I went through my trip visiting cybercafes often. I started with a four page printout of all the cybercafes I could find listed on the internet that were along the path of my travel. Even some that weren't.

Recommendations for Travelers

Start by websurfing to find all the cybercafes in the areas you will visit. It's hard to tell in advance where they really are, and it's hard to predict in advance where you'll end up going, so be a bit liberal in your research.

Different cafes have varying levels of service and varying levels of attention to tourists. Some places I went to were for local kids to hang out and be cool cyber nerds. If you spend a lot of time in a town, try them all because one might be much more convenient/cheap or whatever.

Try to send some email to them ahead of time to make sure they exist. If no human answers, that's a bad sign.

Some cybercafes are run by clueless people who don't quite understand the internet, what they can do, what customers want to do, etc. What you should get is complete internet access, including at a minimum email and websurfing. You should be able to connect to your own internet account, run by your own ISP, retrieve email from your own account, and send out email with your own return address.

Many of the places you may run into might be more degenerate: they've got one email account, and you can "send" email from that email account, and you can tell your friends to send you email on their email address. Next time you go to the cybercafe, you pick through the emails that have arrived, poste-restant style, looking for any addressed to you. This is pretty dumb, as my friends can't follow my erratic travel plans, and they can't send me email at a place until I go there and tell them where to send to. And then it's too late because I'll be off to someplace different.

Special note on Vietnam and other totalitarian regimes: In Vietnam, the cybercafes are tightly controlled by the government. When I was there, the only access was email (see preceeding discussion). None of the emails I sent, however, made it out of the country, and after I got back I read an article in Wired about how the government closed them down (apparently the government was just as clueless when it mistakenly granted people this access). Who knows, this may change.

How to Do Email from a Cybercafe Computer

Here's how you do email at home. You have your ISP (internet service provider), a company that charges you US$30 a month or whatever, and provides these services. What they have is just a bunch of big computers sitting in an office with modems, and all the computers are connected to the internet. You use these computers through your own computer. Programs on your computer talk to programs on their computer. These computers and these programs are typically working 24 hours a day 365 days a year

You may not be aware that all of these are individual pieces, but they are. And they can be used individually. For instance, you can be a customer of and go websurf to - their webserver works with your web client (web browser - netscape or ie) because they are all on the internet. Similarly, you can log in using and get your email on your email account. That is, if you have an email account on Netcom. Otherwise, the Netcom email server will throw you out.

When you go to a cybercafe, or a library, or an office, or any other place where you have internet access, the PPP POP system may be different. In particular, often offices and cybercafes will have direct internet connections, with no modems, which are much faster and more foolproof. The computers are directly connected to the internet, almost like going to your ISP offices and sitting down and using one of their computers. So you don't need to mess with the phone number and stuff.

But you do need to set up your email program to do SMTP and POP correctly. There's a couple of different email programs you can use. Here are some of them:

Whatever, here's some things you have to set up. If it's not listed here, you probably shouldn't mess with it.

I used Netscape for email access.

Recommendations for CyberCafes

Email is a very economical way for travelers to keep in touch with their friends and relatives at home. If you want the business of travelers, you're going to have to put in some more effort.

Go to places where tourists go and put up posters to your cybercafe. In many places there are bulletin boards for travelers, and they actually want posters from cybercafes and other traveler services. Go to the American Express office. Go to hotels. Print up lots of your flyers, one page, and give them to hotels to hand out to customers. I can't tell you the number of times I went to the front desk of my hotel asking about a cybercafe, and they didn't know of any in town.

On your website, post information in multiple languages. You should always include your native language, and English. In addition you should also include any regional common languages such as Bahasa, Arabic, Russian, or whatever. If you are close to a large country, or you want to attract a certain type of tourist, include a translation for them, too.

Translation doesn't have to be expensive. Many travelers have limited funds, but are articulate in their native language, and translation would be easy for them. Hire only native speakers of a language unless you are desperate. Rarely can a non-native write the language without spelling mistakes.

Include directions on how to get to your cybercafe using many different methods. These people are in a foreign country and are terrified and confused. Give them something that they can print out and show to taxi drivers and people they meet on the street.

The bus and train systems in foreign cities can be terrifying. Nothing is more depressing than the sad feeling you get when everybody gets off the bus and the bus driver walks out - you missed your stop, and you are way out in the suburbs. You have no idea where you are. Somewhere out there is this place you wanted to go to. It's late at night, and you've got a lot of traveling ahead of you, not to mention just figuring out what happened and how to get to where you are going. Maybe it's so late that the busses stop running.

OK, now you need to help out this person. How do you find a bus stop? Show a picture of a bus stop sign in your website. Show how the listings look on the sign, if there are any. They probably can't read your language and they might not even be able to read your numbers. Show a picture of a bus in your website; often there are multiple bus systems in a town and it's easy to get on the wrong bus by accident. Bus drivers typically can't speak the language of your tourists, so give them a few phrases and a pronounciation guide. For instance say Tell the bus driver 'Jalan Tembaksegaran' The way you say that is 'Jaw lawn tem back cigar an'

Listen to your cybercafe travelers, they will tell you what else you need to do to increase business. Good luck!

Individual Cafes I Visited

june 1 From: "allan bonadio" To: Subject: hong kong cybercafe Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 16:15:47 +0800 X-MSMail-Priority: Normal X-Priority: 3 MIME-Version: 1.0 Status: U i'm traveling thru hong kong and i finally found a cybercafe. THe mythical place "cyber cafe club" doesn't exist. I went there twice, even on saturday, nobody home. No such name on the door but a different computer related name was there. I'm telling you, the mailbox was busted open and you could pick out the bills that were being sent to the office and nobody seemed to be showing up to collect them. pffft. I sent them email but no reply yet. Then a day and a half before I left I found this place: Future Cafe Shop 70, Basement Floor, Internet World Home World, Wampao Garden Hung Hom, Kawloon, Hong Kong. It's totally weird getting here but if you're here what I said above will make sense, or at least for a taxi driver. Their home page is: Best viewed with Chinese software. ahem. like the bus schedule they list is totally useless with an english system. Or with a chinese system for that matter as I wouldn't understand it anyway. Nobody here speaks english!!! Or maybe just a few words. Somebody just said "oh shit". It's maddening. I asked them if there was an email address but nobody seemed to know or understand. I can't say I've seen anybody here older than about 20 or 25 - hard to tell. I'm the only traveler here. Also the only non-asian. And the only one older than 30. They're NOT LISTED in any of the lists. I submitted them to you and to one other list. BUT it's real cheap. You just keep on ordering overpriced cups of coffee or food, and the computer use is free. It's the only thing I've found in hong kong. All windows machines; some of them are english, some are chinese. Like, right now, middle of the day, there's empty machines. Come on by!

June 2

I was supposed to leave on June 1 but Cathay Pacific moved my flight without telling me. Well how were they going to tell me? It's my responsibility to contact them and reconfirm. And I didn't. Until like 1pm. And they told me the plane left at 8am that day. Solly sir. Reschedule. So I had another day and somehow I ended up hanging out in this cybercafe for hours.

> Hm. Is this worth the money to download over there? Sorry. Just talkin'.

every cybercafe seems to do things differently.  This one, there's no
hourly charge, they just charge you for food while you hang out here. 
It loooks more like a university computer lab than a charming cafe. 
They have some plastic plants around.  And one side of the room is glass
that looks onto the maill hallway.  Indoor mall, this is the basement
floor.  No high ceilings; they don't do that in hong kong much.  This is
the computer supermarrrket sub-area of Mall #12 in the complexof malls
named i got it here on a card, here, Whampoa Garden.  Never knew it
existed before today.  A real bitch to track this down.  

The other place, the one I read about on the internet, it doesn't
exist.  You go downtown, buzzz noise cramped.  Go up this one street,
all the streets south of Central, it's all hilly like SF, makes it
really fun but confusing.  They you go down this one leetl dirty
alleyway with some noodle curry shops, and addresses 6 and 7 are the
same building, just a narrow stairwell, I sweaar the stairwell uses up
30% of the floorspace in that building.  On the third floor, I never got
anyone to answer the door, and the name on the door is something
different.  I guess it's not around anymore.  

So anyway I went to Wanchai, this one district where that place, 298
Hennessy, I'll show you pictures of it, totally congested computer mall
with little stalls and shops.  MS Office for $6 on cd.  Anyway i went
back there and asked around and two peopole said that there was a
cybercafe over here.  Five mass transit rides later, god i shoullda
taken a taxi, and there's a tunnel right there.  anyway, then I walked
and waaaalked, maybe a dozen blocks, there's no trains or anything that
comes out to this area, they just landfilled it like maybe a decade
ago.  some of my walking was through new construction areas.  

Fortunately i had this biz card, otherwise I wouldn't have found it.  I
showed people the bizcard and asked them to point me on.  Half of all
people can't speak english.  Another quarter aren't fluent.  But usually
there's someone around who's really good at english.  

I'm the only european in the cybercafe.  and probably the only
traveler.  Most of the others are kids.  just old enough to smoke
cigarettes.  Well lit.  No atmosphere.  The noodles were good.  good

june 7
Date: Sat, 07 Jun 1997 23:15:37 +0800
From: allan 
Organization: aba sortof
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: {friends}
Subject: landing in singapore
Status: U

Finally I'm back in a place with a normal internet connection.  

The plane toouches down in Sinabpore.  Getting off the plane, the
difference from the Saigon airport is striking.  The Singapore airport
is as clean and modern as any I've seen in my life.  In Saigon, I was
brushing off the chair in the waiting area before I sat down in it. 
Here, I felt I should brush off my butt first.  The floors sparkle, all
over the airport.  

Stepping out to the taxi area, I felt relieved.  The sidewalk was
actually dirty and scuzzy, just like in any other airport in the world. 
I've found it!  There IS dirt in singapore!   

I sign up for one of the cheapest rooms in singapore.  I wanted
something that was sortof lower-middle, but everything was filled up.  I
have to go back and forth like this sometimes, expensive places, cheap
places.  Even the stairs in this place are sparkling clean.  

It's in the indian district of town; that's where the rents go down.  I
got some curry something for dinner.  The waiter was nice but
communication was a problem.  You know he just sets some food down, I
eat it and pay whatever.  It was indian, it was good enough.  $4.50
Singapore dollars and I can't complain.  

There's three cybercafes in singapore.  One is on Boatquay, a street
that runs along a river.  That's easy to find.  I find the other streets
after scanning the free map from the tourist bureau.  My guide says that
BoatQuay is in the party district.  And my cybercafe list says that it's
usually open till midnight, but on weekends it's open till 1.  Hmmm...
what else am I going to do on a saturday night when I just got into

The map shows me I can walk to here, take the subway, and walk to
boatquay.  Well, the walking is a pain, I guess taxis are cheap here so
maybe I just do that from now on.  The subways are clean and the tickets
work pretty much like Hong Kong (very similar to bart).  I come out of
the subway and I have no idea what direction to walk in.  I'm in the
middle of a city, in a courtyard, surrounded by buildings.  The
buildings aren't on the map, just streets.  But I can't see the streets
because they are behind the buildings.  I start walking in some
direction and I see a streetsign that looks good.  They I see a stream
of people walking... over there.  Maybe this is it.  

Boatquay is a pretty lively area on a saturday nite.  People walk by
sidewalk cafes as music from a half dozen jazz places mix in the air. 
finally I get to it: 82 boatquay.  It's open.  S.$10 per hour (like
seven bucks US).  

this is a sun workstation.  Set email prefs.  I sstart swearing at the
way it doesn't select all the text in a text box when you tab to it, so
you have to futz to delete the old crap.  And the way it clickselects
when you move the mouse out of the box.  It's like only mac people want
to select the whole box at once so they make it a pain for everybody

And so here I am.  and I don't have anything else to write.  Lemme send
this before something goes wrong and I lose it all.
Unfortunately this cybercafe closed down before I even came back home. Greg tried to go there and they were history.
June 8

Singapore, a high tech consumer economy modern city.

I'm now at my second cybercafe in Singapore. This one is called CyberHeart Cafe. You go down Orchard Road, which is the big department store street. Marble floors everywhere and shiny chrome. You go to the Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, and it's on the lower level, can't miss it. It's easy to miss the Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade because it's only like four stories inside. There's two glass elevators in the atrium area.

Or you can just surf over to i think. But I guess if you do that then neither of us will have any evidence that the other one is there. Hmmm...

I ordered a double espresso and this vegitarian pizza. Kindof bothered that they don't have any ethnic food here. I go nine time zones away and all i get to eat is pizza? Maybe this counts as ethnic food in this area. I've been wandering past these great looking indonesian restaurants and strange curry places. Pizza is probably pretty exotic for these people.

Now I'm on a windows machine. Not sure if I hate windows or unix more. Neither one has figured out how to make the cursor go away so it's not in the way when you type.

I've never seen so many gleaming floors in a place with so many really dark skinned people. I was wandering around trying to figure out what language people are speaking, listening in to one small group at a time. These two girls were speaking japanese, I'm pretty sure. That's not one of the area's four official languages but we were in a japanese department store and they looked like they could have been japanese.

Everything is chrome and glass and muzak. Actually this music isn't bad in CyberHeart. I'm listening to some Pet Shop Boys something, some song I never heard of.

ANother thing that strikes me is how much it looks like america. In Hong Kong, everything was in Chinese, with English ... just enough to get around, everything that you need, is in English too. But not everything. Here in Singapore, it seems that the main language is English. I'm listening to an English radio station. You could listen to it for quite a while trying to figure out where it's from. The first clues would be british, although the dj and station identification are pretty much american english. This person doesn't even have an accent. And the music is all very typical for america. It's just that 90% of the people are some sort of Asian and 20% of them are pretty dark skinned, usually Malay.

On the other hand some of these people in the restaurants I go to seem prety weak at English. Maybe it's just my bad hearing. Maybe it's my taste in food.

It's 1pm on Sunday and there's half a dozen free machines at CyberHeart. Don't come down for the pizza, come down for the access.

Sorry if I'm sporadic about who I send what emails to. Some of it depends on what email addresses I remember, or which scraps of paper I remembered to bring, and some of it depends on how wide the box is and how many addresses I can fit in without blowing it all. And part of it depends on a really flakey WIndows mouse that doesn't always go where you want it to go. cough cough.

June 11 - Kuala Lumpur - POEM

this place has a dinner special. RM$20 and you get soup and all this other stuff including hagen daz icecream. That's like eight bucks. And an hour of internet.

This place is POEM, Project Organic Electronic Media. But they serve good food, cooked in the california tradition of low fat and stuff. This soup is the first lightly cooked vegetables I've had since leavign the western hemisphere. Sniff sniff i feel like they are taking care of me here.

Just these two guys. The writeup here says "we cook in a health conscious way, using no salt, high-tech non stick flying [sic] pan, adn our juices are fresh".

Whereas the last place, Global Cafe, had music playing and was more of a bar. But there was no bar. I dunno. The lights were low. Here, the lights are ... well, higher, but it looks more like a cafeteria or shiny chrome restaurant. Great view onto the street below.

You take bus #5 to Bamgsar Baru. Stop at the McDonalds. (i saw the mcd's.) Walk downhill and into Jalan Telawai Lima and it's right next to the KFC, right at the Tee. Look up and look for the neon "POEM". Can't miss it. Even though I did at first.

Actually I took a cab from the other cybercafe. Wet out to the taksi stand. this ckeyboard sucks too. anyway.

I'm trying to get to this address. Right here. (i show im my dogeared listing.)

a ;lsdkj fa;lsdjf a;lsdj f is right down here alskjdfa alsdkjf ?

Yeah. Can you take me there?

a alksdjf a;ldskjf ;lkja lkdjf down the street lskjdfa;lsdkjf la;kdjf ?

Yeah. You know where it is? Good. Take me there.

alskjdfa alskdj fa;lsdkj f what kind of bidniss dis lsdkjflsdjf ?

This is a cybercafe.

Oh. Cafe.

A CYBERcafe. It's got computers too.

silence of noncomprehension. It cost me RM$2.30 to get here, that's like 90c. I think it was a really short fare, that's why he was questoning me.

I think they are walking distance apart but the mood of the neighborhood is all different. POEM is in a party neightborhood. Restaurants, pubs it looks like down there. Hmm.. whell that looks like a bookstore across the street. And the KFC you can't say it's a party establishment. I'll check it out later. They close in half an hour.

POEM itself has a feel that's half way between a comfortable office you'd work in all day, and the lunch room that everybody would go to for lunch. Pleasant jazz background music. Minimalist but pleasant digs, modern motif. I'm one of like two or three customers. It's late on a weekday nite. There's plenty of open machines. Like a dozen.

POEM connects by modem and phone line. No diret connection. Doesn't seem to be much fo a problem.

yeah I know I should be getting more salt. Hard to do but when they have condiments I load it on. Unfortunately it's hard to tell the fish sauce from the soy sauce. Soy sauce is darker. God windows machines suck. I'm sticking to my mac.

I just got served this plate of food. Sortof american/asian. But the best of each, not the worst of each like I get someties around here. Wow, these are the best vegetables I've had in the month of June. I'm getting homesick. This food is excellent!

allan cybercafe reviewer here. I think I have to go back to KL sometime; I'm missing too many things. Three days doesn't do it. And there's stuff to do in the surrounding countryside. It's like one day driving distance from top to bottom.

July 23 - in Cafe Trio, in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, last few weeks of my trip. This place isn't on the cybercafe listings I've found.
John Gingrich wrote:
> Allan,
> Hello there, out in cybercafe land!!  Where does this message find you now?
>  No doubt, by your descriptions, in some mysterious and sensual land sitting
> in a cafe full of not-so-mysterious and not-so-sensual foreign nerds.

well actually it's a cybercafe i've been to before.  I guess there
aren't that mahny around here.  

Everybody has an accent around here.  I found out about this place from
some Dutch guys.  

> Well, what is the beverage of the moment that you are likely sipping, as you
> read this?

fanta.  orange.  i finished it sometime in the middle of the Mount Agung

> Are these cafes that write of air conditioned?  Or am I living in some
> westerner's limited notions of foreign tech and comfort?  I mean they might
> not even have running water, but if they have electricity... well, then f#ck
> it, might as well open a cybercafe, huh?

no ac.  Most places are sortof open air.  You depend on wind and maybe a
ceiling fan.  Unless you want to spend like $35/nite.  Then it's only in
your hotel room and you feel extra hot when you go out.  So I figure
it's better to do without the AC.  

Same goes for eating places.  Somewhere elsewhere on this island are
tourist places for those who don't go outdoors.  You can eat in air
conditioned comfort there.  If you're a real human, you get used to

about the same time, email with ethan
> I'm not surprised that your Internet access is lousy; the surprising
> thing is that it's available at all.  I'm on a team which moderates
> the news group for new users of Usenet (newsgroups); we recently had a
> problem with a whole pile of new users coming in from Malaysia.  One
> of the helpers is from Indonesia.  I guess I shouldn't be too
> surprised.

malaysia is growing up fast.  maybe a bit too fast...

you get these cybercafes in areas that are:
- developed somewhat, and
- cater to tourists.  

Bali, for instance.  Larger cities that are tourist oriented.  In france
apparently they are all over the place (more tourists, more

jun 19 I was in Singapore. The last cybercafe I went to was further south, along a cute little street with little shops. A comfy place that seemed to have several regulars.
this is the first time in the 90's i think that I had a peanut butter
sandwich in a cafe.  Strange.  Come join me!

jun 24 - ok these aren't in chronological order. This is the Cafe Trio again.
So I found yet another cybercafe on Bali!  This makes three.

This one is near Ubud.  I know it doesn't mean anything to you, but Ubud is
the arts center for Bali.  Like against the wall here is some glass shelves
with all of this pottery, all carved out of wood by hand.  Like about a
hundred pieces, most as big or bigger than a loaf of bread.  And there's all
sorts of other artwork here, i guess they sell it here.  What else, they do
faxing, and serve drinks, and gosh here's some whitewater trips they book i

>>Actually you can do that.  That's how I got on throughout SE asia.  All you
>>need are:
>>- your email address (for replies) like
>>- your pop server for getting mail, like
>>- your accocunt name on that server, like "bonadio", plus your password
>>- your smtp server, which is usually the same

>So what do you do, you telnet in?

Nope.  Just use any email program.  Usually I used Netscape, because
everybody had it.  A few times I used Eudora, which is what I use at home,
except the Mac version.  You go into the prefs of your email program and
there's slots to fill in all that stuff.  Just go poking around.  Plus
while I was there I set other preferences... like netscape has this one
where, every email you send out, you can have a copy sent to another email.
So I just made it so that every email I sent out, a copy went to my home
email address so I had a record of it and I could incorporate it into my SE
Asia website (still sigh under construction).  I carried on a number of
conversations with friends here and there.  I'd go into a cybercafe and
spend three hours just answering emails.

later on I found out that a lot of these cybercafes had no idea that I had
set these things and generally didn't set them back or erase anything.  So
for instance I got a number of other people's emails sent to me at home,
sent by other people who sent emails from those machines and didn't know to
turn off the forwarding I had set up.

>>later on I found out that a lot of these cybercafes had no idea that I had
>>set these things and generally didn't set them back or erase anything.
>That was my next question. If you didn't change them back before you left,
>you probably messed up other people's messages.

Well, the cybercafes are learning.  I guess I was part of the process.  You
have to get your own email.

The alternative was to use THEIR email account, like I have to figure out
that next week I'll visit XYZ cybercafe, so send email to me there, and put
my name in the subject, if you send email to me here, I'll never get it.
OOps then I screw up and never make it there... Right.  Some of the
cybercafes, that's all they offered.

In fact in vietnam, that's the only alternative; nobody has real internet
accounts, and in fact the cybercafes with email are being closed down.  See
article in the current WIred magazine: this guy basically watched the
government shut down the Tam Tam Cafe, one I went to, that's why it was
never running when I went there.

I have my email box.  Accessible from anywhere in the internet.  I can't
deal with anything any other way.

To myself, for the record, June 22
this whole area is still not nailed down.  Some of the places are great,
you sit down and you're up.  Other places, there's fooling around.

I hate to be a Mac fanatic, but these people shoudl get Macs.  These pcs
just suck.  I'm always hitting the wrong key and some dorky window or
menu is there and I gotta break my typing and get rid of it.  

This place they had to reboot my machine and this other machine, and
more fooling around.  Maybe fifteen minutes.  

But you know this isa third world country.  You're SUPPOSED to wait for
stuff to get around to be fixed.  Hmmm.

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