Finding Magic Mushrooms in Asia

May 22, 2020 | Asia, ESCAPE, MJ Toledo, TASTE

Mushroom Gymnopilus junonius ©Bernard Spragg

If you’re an adventurous traveler, you’re probably curious if you can find magic mushrooms anywhere in Asia. Mushrooms that contain the compound psilocybin are quite common in this continent. Take a look at some places where you can find them.

Perhaps the factor that increased the global knowledge about mushrooms in Asia is tourism. Psychedelic mushrooms may seem like a passing party hallucinogenic drug but it actually played a major role in Asian culture and civilization. The importance of these plants is manifested in ancient Chinese art and Japanese excavations. 

Before proceeding, it is important to note that these mushrooms should not be taken lightly. It functions as a vessel that would take you to a crazy and wild experience so you have to be comfortable and in good company. If everything goes right, you will feel euphoric, and the world will seem more colorful and vibrant. With that being said, remember that magic mushrooms affect people differently.   

What are Magic Mushrooms?

Also called Psilocybin mushrooms, magic mushrooms have psychoactive properties. In many cultures and indigenous tribes, these are considered major aspects of sacred medicine that are used in spiritual and religious ceremonies. Although it’s currently classified as a schedule 1 drug, various research has proved the effectiveness of mushrooms for individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. There are even studies that suggest mushrooms can create lasting personality changes in a person.

Magic Mushrooms in Asia

Here are some Asian countries where you can find mushrooms.

Korea

In Korea, magic mushrooms are used by shamans to induce visions. There are three major mushrooms that can be found in the Hak-Dong and Geoje-Si areas.  

First is the Gymnopilus junonius. Also called the Spectacular Rustgill or Laughing Gym, this orange mushroom is large and can be found on logs, tree stumps, and bases. In Korea, it is called “Hwanggalsaek Michigwang-i Beoseot” or “bronze clown mushroom.” 

You may also find the Panaeolus cyanescens in the country. This potent mushroom is part of the Bolbitiaceae family and is common in Africa and other Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. Finally, the last common type of mushroom is Panaeolus cinctulus. Also called subbs, the mushroom became widely popular globally because it was so common in California. This type of mushroom grows on well-fertilized gardens or on horse dung. 

Mushroom - Cogumelo (Gymnopilus junonius) - Laughing Gym ©Bernard Spragg

Mushroom – Cogumelo (Gymnopilus junonius) – Laughing Gym ©Bernard Spragg

Thailand

Thailand is one of the most notorious Asian countries when it comes to magic mushrooms. In a country called “Land of Smiles,” what more would you expect? You will often see magic mushrooms in bars and cafes around the country, especially in Koh Pangan, the location of the iconic “Full Moon Party.” Usually, the hallucinogenic is enjoyed in a smoothie or pizza as people listen to hippie music and watch the sunset. Pai, another tourist destination, is also known for its mushroom bars. 

Like other countries, mushrooms in Thailand is illegal. However, this does not stop some people, especially tourists, from partaking in this psychedelic experience. Some of the mushrooms that can be found here are Panaeolus cinctulus, psilocybe thailandensis, Panaeolus cyanescens, and Psilocybe samuiensis, among many others. 

Mushroom Panaeolus cyanescens ©J. Maughn

Mushroom Panaeolus cyanescens ©J. Maughn

Japan

Japan has a very rich history when it comes to magic mushrooms. Many ceramic mushrooms have been excavated from the Akita prefecture which indicated that it was used by the Jomon people. These mushrooms were found in a ritual context with other materials that have important shamanic symbolism. Records also show that in the 12th century, nuns climbed a mountain and ate mushrooms which caused them to dance.  

Around 30 species of psilocybin mushrooms can be found in the country. However, the Waraitake mushrooms or laughing mushrooms are undoubtedly the most popular. It is even the subject of many folktales and ancient dance forms. 

Mushroom Panaeolus Sphinctrinus ©Bernard Spragg

Mushroom Panaeolus Sphinctrinus ©Bernard Spragg

Indonesia

You’ve probably heard tales of backpackers taking mushroom shakes in the infamous Gili Islands. While drugs are illegal in Indonesia, Gili still has a thriving mushroom culture. Here, you can find Panaeolus cyanescens, Gymnopilus sp., Psilocybe subaeruginascens, Psilocybe cubensis, and Panaeolus cinctulus.  

The most popular way to consume mushrooms in this area is through a smoothie. It is blended with pineapple, watermelon, ice, and sometimes, even cola. Every establishment offers its own recipe. The bars also offer different shake potencies.