Indonesia: the ultimate gay holiday destination?

The “Utopia Guide to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia” is selling well.

But although masquerading as a travel guide, it’s really just a sex guide to the region for Western gays, and, I imagine, should do wonders for boosting sex tourism in this part of the world:

Its editor, John Goss, said that Bangkok-based Utopia was careful to market its US$28 guide as "a travel book," rather than a gay guide.

"As the cover only has gentle references to the subject matter, it should be able to be sold without fanfare in even very uptight places," he said.

(Nice deceitful marketing ploy, but there you go…)

But he did not directly respond to a query on whether the book will be sold in the three nations featured.

Despite Malaysia's conservative stance on homosexuality, Utopia says it is has the "hottest gay scene going," based on surveys conducted from Singapore.

There are also hints on where to "cruise" -- to hook up with other gays -- and it lists enterprises owned by gays and lesbians. Massage and travel services are also highlighted, but venues fronting for prostitutes are not featured, he said.

Hmm. I wonder what certain groups would make of all this? What with their known aversion to Playboy and its gorgeous women, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were up for a bit of “cruising” themselves. All those years of sleeping with other boys in male-only dormitories can have a mighty big effect you know.

But it isn’t only the gay scene which is big in Indonesia.

Transvestites are also in big demand too.

Tonight about 30 "waria" -- Indonesian transvestites so named because they have the characteristics of a "wanita", or girl, but are born a boy or "pria" -- congregate and chat. Some are in full drag, others wear men's clothing but wear carefully applied make-up.

Wafts of cheap perfume mix with the pungent odour of Indonesia's clove-flavoured cigarettes. Pieces of costume jewellery strategically adorning ears, necks and wrists glint under flashes of headlights from passing cars.

(I think I’m gonna …)

"We're just here to sit and gather together. We're not here to earn money, but to get satisfaction," says a smiling 'Kiki Yohana', whose manly features are barely covered by a thin sheen of foundation.

To get “satisfaction”? And how might that be obtained? Read on:

From pedicab drivers to police, young and old, s(he) says plenty of local men from many walks of life, young and old, frequent the area to pick up the waria, who are otherwise shunned in every day situations.

"I just played around with a policeman for about an hour. Ooh, it was good. I really got drunk" (on love), she coos, adding that she wants to go home to get some sleep.


But what I don’t get is why anyone would want a waria anyway?

After all, if you’re a straight guy you go for chicks, and if you’re gay you go for another gay.

So who the heck’s interested in a waria?

Militants masquerading as waria at a recent “beauty” contest in Jakarta


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