Surviving a 15 Hour Travel Day with Food Poisoning

“Four out of 6 modes of transportation done. I can do this, right?”


I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I felt suffocated and sticky and my stomach hurt so bad. Not in like a tummy ache way, but in a food poisoning way.

I’ve never actually had food poisoning before. I know I have a sensitive stomach but I’ve never had anything that compared to the horror stories of what people tell me about food poisoning. What better place to get it than in Thailand? It was our last night in Koh Phangan and the power went out on our street. We had no air conditioning and I was stuck in a stuffy bungalow bathroom, thinking that this would be the death of me.

In a few hours, we would begin a 15-hour journey to Hanoi, Vietnam. But in my head, I didn’t think I would make it.

One of my biggest fears is getting sick in a foreign country. I’ve never admitted that to anyone, but there you go. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal because you’re able to find medical care anywhere, but for me, it’s just something I’m really terrified of and luckily I have my friends with me.

So we begin at 6:30 am with a bumpy, downhill, open air taxi ride to the ferry dock. The other passengers are lucky I didn’t vom dot com all over them because I was holding that in like a champ. But when we got on the ferry…different story.

The hour and a half ferry ride gave me an odd sense of comfort because it seemed like most people on the boat were either sick or injured. It’s as if the island literally chewed us all up and spit us back out.

Surviving a 15 Hour Travel Day with Food Poisoning 1

Next was the hour and a half bus ride to Surat Thani airport. This was the toughest leg of the trip for me. I mentally prepared myself for this part during the ferry ride because I was positive there wouldn’t be any toilets on the bus. Low and behold there is a toilet and it’s the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. It’s basically just a sloshing bucket of water that you squat over. I’m not kidding. And did I have to use it? Yes. Will I take that experience with me to my grave? Absolutely.

Next, is the first flight from Surat Thani to Bangkok. It’s about 11 am and I’m not doing so hot. I have cold sweats and I have to the bathroom every 5 minutes. I might as well set up camp in there.

I just keep telling myself, get to Bangkok. If I get to Bangkok I can stay there. I’ll get my own hotel and quarantine myself for a few days. I’ll meet up with the rest of the gang later. I just need to get to Bangkok.

The flight to Bangkok isn’t as bad as I was expecting. Luckily a nice girl about my age let me switch with her for the aisle so I had easy access to get up and run. She was bandaged up and looking rough.

“Leaving the Full Moon Party?” I ask.


We land in Bangkok and have 4 hours until the next flight. Should I just stay here?

I lay down on some chairs and watch movies on Netflix. The distraction helps. Although, I’m getting a lot of stares from my Asian friends. Yes, I’m going to take up 4 chairs and I’m not moving. Deal with it.

After a few hours, I’m not feeling as nauseous and my face isn’t breaking out in a steady stream of sweat. Maybe I can make it to Hanoi. But the medical care won’t be as good there. Do I even need medical care? Is this worse than food poisoning? Am I going crazy?

I google all of my symptoms, avoiding Web MD at all costs. They’ll just tell me I have cancer and I’m dying. The Internet says that the only way to treat this is to let it pass and to drink lots of water. But I can’t drink water or else it will come right back up. Ugh. I’m dying. I promised my parents I wouldn’t die when I’m abroad. But this is it. This is the end.

I walk onto the last flight, defeated and exhausted. It’s about 8 pm and I just don’t care about anything anymore. Get me to a bed. I pass out on the flight, wake up, zoom through customs and get into a taxi to the hotel in Hanoi.

I flop down on a rock hard bed, then get up to go to the bathroom one last time. I would never wish that day upon anyone. If you happen to get food poisoning during a 15 hour travel day, my best advice is to always know where the nearest bathroom is. And don’t read Web MD.



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