|Filming Location||Ko Tarutao, Satun Province, Thailand|
|Season Run||September 19, 2002 - December 19, 2002|
|Filming Dates||June 10, 2002 - July 18, 2002|
|Tribes|| ██ Chuay Gahn|
██ Sook Jai
██ Chuay Jai
|Next Season||The Amazon|
The season was infamous for its lack of likeable cast members, most of them remembered as mean-spirited and hostile, while others didn't live up to expectations. The host Jeff Probst himself declared this season as his least favorite, even calling its top four contestants the "least likeable" ever.
In 2011, the season was released on DVD exclusively through Amazon.com.
- Tribes chosen by oldest contestants: Unlike the previous four editions where the producers pre-selected the contestants' tribe affiliations, this season had the contestants choose their own tribemates. The fact that elders are given utmost respect in Thailand was incorporated into the game by allowing the eldest male contestant, Jake Billingsley, and the eldest female contestant, Jan Gentry, to divide the rest of the group into two tribes.
- Camp with advantages and disadvantages: Similar to the previous season, the tribes had camps with pros and cons. Camp Chuay Gahn 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 14, the castaways were invited to change tribe affiliations at will.
- Inter-tribal Survivor Auction: For the first (and only) time in the history of the series 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.
- Fake Merge and Delayed Merge: On Day 19, the Sook Jai tribe was instructed to move to Chuay Gahn's old camp. This created a situation, when the tribes lived at the same camp without being merged (as they were soon to find out). The actual merger took place six days later, on Day 25.
|Contestant||Original Tribe||Merged Tribe||Finish||Votes Against|
40, Slidell, LA
|Chuay Gahn|| 1st Voted Out|
27, Kingsport, TN
|Chuay Gahn|| 2nd Voted Out|
25, Dallas, TX
|Sook Jai|| 3rd Voted Out|
33, Denver, CO
|Chuay Gahn|| 4th Voted Out|
29, Fayetteville, AR
|Sook Jai|| 5th Voted Out|
23, Scottsdale, AZ
|Sook Jai|| 6th Voted Out|
|Shii Ann Huang|
28, New York City, NY
|Sook Jai|| 7th Voted Out|
26, Austin, TX
|Sook Jai|| 8th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
30, Brooklyn, NY
|Sook Jai||Chuay Jai|| 9th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
27, Plano, TX
|Sook Jai|| 10th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
60, McKinney, TX
|Sook Jai|| 11th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
|Ted Rogers, Jr.|
37, Durham, NC
|Chuay Gahn|| 12th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
47, Middletown, RI
|Chuay Gahn|| 13th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
53, Tampa, FL
|Chuay Gahn|| 14th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
46, Monroe, LA
34, Quartz Hill, CA
|Chuay Gahn||Sole Survivor||0|
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 Billingsley and Jan Gentry, the eldest male and female contestants, were given the opportunity to select their own 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. Jake and Jan were then asked to choose one of two campsites for their tribe dwellings, with contrasting advantages and disadvantages. Jan's pick was a campsite with a cave (eliminating the need of creating a shelter) but a difficult to find water source, while Jake chose the other camp, a beach that has a nearby water source, but no shelter.
After six days of competition, the younger (albeit turmoil-stricken) Sook Jai tribe dominated the elderly Chuay Gahn tribe in challenges, with Chuay Gahn's members immediately decimated to six, with the loss of John Raymond and Tanya Vance. 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. The lack of shelter at Sook Jai 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. Jed Hildebrand, Robb Zbacnik, and Stephanie Dill ignored the shelter work, separated themselves from the rest of the tribe, and chose to sleep on the beach rather than in the shelter. This situation helped to create two alliances within the tribe.
Despite their newly-found vigor, Chuay Gahn also had their share of mishaps, when Ghandia Johnson accused Ted Rogers, Jr. 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 voting alliance with Jan and Helen Glover, but Helen sided with the men to get rid of Ghandia. After Ghandia's elimination, Chuay Gahn finally pulled it together. They managed to win the next two Immunity Challenges. Meanwhile on Sook Jai, the core alliance of Jake, Penny Ramsey, Shii Ann Huang, and Ken Stafford eliminated the alliance outsiders Stephanie and Robb, thus evening up the tribes with five members apiece.
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 a voting bloc alliance with the Chuay Gahn members to ensure her safety. However, in a shocking announcement at the seventh Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst revealed that the tribes weren't merging yet, they were just living together on one beach. With Sook Jai suffering two Immunity losses in a row, Shii Ann and Erin Collins 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 Jordan for his lack of work ethic. However, Brian Heidik, who had made separate alliances with three of the four other people, 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.
At the Final Tribal Council, Brian was castigated for breaking friendships to further his interests, while Clay was admonished for his racist remarks and poor work ethic. Eventually, Brian's athleticism and superb strategy awarded him the Jury votes he needed to win the title of Sole Survivor.
|1||"The Importance of Being Eldest"||September 19, 2002||None||Sook Jai||John||6-1-1|| 1st Voted Out|
|2||"The Great Divide"||September 26, 2002||Sook Jai||Sook Jai||Tanya||5-2|| 2nd Voted Out|
|3||"Family Values"||October 3, 2002||Chuay Gahn||Chuay Gahn||Jed||5-3|| 3rd Voted Out|
|4||"Gender Bender"||October 10, 2002||Sook Jai||Sook Jai||Ghandia||4-2|| 4th Voted Out|
|5||"The Ocean's Surprise"||October 17, 2002|| Survivor|
|Chuay Gahn||Stephanie||5-2|| 5th Voted Out|
|6||"The Power of One"||October 24, 2002||Sook Jai||Chuay Gahn||Robb||5-1|| 6th Voted Out|
|7||"Assumptions"||October 31, 2002||None||Chuay Gahn||Shii Ann||4-1|| 7th Voted Out|
|8||"Sleeping with the Enemy"||November 7, 2002||None||Chuay Gahn||Erin||3-1|| 8th Voted Out|
1st Jury Member
|9||"Desperate Measures"||November 14, 2002||Brian||Clay||Ken||5-3|| 9th Voted Out|
2nd Jury Member
|10||"While the Cats Are Away"||November 21, 2002||Brian|
|Helen||Penny||4-2-1|| 10th Voted Out|
3rd Jury Member
|11||"The First 30 Days"||November 28, 2002||Recap Episode|
|12||"A Big Surprise... and Another"||December 5, 2002||Helen||Ted||Jake||5-1|| 11th Voted Out|
4th Jury Member
|13||"The Tides Are Turning"||December 12, 2002||Ted|
|Brian||Ted||4-1|| 12th Voted Out|
5th Jury Member
|14||"Slip through Your Fingers"||December 19, 2002||None||Brian||Helen||3-1|| 13th Voted Out|
6th Jury Member
|Brian||Jan||1-0|| 14th Voted Out|
7th Jury Member
|Reunion Show||Jury Vote||Clay||4-3||Runner-Up|
|Survivor: Thailand Voting History|
|Original Tribes||Merged Tribe|
|Robb||—||—||Shii Ann||—||Shii Ann||Shii Ann|
|Stephanie||—||—||Shii Ann||—||Shii Ann|
- 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 1.
- 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.
- 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 live finale and Reunion Show.
- This is the first season to feature an Asian American.
- ↑ Ross, Dalton (February 8, 2005). "The Host Has Spoken". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1024612_3,00.html. Retrieved November 20, 2011. .
- ↑ Ross, Dalton (December 17, 2009). "'Survivor': Ranking all the seasons (including 'Samoa') from best to worst". Entertainment Weekly. http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/12/17/survivor-samoa-best-to-worst/. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
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