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Travel to locations of Her Last Summer with Emily Freud

  • Submitted: 7th April 2024

Her Last Summer with Emily Freud

Travel to locations of Her Last Summer with Emily Freud – Who wants to come to Thailand with Emily Freud and The BookTrail?

Think of sunny beaches, white sand and blue seas….and oh yeah, a missing person.


Map of locations in Her Last Summer

Her Last Summer

Map of locations in Her Last Summer

The plot of Her Last Summer takes you on a tour of the well-trodden backpackers’ route in Thailand, from Bangkok to the party islands and up to the untamed jungle in Chiang Mai. I wanted to write about the mix of excitement, fear, and exhilaration of being young and adventurous in a foreign land. My backpacking experiences in the region in the early 2000s inspired this narrative.

Map of locations in Her Last Summer

In the novel, the Thai locations are visited twenty years apart. You first delve into the journey Luke and Mari embarked on in 2002, and then the film crew retraces their steps while making a documentary about their disastrous journey. My research for the present-day locations was aided by the wealth of travel videos on YouTube, which offer a unique insight into the intricacies of the locations without the need to board a plane.

Bangkok – The Khaosan Road

When I decided to set this book in Thailand, I knew this street would play a significant role. It’s a place that every backpacker in the region ends up at, a hub of travel organization, visa applications, and reunions with friends. A place that’s hard to describe, but if I had to, I’d say it’s like Camden Market on steroids. It’s a place that I fell in love with, and I knew my characters would, too.

Map of locations in Her Last Summer

My first encounter with the Khaosan Road was at nineteen when I landed in this foreign city and found myself in the heart of a backpackers’ paradise. The sheer volume of people, the stalls selling an array of goods, the neon signs illuminating the street, the pulsating music, the elephants and tuk-tuks whizzing by, the cacophony of smells and sounds-it was a sensory overload. This was Southeast Asia in all its chaotic glory, and it shocked my system.

When Luke and Mari first arrive, they are overwhelmed by the street’s vibrant chaos. Their parents, in an attempt to ease them into their travels, have booked a comfortable hotel nearby. However, the moment they step out of the air-conditioned solace, they are hit with the same raw energy of the street. Fast forward to the present day, when filmmaker Cassidy brings Luke back, he is disheartened to see that the street has lost some of its original charm. I researched the street’s current state, which has undergone a makeover since 2002. This change, I was confident, would also disappoint my characters.

Map of locations in Her Last Summer


Koh Phangan – The Full Moon party / Haad Rinn beach


When I ventured to Koh Phangan, we’d heard of the influx of people who would soon swarm the island for the monthly party. We arrived a week in advance to secure a room, a precious commodity, as the date drew near. With each passing day, the excitement surged. The tranquil beach town of Haad Rin was transformed. Locals hustled in preparation, erecting cocktail shacks in the sand and igniting fiery signs in the water. There was an undeniable energy, a build leading to this one night that had drawn us all there.

When Cassidy returns with Luke, her sole mission is to encapsulate the hysteria. She wants to film Luke as a solitary figure amidst the pulsating crowd on the beach, neon-painted revellers, and flame throwers in the shallows as he reflects on one of his last happy memories before his life fell apart.

Map of locations in Her Last Summer

Chiang Mai

The jungle in the book is within a fictitious national park called Khao Soon. It is older than the Amazon and reaches five hundred square kilometres. I wanted to have the teenage couple find themselves lost in a jungle because I spent months filming in the Amazon while making a TV series in 2016. The experience stayed with me. An idea lodged about how terrifying it would be to be lost without knowing the right direction to civilization. You could be walking in circles for weeks before a certain death.

The horror of Mari and Luke, two eighteen-year-olds, barely adults, lost in this unforgiving jungle is palpable. This is amplified when Cassidy takes Luke back to recount his memories of being there on camera, and their own trek takes a nightmarish turn.



BookTrail Boarding Pass: Her Last Summer

Twitter: @MsEmilyFreud

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