Monday, 31 August 2015

Pattaya August 2015

Pattaya August 2015

General note: All boys I met spoke good English. Apart from Boys Boys Boys and Eros, everything quiet, but still good choice of boys. I changed from drinking fruit juice to hot tea. When I go to several bars, I am full after two fruit juice, but I can drink many cups of tea.

To celebrate exchange rate of over 38 THB per EUR, to relax after trip to Indonesia, and because I haven’t been since June, trip to Pattaya.

Thursday 20.08.2015
Bus and van from Bangkok to Pattaya. Check into Marina Inn, 500 Baht per night (in June it was 600 Baht per night, is it possible that staff pockets the difference when the owner is not around?).

Nice Boys 20:03-42. An old acquaintance is outside Nice Boys, so I follow his invitation. Pineapple juice 150 Baht. No other customer, 15 boys in white shorts, from bare feet to closed shoes. Hard dick on display. Cute boys are number 3, 5 (James, the one who lured me in and whom I met two or three times before, see June report), 34 (looks like one parent is from Africa, great body and brown skin, but looks bored and unhappy), 35. Number of boys and customers increase during my stay. Tip 3 and 5 100 Baht each and leave.

Boys Boys Boys. By chance, pass the line-up of boys in the soi 21:05. Looks interesting. Underwear sale on terrace (100 Baht, styles like in Silom, boys rummage in bag from street vendor).

Funny Boys 21:08-42. Hot tea 160 Baht. No other customer, 12 boys in individual underwear and bare feet. Drink menu has Chinese language; complimentary peanuts. Boys are coming and going, dress in boxers before going out of the bar. Most of the boxers are hideous. I would take 23 and 33 for free. Some other customers when I leave.

Walk along Beach Road. General observation from both nights and different times: more boys (up to 10) and cuter than ever before.

BoysBoysBoys 22:18-23:58. Hot tea 250 Baht. Bar is quite full, have to point to a free good seat and ask if I can sit there, otherwise staff would lead me to a peripheral seat. There must be over 50 boys working, on stage and coyote dancing on small stages among the audience. Individual underwear and bare feet. Boys muscular/manly (some fat), no fem and no twinks. Some customers throw ping-pong balls at boys. Plenty of Asian customers and several women.

Show is 22:43-23:58. Variations of big cock (then roaming audience for tips), B-Boys (then roaming audience for tips), candle show, shower show, playing drum with hard dick. Announcement that midnight show will be different. The bar was packed for the show, estimated 90% occupancy.

Highly recommended: big cock from wall to wall and not a single ladyboy, cabaret or lipsync in sight! (You can get that at Café Royal, Copa or Castro.)

Enquire about prices: off fee 400, short time 1500, room upstairs 500 (in addition to off fee).

I would off 12, 23 or 80 if it were in another bar, but here there is no place to have a boy sit next to me for chat and I will not pay 1500 for st in Pattaya. When staff ask me upon leaving if I want a boy, I tell them so and there seems to room for negotiation (i.e. 1000 is acceptable for short time, they just want to push up the rate).

It has been a long time that I went into a bar and thought “wow!” when I looked at the choice, and bodies of 23 and 80 can only be described as awesome. I will be back!

To beach road. Boy (Army from Chachoengsao, 19 y.o.) I spotted before is still there, ask him to come with me. Cute face and great smile. Back in my room, I can see he is a bit too fat and hairy for my taste, and skin is too cold (I noticed before when I put my hand on his shoulder to check neck). But good kissing and great nipple play and gets hard. But then he falls asleep during hugging, so I sleep as well (1:45 am) and postpone sexual activities.

Friday 21.08.2015
We wake up around 7:30. After sleeping together (in the original sense), our bodies, mattress and duvet have reached thermal equilibrium, but he is still too cold. He has to go back to his room, I give him 500 Baht (we didn't have sex, only foreplay) and say goodbye and go back to sleep (7:50 am). Would recommend to friends, but will not take him again.

Message a boy I found on gayromeo. Efficient communication. At 50 kg and 180 cm he can best be described as stick insect. Spend an hour in my room and tip 1000 Baht. Will see him again some time (I said this many times before, but then the lure of gogo bars is greater than meeting boys I know already again). There are four boys James I have met since 2013 (from Ratchaburi, Buriram, Kanchananburi, and now Sri Saket) and all are worth meeting again.

Spend afternoon in Tuk-Com. Count gay massages around Tuk-Com: Royal House, Relax @ Me, Relax @ Me 1, Somjit, Sitalanna (has girls as well), Blue House, Enjoy Massage, ICE Massage.

There are two cute boys at ICE Massage, take one hour oil massage with one of them. Lovely legs (when I walk up the stairs behind him). Massage is soft and slow (read between the lines: he has no training for massage and is just rubbing oil on my body), but erotic part is better. Tip him 1000 Baht and exchange Line (next time get in my room, so we can skip the useless massage part).

Sunny Boys. Walk past 20:10 and spot about 10 boys outside, none of them my type. Anyway:

A boy who is sitting outside a gogo bar fully dressed is not inside on stage in underwear!

Power Boys. 20:15 Have a look inside, there 4 boys on stage and 2 sitting with customer, come back later (hope there will be more boys).

Eros. 20:20 – 21:53. I am the first customer, there are no boys on stage, not even music on. But you have to start somewhere, and being in before boys get on stage allows me to watch them changing (my locker room fetish!). Most of their theme days are not my style, so today: they wear something that resembles a kilt.

Why do Scotsmen wear kilts? 
Because a sheep can hear a zipper from a mile away!

They have some new boys, a cute one (Art from Chachoengsao, several tattoos, has been working for 5 months) sits next to me uninvited (I like this, I can chat and touch but I don’t have to buy a drink and tip because I didn’t invite him) and interaction is promising, might take him another time. Later another cute boy (Ton from Ubon, has been working for 4 months, didn’t spot tattoos) sits on my other side, here interaction positive as well. Might take him another time. Tip Art 200 and Ton 100.

Conclusion: Eros is reasonably busy and good choice of boys (many who have been there for years, but some new as well).

Power Boys 22:00-26. Hot tea 170 Baht. 8 Boys in individual underwear (trunks) and 2 customers. No rotation on stage. There is a cute boy number 3 whom I remember from before. His interaction with a customer looks promising.

Conclusion: that was a poor night at Power Boys.

Wild West Boys. Pass 22:55 and spot cute boy outside. Have a look inside: boys from outside rush onto stage: 4 boys in jeans. Tell doorman that I will not pay 250 Baht for a drink to watch 4 boys in jeans, when I can see boys in underwear elsewhere.

Dream Boys 22:58-23:38. Hot tea 170 Baht. 7 boys in individual underwear and bare feet and 3 boys in jeans and closed shoes, 5 customers. I would take some boys for free.

Kawaii Boys 23:48-00:33. Hot tea 150 Baht. 8 boys in individual underwear and no other customer. Number 15 and especially 26 are cute. I don’t like 26’s navel piercing, but that can be removed. I had a boy number 3 earlier this year, now number 3 has been assigned to another boy (I have never seen such big balls, judging by the bulge in his underwear), but 15 looks like the boy I had before, but I’m not sure. Leave alone, but might come back for 26. (Update: message the boy 3 I had earlier this year, he is in his home province.)

I’m happy with rooms in Marina Inn, but this trip I had an ant problem. When I showered first night, I noticed ant on my body. The ant bites were a bit above level or perception. Thinking about it the following day, I realized they must come from ceiling or shower. On second day I checked: shower head covered with ants. Wash off all ants, then turn on shower. There were ants inside the shower head who come out now, finally shower with water without ants. Tell owner about the ants when I leave.

Pattayaland Sois got new surface (asphalt), before there were many potholes. Beach road promenade still large holes in the pavement (sand washed out).

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Muse Pass 2015

Muse Pass 2015

I wrote about Muse Pass (2014 edition) before: 

and now there is a new edition, extended from 20 venues to 32 venues, some outside Bangkok, free flyer (in Thai):

Muse pass on the left (top: outside, bottom: inside area for sticker for each museum), on the right discount coupons:

Can be purchased until 31.10.2015, valid until 31.12.2015, price 199 Baht. This post is quite late for my readers to take advantage this year, but I hope there will be another one next year.

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Museums in Bangkok

Museums in Bangkok

I didn't expect there to be 100 museums in Bangkok and 
vicinity, but there is a book that claims so:

100 Museum in Bangkok and its vicinity: 

The whole world within reach 
Plan readers publisher First edition 2004, 
295 Baht, 160 pages, ISBN 974-91909-8-X 

In English, I have seen Thai language edition as well.
A quality publication, worth every Baht, even though there are only 97 museums in the book. I know several more, some might be younger than the book

Museum Siam

Buddha Dharma Relics Museum 
พิพิธภัณฑ์ พุทธธรรม พระบรมสารีริกธาตุ

Siam Fighting Fish Gallery พิพิธภัณฑ์ปลากัดไทย
in Bang Krachao (Samut Prakan)

Batcat Museum in Ramkhamhaeng / Srinakarin

The Owl Art Museum, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhonpathom  

Wood carvings museum, Nakhon Pathom

Buddha image museum in King Power complex 

Prasat Museum พิพิธภัณฑ์ปราสาท in Bang Kapi 

The Museum of Bua Roi Temple Bang Sao Thong (Travel @ Samutprakan Vol.2 / No.4 / June 2015)

The Museum of Floral Culture

There used to be a museum at 22 July traffic circle in Chinatown (signs พิพิธภัณฑ์ and MUSEUM still on the building, but has been closed for a long time).

Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum (Phahonyothin road, Bangkok University, Pathum Thani)

District Museum Yannawa 

Klong Lad Po Museum Samut Prakan 

Thai Wadee House Museum บ้านพิพิธภัณฑ์ไทยวดี 
Bangbo district, Samut Prakan province
(Travel @Samutprakan Aug 2015 p 82-89)

see here as well:

TAT has a flyer "Must visit Museums of Bangkok" (10 musuems, with map. has entries for several district museums in Bangkok.

This forum (in Thai) discusses some of the entries in the book with pictures and links:

There are some typos in the book:
p3 Phyathai Palace
p11 Prince of Nakhon Svarage -> Nakhon Sawan
p20 Dr. Karl Siegfried Dohring -> Döhring
p59 coup d'tat -> coup d'état
p60 (Museum of counterfeit goods moved to Rama 3 road)
p123 17-storeyed building...from the base to the top is 50 m
        -> 29 m + 15 m pedestal according to
p141 "Jarlet, King Rama VI's favorite." ("dog" is missing)
p144 which took three year to make -> years
p152 brining
p154 Eravan -> Erawan
p155 The national Museum -> National
p156 Paribarta -> Paribatra

For visiting, keep in mind that some museums are open only on weekdays, others only on weekends. Closing time is 4pm in many cases, which is pretty early by my standards. 

Update April 2016:
drove past on Western Ring Road, looks interesting from main road: Sriyantra Gods Museum
พิพิธภัณฑ์เทพศรียันตรา 1 (สาขากาญจนาภิเษก)
total 8 branches over Bangkok and nearby provinces 

Court Museum of Thailand and Archives
Ratchada road, north of crossroads with Ladprao, on western side

MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art
(interesting architecture as well, will soon be partially covered by skytrain station in front of it) 

Ratchaprasong Cultural Centre, the Museum of Cultures in Bangkok, located at the 3rd floor of Amarin Plaza  

Golden Teak Museum in Wat Thewarat (Mysterious Bangkok Vol. 1 p. 247) 

Rare Stone Museum moved from Silom to Pathum Thani in 2008  but sign on street still there (Mysterious Bangkok Vol. 1 p. 251)

Royal Military Museum primarily about war medicine 
(Mysterious Bangkok Vol. 1 p. 270) near Phaya Thai Palace

gold shop Tang Ko Kang small private museum
(Mysterious Bangkok Vol. 1 p. 271)

Geological Resource Museum (Minerals and Rocks Museum) 
wrong address and opening times, better look here: 
8.30 A.M.-  4.30 P.M. On Tuesday - Sunday, Closed on Monday 

update 23dec2016: 

update 5jan2017: 

Tooney Toy Museum 
(near Don Muang, Prachachuen - Pak Kret road) 

update 15mar2017:
Bodindecha Museum 
(Ramkhamhaeng 43/1, 3 traditional Thai wooden houses)

Siam House of Bizarre Creatures (see article in my blog) 

Hua Lampong railway museum (see article in my blog)

Rock and Mineral Museum, Department of Mineral Resources
(Rama 6 road, Phaya Thai) 

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Dating Thai boys (34): Shy boy

Dating Thai boys (34): Shy boy 

This boy was a work colleague in 2013, from Indonesia (nonetheless filed as "Dating Thai boys"). He spotted me in real life but was to shy to say hello, then contacted me on grindr. He changed Line every few months, the messages below are just a small part of our conversation. 

Finally I spotted him and said hello, a bordercase. Tried a few times to meet him in real life, then gave up. I find such long conversations online tiresome, I just want to set up a date in real life! And excessive (that would once ore more) use of "hahaha" and "hehehe" isn't a good start.

[LINE] Chat with ¥€$%#
Saved time:2014/10/23 22:38

7:02    ¥€$%#    hi
7:02    ¥€$%#    happy working
9:11    christianpfc    hello, just arrived at work
9:16    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]
9:53    ¥€$%#    [Photo]
9:53    ¥€$%#    hsve nice breakfast
9:54    christianpfc    I eat at home, European food
9:55    ¥€$%#    :)
9:55    ¥€$%#    i make it
9:55    ¥€$%#    hahaha
23:33    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]

14:33    christianpfc    hello, do you go to the canteen for lunch?
16:28    ¥€$%#    sorry i just wake up
16:28    ¥€$%#    no canteen
16:28    ¥€$%#    u
16:44    christianpfc    where do you usually go for lunch?
16:44    ¥€$%#    at chemis canteen
16:44    ¥€$%#    yesterday i buy this
16:44    ¥€$%#    the seller is new
16:44    ¥€$%#    right
16:45    ¥€$%#    [Photo]
16:45    christianpfc    I go there as well
16:45    ¥€$%#    :)
16:47    ¥€$%#    wht ru doing
16:56    christianpfc    i am at work. i am not free today.
17:03    ¥€$%#    i see:)

18:28    christianpfc    when you see me in (edit) say hello. or we meet for lunch.
18:56    ¥€$%#    ok :)
18:56    ¥€$%#    im shy hehe

12:59    ¥€$%#    r u in
13:02    christianpfc    yes, i have lunch with a friend
13:04    ¥€$%#    i saw u if not wrong hahs
13:04    ¥€$%#    whit white guy:)
13:05    christianpfc    no, with thai friend. now i have a beard.
13:06    ¥€$%#    ya thai with white cloth
13:41    christianpfc    yes. now i am back in (edit)
13:44    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]

24:07    ¥€$%#    hi
1:05    christianpfc    hello, i go to bed soon
9:29    ¥€$%#    hello
9:29    christianpfc    hi
9:29    ¥€$%#    happy work :)
9:30    christianpfc    i'm tired
9:31    ¥€$%#    why
9:31    ¥€$%#    fighting
9:31    christianpfc    got to bed at 2 am
9:38    ¥€$%#    why?
9:38    ¥€$%#    from where?
9:39    christianpfc    visited a friend in sukhumvit for dinner and cinema
9:41    ¥€$%#    oh hahaha
9:41    ¥€$%#    ur bf hahaha
9:41    ¥€$%#    i see
9:41    ¥€$%#    wht film?
9:41    ¥€$%#    hungrrgames was play or not
10:00    christianpfc    riddick 3
10:01    christianpfc    not boyfriend, only friend
10:05    christianpfc    where do you go for lunch today?
10:16    ¥€$%#    oh i see
10:16    ¥€$%#    i dunno where
10:17    ¥€$%#    maybe (edit)
10:17    ¥€$%#    i still on the room
10:17    ¥€$%#    haha
10:24    ¥€$%#    wher u will lunch?
10:30    ¥€$%#    busy?
10:30    ¥€$%#    happy working na
11:07    christianpfc    I will eat in (edit)
11:26    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]
11:58    ¥€$%#    wht u eat in there?
11:59    christianpfc    I will go for lunch now.
12:12    ¥€$%#    rain :(
12:18    christianpfc    I am in (edit), where are you
12:20    ¥€$%#    i buy drink
12:20    ¥€$%#    haha
12:20    ¥€$%#    im shy
12:23    ¥€$%#    no my friends hehe
12:24    ¥€$%#    u eat alone ?
12:26    ¥€$%#    may be the next i can jount with u for lunch
12:27    ¥€$%#    if u have time we can dinner
12:27    ¥€$%#    i see u when i buy greentea
12:28    christianpfc    I eat alone
12:28    ¥€$%#    ya i see u from the door
12:28    ¥€$%#    hehe
12:29    ¥€$%#    im (edit) student not (edit) staff na
12:33    ¥€$%#    [Photo]
12:36    ¥€$%#    :)
12:41    ¥€$%#    are u okay?
12:42    christianpfc    I am fine.
12:42    ¥€$%#    oh ok happy lunch
20:58    ¥€$%#    wht r u doingp
22:06    ¥€$%#    hmm
22:06    ¥€$%#    ok sorry
22:11    christianpfc    I am on the bus, back to my room. and you? do you want to meet now
22:13    ¥€$%#    ohh i back from my dinner
22:13    ¥€$%#    meet now?
22:13    christianpfc    where do you stay?
22:14    ¥€$%#    too night :(  for me my dorm will close
22:14    ¥€$%#    im stay in
22:14    ¥€$%#    (edit)
22:14    ¥€$%#    (
22:14    ¥€$%#    (edit)
22:14    christianpfc    I see
22:15    ¥€$%#    ;)
22:17    ¥€$%#    n u?
22:17    ¥€$%#    where u stay
22:18    christianpfc    close to
(edit), 15 min by foot
22:18    ¥€$%#     back if
22:20    christianpfc    what?
22:21    ¥€$%#    back of
(edit) i mean
22:21    ¥€$%#    chiangwattana?
22:22    christianpfc    yes, behind
(edit), (edit)
22:22    ¥€$%#    i see
22:23    ¥€$%#    i see one western ppl like u when gym
22:23    ¥€$%#    i think is u
22:23    ¥€$%#    but not, im wrong
22:23    christianpfc    I went to the gym a while ago
22:24    ¥€$%#    ya so i ask u when i see u in

22:24    ¥€$%#    if u say yes it is u
22:24    ¥€$%#    i saw u many times
22:24    ¥€$%#    when in
(edit) canteen
22:24    ¥€$%#    but i dunno if on the grinder is u
22:24    ¥€$%#    i think the western person in gym
22:24    ¥€$%#    cos like u
22:25    ¥€$%#    but he can speak thai very well
22:26    christianpfc    I can speak thai
22:26    christianpfc    next time say Hello, when you see me
22:26    ¥€$%#    really
22:26    ¥€$%#    u are thai?
22:27    ¥€$%#    are u thai?
22:27    christianpfc    I am german
22:28    ¥€$%#    origin from german?
22:28    christianpfc    yes
22:28    ¥€$%#    but could speak thai?
22:28    ¥€$%#    i see
22:28    ¥€$%#    btw why u choose work here?
22:29    ¥€$%#     i just know sawadekup kopkunkap araina haha
22:30    christianpfc    I study Thai language
22:30    ¥€$%#    i see
22:30    ¥€$%#    in bkk?
22:31    christianpfc    yes, 3 years ago
22:32    ¥€$%#    oh i see
22:32    ¥€$%#    how lomg u stay here
22:32    ¥€$%#    btw im disturb u or not
22:32    ¥€$%#    u still on the bus?
22:33    christianpfc    on the bus
22:34    ¥€$%#    i see :)
22:34    ¥€$%#    btw do u lilke party
22:34    ¥€$%#    ?
22:34    ¥€$%#    thai ppl always party on froday n saturday
22:34    ¥€$%#    i never haha wanna try:(
22:35    christianpfc    sometimes I go to gay disco
22:35    ¥€$%#    invite me if u will go there
22:36    ¥€$%#    i never
22:36    ¥€$%#    :(
22:36    ¥€$%#    btw alone ? when u go yhere
22:36    christianpfc    OK, but we have to meet first
22:36    ¥€$%#    ot with germany friend
22:36    ¥€$%#    yaya
22:36    ¥€$%#    we can meet
22:37    ¥€$%#    but after i know u same with me i shy
22:37    ¥€$%#    to go canteen alone
22:37    ¥€$%#    haha
22:37    ¥€$%#    many acharn there
22:37    ¥€$%#    today i wanns eat at
(edit) but feel shyy
22:37    ¥€$%#    hahaha
22:39    ¥€$%#    i saw u many times when in
(edit) but i dodnt think u on grinder
22:39    christianpfc    I am tired, let's chat next time
22:39    ¥€$%#    oh haha
22:39    ¥€$%#    ok kub sorry na
22:40    ¥€$%#    stiill on bus?
22:41    christianpfc   
(edit), walk home
22:41    ¥€$%#    my room haha- beside it klong
22:41    ¥€$%#    ok take care

10:22    ¥€$%#    morning
10:22    ¥€$%#    have good day
10:46    christianpfc    you too
10:47    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]
19:07    ¥€$%#    wht r u doing

13:34    ¥€$%#    hi
13:44    christianpfc    busy
13:46    ¥€$%#    sorry

(edit) left the chat.

9:07    christianpfc    hello
10:18    ¥€$%#    hallo
10:18    ¥€$%#    thank you na
10:18    ¥€$%#    my iphone upgade
10:18    ¥€$%#    lost all hege
10:18    christianpfc    yes
10:19    ¥€$%#    [Photo]
10:19    ¥€$%#    will presentation today
10:19    ¥€$%#    with group
10:19    christianpfc    where and what time?
10:20    ¥€$%#    at
(edit) for homework na hihu
10:20    ¥€$%#    1 am
10:20    ¥€$%#    pm

9:50    ¥€$%#    nice to see u last night 5556
10:17    christianpfc    what?
10:22    ¥€$%#    last eening i mean
10:22    ¥€$%#    it is i right
10:22    ¥€$%#    guy who run then stop bus
10:26    christianpfc    Yes, that was me, but I didn't recognize you.
10:28    ¥€$%#    oh hahaa
10:28    ¥€$%#    i see im with cici and bay last evening
10:28    ¥€$%#    went to entral lardpro to dinner i saw u see cici
10:42    christianpfc    who are bay and cici?
10:43    ¥€$%#    cici in chemistry lab
10:43    ¥€$%#    u dint know her?
10:47    christianpfc    don't know
11:06    ¥€$%#    oh i see

12:25    christianpfc    are you in the canteen now?
12:26    ¥€$%#    hei yes
12:26    ¥€$%#    n u
12:27    ¥€$%#    just arrived
12:27    christianpfc    eating
12:27    ¥€$%#    i didnt see hahaha,, are u in there blue right
12:30    ¥€$%#    Missed Call
12:31    ¥€$%#    Cancelled Call
12:32    ¥€$%#    Missed Call
12:50    ¥€$%#    nice to see u, sorry im so so shy,,, have nice day
12:53    christianpfc    OK. what do you do this weekend? I will be in bkk.
12:57    ¥€$%#    i have plan going to kanchanaburi with friends but not sure, cos i have exam on 22 maybe just at dorm.
12:58    ¥€$%#    n u
12:59    christianpfc    sightseeing in bkk
13:01    ¥€$%#    what u eat for lunch today? u often lunch at here?
13:03    christianpfc    grief rice with shrimp
13:03    christianpfc    about three times per week
13:15    ¥€$%#    oh i see hahaha
13:16    ¥€$%#    usually i just eat friedrice
13:16    ¥€$%#    i dunno other menut there
13:16    ¥€$%#    hahaha
13:19    ¥€$%#    i dont have class today just many homework then feel hungry and wanna lunch there

14:59    ¥€$%#    thank you for today
15:00    ¥€$%#    finally i can talked with u
15:00    ¥€$%#    hehehe
15:00    christianpfc    yes
15:00    ¥€$%#    i postpone kanchanaburi maybe after 24 hahaha
15:01    ¥€$%#    buy this sunday im going to pa kret island
15:01    ¥€$%#    have nice work
16:53    ¥€$%#    [Sticker]

19:08    ¥€$%#    could i get ur LINE ID? because i wanna change my line. thanks before :)
21:12    christianpfc    Phone number (edit)
21:13    ¥€$%#    thk you

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Indonesia general impressions: Jakarta and Banyuwangi

Indonesia general impressions: Jakarta and Banyuwangi

Trip to Indonesia 05.08.2015 Don Muang to Jakarta, 13.08.2015 Denpasar (Bali) to Don Muang. Everything in between evolved during my trip.

Just this year, Indonesia allows visa-free entry for most European countries, which is laudable and put Indonesia above Myanmar and Vietnam on my list of places to go for visa run. With visa free entry to Vietnam since July 2015, it will probably be next. A trip to Lao would still be cheaper even though I have to pay for a visa, but I find applying for a visa humiliating (call me racist, but when I travel to a 2nd or 3rd world country, I want to feel welcome).

Weather was nice throughout my stay, temperature pleasant. Indonesia has same power plugs as Germany, charger from Thailand doesn’t fit, but I have an adaptor. Currency is Indonesian Rupiah IDR with exchange rate about 1 EUR = 14.9 kIDR (k = kilo = 1000) during my stay, and 1 USD = 13.5 kIDR and 1 THB = 385 IDR. Many public toilets have no wash basin.

Trains are comfortable, even 3rd class. Aircon and windows cannot open (which I like very much, I hate air drafts in closed rooms – that includes trains – and in Thailand in 3rd class usually fan is on and window open, which gives the “drive through a barn” feeling – all kind of insects, plant parts and soot flakes from fires blow into the train). Both trains I took were on time.
Jakarta Wednesday 05.08.2015
Arrive at airport. Try to get money from ATM, the first ATM returns my visa card, but no money and message in Indonesian. Second and third ATM show message in English that my request cannot be processed and I should contact my bank. Fortunately, I have enough cash for the whole trip (calling from Indonesia to Germany from mobile phone can cost exorbitant amounts of money, so I will wait until back in Thailand with for a cheap connection). Update: try at my usual ATM in Bangkok: get money without problem without calling my bank.

Nobody bothers me with taxi on my way to bus station! Bus to Gambir (wait half an hour, then 15:45-17:02, 40 kIDR) and walk to Jalan Jaksa (backpacker area). The expat and tourist scene in Jakarta is smaller than say Udon Thani or Kanchanaburi, contrary to Bangkok, Jakarta is not touristy at all. Jalan Jaksa (the red car which sells SIM cards at elevated prices is a permanent fixture, the tires are flat):

General observation: The criminal elements that are present in all countries concentrate in tourist areas (Bangkok Silom/Sukhumvit, Pattaya, Phuket). Out of these areas (in Thailand and Indonesia) only nice people who are happy to see a foreigner visit their country and try to help.

Check several places for room, nothing convincing, finally settle in a guesthouse 150 kIDR per night (aircon, no window, no WiFi). Convenience stores similar to Thailand, but have no SIM cards. A phone shop has cards on display starting from 70 kIDR, probably overpriced.

Walk to Gambir train station. Railway tracks are above ground (the entire station is similar to skytrain stations in Bangkok), access to platforms only with a ticket. While I read timetables, a local approaches me and asks if he can help. Always be wary in such situations, but his intentions are genuine. Ticket cannot be bought now, come back tomorrow. He helps me with SIM card at the railway station (SIM card 10 kIDR, top up 40 kIDR) and insists on paying for it. He invites me to Yogyakarta (where he will go soon). That was quite a surprise, I thought there must be a hook, but no!

Jakarta Thursday 06.08.2015
To Gambir train station to book ticket to Yogyakarta. Information at the train station is very good (staff fluent in English, aircon and you sit opposite to staff on a desk, unlike Hua Lampong). Train to Yogyakarta is booked out. I will travel to Banyuwangi instead and ask for a connection, with change in Surabaya. Take this information and go to advance booking counter, where I have to queue 11:35-13:30 (Yes, that’s 1 h 55 min!). When it’s my turn, I learn that my connection is booked out. But there is a similar train to Surabaya from another railway station (Pasar Senen, in walking distance), which I take. However she can’t sell me a ticket from Surabaya for Banyuwangi, I have to check at Surabaya again.

After having wasted a lot of time at the train station, I take taxi (instead of bus) to Taman Mini (similar to Muang Boran in Thailand, replicas of traditional houses and religious places from all over Indonesia, combined with an entertainment park), 13:35-14:27, 104 kIDR + 8 + 5 + 2 + 2 tolls. 

Official closing time is 5pm, but from 4 pm they start closing, so I can’t see everything. Why the hell do they close at 5 pm? Similar applies to many places in Thailand.

Bus to sauna, traffic jam. Sauna closed for renovation. Taxi to hotel.

Walk around railway station and chat with locals. There is a man who speaks good English and wants to convert me to Christianity or Islam (not sure what he means when he speaks of God). He is convinced this encounter (he and me) is not by chance! He talks about Sodom and Gomorrah (homosexual activities that made God angry, I don’t comment on this), and then how God makes earthquakes and volcanoes to punish sinners. I tell him earthquakes and volcanoes can be explained by geology, he won’t have any of it.

Then I have an epiphany: “But there are no earthquakes and volcanoes in Germany! How do you explain that?” “Germany used to be a glorious kingdom. God loves German people!” 

Well, it wasn’t a kingdom, but a “Führerstaat”, and the end was not that glorious, but I don’t know what to reply. Outwitted by a local! Then he continues “Speak after me (language I don’t understand) and your life will turn good!” I say goodbye and go home to sleep. Half an hour longer, and he would convince me to get circumcised.

Jakarta Friday 07.08.2015
Visit National Monument (Monas Monumen Nasional). There is a large park around it, but gate in the south-east (near Gambir station) is closed day and night. There is a large gap under the gate and locals pass through this gap, but I have a backpack and want to retain a modicum of decorum, so I walk around to a gate that is open.

In the park, walk around the entire monument in search of an entrance. Finally a local tells me the entrance is via a tunnel, the entrance to the tunnel is about 100 m north of the monument. Free luggage storage and free toilets. Entry 15 kIDR to go on top. Queue for lift 12:45-13:15. Lift is for 11 people, 10 passengers and one operator who does nothing more than push one of the three buttons and then sit on his chair and play on his phone. 

View of Gambir train station from top of Monas, the cupola behind the train station belongs to Immanuel church:

Great view of Jakarta from top. Queue again to go down (13:25-33).

Walk to railway station Pasar Senen and board train to Surabaya (schedule 15:45, real 15:46).

Surabaya and Banyuwangi Saturday 08.08.2015
Train arrives in Surabaya Pasar Turi 03:27 (schedule 3:20). Take taxi to Surabaya Kota (3:35-53, of which 5 minutes to get off parking at railway station, no meter, 50 kIDR). Buy ticket for train to Banyuwangi (schedule 4:15-11:45, real 4:28-11:45).

The train goes through Banyuwangi town (stops at Karangasem, but not at Argopuro which are both in town) to bus station and ferry port to Bali some km north of town. At the train station, an officer from tourist information greets me. I ask about details to go to Ijen volcano and he offers me a tour for 850 kIDR (driver and car, all inclusive) which I book. For another 50 kIDR, he drives me to a guesthouse in town. Once I’m undressed for showering, I notice there is no towel in room. Too lazy to dress and ask for towel at reception, shower and air dry. Afternoon nap.

At night walk around and chat with locals, keeping in mind that I there are no towels in my room. If I take someone back, I would have to stop at reception with the boy and ask for towels, or bring the boy to room and then go back to ask for towels. In the end, I couldn't get anyone to my room and got towels from reception.

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Indonesia general impressions: Bali

Indonesia general impressions: Bali

Banyuwangi to Bali Sunday 09.08.2015

Trip to Ijen volcano separate post. Leave 00:27 to volcano and on return go directly to bus station (next to ferry port) for Bali. Fare 100 kIDR (including ferry), bus leaves 9:10, ferry departs 9:25, arrives 11:40 in Gilimanuk (Bali is one hour ahead of Java/Jakarta/Thailand). From there it’s 130 km to Denpasar.

One of the worst rides I ever had. Road is one lane in each direction, every slow car causes traffic build-up and overtaking. And there is a lot of dangerous overtaking, with generous use of horn. (A Farang friend mentioned that Thais rarely use, not even when it would be appropriate, I didn't notice before but now I realize he is right.) From seat in bus you have a good vantage point and there were several overtakings that just fitted in (I could hear the other passengers “oh” and “ah” while I was trying to sleep), and when there was just one car coming in opposite direction, our driving would honk (meaning” Get out of the way or you will regret it!”) and overtake, forcing the car to the side so three cars can be on two lanes.

Spotting very interesting architecture along the road could not compensate for this driving, and driver and one passenger smoking.

Then the bus stops at Mengwi bus station (14:55, 20 km north of Denpasar) and driver tells passengers to get off because the trip ends here. No ticket was issued when I boarded the bus, now it makes sense: I can’t complain without a ticket.

Taxi drivers descend on the passengers. Most of the passengers were Whites, this might be a similar scam like bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (with bust station a few km out of town, so you need further individual transport). I try to get a location on my phone, a taxi driver tells me GPS doesn’t work here, there is no signal (nice try!). Then I spot three Whites negotiating with a taxi driver, so I ask if I can join. Yes. They are Dutch and going to Kuta. The ride was by meter (160 kIDR divided by four), arrive in Kuta 16:02. I have no place to stay, so that suits me well. Their hostel is 175 kIDR per night, a bit too much and I might want to bring a guest.

Walk around, another hostel charges 150 kIDR (still I cannot bring guest, but I want to get rid of my luggage and shower). Two people have to consult the computer for 5 minutes to find out they are booked out, but there is another branch and they take me there for free on mocy.

Lengthy check-in, which allows me to read the regulations: no visitors to rooms, no sex on the premises. Padlock can be rented, same for towel (15 kIDR). Unbelievable what some hotels do to get some bucks! Rent towels to guests! But not me! There is always a curtain where I can dry my hands and after showering I can air dry or wallow in the bed to get dry. Unbelievable, what some customers do to save some bucks!

Finally, 16:40, in room. No WiFi in room, only at reception! I wanted to have an afternoon nap, but due to slow traffic it’s too late for that. Shower and change and go out.

Kuta beach (view southwards):

There is a quality magazine “the journey – monthly Indonesia tourism magazine” distributed for free in some places.

Bali money exchange scam. I read about this in guidebook without details: above average rates involve some kind of scam. But I once studied 2 semesters Mathematics for Chemists, and despite being tired I try my luck, convinced that they won’t outwit me. There is a rate of 15.299 posted (while regular exchange booths have around 14.7), I go there (a few meters into a small side street). There are two boards at the counter, one with 15.299 and one with 14.299, I point to the 15.299. I want to exchange 100 Euro, the cashier types 1,502,990 into the calculator, I correct him to 1,529,900. Then he counts three heaps of 20x50,000 IDR on the table and one more 50,000. I count to confirm. That makes 1,550,000 and he asks if I have 20,000 change. I argue that that’s not correct (either I was really confused by the 9’s or he typed something wrong in the calculator), can’t find my mistake and give him 20,000.

I think I walked away with 31x50,000 IDR, in exchange for 100 EUR and 20,000 IDR. But some minutes later, having dinner, I count: 19x50,000 IDR, short changed! While I was getting 20,000 IDR out of my wallet, he must have taken some notes.

Details about this scam can be found on the internet, if only I had read before! About half of all money exchange operate this way, easily recognizable by exchange rate posted.

Now the question is: if you know how the scam works, can you walk away with an above average exchange rate (then exchange back elsewhere and repeat?). According to internet, not. They come up with excuses to renege on the exchange. There was only the cashier and me, one would have to operate with a friend who joins just when the money is on the table so you are two against one.

The lowest point of my stay in Indonesia, after a horrible bus ride falling victim to a scam. Previous low point was queuing for ticket and find out my connection is sold out.

If someone had asked me to exchange my flight ticket (Thu 8:20) with his ticket (tonight) without any further costs, I would have gladly accepted!

Go to bed early (22:05) to get sleep I missed previous nights (train ride, hike to volcano).

Bali Monday 10.08.2015

Get up at 10 for breakfast included (ends 11), check out at 12. Walk around to find another place, finally a place I am happy with: big room with two beds and bathroom for 100 kIDR per night! No aircon (don’t need, temperature was fine), only cold water in shower. No towel in room, ask at reception: they don’t provide towels! But there are two duvets that I can use instead of a towel.

Spend the rest of the afternoon resting in room and sleeping.

Book sightseeing tour for two days. There is a public bus which can probably get you to one or two places. But at 500 kIDR for a day tour (10-12 hours car and driver) it’s more convenient to hire car and driver, and you can set your own schedule. Driver was late 10 minutes on first day and had to ask for directions several times, English so-so, overall I wouldn’t recommend that particular driver to others. Most shared tours offered by travel agency have something I have absolutely no interest in (like animals or water sports).

Then taxi to Young Generation sauna to meet boy F from hornet (details separately).

Return by taxi. Driver does not switch on meter. “No meter at midnight” “But now it’s only 11:30!” “Same, no meter”. Let’s see where this goes. The usual small talk. In Bangkok they would quote you an inflated fare before you get in, but here I have to raise this subject several times. “It depends on distance.” “But how you know how far it is without meter?” He changes subject. Finally I get some numbers “sometimes 250,000, sometimes 200,000” (my estimate is 20,000). “When I came here by taxi, I paid 20,000. Anyway, which direction are we going?” (I made this up, I came another way. But he was first driving north, then I lost track after some turns, my hotel is south.)

“150,000!” “No, let me out here!” I grab my bag and unbuckle. He stops and I want to open the door, but it’s locked. “How much do you pay me?” “Nothing, I pay by meter.” “You give me 20,000!”. “20,000 to hotel, but this is not my hotel!” Finally he unlocks the door, mutters some incomprehensible insults and I get out.

Didn’t have this before, being locked in a taxi. Walk some minutes to get blood pressure back to normal. If you play this correctly, you could get a taxi to walking distance to your place without meter, and then tell him to use meter and get out. But you have to be prepared for physical violence.

Wait for another taxi. None passing in my direction, but one opposite. He stops and I beckon that I’m going to cross the street to get in. Took several minutes, all traffic in his direction had to overtake and I had to wait until I can cross the street. (General note: do not take taxi which is going in opposite direction. Had this in Bangkok as well: after five minutes circling around, you are back at the same point, in the other lane.) This time with meter, however when we are in walking distance to my place (estimated 5 minutes), there is one way road, and traffic jam nearby, so he takes a long detour (estimated 10 minutes), and finally drops me at Komal Inda I (which is in walking distance to Komal Inda II where I stay). Another low point of this trip.

Bali Tuesday 11.08.2015

Sightseeing with car and driver all day. You have to wear a Sarong to enter a temple (enforced). Even with long trousers, you still need a sash. Sarong or Sash available for free at all temples I visited. Menstruating women are not allowed to enter a temple (how is this checked?).

Coffee plantation (with cocoa and other plants as well, free tasting with no sales pressure, but I wanted a gift for my mother anyway, so I buy some tea and coffee):

I didn't try Luwak coffee (beans that have been eaten by civet cat), cup costs 50 kIDR, but next time I will!

View from Kintamani mountain:

Goa Gajah cave:

Holy spring Tirta Empul:

And this is where the water comes from (sand bubbling on the bottom of the pool):

For lunch, my driver asks if I like suckling frog. I don’t know what “suckling frog” is, but always open to try something new (I had frog before in Thailand and Malaysia). It turns out he means “suckling pork” (Bali is Hindu and there were several suckling pig restaurants), I didn’t find anything on their menu I liked, so we went elsewhere. Fancy place with nice decoration and view of rice terraces outside. Quite pricey and as I find out upon paying, 8% service charge and 10% tax added to prices in the menu, a practice I particularly dislike, to the extent of not eating at such places. Total 120 kIDR, I could eat for a week at places aimed at locals. Another low point of my trip.

Famous rice terraces at Tegallalang:

And other side of the road:

Bali Wednesday 12.08.2015

Sightseeing with car and driver all day.

First stop is Tanah Lot in the morning. Pay 30 kIDR “entry”, navigate through a maze of souvenir shops, many closed because most tourists come for sunset.


(These bats, and the civet cats as well, are cute, especially when they are eating. But when animals are used to make money, mistreatment is not far away, hence I neither posed for picture nor donated money.)

Restaurants with sunset view deserted. Beach busy with tourists, but not crowded. The “entry fee” is to look at Tanah Lot, not to enter! There are gates with “don’t enter” (to keep the tourists who walk through knee deep water to get at least close out). There are some minor scams on the shore "holy snake" and "holy well", asking for donations.

Continue to hot spring at Belulang. 10 kIDR entry. There are some other tourists, but after they leave, I’m left alone with some local kids in the water and some adults selling souvenirs. This place is clearly off the beaten track (my driver hasn’t been there, had to ask for directions), and I enjoyed it. Water is about 35 degree Celsius, contains a lot of iron and limestone (judging by deposits) and doesn’t taste good.

Temple in the lake Ulun Danu:

Drive to GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park Two hours drive due to slow traffic, arrive 6 pm, not much time before sunset (at least the park is open until 10 pm). Entry 100 kIDR, I shortly ponder if it’s worth, just before sunset, but then buy a ticket. And it was worth it, spectacular, worth a return once it’s finished in 2017. (The pedestal for the statue can be seen from airport).

Bali to Bangkok Thursday 13.08.2015

Get up 5:30, check out 5:45. Walk to main road, ignore standing taxis. But when a mocy stops and asks if I need transportation. She quotes 100 kIDR to airport, but immediately accepts 50 kIDR I offer. Flight without problems (hand luggage restrictions not enforced on both flights), glad to be back in Thailand!

Overall this trip was so-so. A lot of milling around (finding place to stay, booking train tickets), settling for second choice, time wasted in traffic jams, some scams. If it had been my first trip to South-East Asia, I would probably not have been back. (But see my third trip to Thailand This is a perfect advertising for a tour guide, see discussion on gaythailand, which would have saved me a lot of worries on this trip.

However, with entry without visa and several local contacts and more places to see (WW2-themed Soldatenkaffe in Bandung, Borobudur and Prambanan in Yogyakarta), I will probably be back some time.

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC