Winner: Brian Heidik (4-3)
Runner Up: Clay Jordan
Fan Favourite Award: N/A
Location: Ko Tarutao, Satun Province, Thailand
Filming Dates: June 10th to July 18th 2002
Air Dates: September 19th to December 19th 2002
Exile Island: No
Hidden Immunity Idol/s: No
Redemption Island: No
Shii Ann Huang (Survivor: All-Stars)
Survivor: Thailand is the fifth season of Survivor.
The sixteen contestants were selected into two tribes by the two oldest castaways of each gender, Jan Gentry and Jake Billingsley. The two tribes were named Chuay Gahn and Sook Jai; Thai for “to help one another” and “happy heart”. When eight players remained, the contestants merged into one tribe, named Chuay Gahn, a combination of the former tribe’s names.
Survivor: Thailand was filmed in Ko Tarutao, in the Satun Province in Thailand.
Self-selection of tribe mates – Unlike the previous four seasons where the producers pre-selected the contestants’ tribe affiliations, this season had the contestants chose their own tribe mates. Given that elders are given utmost respect in Thailand, it was incorporated into the game, wherein the eldest contestants of both genders (Jake Billingsley and Jan Gentry) were tasked to pick their tribe mates. The selection culminated with Chuay Gahn (Jan’s tribe) being comprised mostly of older cast members, leaving Sook Jai, (Jake’s tribe), with an entire tribe of younger, more athletic contestants.
Camp with advantages and disadvantages – Similar to Survivor: Marquesas, the tribes would have camps that had pros and cons. Chuay Gahn camp is virtually a cave, thus making shelter a non-issue, though its water source was on the other side of the island. Sook Jai’s camp has a nearby water hole, though they have to make their own shelter.
Mutiny – On Day Fourteen, the castaways were invited to change tribe affiliations at will. Nobody mutinied against their tribe.
Inter-tribal Survivor Auction – The tribes for the first (and only) time in the history of Survivor, the Survivor Auction was held during the game’s tribal phase.
Fake Merge and Delayed Merge – On Day Nineteen, the tribes were instructed to move to Chuay Gahn’s old camp, leaving the ten remaining castaways assuming that they were already merged, only waiting for new buffs and flag (even to the point of them already creating a new tribe name). But before the seventh Immunity Challenge, the tribes were stunned, when Jeff Probst revealed that the tribes were merely living together, but not merged. The real Merge took place on Day Twenty-five
Episode Summaries (Coming Soon)
Episode One: The Importance of Being Eldest
Episode Two: The Great Divide
Episode Three: Family Values
Episode Four: Gender Blender
Episode Five: The Ocean’s Surprise
Episode Six: The Power of One
Episode Seven: Assumptions
Episode Eight: Sleeping with the Enemy
Episode Nine: Desperate Measures
Episode Ten: While the Cats are Away
Episode Eleven: A Big Surprise… and Another
Episode Twelve: The Tides are Turning
Episode Thirteen: Slip Through Your Fingers
Survivor: Thailand saw sixteen castaways marooned on Ko Tarutao Island in Thailand. The game began with the men arriving on the Island on one boat and the women in another, leading the castaways to believe they would be split into tribes by gender. They were mistaken, with the oldest male, (Jake), and oldest female, (Jan), selecting their tribes; this was a series first. Jake randomly drew the purple Sook Jai buff, choosing many of the younger and more athletic castaways. Joining Jake on Sook Jai was Erin, Jed, Ken, Penny, Robb, Shii Ann and Stephanie. Jan joined the orange Chuay Gahn tribe and selected Brian, Clay, Ghandia, Helen, John, Tanya and Ted to join her. Similar to ‘Survivor: Marquesas’ both camps had advantages and disadvantages. Chuay Gahn had a cave for shelter however their water source was located a short row away on another island, whilst Sook Jai’s water was only a short walk away but they didn’t have a cave to live in.
Immediately after arriving at camp, Tanya became ill, believing she was suffering from dehydration. After Tanya found the tribes water source along with Helen and John, John decided to play a prank on his tribe, telling them that a small, dirty pool of salt water nearby was their water source, which didn’t go down well with the tribe. Sook Jai began to argue of the importance of food and shelter. Jed isolated himself when he went off finishing whilst Robb and Shii Ann argued over the tribes work rate. The first Immunity Challenge saw Sook Jai come from behind after Ghandia lost Chuay Gahn’s tribe when she struggled to finish a puzzle. Ghandia became vulnerable, along with Tanya because she had been ill. Both were spared at Tribal Council as John was sent home. Sook Jai continued to be divided over the issue of food and shelter. Jed and Stephanie collected food whilst the other members of the tribe built the shelter. They further secluded themselves when they, along with Robb decided to sleep on the beach in the rain; which resulted in Stephanie getting sick. Sook Jai won the Reward and Immunity Challenge sending Chuay Gahn back to Tribal Council where they couldn’t ignore Tanya’s illness any longer and she was sent home.
An incident occurred at Chuay Gahn during the night and the next day Ghandia accused Ted of grinding against her. The pair reconciled however Ghandia later plotted to vote out Ted by telling the fellow women, (Helen and Jan), about the incident. Brian heard of the plan and approached Ted to hear the story which only escalated the issue as Ghandia and Ted had a heated argument in front of the tribe. Chuay Gahn won their first challenge claiming victory in the Reward Challenge after Jed, Ken, Robb and Stephanie where disqualified for playing against the rules of the challenge. Chuay Gahn continued their run of form in the Immunity Challenge, sending Sook Jai to their first Tribal Council where Jed was sent home for being to lazy. Ghandia began to feel she was on the outside of her tribe whilst all three women of Chuay Gahn felt the men weren’t pulling their weight around camp. Cook Jai returned to the winners list winning both Reward and Immunity Challenges. Ghandia aligned herself with Helen and Jan, planning to vote out Clay; however Helen was also in an alliance with Brian, meaning she was the swing vote at Tribal Council. When it came down to voting, Helen sided with the men and Ghandia was sent home. Whilst fishing, Brian and Ted created an alliance while Helen became to annoy her tribe mates. When Chuay Gahn lost their canoe, Ted was blamed and Brian and Helen were forced to swim across to their water source to replenish their water supply. Before the Survivor Auction, Jeff offered the castaways the chance to Mutiny against their tribe. Despite not liking their tribe, Shii Ann and Stephanie decided to stick with their tribe like everyone else. At the Immunity Challenge, Sook Jai was defeated and Stephanie began to question why she didn’t accept the Mutiny offer. Stephanie’s fears were confirmed at Tribal Council when she was voted out. Robb became the outsider of the Sook Jai tribe after Stephanie was voted out. Chuay Gahn became frustrated as the reality of losing their canoe hit them. Sook Jai won the Reward Challenge, however in a surprise upset; Chuay Gahn won Immunity, thus evening the numbers between the tribes. Ken and Robb settled their difference which allowed Robb to reconcile with his tribe. Despite this, he was unanimously voted out at Tribal Council.
On Day Nineteen, both tribes received tree mail instructing them to paint themselves in one of five different colours. When the tribes met, Jeff announced that they were having a “get-to-know-you” and the pairs would be matched up with the colour of paint. Each pair received a basket. In Clay and Shii Ann’s basket they received a note to go to the Chuay Gahn camp, whilst Helen and Ken were instructed to go to Sook Jai. The twp pairs then had to decide which camp they would live at; they choose Chuay Gahn. Everyone returned to the Chuay Gahn camp, believing they had merged into one tribe, which they name Chuay Jai. Shii Ann, who was on the bottom of the Sook Jai alliance, spoke to Brian and Ted about flipping to Chuay Gahn. When the castaways gathered for what they believed was the first Individual Immunity Challenge, they were shocked to find out that they were competing for tribal Immunity because they hadn’t merged; instead, both tribes were just living on one beach. Chuay Gahn won Immunity sending Sook Jai to Tribal Council where they voted out Shii Ann because she had openly aligned with Chuay Gahn. Penny began to worry that Sook Jai would target her next so she tried to align herself with Ted, although Ted and the other men of Chuay Gahn didn’t trust her. Ken and Jake became wary of Brian, believing he was extremely manipulative. At the Immunity Challenge, Brian outlasted Jake, claiming tribal Immunity for Chuay Gahn. Sook Jai attempted to discuss the vote, believing nobody deserved to leave. At Tribal Council, Erin was unanimously voted out, becoming the first Jury member.
On Day Twenty-five the tribes officially merged into Chuay Jai. Jake attempted to work his way into the Chuay Gahn alliance, however it only annoyed members of Chuay Gahn. Brian won a Reward Challenge where he got to watch a video from home. Clay won the first Individual Immunity Challenge prompting Jake to persuasive Clay to join the ‘Sook Jai three’ and vote out Ted. Clay stayed loyal to Chuay Gahn, who decided to vote out Ken, a huge physical threat. Brian won the next Reward Challenge, taking Clay with him which prompted Ted to question the strength of their alliance. Penny distanced herself form Jake who was putting a target on her back whilst Jake told Helen to join him in voting out either Brian or Clay. Penny showed the she was no longer loyal to Jake at the Immunity Challenge, however the Chuay Gahn tribe saw through this and eliminated her as Helen won Immunity. At Tribal Council, Penny’s efforts to get Jake sent home didn’t work in her favour as Chuay Gahn believed her to be more of a threat, sending her home. The next Reward Challenge saw the remaining castaways loved ones compete in the challenge. Helen’s husband was victorious and was taken back to camp for a day. At the Immunity Challenge, the castaways competed alongside their loved ones in a team, with Ted winning Immunity. At Tribal Council, Jake, the last member of the Sook Jai tribe was voted out.
Ted won the final reward Challenge, winning himself a car. He chose Helen to accompany him on reward where they agreed to vote out Clay next. Once she returned to camp, Helen told both Brian and Jan of Ted’s plan. At Tribal Council, Brian was immune from the vote after winning Immunity, and the majority of the former Chuay Gahn tribe decided Ted was a bigger threat and thus voted him out. Brian was again victorious at the next Immunity Challenge and approached Clay and Jan in the hope of voted out Helen. Jan was initially hesitant at the idea, however at Tribal Council, she sided with the men and Helen was voted out. The Final Immunity Challenge saw Brian outlast Clay and Jan in an endurance challenge that forced the castaways to stand in uncomfortable positions whilst holding onto coins in a hot cave. At Tribal Council, Brian kept his word to Clay and voted out Jan, who became the final member of the Jury.
The Final Tribal Council saw both Brian and Clay exploited by the Jury for their game play. Brian was accused of not getting to know his tribe mates whilst also praised for being a major manipulator but hiding his true intentions. The Jury thought Clay was lazy and Ted implied that Clay made racist remarks behind his back.
At the first Live Reunion Show hosted by Jeff Probst, Brian was crowned the Sole Survivor beating Clay in a four-three vote.
Shii Ann Huang would later return for Survivor: All-Stars.
– This season marks the first time that Jeff Probst could not determine against whom a vote was cast. In the episode Gender Bender, Clay cast a vote for Ghandia that read “Bye Bye Denver Diva”. Probst actually had to ask whoever cast the vote to explain what it meant.
– This was the first time that the Jury phase began before the Merge.
– This season is tied with Survivor: Guatemala and Survivor: Fiji for having the least number of players to return in a future season, prior to Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, with only one.
– This season marks the first time two tribes lived on one beach without being merged as part of the Fake Merge twist. This concept would later be used as the central twist in Survivor: One World.
– For the first time no female contestant reached the final, making this season the first with an all-male Finale. This season is the first of three to have only male finalists. It was followed by Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Nicaragua.
– Thus far, it is the only season to feature the Survivor Auction Reward Challenge before the Merge.
– Thus far, it is the season to have the fewest castaways comprise the merged tribe with eight.
– This season marks the first time that the castaway’s loved ones were able to compete alongside them in an Immunity Challenge.
– This was the first season in which Jeff Probst hosted both the finale and Reunion Show.
– This is the first season to feature an Asian American.
Tribe Challenge Statistics
Individual Challenge Statistics
– Despite being the first Jury member, Erin wasn’t part of the merged tribe.
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* – Credit Survivor Wikia.