Sixteen or more castaways are split between two or more "Tribes", are taken to a remote isolated location and are forced to live off the land with meager supplies for roughly 39 days. Frequent physical challenges are used to pit the tribes against each other for Rewards, such as food or luxuries, or for "Immunity", forcing the other tribe to attend "Tribal Council", where they must vote off one of their players. Once about half the players are remaining, the tribes are merged into a single tribe, and competitions are on an individual basis; winning Immunity prevents that player from being voted out, while several that are voted out at this stage form the game's "Jury". Once down to two or three people, a Final Tribal Council is held where the remaining players plead their case to the jury members. The jury then votes for which player should be considered the "Sole Survivor" and win the $1 million prize. Survivor has introduced numerous modifications, or "twists", on the core rules in order to keep the players on their toes and to prevent players from relying on strategies that succeeded in prior seasons. These changes have included tribal switches, seasons starting with more than two tribes, the ability to exile a player from a tribe for a short time, Hidden Immunity Idols that players can use to save themselves at Tribal Council and a chance to return to regular gameplay after elimination through "Redemption Island".
Sixteen players are marooned on Koh Tarutao, an island off the coast of Thailand. Also, the first contestant is voted off.
Helen and Jan get lost and are missing for hours as they try to find their water source. Also, tensions run high among members of the Sook Jai tribe as they build a shelter. A second contestant is voted off the island.
The tribes compete in a Reward Challenge to gain the help of two soldiers who will assist them in making the most of their resources at camp. A third contestant is voted off the island.
One tribe begins to divide itself along gender lines and a fourth contestant is voted off the island.
One castaway is injured by a stingray during a group swim and one tribe loses an item of great value. A fifth contestant is voted off the island.
Tempers flare during a Reward Challenge in which the prize is a Thai feast. Also, one tribe becomes concerned about a teammate after the person exhibits bizarre behavior, and a sixth contestant is voted off the island.
The castaways anticipate a merge of the two tribes and new relationships are formed. A seventh contestant is voted off the island.
Members of the two original tribes consider forming alliances with some of their new tribemates. Also, one castaway gets disgusted by the hygiene habits of others; and an eighth person is voted off the island.
News from home draws sharp responses from the castaways that could impact one contestant's future in the game. Also, one alliance tries to infiltrate a rival group; and a ninth contestant is voted off the island.
One contestant wins a trip to the mainland and offends a friend by choosing someone else as a traveling companion. A 10th person is voted off the island.
A look at highlights of some of the most unforgettable moments from the first 10 episodes of the series, including Ted pretending to take pictures of Ghandia; and Clay expressing his admiration of Erin's physique.
The 11th castaway is voted off the island.
A 12th castaway is voted off the island.
After 39 days on Koh Tarutao, the Sole Survivor is crowned as the reality series wraps up its fifth edition. The Final Four players are whittled down to two via a pair of contests before the seven-member jury votes for the winner.