Travel is best when you have a purpose. And what better purpose than getting high.
As Bill Hicks said, “it grows everywhere and performs a thousand functions,” so don’t limit yourself to the scrawny street dealer who keeps selling smaller and smaller bags. Head off around the world and you’ll find that the weed is cheaper, better, and infinitely more sociable. So there’s no need to get stoned and spend the night wanking over youtube videos, World of Warcraft, or the latest Xbox release.
Roll a fat one and start getting inspired, as we run down the 16 places to smoke a joint before you die.
Smoking hash is as Indian an experience as shitting yourself on a local bus, or getting chili induced sweats while eating breakfast. According to Hinduism it was the food of certain Gods. You’ll find thousands of bearded Babas along the River Ganges, spiritual leaders who do nothing but smoke, sell hash, and give off an air of invincibility. Varanasi is the most holy, a place where dead bodies burn by the river, and visiting a temple straight headed is the squarest thing you can ever do. Enhance the experience by drinking a bhang lassi, a weed milkshake that offers a four to five hour trip in the labyrinthine streets.
Swaziland is a fascinating country. The last king had 80 wives and over 200 children, women celebrate chastity by dancing bare chested at the annual Reed Dance ceremony, and obtaining land involves taking a chicken or cow to the tribal chief. So what came first? The omnipresent Swazi Gold weed, or the alternative easy-going lifestyle? Ask around and get some samples before you buy, because for all the outstanding Swazi Gold, there is lots of poor quality bush weed on the market. If it sounds too cheap it’s probably shit. But if the dealer will happily smoke a joint with you first, you’ve probably sniffed out the country’s finest product.
Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
Most islands are idyllic places to smoke a joint. Beaches, warm Caribbean waters, hammocks, snorkeling? It’s rude not to have a fat one between your fingers. Add in fresh fish on tap, coconut bread at 20cents a loaf, and obscene sunsets, and it can be difficult to leave Nicaragua’s Corn Islands. They’re a stopping point for smugglers taking cocaine from South America to the US, so smoking a joint might not be the only thing you’re doing. Adding to the experience is the Little Corn Island’s own radio station, hosted by the famous Rastapuch and playing reggae for most of the day.
Go trekking in the Himalayas and it’s easy to settle into a joyous routine. Walk beside stunning snow clad mountains, drink tea, smoke a joint, drink more tea, smoke another joint, sleep, and repeat. Nepalese Temple Balls provide the perfect high, relieving the legs from the climbing, heightening the views, and serenely complementing the cool mountain air. It’s too sticky to crumble, so roll the local way by manipulating the Temple Balls and wrapping it in a thin layer of tobacco.
It’s difficult to compile this list without including Amsterdam, the infamous European city of first-timers wandering around in a smoke induced haze. Weed is legal all over The Netherlands, so you don’t have to visit Amsterdam to have a joint in a coffee shop. The green is ludicrously potent as it’s predominantly cultivated for the local market, that’s why the city is packed with amateurs pulling whiteys in the street. Serious smokers should seek out the coffee shops that are away from the central tourist streets. You’ll find an evocative array of choices and a gaggle of locals who haven’t been straight since they were 12.
Afghanistan / Pakistan
During the Afghan war the US Army got first dibs on which states they wanted to control. They chose the highest opium and hashish producers. But this isn’t the place to debate conspiracy and corruption, it’s a place for celebrating the stunning quality of Afghan hashish. It’s been heavily polluted and downgraded by the time it reaches the West, so visit the source and discover some of the world’s finest produce. It only takes a couple of hits for a four to five hour high, your senses further elevated by the incumbent anxiety that accompanies traveling in the region. To see the size of the operation, find a guide that will take you to the Smuggler’s Bazaar near Peshawar, beside the Afghan Pakistan border. Then ask for the not-for-export special stuff. It usually comes with a machine gun wielding bodyguard who will do the rolling. Also try and find a Sufi temple. This unique religion revolves around smoking, drumming, and spinning around while lost in a trance.
Ibiza isn’t known for its weed; it’s much easier to find a dazzling assortment of uppers that can keep you dancing for 48 hours. However, leave a club at 7am and head to the beach for sunrise. Could there be a better place to have a cone between your fingers? Smoke your joint with either a liter of Don Simon Sangria or cheap Mirrors Vodka, and then find an after-party where you can carry on until 2pm. Intermittently repeat this beach concoction until you’re not sure what day it is and your flight left 12 hours ago.
The Weed Farms of California
Weed is slowly being legalized in some US states, and there are plenty of farms supplying the burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Harvesting season is around late summer / early fall, and getting a cropping job is a must for die hard stoners. There’s tough competition and it’s not something that’s advertised in your local job shop. But with the right connections, you could be getting paid to get stoned all day and chop up immense marijuana plants. Consuming is free and you don’t even have to roll, your boss will come round with a breakfast joint that’s bigger than your arm.
Serene Lake Malawi is dotted with cute villages and beachside huts, slumbering places that are extenuated by the country’s prime export; Malawi gold. Locals sell it wrapped in banana leafs, and a foot long 50gram package will cost less than $15 (although that heavily depends on your bargaining skills). On the other hand, rolling papers have to be imported and they’ll cost you around $5 a packet. Either copy the locals and use ripped out sheets from a notebook, or bring in a box of Rizla and use it to trade.
San Jose del Pacifico, Mexico
This idyllic destination is more famous for its mushrooms than its weed, but it still deserves a place in our top 16. Because the only thing that’s better than a mushroom trip, is prolonging it deep into the night with a couple of joints. The locals know that better than anyone, that’s why weed usually comes free with a mushroom purchase.
Muang Ngoi, Laos
Smoking a joint in South East Asia is a quintessential travel experience. Marijuana is omnipresent, despite the warnings about tougher drug laws, although the quality varies drastically across the region. Laos is difficult to enjoy without a joint. Few countries are as tranquil or laid back, and settling into the local rhythm requires a couple of draws. Head to the north east of the country and the tiny villages that are only accessible by river, places in the jungle where you can doze in hammocks, sleep in bamboo huts, and eat deep fried banana fritters. Muang Ngoi is an increasingly popular example, so smoke a joint here before the tour groups start arriving and destroying the ambiance.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Qantas Airline pilots would touch down and announce “welcome to New Zealand, please put your watch back 20 years.” They’re famously relaxed here, and the cool climate has helped cultivate weed that takes you straight to uncontrollable laughter. Queenstown is where you’ll find a pristine snowboard slopes, the world’s first bungee jump, dozens of adrenalin pumping activities, and one of the most jaw dropping lakeside scenes you could ever imagine. So you won’t have to look far to get hold of something to smoke. Spark one up here and you’ll end up hanging around for a few weeks.
Isla de Omatepe, Nicaragua
What else do you do when you’re sat in the shadows of volcanoes, eruptions happening every so often? If ever a place suggested life can be short it’s this Nicaraguan gem. Locals smoke with a continual conveyer belt of backpackers who never seem to leave, the nights often descending into drumming and 5am skinny dipping. Just remember to bring your musical creativity to the party. Isla de Omatepe is far too cool for turning up with a guitar and doing a Bob Marley rendition.
Most destinations on this list are places where weed is easy to obtain and part of the culture. Increase the paranoia levels by trying to find a joint in the Middle East. Baalbeck in Lebanon is a stronghold for Hizbollah, a militant political group that most countries classify as terrorists. Like most armies around the world, they part fund their activities by selling narcotics. Security is very tight around here and armed soldiers guard regular checkpoints. It’s not a place for trying to buy on the street, as you’ll need a few thousand dollars in bribes if you get caught red-handed. But like most of the Middle East, hang around the same cafes for a few days and you’ll get talking to people. Gain their trust and drop hints. Then allow the danger levels to enhance the experience.
The Top of Machu Pichu (after walking up)
There’s nothing like an altitude hit to screw up your senses, and there are few more otherworldly sights than the famous ruins of Machu Pichu in Peru. You could be a pussy and take the train up. Or you could pack a bag of green and spend four days walking up the mountain, combining sublime views with a dozen joints a day. The local weed isn’t that potent, but the lack of oxygen in the air helps to elevate its effect. And think about it. Arriving with a joint in your mouth is not only how the locals probably did it 1000 years ago, it helps differentiate yourself from the hundreds of Asian tourists descending on the ruins.
Everyone seems to be stoned in Morocco, but get caught redhanded and you’ll have to fork out for a hefty baksheesh (bribe). Most of the plantations are near the charming blue town of Chefchaouen in the North, and it’s probably the only place where everyone smokes openly. Cafes are shrouded in smoke, old men in monk outfits offer tours to see the processing plants, and thick sugary coffee provides an ongoing antidote. Just be careful when you’re off your face. The enchanting streets are packed with trinkets and souvenirs, and the vendors have far more experience at stoned negotiating.