just considered them a cultural oddity.
Thai people, however, take them very seriously. Every day they walk out and burn incense for their spirit house, give it offerings such as sweet sugary juice, maybe a bowl of rice.
I had always considered this rather silly — a waste of food even.
However, today I noticed my spirit house had no offerings, so I put a little rice there and some fruit.
Maybe it’s stupid. I don’t know if it will do anything. But I am not beyond anything at this point.
Now, you may be wondering why I don’t just leave.
As I mentioned before it’s Songkran (Thai New Year) today was the first day. It will go on two more days. It’s known as the world’s biggest water fight.
There are so many tourists on the island right now just because of that — almost everything else is booked up.
Those rooms that aren’t booked up are just too expensive for me. The prices have been hiked very high for this tourist-heavy event. And honestly, tourism is really the only thing the island makes money on.
The only thing that’s NOT booked up are these jungle bungalows far removed from the party spots of the island, right in the middle of this circular land mass in the Gulf.
I’m basically in the least desirable spot on the island — there is nothing here, nothing to do, and it’s hard to even get in and out.
Not only that, the monthly Full Moon Party takes place on the 19th, the island has already started filling up in anticipation of that.
Every month tens of thousands of people from all over the world come to this island for the Full Moon Party (and all the other parties that happen before and a few days after it).
I simply can’t find another place to stay!
And in fact things will be booked up solid at least until around the 23rd.
In order to find another place to stay, I’d have to get a speedboat off the island and maybe go to Koh Samui or Koh Tao or back to Surat Thani where I could get a plain or bus to Bangkok… but today the speedboats were not running because of the Thai New Year.
I’m stuck on the island and I’m stuck in this place.
My only other option is sleep on the streets near the market (and I very well might).
For now, though, I suppose I’ll take my chances.
I don’t know if the light will show itself tonight after I put offerings on the spirit house…or if that creature will show itself again.
But all I can do right now is wait. And listen.
I’ll try to update you tomorrow (if anybody wants me to).