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Online Prostitution is Booming in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
With the current crackdown on red light districts and massage parlours everywhere in the country, for instance in Kalijodo in Jakarta or Dolly in Surabaya, online prostitution has been booming in Indonesia. Surprisingly, sexual services are not necessarily advertised through specific adult dating sites. Many of the famous online prostitution sites like SeekingArrangement or  Adult Friend Finder , are blocked by the government and only available if you download a VPN (see Best VPN for Indonesia to see how to do). Prostitutes, pimps and mafias use mainstream websites and apps  instead like Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, BeeTalk, Instagram, Badoo or Tinder. If you are using any of these, you have probably noticed that there are more and more profiles of prostitutes, to the point that it can ruin the experience for "normal" users. This is the case on WeChat. They have an interesting feature called "Look Around" that can be used to meet people near you. In

Yes, You Need Travel Insurance for Indonesia. Here's Why:

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
When I speak with short-time travelers in Indonesia, I am baffled to realize only a few have a proper travel insurance or a medical evacuation insurance. Among long-term residents and expats, there are also many who do not have health insurance, particularly among those without a working permit. The objective of this article is to convince you that spending a few dollars per day on an insurance is not a waste of money. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can get a cheap one ( as low as 3$ per day if you take a yearly subscription - check here ) that will at least save your ass in case of a serious illness or accident. If you cannot afford it, then you probably should not travel to Indonesia. Why you need a travel insurance in Indonesia While you certainly need insurance everywhere, there are even more reasons to get it when you travel in Bali , Jakarta or the rest of Indonesia: You are exposed to more risks There are several risks specifically related to being in Ind

Indonesians React With Joy at Terrorist Attack on Social Media

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I had already written about my surprise after reading Indonesian Facebook comments regarding the Paris attacks in November 2015. I was even more surprised today reading the comments on the Orlando gay nightclub shooting. I checked the Facebook page of mainstream Indonesian media (not the religious ones) and found out that a lot of people were actually cheering at the event. Not everyone, but at least between 30% and 50% of the comments. Not only are they cheering about it, they are also calling for more murders and more attacks on gays.

7 Reasons Thailand Attracts More Tourists Than Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Thailand welcomed over 29 million foreign visitors in 2015 while Indonesia only had 10.41 million. Almost 3 times less.  This is quite an abnormal situation considering Indonesia is a much larger country with better beaches, better surfing, better diving and better hiking. The cultural and natural diversity of Indonesia is unmatched in Southeast Asia. There are 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia and only 5 in Thailand. If only Indonesian cuisine was more famous, it could compete with Thai food (similar Malaysian food was named  6th Best in the World by CNN ). Indonesians are just as nice as Thai people, and they speak English better. 

How Dangerous Is It to Use Drugs in Indonesia?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
From time to time, I receive an email from a reader asking me if it is safe to use drugs in Jakarta. The obvious reply is that it is extremely dangerous, as even carrying a small joint might land you in jail.  But Indonesia is much more complicated than that, hence the need for a longer article to explain you the subtleties of drug use in the country. Why foreigners should be extra careful when using drugs in Indonesia From my personal perspective, the law in Indonesia only exists to give a pretext to powerful people to extort some money or benefits. Most often, it is used when the authorities want to target someone in particular, with some categories that are more at risks than others. The most vulnerable are poor people, ethnic and religious minorities, foreigners, or anyone without a network among government officials. The laws of Indonesia, including drug laws, will normally apply to them with greater severity, meaning they will either receive harsher sentences or

Is It Better to Date a Javanese or a Sundanese Girl?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Until today, I had never dared writing an article about ethnicity in Indonesia. I didn't want to appear racist and also because my knowledge on the subject is limited. As I'm growing older I start to care less, so here I am giving you advice on whether it is best to date/marry a Javanese or a Sundanese girl. Be aware that I am basing this whole piece on personal experience only. This is not a scientific paper, it's just entertainment. You may have a completely different opinion and I would love to hear it (especially if you are an Indonesian reader). Please just write a comment below. The two main ethnic groups in Indonesia are the Javanese (90 million people, 40% of the population) and the Sundanese (36 million people, 15.5% of the population). Both have distinct traditions, languages, cultures and cuisines. Javanese live mostly in East Java (Yogyakarta, Surabaya) while Sundanese are from the Bandung region. In Jakarta, most of the girls you meet will be eith

Is Jakarta Worth Visiting?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
There are barely any tourists visiting Jakarta. Most foreigners you see are expats or businessmen. In the backpacker street of Jalan Jaksa, you will have a maximum of 50 travelers on any given night. For a capital city with 10 million inhabitants, this is exceptionally small.  It is not difficult to understand why most people avoid Jakarta: It is noisy, smelly, dirty, polluted, hot and messy. Getting around is difficult with massive traffic jams, no sidewalks and bad public transportation. There are no spectacular tourist sights and the attractions are disappointing compared to those in Bali, Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur .  Things are not as bad as they seem though. If you can get past your first negative impression, you will discover that Jakarta is home to museums , modern malls, authentic neighborhoods, traditional markets , monuments, religious buildings, parks, cultural centers, art galleries, a beachfront and of course one of the best nightlife in Asia

How I Became Fat in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
One thing I didn't expect would happen in Indonesia was that I would get fat. I come from France, a country where we use sugar, syrup, butter, cream, sauces or oil in almost every single dish. And yet, in Paris my weight was a steady 70 kilograms. While in Indonesia, I reached almost 90 kilos within a year, even though I was eating less. I tried to understand how it could happen, and I came up with a few possible explanations. Here is the 6-step story of how I became fat in Indonesia: Step 1: Eating Indonesian Food All The Time I love Indonesian food and I think it is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world. Needless to say, when I'm in Indonesia, I eat Indonesian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The problem is that most dishes are extremely fat. Ingredients are rarely boiled in water, they are fried, sautéed, stir-fried or cooked in coconut milk, for instance Beef Rendang or Gulai.

10 Weird Stuff Indonesians Typically Post on Facebook

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Indonesia has the fourth largest number of Facebook users in the world, but the way Indonesians use Facebook is sometimes unique. From a Westerners perspective, some posts will appear to be weird, if not totally inappropriate. Here is my top 10 of weird things I regularly read on my Facebook newsfeed: 1) The "I'm on my period" status Short translation: "I'm on my period and you should all know about it" Being on your period in Indonesia is not something you keep for yourself. If you work in an office, you will probably be informed of every details of your colleagues' periods, either by looking if there is a bottle of Kiranti on their desk, or by checking their facebook/twitter/instagram statuses.

13 Illogical Facts About Drugs in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
"Indonesia has some of the World's strictest drugs laws".  This statement is repeated in most local and international media, but it is quite inaccurate if you look at the facts. A more realistic statement would be to say that Indonesia has some of the world's most inconsistent laws and policies against drugs.

Why So Many Indonesians Resent the West?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
If you can read or understand Indonesian, you will discover that while almost everyone condemns the Paris attacks, many are bitter. It has become impossible to express grief for France without being shamed because “other people have died before and you didn’t grieve for them”. Among Indonesians posting on Facebook, the most popular statuses are not the compassionate ones. Instead, you will read things like "I won't pray for Paris because Paris didn't pray for Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon". Western medias are accused of being biased and having double standards whenever Muslims are involved. Some go further and imply that it is normal to be attacked because France attacked Muslims countries and killed innocent civilians. Most comments mention humiliation, abuse or neglect they consider developing countries are facing from developed nations. In particular, Muslims feel they are being victimized and blamed whenever there is a terrorist attack. Many believe that

1 Reason It's Hard to Eradicate Prostitution in Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Strangely, today I saw this picture on instagram showing the outside of a massage parlour in Alam Sutra called  Lunatic . As I wrote on Jakarta100bars, sexual services are available there, including blowjobs and nude massage. Handjobs are part of the standard procedure while for additional services, the price must be negotiated directly with the girls. The management warns though that they do not provide condoms and that it is forbidden to engage in sexual intercourse. The management of Lunatic massage advertises sexual services on public forums I was surprised to see that several high-ranking policeman sent flower boxes to congratulate the owner and wish him success for the grand opening. When I say they spent money, I reckon it is government money as it seems the flowers were sent from the police offices.

Is Indonesia Going Backwards?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Many people believed that Jokowi would modernize Indonesia. They were hoping that he would fight corruption, boost the economy, launch infrastructure programs, reduce the influence of religious mafias and promote Indonesia on the world scene as a modern nation. To say that those people, including myself, are disappointed is an understatement.  Jokowi and his team have betrayed the people who voted for them. Not only he did not do what he promised, he did the contrary. A year after he took office, I cannot think of anything positive he has accomplished. On the contrary, there are several reasons to think that Indonesia is actually going backwards. Freedom of speech under attack Indonesia was ranked #132 in the world in 2014 in terms of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders . It dropped 6 places in 2015. Several foreign journalists have been arrested since the beginning of the year, in particular Rebecca Prosser and Neil Bonner who spent 4 months in jail f

13 Reasons the Indonesian Police is the Best in the World

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Even though the Indonesian Police is receiving some bad press occasionally, I thought it was time to celebrate their work and ethic through a short illustrated post. I haven't traveled that much in the world, but it seems fair to me to say that the Indonesian Police could be among the best in the planet. Here are 13 reasons why: The Indonesian Police is particularly compassionate towards the sick and the elderly. Pakubuwono XIII is thanking the police for its understanding In 2015, the King of Solo was asked to provide a DNA sample so the police could check if he raped a 16 years old woman. Unfortunately, the King was feeling unwell that day. The Police understood the situation and dropped the case altogether, allowing one very sick man to remain free. More on the Jakarta Globe: Sick Solo King No Show For Questioning .

30 Groups Who Own Jakarta Nightlife

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
You would be surprised to know that 90% of Jakarta's main clubs, bars, spas and karaokes are in the hands of less than 50 persons and only about 30 groups. It is quite difficult to know precisely who owns what because there are usually several partners in each business venture . This is a way to minimize the investment cost, to spread the risks and to help with the promotion. Each of the owners brings his network of friends, family, strategic connections and partners to support the business and to make it grow. Within the same group, it is also not uncommon to have several companies (PT) with different shareholders each.  Another difficulty is that the real owners are sometimes hidden behind a nominee. This is especially true when the venue is reputed for hosting illegal activities such as drugs, prostitution or gambling. The best illustration for that is Tommy Winata who has the particularly of being a nominee who uses other nominees: He owns stakes in multiple compan

Should Jakartans Be Shocked by this Topless Statue?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I was recently walking in the mall Artha Gading in Kelapa Gading and found this statue of a topless woman.

3 Reasons I Don't Read Indonesian Food Blogs

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Before criticizing Indonesian food blogs, I will criticize myself first. Hopefully it will spare me the whataboutery comments: - My blog is visually not appealing. - I make grammar and spelling mistakes. - I don't always take pictures from the places I visit.  - There are some types of food I don't have much knowledge about (Korean, Japanese food).  - I make review of restaurants I have tried only once. - I don't update as often as I should my older reviews - Etc. That being said, I will allow myself to look at the work other bloggers are doing in Indonesia. I am impressed by the number of food and restaurant review blogs existing in the country, particularly in Jakarta. Many of the people behind them are really dedicated and I am sure they spend hours preparing their articles every week. I also find that in terms of design, some blogs are absolutely stunning. 

Why I Never Fly With Air Asia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Update 2016: AirAsia has changed the way you book their tickets online, so part of this review is not relevant anymore. In the new system, there are no more tricks to make you book unnecessary upgrades and add-ons. I am surprised that Air Asia can still get the title of "World's Best Low Cost Airlines" in 2013 considering it is by far the worst company and the one company I always try to avoid when flying in Asia. It seems like AirAsia is so good with its marketing and advertising that people are brainwashed into thinking that they are receiving a 5-star service when flying with them. I hear people excited about taking AirAsia, when the truth is that they will pay more for sitting in a super tiny seat without any food or service and probably departing late. AirAsia is more expensive than any other low cost airlines in Asia while it does not give back any thing to its customers. Obviously, they do cut on their services and operating costs but the money save

Dating Indonesian Men: 5 Tips to Expat Women

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
By Simone Roberts, an Expat woman living in Bali, author of the blog  http://dontforgettherice.com . Moving to Indonesia alone and/or especially as a woman can be a daunting experience, but if you are prepared and educated about what to expect then you will be able to surround yourself with good, decent people. You will be able to find long, lasting relationships and spare yourself a lot of heartache and disappointment. Here are my 5 tips on finding love in Indonesia. 1. Be Understanding Relationships are hard, mixed race relationships are harder. In mixed relationships you will find your fair share of cultural differences, and there will be times when compromise just seems near impossible.  The secret to a lasting happy connection is a willingness from both parties to want to understand each other. Take the time to talk to one another, listen closely and don’t assert dominance (as either a man or woman) as it just won’t work.  When starting a new relationship wi

Is Jakarta Dangerous?

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Many people ask me if Jakarta is a dangerous city or not. I tend to think that it is very safe because after living four years here, I’ve never had a problem except for a few very minor annoyances. But bad things happened to other people and I want to be as fair as possible in order to give you an objective point of you on whether Jakarta is a dangerous city or not. Danger is not limited to robbery or crime. To be complete, here is a list of the 10 dangers you may face while staying or living in Jakarta as an expat or foreigner. I also write an estimation of the level of risk. If you are going to Jakarta without a travel insurance, you should read the following: Choosing Your Travel Insurance in Indonesia . Safety on the road: High I think that your biggest threat while being in Jakarta will be dealing with motorized vehicles, whether your are walking, in a car, or in a motorcycle. If you take the taxi for instance, you will notice cars don’t have a safety belt in the back.