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Survivor: Thailand is the fifth season of Survivor.

The post-merge portion of the game was dominated by the Chuay Gahn Five, which systemically voted out the remnants of the Sook Jai tribe. The season was won by Brian Heidik, whose cutthroat strategic gameplay allowed him to win the title over Clay Jordan in a 4-3 vote. To date, it has produced one returning player (Shii Ann Huang) for subsequent seasons.


Thailand took place in Ko Tarutao, the largest island located in the Satun province. An ancient Thai temple was used as the season's Tribal Council.[2] Shooting commenced on June 10 and concluded on July 18, 2002.

In 2011, the season was released on DVD exclusively through


  • Tribe Composition: The sixteen castaways were divided into two tribes of eight. In a Survivor first, Jake, the oldest man, selected the members of Sook Jai, while Jan, the oldest woman, selected the members of Chuay Gahn.
  • Camps with Pros and Cons: The Chuay Gahn camp had a cave, thus making shelter a non-issue, though its water source was on another island. The Sook Jai camp, on the other hand, had a nearby water hole, though a shelter had to be made.
  • Pre-merge Survivor Auction: For the first time, the Survivor Auction was held during the game's tribal phase. The auction itself was a bidding competition between the two tribes and not between individuals.
  • Mutiny: Before the auction started, the castaways were invited to change tribe affiliations at will. No one took the offer, however.
  • Fake Merge: The two tribes, having a collective roster of ten members, were instructed to live on one camp for the rest of the game. They took this to mean that the two tribes had merged. However, it was revealed not to be the case, with the tribes remaining separate and still competing for tribal immunity.
  • Merged Tribe Composition: The merged tribe was composed of eight members.
  • Final Tribal Council Format: Two finalists faced a jury of seven. The jurors individually addressed the finalists.


Contestant Tribe Affiliation Finish Votes
Original Tribe Merged Tribe
S5 john t John Raymond
40, Slidell, LA
Chuay Gahn 1st Voted Out
Day 3
S5 tanya t Tanya Vance
27, Gray, TN
Social Worker
Chuay Gahn 2nd Voted Out
Day 6
S5 jed t Jed Hildebrand
25, Dallas, TX
Dental Student
Sook Jai 3rd Voted Out
Day 9
S5 ghandia t Ghandia Johnson
33, Denver, CO
Legal Secretary
Chuay Gahn 4th Voted Out
Day 12
S5 stephanie t Stephanie Dill
29, Ozark, AR
Sook Jai 5th Voted Out
Day 15
S5 robb t Robb Zbacnik
23, Scottsdale, AZ
Sook Jai 6th Voted Out
Day 18
S5 shiiann t Shii Ann Huang
28, New York City, NY
Executive Recruiter
Sook Jai 7th Voted Out
Day 21
S5 erin t Erin Collins
26, Austin, TX
Real Estate Agent
Sook Jai 8th Voted Out
1st Jury Member
Day 24
S5 ken t Ken Stafford
29, Brooklyn, NY
Police Officer
Sook Jai Chuay Jai 9th Voted Out
2nd Jury Member
Day 27
S5 penny t Penny Ramsey
27, Plano, TX
Pharmaceutical Saleswoman
Sook Jai 10th Voted Out
3rd Jury Member
Day 30
S5 jake t Jake Billingsley
60, McKinney, TX
Land Broker
Sook Jai 11th Voted Out
4th Jury Member
Day 33
S5 ted t Ted Rogers, Jr.
37, Durham, NC
Software Developer
Chuay Gahn 12th Voted Out
5th Jury Member
Day 36
S5 helen t Helen Glover
47, Middletown, RI
Navy Swim Instructor
Chuay Gahn 13th Voted Out
6th Jury Member
Day 37
S5 jan t Jan Gentry
53, Tampa, FL
Chuay Gahn 14th Voted Out
7th Jury Member
Day 38
S5 clay t Clay Jordan
46, Monroe, LA
Restaurant Owner
Chuay Gahn Runner-Up 3
S5 brian t Brian Heidik
34, Quartz Hill, CA
Used Car Salesman
Chuay Gahn Sole Survivor 0

Season Summary[]

The game began with the contestants being brought to the island in two boats, one for each gender. This led the contestants to assume that the tribes would be divided by gender. However, this theory was proved wrong when Jake and Jan, the eldest male and female contestants, were instructed to select their tribemates (as Thai culture stated that elders received utmost respect) - a first in the series. Ultimately, Jan's picks were mostly older, weaker contestants (much to the ire of her teammates), and this left Jake to pick the younger, more athletic players.

After six days of competition, the younger Sook Jai tribe dominated the elderly Chuay Gahn tribe in challenges, with Chuay Gahn's members immediately decimated to six. Chuay Gahn's fortunes turned around after the first losses, and they went on to win the next Reward Challenge and then the Immunity Challenge, thus temporarily sending Sook Jai to Tribal Council. Sook Jai's lack of shelter proved to be a source of tension in the tribe, as the tribe members quickly became divided between those who worked on building the shelter and those who gathered water and food.

Despite their newly-found vigor, Chuay Gahn also had their share of mishaps, when Ghandia accused Ted of having sexual advances with her, which the latter denied. This argument threatened the unity within the tribe, and as a result, they lost another Immunity Challenge. Ghandia tried to make an all-female alliance with Jan and Helen, but Helen sided with the men to get rid of Ghandia.

On Day 19, a twist in the game sent Sook Jai to live together with the Chuay Gahns at their camp, making everybody believe that a merge had occurred. With this, Sook Jai member Shii Ann, who deemed herself as the lowest-ranking person in her alliance, made an alliance with the Chuay Gahn members to ensure her safety. However, in a shocking announcement at the seventh Immunity Challenge, it was revealed that the tribes weren't merging yet, but were just living together on one beach. With Sook Jai suffering two Immunity losses in a row, Shii Ann and Erin paid the price, dwindling the once strong Sook Jai tribe to a paltry three members against Chuay Gahn's five.

On Day 25, the two tribes finally merged into the Chuay Jai tribe, but the deficit Sook Jai faced entering the merge overwhelmed them, and they were systematically eliminated. With only Chuay Gahn members left, the remaining survivors were faced with the reality of having to vote one of their own out. Helen and Ted quickly targeted Clay for his lack of work ethic. However, Brian, who had made separate alliances with three of the four remaining castaways, used his influence to manipulate the vote to his liking. At the next three Tribal Councils, Brian swerved the vote in the direction of Ted, whom he perceived as the biggest physical threat, then Helen, for catching her playing both sides and, finally, Jan, for being well-liked and not being as close to Brian as Clay was.

At the Final Tribal Council, Brian was castigated for breaking friendships to further his interests, while Clay was admonished for his coattail riding and poor work ethic. Eventually, Brian's athleticism and superb strategy awarded him the title of Sole Survivor by a vote of 4-3.

Episode Air date Challenges Eliminated
Finish Viewers
(in millions)[3]
Reward Immunity
1 "The Importance of Being Eldest" September 19, 2002 None Sook Jai John
1st Voted Out
Day 3
23.05 9.6/28
2 "The Great Divide" September 26, 2002 Sook Jai Sook Jai Tanya
2nd Voted Out
Day 6
21.72 8.6/21
3 "Family Values" October 3, 2002 Chuay Gahn Chuay Gahn Jed
3rd Voted Out
Day 9
20.60 8.5/N/A
4 "Gender Bender" October 10, 2002 Sook Jai Sook Jai Ghandia
4th Voted Out
Day 12
21.16 8.6/22
5 "The Ocean's Surprise" October 17, 2002 Survivor
Chuay Gahn Stephanie
5th Voted Out
Day 15
N/A 8.3/23
6 "The Power of One" October 24, 2002 Sook Jai Chuay Gahn Robb
6th Voted Out
Day 18
20.80 8.4/N/A
7 "Assumptions" October 31, 2002 None Chuay Gahn Shii Ann
7th Voted Out
Day 21
N/A 7.5/N/A
8 "Sleeping with the Enemy" November 7, 2002 None Chuay Gahn Erin
8th Voted Out
1st Jury Member
Day 24
9 "Desperate Measures" November 14, 2002 Brian Clay Ken
9th Voted Out
2nd Jury Member
Day 27
21.62 8.6/22
10 "While the Cats Are Away" November 21, 2002 Brian
Helen Penny
10th Voted Out
3rd Jury Member
Day 30
11 "The First 30 Days" November 27, 2002 Recap Episode N/A N/A
12 "A Big Surprise... and Another" December 5, 2002 Helen Ted Jake
11th Voted Out
4th Jury Member
Day 33
21.50 8.6/N/A
13 "The Tides Are Turning" December 12, 2002 Ted
Brian Ted
12th Voted Out
5th Jury Member
Day 36
19.00 7.4/N/A
14 "Slip Through Your Fingers" December 19, 2002 None Brian Helen
13th Voted Out
6th Jury Member
Day 37
24.08 9.9/26
Brian Jan
14th Voted Out
7th Jury Member
Day 38
Jury Vote Clay
Sole Survivor
15 "Reunion" 20.42 9.2/24

Voting History[]

Original Tribes Merged Tribe
Episode 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 13 14
Voted Out S5 john t
S5 tanya t
S5 jed t
S5 ghandia t
S5 stephanie t
S5 robb t
S5 shiiann t
Shii Ann
S5 erin t
S5 ken t
S5 penny t
S5 jake t
S5 ted t
S5 helen t
S5 jan t
S5 clay t
S5 brian t
Vote 6-1-1 5-2 5-3 4-2 5-2 5-1 4-1 3-1 5-3 4-2-1 5-1 4-1 3-1 1-01 4-3
Brian John Tanya Ghandia Ken Penny Jake Ted Helen Jan Jury Vote
Clay John Tanya Ghandia Ken Jake Jake Ted Helen None
Jan John Tanya Clay Ken Penny Jake Ted Helen None Brian
Helen Clay Tanya Ghandia Ken Penny Jake Ted Jan Brian
Ted John Tanya Ghandia Ken Penny Jake Jan Brian
Jake Jed Stephanie Robb Shii Ann Erin Ted Jan Jan Brian
Penny Jed Stephanie Robb Shii Ann Erin Ted Jake Clay
Ken Jed Stephanie Robb Shii Ann Erin Ted Clay
Erin Jed Stephanie Robb Shii Ann Ken Clay
Shii Ann Jed Stephanie Robb Penny
Robb Shii Ann Shii Ann Shii Ann
Stephanie Shii Ann Shii Ann
Ghandia John Helen Clay
Jed Shii Ann
Tanya John Helen
John Ghandia
^1 Clay and Jan did not vote as they could only vote for each other. By virtue of winning the Final Immunity Challenge, only Brian voted.


  • Thailand is the first cast to include an Asian-American contestant: Shii Ann.
  • Thailand is the first season not to include any LGBT contestants.
  • Thailand was the first season not to feature the Buggin' Out challenge as the second Immunity Challenge. Instead, it was incorporated as part of the Loved Ones Challenge, with the loved ones having to eat the disgusting food to spend time with their respective castaway.
  • Thailand 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 had to ask whoever cast the vote to explain what it meant and whom it was intended for.
  • Thus far, Thailand is the only season to feature the Survivor Auction before the merge, with tribes competing.
  • Thailand is the season to have the fewest castaways comprise the merged tribe with eight.
  • Thailand is the first season to have the jury phase begin before the merge.
  • Thailand is the first in which the winner of the Final Immunity Challenge won the game.
  • Thailand 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.
  • Thailand is the first to have two men in the Final Two.
  • Thailand marks the first time that the castaway's loved ones were able to compete alongside them in an Immunity Challenge.
  • Thailand is the first season to not feature a tie vote of any kind.
  • Thailand's jury phase mirrors that of Survivor: Borneo, where one tribe got systematically voted out, leaving the five representatives of the other tribe by Day 34. Then, at the Final Tribal Council, three of the four members of the obliterated tribe voted for the eventual runner-up, then the fourth member, plus the jurors from the other tribe voted for the winner.
  • Thailand is the first season where Jeff Probst hosted the Reunion Show.


Survivor (U.S.) Seasons
BorneoThe Australian OutbackAfricaMarquesasThailandThe AmazonPearl IslandsAll-StarsVanuatuPalauGuatemalaPanamaCook IslandsFijiChinaMicronesiaGabonTocantinsSamoaHeroes vs. VillainsNicaraguaRedemption IslandSouth PacificOne WorldPhilippinesCaramoanBlood vs. WaterCagayanSan Juan del SurWorlds ApartCambodiaKaôh RōngMillennials vs. Gen XGame ChangersHeroes vs. Healers vs. HustlersGhost IslandDavid vs. GoliathEdge of ExtinctionIsland of the IdolsWinners at WarSurvivor 41Survivor 42Survivor 43Survivor 44Survivor 45Survivor 46Survivor 47