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Sue Perkins: Lost in Thailand | Preview (Channel 5)

Sue Perkins makes a triumphant return to Channel 5 with an incredible brand-new three-part series. Heading off the beaten track, Sue explores three regions of Thailand, meeting extraordinary people – and animals!

First, she heads north to Chiang Mai, kicking off her journey by abseiling from the wonderfully named Crazy Horse Buttress into a limestone cave deep underground. Next, on the island of Phuket she helps to clear detritus from a coral reef: 'litter picking does not get any better than this!'

In Bangkok she pops into a Buddhist Hell Garden to explore the potential wages of sin, has a driving lesson on an electric tuk-tuk in a monsoon and picks the world’s most aromatic coconut with secateurs 20 feet above her head. Not scary at all.

As she travels across Thailand she meets extraordinary animals too. Sue learns to sing lullabies to recovering elephants and discovers the secrets of a gibbon ‘love tunnel’. Throughout this vibrantly colourful and joyful meander through unseen Thailand, Sue Perkins is funny, fresh and empathetic, happily losing herself in Thailand.

Episode one opens in magnificent northern Thailand where Sue explores the breath-taking beauty of the Thai Highlands. She gets off to an exhilarating start by abseiling deep into a limestone cave, aptly named Crazy Horse Buttress. Terrifying. But Sue is here to push the boundaries beyond just being a tourist with a ridiculous hat.

Thai massages are famed the world over and Sue wants to try one. Her salon of choice is a women’s prison! This is a rehab project giving offenders a career option post-jail and Sue is blown away, both by their stories and the massage.

Heading into the lush Thai Highlands, Sue visits the Elephant Sanctuary Chiang Mai run by its inspirational founder, Lek, who has dedicated her life to rehabilitating elephants. The gentle giants in her care come here suffering with mental and physical illnesses following abuse in the tourist trade or logging industry. Sue is astounded by the level of nurturing they receive, including astonishingly presented meals and lullabies at bedtime.

For a taste of the high life, Sue checks into a hotel that promises to deliver her - sliding bed and all - direct into the jungle for breakfast, before hitting the long and winding road deep into the mountainous Chiang Dao region. Here she joins the Palong Hill tribe, an ethnic community known for their vibrant dress and exceptional weaving skills.

At the imaginatively named “Poopoopaper Park” Sue enthusiastically stirs a ginormous cauldron of elephant dung destined to become sheets of craft paper, an inventive and sustainable use for the 100 kilos of waste each elephant produces daily!

Two hundred miles east towards the border with Laos, Sue is invited to participate in the country’s much-anticipated festival of longboat racing. Deng, the Godmother of the Race, decides to swathe Sue in traditional dress, ensuring she’s suitably attired for the ceremonial boat as they cheer on the rowers in this 600-year-old sport. They move in mesmerising harmony and with astounding speed, but will Sue’s team be victorious?

Sue Perkins: Lost in Thailand begins Tuesday 7th May at 9pm on Channel 5.


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