Guide to Angeles City, Philippines
Greetings, fellow travellers. I thought I would make a small contribution to the Stickman site as I have been a keen reader for many years and have gleaned much useful information from the many submissions I have read. A big thank you to all the people who have taken the time to write and make this material available and to Stick for all his efforts. As there are already lots of excellent guides to Thailand on the Stickman website, I decided to write a basic guide for those who may be interested in visiting Angeles City in the Philippines. Before I get to the nitty gritty of Angeles, I have put together a guide including tips and tasks to complete before you travel that may save you some time and hassle later. Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos. Most were taken with my Iphone. None of us are perfect so please excuse any minor errors you may find. This advice is my personal opinion only and written in the hope it will be beneficial to other prospective travellers wishing to visit Angeles City (AC).
Before I start the guide proper, I would just like to comment on the recent posts on the Stickman site relating to Angeles City from Winston. He makes many negative comments about Angeles, few of which I found to be true on my two trips to Angeles in
2010 and 2011. Winston mentions lack of services, poor infrastructure, dirty streets, low class girls, corruption etc. I can only assume he is comparing Angeles to a first world city in the west. Neither Thailand or the Philippines compare well
when judged against first world western countries using those specific criteria and making the comparison serves no real purpose except to criticise. (Winston, if you dislike AC so much, you are always free to leave or not visit again!) Much of
what you say about Angeles City could equally be attributed to many of the tourist hot spots in Thailand. Take Patong for example, it seems it is rarely out of the news these days with the crazy tuktuk drivers, corrupt police, spiked drinks, muggings,
aggressive ladyboys, jet ski mafia etc. Hardly a glowing reference! However, there are many good things that can be said about Patong as well, so dwelling primarily on the negative points of any destination is hardly a balanced or fair assessment.
With respect to dirty streets, have a look at the montage below. I took these pictures on beach road in Pattaya when I went for a morning stroll in December, 2011. The entire length of beach road was strewn with litter. I did not see any streets in Angeles City littered like this, daytime or night time. Granted this was early in the morning in Pattaya and by the time I got to the end of Beach Road, the cleaners were already hard at work clearing away the trash. But imagine if you will, arriving in Pattaya for the first time and seeing that much litter in front of your hotel, you would think the place was as filthy as Winston thinks Angeles is! "Warning…Appearances in Asia may be temporary!" (Stick, you can use that quote if you like royalty free. LOL)
Beach Road early in the morning, December 2011
If you are interested in what Angeles really looks like, there is a very good quality 5 part video of a "walk along Field Avenue" by PIMonger. There are some day time and night time shots and the streets are as clean or cleaner than you will find in any tourist spot in Thailand. As far as low class girls are concerned, I would imagine the general consensus is that most of the girls working in the P4P industry around the world are from lower class backgrounds by virtue of their lack of education and poor work prospects in their country. With respect to services like broadband, the fastest I found on my trip was in Angeles City (see below for more detail) and although the food isn't up to Thailand standards, I had some lovely tasty meals there at great prices.
Anyway, on to the guide…
Before You Go
Before you head for the airport with tickets, cash and passport in hand, here are a few things that should be on your checklist.
Do this first – at least two months prior to travel.
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity left from your date of travel or your visa will not be granted. If you are right on the edge with your dates, don't risk it, get a new passport. Visit your doctor at least two months before travel and find out what vaccinations you require. Typhoid, Hep A, Hep B and Cholera vaccinations are recommended. If you are taking your mobile phone and credit card, remember to contact the providers to let them know your destination and travel dates. This will allow the phone company to enable roaming if required and your credit card company to expect cash withdrawals and transactions from outside your home country.
Get a good quality Suntan lotion and make sure you use it. Remember the sunscreen song? Well he was right on the money! Pack your sunglasses and any medication you need including headache tablets and a few emergency Imodium. Include your usual toiletries like a razor, nail clippers etc. Items like shampoo, toothpaste and shaving cream can be bought locally. Get a good quality mosquito repellent with at least 30% DEET and spray all exposed areas a few times a day. Pay special attention to your lower legs unless you want to look similar to the lady I snapped below on Beach Road in Pattaya. Interestingly, it is only the female mosquitoes that bite! They need the fat and iron in blood to create protein before they lay their eggs. The males only eat sugary sap and plant juices.
Don't forget to pack your favourite baseball cap as the UV levels can be very high at any time of year. If you have sandals, bring them but if not just buy them here as they are cheap. Don't pack a beach towel as they are very bulky and will only be required if you leave Angeles City and head for Subic Bay. If I buy a towel while on holiday, I normally donate it to the room cleaning lady along with her tip on checkout as it will probably add a kilo or two to the weight of my luggage.
If you bring your mobile phone, don't forget the charger. For people with smart phones that include a data plan like the Apple Iphone and Google Android based phones, turn off data roaming or you will get a massive bill when you return to your home country. You can still use your phone to send text messages and make and receive calls but apps like web browsing and Google maps will not work unless you have access to wi-fi. Many hotels now offer wireless access in your room and in the public hotel areas free of charge. Before you pack your digital camera, make sure you have a good sized SD card. If you will be making videos with a dedicated camcorder, remember the charger and a spare SD card or tape. I suggest bringing a netbook rather than a laptop as the netbook will normally fit in the room safe whereas the laptop wont unless it is very small. If you will be using Skype for some of your calls, remember to top up your credit before you leave.
Important documents and cash
Take a few photocopies of your passport, a copy of your tickets and any visas you may require if going outside the Philippines during your holiday and bring a copy of your travel insurance details. Although there are a number of ATMs in Angeles City, they occasionally run out of cash especially nearing the weekend and you may find that you can only withdraw a small amount at a time on some machines. Cash is king here and most currencies are accepted by the money changers which are all over the place in Angeles. There is very little difference in the exchange rates so it's not really worthwhile putting in a lot of footwork and visiting many changers as you will likely only save a few pesos and end up hot and sweaty for your trouble. What works for me is to keep my cash in the room safe in my home currency. Every few days, I would change 300 Euro to Pesos. I recommend doing the exchange during the day as I always feel like it is a better choice when you have a chance see who may be lurking about.
I tried to get some Pesos in my home country but was surprised to be told that the peso is a restricAted currency and was not commonly available outside of the Philippines. I tried a money changer when I arrived in Suvarnabhumi airport but the transaction costs were crazy as they wanted to change my Euro to Thai baht first and then to Peso and take commission on each transaction plus give me terrible exchange rate. I waited until I got to the arrivals hall in Clark airport and thankfully the money changer was open even at 4 AM and I got the same rate as I did later on Field Avenue which was a pleasant surprise as I expected the rate in the airport to be much worse.
The items in the following paragraph are specific to your hand luggage.
Make sure you pack a pen as you will need this to fill in the visa on arrival card on the plane. (Assuming you are landing in Bangkok first). Buy some sweets for takeoff and landing as this can help when the cabin is pressurised and depressurised. You could also try using the valsalva technique by closing your mouth, pinching your nose and forcing air into your nostrils to equalise the pressure. Note that doing this too forcefully can cause auditory damage so try to do it gently. Bring a book in case you cannot sleep in your luxurious economy seat. Bring some hygienic wet wipes as they are very refreshing when you wake up.
When packing, don't under fill or overfill the case as this is what causes creases. Lay all the items you wish to take on the bed. The biggest mistake people make is taking too many clothes. There is a laundry on almost every street corner and t-shirts and shorts are cheap if you run out. Three shirts for each bottom is the recommendation. Try to coordinate your clothes so you can mix and match shirts and shorts. Do not bring any "bling" with you on holidays. You may be very proud of your gold Rolex watch and diamond studded cuff links but you should leave all this expensive stuff at home. You will just attract unwanted attention if you flaunt your wealth.
There is an good video on packing your case.
This is much the same as Thailand so pack the same stuff you would for LOS and you will be fine. When I was in Angeles over Christmas, some days and nights were a little cooler than I had expected. (27 day time and 24 night time) but this was perfect bar hopping weather. The stats say it is dry from December to June and the rainy season is July to November.
Bring plenty of your favourite condoms and if you use lubricant, then bring it from home as well. Condoms may not be the same quality or size as your home country. Remember that oil-based lubricants should not be used with latex condoms. (Most condoms are made from latex.) Use water-based lube only as oil damages latex! I had two burst condoms on my most recent trip and on both occasions, the lady had put oil on the condom for lubrication. Not sure why they thought they needed lubrication, their pussys were cavernous!
Getting to Bangkok and then onward to the Philippines.
These are approximate times from several countries:
Mumbai to Bangkok – 7 hours.
Sydney to Bangkok – 9.5 hours.
London to Bangkok – 15 hours.
Moscow to Bangkok – 8 hours.
USA to Bangkok – 20 to 28 hours depending on departure city.
Tokyo to Bangkok – 5.5 hours.
As flight times from some countries can be substantial, you should consider compression flight socks and aspirin to help prevent DVT. Remember to walk around the plane a few times and do some stretching exercises in your seat to promote circulation. Drink lots of water during the flight as the aircraft environment will dehydrate you. Unfortunately drinking alcohol will dehydrate you even further so you should try not to drink too much. OK, I tried… Try to get as much sleep on the plane as possible as it will help with jetlag. A window seat will guarantee you are not disturbed by passengers using the loo. If you book your flights online as most people do these days, your tickets will normally be issued electronically and the aircraft type will usually be stated on the ticket. If you know the type of plane, (e.g.. Airbus A340) you can view the aircraft seating arrangement on the following site. This site will tell you what seats are best. When you have this information, you can either call the airline and request specific seats in advance or ask for the seats when you check in at the airport just before you depart. There are not many good seats in economy so try to prioritise this! Remember that seats toward the rear of the plane after the wings will be a lot noisier due to engine noise.
If Bangkok is your starting point, you have a choice of flying to Manila or direct to Clark airport. (Clark is the old US air force base which was evacuated when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991.) The taxi ride from Manila to Angeles will likely take you 3 hours and cost 3,000 pesos but there are a lot of choices with flight times. If you choose to fly to Clark, you will probably arrive in the middle of the night as the flight times are very restricted. The taxi from Clark to Angeles will cost you about 300 Pesos and get you there in a few minutes. I recommend getting your hotel to arrange pickup as it is less hassle. You could also get a jeepney (Like a Thai songtaew) from Clark to Angeles for a few pesos but this is definitely not something I would do at 4 AM as it is just too risky, especially if it's your first tip to AC as you will be in an unfamiliar airport and probably be groggy due to the late flight. There are a few carriers now flying from Bangkok direct to Clark airport. I chose Cebu Pacific. They have an easy to use website and are reasonably priced. My return flights cost 6370 Pesos but I choose good seats with legroom which was 600 baht extra on the price. One thing to note is that you are only allowed 15 kg luggage and 7 kg hand luggage so bear this in mind or you will be paying a chunk extra to the airline before you get on board. The flight time from Bangkok to Clark is a bit less than three and a half hours and you lose an hour when you get there. Thailand is 7 hours ahead of GMT and Angeles is 8 hours ahead in wintertime.
Since arriving back home and starting research for my next trip, I have discovered that Tiger Airways also now fly to Clark and offer better arrival and departure times from Bangkok. (Not sure how long they have been offering this service but when I originally booked in Feb 2011, it was not an option) The travel reviews are not great for this airline so do some research before you book!
You will be allowed entry to the Philippines for up to 21 days without a visa. For stays longer than that you should ideally apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate in your home country but you can apply in country before your 21 days expires.
Angeles City is a relatively small place with a population of approximately 300,000 people. It is located 80 km north of Manila. The city is divided into 33 Barangays and Field Avenue where most tourists end up staying or visiting is located in the Barangay of Balibago. According to their website some 725,000 international passengers were recorded by Clark airport in 2011. Interestingly, on my flight to AC, I did not see a single white female on the plane. The demographic seemed to consist primarily of western men in the 40 – 60 age group.
When searching the web, I found that hotels were generally more expensive than Thailand. There are top of the range hotels in AC like the ABC with a standard room rate per night of 100 Euro (5000 peso) right down to budget hotels like the brass knob at 18 Euro (1000 peso) per night for a standard room. I choose the Royal Amsterdam Hotel which is about mid-range and was delighted with the choice. It is right in the heart of the action. No taxis required at all unless you want to go to Perimeter Road (More about that later). I stayed in the deluxe room (42sqm) for 60 Euro (2990 Pesos) per night. This is a good sized room with a safe large enough for a netbook and has fast broadband which worked perfectly with Facetime and Skype. The staff were friendly and the room was cleaned every day even if I had only left the room for a brief period. I highly recommend this hotel as it is great value for money given the location and quality of the rooms. No man can live on beer alone so you might want to try the restaurant in the hotel. They specialize in steaks and get some very good reviews on Tripadvisor.
Panoramic view of superior deluxe room in Royal Amsterdam hotel – Taken using DerManDar app for Iphone.
The mini bar was also well priced. (The SML is even cheaper than the bars on Perimeter Road!)
Safety in Angeles City
I had read a lot about how unsafe Angeles was and I have to say I did not find that to be the case. I was a bit more wary of my surroundings and what I was doing and I did not walk anywhere I was not sure about. I did not use any Jeepneys as they are targets for pickpockets. When I left Field Avenue to go to Perimeter I always took a tricycle (motorbike with sidecar). I found that 100 pesos would get my anywhere I wanted to go without having to haggle with the drivers. I prefer to pay a few pesos over the odds and avoid the hassle as I am on holidays and don't want to waste my time arguing over a few pesos and end up with a disgruntled trike driver who decides he should treat me to his impression of Michael Schumacher.
Some tips while you are in Angeles City. Do not flash your cash or flaunt expensive jewellery or other electronic equipment. The people here seem to be a lot poorer than the folks in Thailand and there are many beggars on the streets. Showing off your wealth here will lead to you losing some or all of it to one of the locals. Don't be a "flash git" and you will be fine. Avoid any confrontation with the Philippine guys and do not go drinking with them or agree to play cards. You will not win!
If you find yourself in need of medical help, there is a small hospital on MacArthur highway called AUMFC. Tel 322-4632 (www.aufmc.org) Last tip here is to be very wary of picking up freelancers. There are plenty of cheap good looking relatively safe
ladies working in the bars so there is no reason to take a risky girl from the street. There are many reports of scams and underage hassles you simply do not need on your holiday. Ask yourself why the lady has chosen to work freelance? (Has she
an STD?, drug user?, is she psychotic?, is it a scam? )
There are a few real taxis but not many people seem to use them. The preferred transport seems to be the very colourful Jeepneys and the tricycles. The Jeepneys are very cheap. Most fares seem to be about 10 pesos and they travel a set route so you may have a walk before you get to your final destination. The tricycles will take you direct to your destination for an agreed charge. You should ensure you agree the charge before you get in or you will be ripped off. As I mentioned earlier, I used tricycles all the time. I simply stated my destination, said 100 pesos and please drive slowly and they were happy with that.
Tequila reef, Kokomos and Margarita station are very popular. I ate at least one meal in Tequila Reef Mexican restaurant every day. They are friendly and the staff are efficient and the food is really tasty. They give you small basket of free nachos and salsa while you are waiting for your food. Even if you just drop in for a beer, you get the nachos and salsa. You will also find McDonalds and its Philippine equivalent called Jollibee located at the bottom of Field Avenue where it meets MacArthur highway. There are many other restaurants and eateries like, TGI Fridays, Cottage kitchen, Swiss Chalet and even a high end Italian restaurant called "C's Italian Dining". You wont go hungry that's for sure. But…and it's a big but, the food is nowhere near the choice or quality of what you will find in Thailand. You may want to pack some plastic containers of som tam if you simply can't do without it!
This is where Angeles City and the Philippines in general beats Thailand hands down. Almost all of the girls speak good to excellent English. So compared to the usual, "where you from, what your name, what hotel you stay, you want play game" you get in Thailand, you can actually have a conversation and not have to use sign language or make animal sounds to get your point across. The native language is Tagalog which sounds like klingon with a Scottish accent. I suppose having a few of the day to day phrases will help endear you to the locals but as I said, almost everyone speaks English so it isn't really necessary. Here are a few words that you could practice before you arrive. "Salamat" means "thank you" and "Salamat Po" means many thanks and is more formal. "Hindi" means "no" and "Oo" means "yes". There is no exact translation for "hello" in Tagalog. The closest English word to hello is "Kumusta".
All of the hotels will have a laundry service but you can get it done cheaper at one of the many laundry shops dotted along Field avenue. I used the "Fields laundry" across from Phillies sports grill and they charge 35 Peso per kilo. A little more if you want your stuff ironed.
Although I have been to Asia many times, I had not heard the term "LBFM" until I started researching the Philippines. Apparently it is an acronym for "Little Brown Fucking Machine". Seems it is American military slang for any type of Asian hooker. You learn something new every day! When addressing your lady du jour, I suggest you stick with "darling" or "honey" instead of LBFM and you will leave AC with the same testicles you arrived with….LOL. in relation to bedroom activity, I am not sure whether the girls in AC are simply hungrier for a big tip the next morning or if they genuinely enjoy their work but they do seem to put more effort and energy into the performance than I have experienced recently in Thailand!
It is generally accepted that the Thai ladies are prettier and usually slimmer than their Philippine sisters and many of the bars in Angeles do indeed have a higher percentage of more "homely" lasses. I found many of the ladies in Angeles came with a bit more meat on them and personally I like that. Even in Thailand I seem to subconsciously go for the slightly larger girls. However, that doesn't mean there aren't any stunners. Visit Dollhouse, Crystal Palace or Club Atlantis and there are more lovely ladies than you can shake a stick at but they come at a premium price compared to the more average looking girls.
The barfine in Angeles is called an "early work release" (EWR). They will know exactly what you mean no matter which word you use. Unlike Thailand where you pay a fine to the bar to release the staff member from work and then pay the lady afterwards. In Angeles you make a single payment to the bar and the lady gets her half when she returns to the bar later or the next day. Naturally the girls all expect a tip depending on the quality of the services rendered. Three hundred Peso seems to be the norm but 500 Peso is expected for a porn star performance. The EWR ranges in price depending on what bar you are in and what area. Compared to Pattaya, the prices are very competitive.
See the examples below:
700 Pesos in Perimeter will get you a blowjob in house. (Approx 500 Thai Baht)
1200 Pesos in Perimeter will get you long time till the next day. (Approx 900 Thai Baht)
700 Pesos will get you short time (2 hours) in A Santos Street (Blow row) in house or back at your hotel.
1000-1200 Pesos will get you short time in Field Avenue. (Approx 730 – 900 Thai Baht)
1500-1800 Pesos in Field avenue will get you long time. (Approx 1100 – 1300 Thai Baht)
3000 Peso will get you long time with a stunner from any bar in Field Avenue. (Approx 2200 Thai Baht)
I found the ability of the girls in Angeles to speak almost perfect English a huge bonus and I have already booked my third trip with a 50/50 split between Angeles and Pattaya. The Philippine girls do seem genuinely friendly and up for fun. Photos and videos are normally not a problem back in your room but you need to clarify this before you agree your EWR (barfine). On my first trip to AC in December 2010, cameras and camcorders were no problem in any of the bars or clubs. In December 2011, most of the bars had banned the use of cameras and camcorders which is a pity. This may have been due to some high profile bar raids that happened a number of months ago.
Something to be aware of in Angeles City is the concept of "cherry girls". These are girls who will not have full sex with you. Many will only give you a blowjob or a hand job. You should check with the girl during the "interview" process when you have bought her a drink. Don't be shy asking questions. These girls have heard it all before but you should try to be diplomatic at the same time. (Assuming it is possible to be diplomatic when discussing sex acts with a stranger?) The attitude of the Philippine girls on the whole (no pun intended) seems to be slightly better than their Thai sisters. It like it used to be in Thailand perhaps ten years ago. I suppose by the time AC catches up with the likes of Pattaya, the attitudes will also have changed but at the moment they don't appear to be quite as mercenary as the girls in Thailand. I have read reports of "runners" (Ladies who make some excuse to leave before the agreed time has elapsed.) but I have not experienced any in either of my trips to AC.
Unlike Thailand, all of the bars are behind closed doors and there is no fully naked dancing on stage. I am not crazy about a gogo type closed bars but there doesn't appear to be any other option here. If you are a non smoker, it's hard to completely avoid irritated eyes and smelly clothes but a seat directly under a fan is probably the best way to go. The bars in Perimeter open early (Some at 10am) and generally close at 10PM. The prices are much cheaper in Perimeter for beer and ladies but there aren't many stunners in these bars. However, the fun and friendliness of the girls will usually more than makes up for this. The action in these bars tends to be a bit wilder and they attract a lot more of the local expats who prefer their beer a bit cheaper and the maidens less pretentious. Most of the bars on Field Avenue close at 4am but there are a few 24 hour bars like Atlantis should you feel the need to party late into the night. I attempted to have at least one beer in every bar in Field avenue and most of the bars in Perimeter. I am sure I missed a few but I did my best.
Bars I recommend for a good time include:
Lost in Asia,
One Eyed Eench
A. Santos street (Blow row)
Places I recommend to eat
Phillies Sports Grill
You could be forgiven for thinking the picture below was taken in Pattaya in days of old but Field Avenue also has a "walking street" sign.
I only drink spirits when I can't face another beer and my usual choice would be vodka with orange juice. The few I did have in AC ran me between 80 and 100 pesos. While in AC, I drank San Miguel Light (SML) as this tasted close to my usual tipple at home. They have a lemon and an apple variety which are refreshing. The SML ranged from 60 Peso in Perimeter to 100 Peso in Field Avenue. (Atlantis was more expensive at 125 Peso but they gave you a basket of popcorn and the girls were less pushy for drinks)
Although your beer is cheap, you need to be conscious of the drink prices for lady drinks. There is a "standard lady drink" which is just orange juice or some other soft drink and this normally costs 150 Pesos but there are also "double lady drinks" which are 300 pesos and the girl will get a San Miguel. If you buy a double lady drink, it wont be long before you have a lot of company around your table vying for your attention and more double lady drinks. This can make your bar bill grow rapidly so it is something to be aware of unless money is not an issue for you. Another item to note is that the cost to ring the bell in any of these bars ranges from 3,000 Pesos to 7,500 Pesos so before your hand reaches for the rope, check to see you have enough cash in your wallet to pay the bill.
What to do during the day?
There aren't the same range of activities in AC that you will find in Pattaya but most people come here to drink or monger and not for the more normal tourist activities. Mongering choices are pretty much limited to visiting blow row, Perimeter or the few bars that open early on Field Avenue. For those who manage to rise from their beds before the sun sets, there is a shopping complex called SM mall plus a few other smaller malls like Marquee, Robinsons and Nepo mall. SM mall is very nice and almost seems out of place with the poverty around it. There are a couple of gyms, a casino, a couple of golf courses and a small water park called Fontana. If you fancy a helicopter trip, you could visit Mt. Pinatubo. It costs about 500 US dollars and lasts an hour. This is the price for 3 pax. Another option would be to spend a day or even overnight in Subic bay. This is a seaside resort with about 50 lady bars and various restaurants. It is approx 60 km from Angeles. Mo's Subic will get you there return for 1200 Pesos. Departs from Kokomos restaurant on Field Avenue. http://www.mossubic.com/transport.php
Leaving Angeles City
The taxi to the airport from your hotel will cost in the range of 300 Pesos. There are cheaper options but I picked the easiest one for me. When you arrive at the airport, the first queue you will enter will be to get your boarding pass and drop your "hold" luggage. This part can be VERY time consuming as any traveller in front of you whose luggage is over 15 kg, must pay an extra overweight charge. They pause the queue while the person joins another queue to pay the overweight fine and you are in suspended animation until this person wanders back to the paused queue you are standing in. Once or twice and this is annoying but after many pauses, it becomes painful. Next stop is to pay your 600 Peso departure tax. You will then go through passport control, baggage x-ray check and then you are in the departure hall. The airport is very basic to say the least. There is a small duty free shop and a few food vendors inside the terminal and not much else.
Comparing Angeles city to Pattaya
Beauty of the girls – Pattaya wins.
Communication with the girls – Angeles wins.
Food – Pattaya wins.
Cost of ladies – Angeles wins.
Things to do – Pattaya wins.
Cost of beer – Angeles wins.
Cost of hotels – Pattaya wins. (Pattaya seems to be marginally cheaper)
Girlfriend experience – Angeles wins.
Safety – Pattaya wins (I do feel a bit safer in Pattaya)
Variety in shape/size/ethnicity of Women – Angeles wins.
(big mix of types of ladies, I even had some fun with a dwarf that worked in Perimeter, it was Christmas after all…)
I enjoyed Angeles City. At the end of the day it could be likened to a small version of Pattaya replete with the same type of bars, a gogos and girls. I know Pattaya pretty well and going to Angeles felt like a bit of an adventure and it was nice to explore different streets and new bars. I found the ability to speak English a big plus when it came to dealing with restaurants, bars, hotel receptionists, mall clerks etc. The P4P girls were very friendly and the variety and range of ethnicities was a nice change from the norm in Thailand. I did find the pressure to buy lady drinks annoying sometimes but if you said "I want to look around first", they would generally leave you alone until you asked for your second drink. As well as visiting AC, I stayed in two hotels in Thailand over Christmas 2011 and the wi-fi sucked in both hotels. Poor speed and constant disconnections. The broadband in the hotel in Angeles was fast and reliable as was the free wi-fi in Tequila Reef. (Facetime and Skype worked with no dropout at all.) This makes a big difference for me. Another thing that is important to me is a decent in-room safe. Perhaps I was unlucky with my choice of hotels in Pattaya but both hotels had a safe so small, my netbook would not even fit in it. There was plenty of room in the respective wardrobe's for a normal sized safe so this was purely a financial decision to get a miniature version. Come on hotel owners, get faster broadband and a decent sized room safe. On a more positive Thai note, I visited Secrets a number of times when I was in Pattaya and found their wi-fi fast enough to make a Facetime call with no dropout even when I was outside. On doing research since I got back for my next Asian sojourn, I discovered that Secrets have a very well reviewed fantastically priced hotel (995 baht a night) and I have booked two weeks with them on my next trip. I am looking forward to being in the middle of the action on Walking Street as I normally stay on second road or Soi Diana when I am in Pattaya.
For those who want to risk life and limb in Angeles and hire a scooter, petrol will cost you 41 Peso per litre (Dec 2011). Be aware there are quite a few child beggars on the street. If you give them cash, you will be inundated with dozens of others urchins as word spreads and they are VERY persistent. I waited until my last night and gathered up all of my change to give to them. Then I stepped into a bar to get away from the crowd of kids that had gathered. The Viagra, Cialis and black ant sellers may drive you nuts after a while. Every 20 metres, you will encounter them. At first I politely declined but after a while I found it best to simply not look in their direction. I had a lady follow me from my hotel all the way to McDonalds (200m) trying to sell me black ant. She had an answer for every excuse I could think of not to buy it! LOL.
There can be many power outages in Angeles but quite a few of the larger bars have their own generators. There was only a single outage on my Christmas trip and it may just have been the bar I was in rather than a wider outage. It was a bit like going back in time listening to the girls singing and watching them dancing by candlelight. For those who like lots of daytime activities and are making the trip to AC for the first time, I would suggest a week is probably long enough as there isn't a lot to keep you occupied during the day. However, if you are a hardcore monger and only interested in women and beer, you could easily spend your entire vacation in AC and leave a very happy guy.
This submission is just my personal opinion based on two trips to Angeles city lasting 6 days each time. I have been to Cambodia and Thailand many times for up to a month at a time but decided it was time to stretch my wings a little further and try another mongering destination. "A change is as good as a rest" as the saying goes.
I welcome comments or suggestions for places to try on my next visit to Angeles but no hate mail please as life is too short. I hope you found some of the information useful.
If you haven't been to Angeles yet and are thinking about going, give it a try.
A very nicely put together guide that is ideal for the first timer!