22 February 2015

Magic southern islands

Due to work commitments, I never had the chance until now to visit Thailand during the best time of the year, that is January and February. Eighteen years of frustration have at last been compensated by a stay in the southern islands with my boyfriend. I just realise that for the first time in my life I have been able to enjoy a continuous sunny weather for more than three weeks, which never happens in the mountainous part of France where I live.

No gay adventure this time except the strong relation I have been in with my boyfriend since almost eleven years. Southern Thailand being mostly Moslim, no place for adventures, and anyway cute southern boys are not in great numbers – although those who have a nice face are really to die for. No sign of availability either.

Sunrise over Koh Yao Noi
Sunrise from Koh Yao Noi
We spent three nights in the little known Koh Yao Noi island, in Phang Nga province, where the muslim inhabitants could until now maintain a low-profile tourism with few very expansive resorts and many middle-range family operations. You do not go there for the beaches as the water is generally shallow, but for the atmosphere, the simple and tasty seafood, and the landscapes. We took a boat tour to some of the many islands, some of them offering fantastic views, rode mountain bikes along deserted local roads, and spent a lot of time doing nothing, which is really not boring at all in this kind of place.

We had arrived through Phuket airport, and left to Krabi where I had planned a four day stay in Koh Lanta, renting a car from Krabi airport. This stay coinciding with both Valentine's Day and my own birthday, I had chosen to splurge on a rather expensive (by my standards) beachfront bungalow on the quiet Klong Nin beach. Everything went smooth, sunsets were beautiful as promised, and beaches large enough for everyone. If French tourists were a majority in Koh Yao, German ones seemed to prefer Koh Lanta.

In Krabi mainland, we visited some interesting waterfalls, along with the Emerald Pool much appreciated by farang youths escaping the cold season during their winter break (and consequently by my own eyes). And I was very proud to see my boyfriend able to climb the 1267 staircases leading to the summit of Wat Tham Sua, from where the view over Krabi town is impressive.

Krabi town from Wat Tham Sua summit
Exhausted boyfriend looking to Krabi town
That was the touristy part of my trip, which I like almost as much as the fun part. Now back to more carnal pleasures with about two weeks to be shared between Bangkok and the unavoidable Pattaya.

13 February 2015

Freedom in gay Siem Reap

After my first stay in Siem Reap last June, I felt exactly like after my first visit to Thailand : I must come here again. And I came again, for only four days but that was enough to make me sure that this place had to rank high in the must do list for my next trips to Thailand.

khmer boy riding bicycle near Angkor Wat
Quiet riding near Angkor Wat
Being done with the visits to the temples, and being on my own, I spent some time riding a mountain bike to visit the area. I rode once towards the Thonlesap lake and anothertime towards the temples, which you can approach without buying the rather expansive pass. I especially liked the ride to the West Baray, which is this huge human-built reservoir close to Angkor Wat. Pity I had not brought any repair kit : I did not dare to ride the dirty road rounding the 8x2 km lake, fearing a puncture in the middle of nowhere with very few traffic.

During these rides, I could not help noticing the beautiful boys riding there own bikes on their way to the university and back. I love these khmer boys and their slim body, their white shirts neatly adjusted on their long black trousers … Overtaking these beauties or crossing their path was always a chance to admire their constant smile and their invariably cutes faces. I had rarely the chance to look at so many nice human beings gathered in the same place, since my trip to Luang Prabang.

More intimate meetings with khmer boys were not very difficult, and the massage shops near the Pub Street area were up what I expected. In the middle of huge crowds of international tourists, I was consistently approached by girls offering all kind of massages for 3 to 10 US dollars, and never forgetting to boast « private rooms » ; a short glance to look at the available male staff and if someone was good looking enough, I only had to answer : « OK but only with boy ».

khmer boy at lake
Khmer boy
There are more than half a dozen of places like this in the small street leading to the night market, and more on neighbouring streets. More and more have knocked up individual cubicles, which always lead to the boy offering a special ending. Some have high expectations, other do not ask for a price and seem happy with 25 or 30 US dollars. Every evening there seems to be new cute boys showing up, which would have kept me busy enough if I had staid for a longer time. Some are probably very close to the age limit, especially as khmer always add one year to say how old they are (something to do with the time spent in their mother’s womb, according to my khmer language book).

In some bars, boys work freelance and you can take them to your place ; however one of them told me I had to pay his « boss », but it could have been as well a way to stay in the shop for a possible new customer.

The massage shops, or street trade, are the best way to find friends. Not many boys go to the few gay bars remaining : Linga Bar which is now operating opposite their former location, where they have been replaced by another gay bar named Famous Bar.

09 February 2015

Surprises and disappointments in gay Bangkok

Bangkok is always my home port when I stay in Thailand, thanks especially to my hotel which accepts to keep my (excessive) luggage when I tour the provinces. But the Big Mango is also an attraction in itself where I like to relax and visit. Staying here in January, something I could not afford to do when I still was in the salt mine, also makes the city much more enjoyable.

Until now, I could only stay for short two-days periods. I used one of my evenings to visit the Hotel Malaysia lobby, where I have so many memories from my first trips to Thailand. Nothing has much changed – including the prices I am said - and the atmosphere is still the same as before : sleaze that you never see but that exudes from everywhere and everyone. A welcome addition to the area are the massage shops on the soi who seem to house some nice and willing cuties, making a further visit mandatory.

Street boy hustler in Bangkok
The good old days in Saranrom area

I also paid a visit to the Saranrom area, which came as a big disappointment : not more than about ten boys, all of them standing along Atsadang Road as if they were fearing police controls. This was on a Monday evening, I hope that the good old days of the Saranrom street hustlers have not gone.

Besides its overpriced gogo bars, Soi Twilight has got some beer bars that I had never taken the time to explore. The most interesting for me is the 1069 Bar just before reaching Classic Boys, also known for its vietnamese boys. And God they are cute ! I had a bad experience before with one of them that I had taken to a neighbouring short-time hotel. As always, I had not negotiated a price before, and was surprised to be strongly demanded 2500 THB when I had thought that a little more than 1500 THB would have been enough. The guy was cute but resolute, so I paid. I understand that the rules are now like these : if the boy is « offable », 500 THB for the bar, 500 THB for the so-called massage room and at least 1500 THB for the boy. This is what I was quoted by two of the guys working there, one of them with a « bad boy » look that I could not resist. I have still to figure whether some would accept to spend the night at my hotel.

After a short stay on my own in Siem Reap (more to come about it), I am now waiting for my boyfriend and a trip in the southern islands. No sex tourism this time (muslim area), but lazying on desert beaches and discovering the local cultures are on the agenda.

02 February 2015

Pattaya still a gay paradise

The news of the demise of Pattaya as a gay paradise are grossly exaggerated, I am pleased to say. During the three days I just spent in the beach resort, I could even find again part of the atmosphere I liked so much five or six years ago.

Pattaya gay beach after the crackdown
This was the case at the beach, where I usually spend a lot of time. Especially on saturday, I was happily disturbed by many vendors, some of them ranking very high on the cuteness scale. There were even some boys showing themselves obviously looking for customers … a rare sight from what I understand. As for the new lay-out of the chairs and umbrellas, I found it a little more cramped than before, but at least my favorite operator was still there, with enough seats to choose.



I did not go to many bars, leaving them for a later visit. I liked the atmosphere at De One, which is the new name for the former Yaya Bar, where I chatted for a long time with a boy from Chayaphum who told me he was 27. However he had already worked in Soi Sunee 10 years ago, so when he was 17, in the (in)famous La Copa Bar – the La Copa’s former owner being now the De One new owner, this is a not surprising return to the roots.

The other places visited were Nice Boys, where I found the boys quite ordinary despite being very willing and daring, and of course Sunny Boys because of its new reputation as the place to be in Sunee Plaza. Well, from what I saw of the boys still there at 11.00 pm, I think that coming earlier should be still more interesting …

The beach and soi Sunee reminded of the Pattaya of old …unfortunately the traffic, the neverending construction sites, and huge price increases in some restaurants, brought me quickly back to reality.

29 January 2015

Charming Thailand as ever

Until now, everything bad that I had  read about Thailand has turned out to be false. I did not wait more than one minute at immigration where I arrived yesterday at 3.00 pm, the taxi queue system was OK and quick, and I was not ripped off by the taxi driver who turned the meter like they always had. And of course my hotel in Saphan Kwai was like before and I was welcomed like the old customer that I am.

Mundane trip ?
Arriving after a long flight does not allow to paint the town red (no pun intended dear khun General), so it was a quiet first night probably made easier by the visit I paid to a massage shop. I had read a review on the CFS website about the shop located in front of Liberty Garden hotel, which is very close to mine, so I could stay local for this.

The guy welcoming customers showed me the available boys on a tablet, and I chose him as soon as I saw his picture among the ones displaid : a very polite youngish northern boy,who offered a rather strong service with long and repeated strokes all the way from the feet to the head,  and then concentrating very gradually on the essential. Despite very little interaction, although there was no language barrier, I left happy and went directly to my bed. I saw later that I had been serviced by the same boy as the one in the CFS thread ... thank you to the writer if he reads this entry.

I really got the lay of the town to-day going to Central Latphrao for some shopping, and registering my phone number. The most mundane trip in this country is quickly turned into a feast due to the eye-candy on the way. As ever.


26 January 2015

Wintertime fun ahead

You never know what a holiday in Thailand will bring to you. However on the eve of leaving for my 28th stay in Thailand – the first in winter -, I am sure there will be many great times and, still more, the continuous impression of feeling good, wherever I am, whatever I do.

Unfortunately this trip begins amid a very bad atmosphere in Europe, due to the horrible crimes in Paris, and also to widespread worries about the economic situation. The value of euro has lost more than 17 % against thai bahts since my last trip in June, which will probably cause some unwanted limitations. I had booked flights and some hotel rooms and sent money before the freefall but, not being thai, I always think that what I spend to-day will have to be replaced next year probably at a higher rate.

Siem reap boy
Siem Reap again ...
The program for this five-weeks trip includes four days in Siem Reap, which I am eagerly looking forward to. I will go there alone, and have not planned any visit to the main temples – I already saw them last June in a more quiet atmosphere. So the days will be filled with resting, enjoying the guesthouse, perhaps biking, and of course admiring the local talent. I have been rather diligent at my khmer lessons but this will probably not be enough for having long chats in the local language ; at least I should find further incentive to go on learning.

In Thailand I will trip with my boyfriend to Southern islands. This has been a long dream of me but until now I had never been able to come to Thailand in winter, when the weather is at its best in the area. We will avoid Phuket as the beach situation there seems to be hopeless, but I could have the opportunity to spend one night in Ao Nang, where two low-key boy bars are supposed to be open.

For the remaining three weeks, both Bangkok and Pattaya are on the map. Depending on the atmosphere in the beachside resort, and most of all at the Jomtian beach, I could stay longer in the capital or in some other towns that I never visited.

If I needed only one reason to be happy to go back, it would be enough to have a glance out of the window and see snow falling with more to come at the end of the week. Finally these winters in Europe will not be missed !

01 January 2015

Happy New Year


Beginning a New Year is always
plunging into the unknown

thai boys plunging

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE ..... AND HIS THAI BOY !

.

24 December 2014

Watershed

During the last months I have been wandering whether my relation with Thailand has not come to a watershed. There have been a lot of negative news since September, many of them being possibly forerunners for bad things to come.

Burmese boys accused of murder in Koh Tao
First there was this awful crime in Koh Tao, showing that lives are worthless for some people living there. And then there were these two young Burmese who look rather like scapegoats to me, the Royal Thai police having obviously botched the investigation. The boys could now face life imprisonment or death penalty for crimes they probably did not commit, either to protect some high interests, or because of the laziness and prejudices of the Thai police. I feel deeply sorry for these two migrant workers who wanted only to have a better life and to help their families. Of course, no link with the fact that these were two rather cute 21 y/o lads – at least before these gruelling months spent in Thai prisons.

Then there were the new beach regulations, aiming to wipe out the beach operators that most of us love so much when we travel to Pattaya or Phuket or elsewhere. No more chairs to laze around in the heat, no more umbrellas to provide some shade when needed, no more massage boys or sellers, would have been a nightmare, even if I do not go every day to the beach. I understand that, at least in Pattaya, things have not changed a lot and that there will be only some more free space for those who do not need these amenities – which is not bad. As for the reason behind this umpteenth crackdown, there is probably one ...

And we also had the police controls in Sukhumwit, the up and downs in immigration rules, the growing numbers of crimes against farangs in Pattaya, road accidents, higher prices and Euro plummeting, Chinese tourists as ill-behaved as ever .. no need to throw any more in. And I do not even dare to think of the forthcoming political turmoil when a certain sad event will inevitably happen.

Finally I chose to spend less time reading Thaivisa, where some contributors are Thai-bashing professionals. I also could read some really good travel reports on the web-boards. And I rather use Facebook where more and more cute boys throng into – including in certain groups where some bluntly offer their (paid) services. All in all, my glasses have lost some of their rose hue (there was not much left anyway), but I am still as eager as ever to go back very soon, in fact at the end of January.

I could manage to plan a short stay in Cambodia – just in case …

19 September 2014

Cambodia : a soul-stirring destiny

I was in my twenties when the khmer rouge regime took power in Cambodia. I was then more concerned about completing my studies, doing my compulsory military service and finding a job. Cambodia seemed a far away place and news were not very clear about the situation. Back then we did pay less attention to what was going on in the world : no internet, no colour TV, and Cambodia was only one of 150 countries on the earth.

Killing Fields memorial park, Choeung Ek
Young Cambodian victims, 1975

It is only when visiting the Killing Fields memorial park last June near Phnom Penh that I realized the extent of the genocide which took place : one quarter of the entire country’s population was swept away in the most atrocious conditions because of some nebulous ideology. I was also upset that most perpetrators of this crime could pass away more or less quietly ; the few that have been recently convicted were only unlucky to live longer than their accomplice.

As I wrote in an older post, visiting this place after having gone through the populous districts of Phnom Penh, among all the smiling young men or women who are the future of the country, is truly soul-stirring from the contrast it shows. In fact, I do not think I would like to go there again.

Young cambodian boys
Young Cambodians, 2014

04 September 2014

Love sick The Series

Pictures, TV series… love between boys is currently fashionable in Thailand.

"Love Sick The Series" is the latest drama that no teenager would miss every Saturday on MCOT (Modern Nine TV) at 8.50 pm. The story follows two 17 y/o high school boys who eventually fall in love after a deal brought them closer together. It also deals with various teens’ issues such as peer pressure, income inequalities, bad boys and so on.

Main actors are White, 19 (June 6, 1995) as Phun and Captain, 16, (February 2, 1998) as Noh. The action takes place in Bangkok and characters are mostly thai-chinese upper class boys so not really my style but, hey, that's a sweet and funny way to spend a rainy afternoon … To-date there are already 9 episodes out, episode 10 next Sunday.

Love Sick the Series

Teaser at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVfeu7Us-wY#t=102.
You can view past episodes at http://banaze.com/love-sick-the-series-รักวุ่น-วัยรุ่นแสบ/

24 August 2014

One month in Thailand : a financial record

It has been a long time since I wrote a financial record of my Thailand trips. Boring for some, I know, but it could bring some useful information to others, especially newcomers.

Every time I come back to my room, I enter every expense I had and make sure that no one has been omitted by checking the money left ; it also makes it easy to be sure that I have not been cheated or stolen. Expenses are split into six or seven main categories, without being too fussy about it. Dividing every amount by the number of nights spent in Thailand (and Cambodia for this time) gives an average daily amount which allows an easy comparison for different trips. So nothing exceptional here.

For this trip, I managed to stay very low on accomodation with 865 THB/night, tips for staff and cleaning ladies included. As I doubled payed four nights being too lazy to pack and unpack for short side trips, the true expense would have been 760 THB/night. Not that I stay only in dumps : all hotels I staid in Thailand had A/C, fridge and swimming pool ; I simply do not like to pay more than I should.

thai boy with moneyEating and drinking (outside entertainment places) amounted to an average 1 200 THB/night, including what I pay at the beach. This is a lot, but my boyfriend who often shares my meals, eats well and drinks good, like my nephew whom I treated twice to dinner.

Transportation accounted for 784 THB a day ; this an highly variable item, which reaches summits with car rentals or expensive flights. No one of them this time, flights to Cambodia were rather cheap although for two travellers : boyfriend and me.

I spent 734 THB/night in gay bars and discos, a constantly decreasing amount since many years, due to both me and my boyfriend getting older. However I gave tips to boys for chatting, massaging and “taking care” for as much as 1 021 THB/night, boyfriend not included. Most of these well-deserved rewards went to the Khorat devil and to massage boys, whose talents I often used.


Finally everyday expenses (newspapers, laundry, pharmacy, personal care, phone cards ...) reached 481 THB/day. Clothes and a new mid-range smartphone are not included in this record, as these are purchases which I will keep for use in my home country.

So I spent as much as 5 123 THB/day, of which 38 THB/day unaccounted-for. What I gave to my boyfriend adds up, as well as the flight costs. I guess I will have to adjust a little and I have a clear view on which item I need to cut back, but how to do it ?

06 August 2014

Blog editing

Some pictures of my blog had disappeared after an unfortunate action by myself (thank you Google system and their impenetrable interactions). I could find them again and download them where they belonged. So everything is back like before, along with a rewriting of the most recent posts.

I took this opportunity to make some editing, here correcting a typo, there pruning some longish description or adding a picture, and this starting from the very first post. This took some time and I am sorry for the inconvenience. The final lay-out on your screen may be odd depending on which browser, which screen size and which operating system you use : sorry, this is something that I cannot handle.


This « work » allowed me to go again through my best times in Thailand, so it was a pleasure to live again all these past years. I could also notice some defects and there were some lessons to be learned from this thorough re-reading. I also added the much needed labels list to find past posts more easily, and developed some tools for improving the traffic (not that I want to accept any advertising).

There are probably still many mistakes remaining, please do not forget that english is not my native language.

Thank you everyone for your faithful interest in this unpretentious blog and hoping for the best in your experiences in gay Thailand and Southeast Asia.