Beach Bungalow Bumming


Reckless abuse of hotel mini bars will break your wallet, No matter how good the exchange rates are.

So, after two weeks of living the 5 star life, I’ve managed to maneuver my bank account dangerously close to the edge of broke.  I’ve got a stomach full of Tiger beer and a wallet on empty, but I’ve easily made the transition from the good life to the grunge life. oh, to be a backpacker again!

I’ve downgraded myself from the fancy resort bungalow to a budget beach bungalow just up the road. It’s certainly not as clean and bed is much less comfortable, but other than the population of giant Malaysian cockroaches living behind my nightstand, the place is pretty much the same.  In fact, I like it better here.  This stretch of beach is home to countless cheap bungalows, beach bars, and even a few solo travelers like myself. It’s nice to step outside the resort life and really rub elbows with the locals, that’s my kind of travel.

After working on my sunburn for a few hours (my pale American skin is no match for this tropical sun), I wandered into the nearest beach bar to cool off with a pint of Tiger.  A young local sat next to me and we started to chat. I could tell right away that he wanted to sell me something, he had the glad-hand demeanor of an old school hustler – part used car salesman, part friendly local beach bum. 

I came to find out that his job was to chat up tourists and get them to sign up for excursions like snorkeling, sailing, motorbike rentals, and parasailing.  Sort of a freelance job, when he gets a tourist to sign up, he gets a commission, depending on the price he sets. so he wandered the beach all day, dropping in and out of the local bars and chatting with tourists – not a bad gig, really.

After sharing a bag of peanuts and a couple of pints, he dropped his sales pitch and we continued to talk.  I came to realize that this was exactly the type of guy you want to know on the island.  Sure, he could rent you a motorbike or sign you up for a fishing trip, but he could also get you weed, or a cheap girl from Thailand, or even a place to live—all at a local’s price (plus a small commission for himself, of course).  He told me that he could rent me an apartment for 200 Ringgit per month. That was the same price I paid for 4 days in my run-down bungalow!  

“next time you come back, you bring some friends.  I find you a Malay house to rent.  350 Ringgit, maximum,” he told me.

That works out to just over $100 US per month.

beach-bar-sunset.jpgAs I sat in that bar on the beach and watched a spectacular sunset with deep reds, hazy oranges, and the black silhouettes of children playing in the surf, I couldn’t help but consider his offer.

 2 or 3 months living in paradise can’t possibly be a bad idea.  And at that price, It’s completely affordable. 

So, who’s coming with me?



Check it out ^ Coconut Basketball on the beach! 

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