About Kevin Lutz

Since I started my first backpacking trip I had the feeling I want to have much more time to experience new countries in the world. In my job I travelled a lot but I never had enough time to explore the places where I've been. The wish of quitting the job and just go and travel without thinking about tomorrow was always present in my head. I never had specific plans about this until I met Janneke. She supported me to clear my head and helped me finally to decide to find my own way.

Chicken church – Bukit Rhema Gereja Ayam

 

Finally! The big Day of the chickenchurch was there. Kevin read already a few years ago an article about a mysterious church with the shape of a chicken in the middle of the jungle of Java – Indonesia. The church was started to build in 1988. With almost no money and lot’t of help of local people a man with a vision could realize his project of a church for every kind of believs. In this place, muslims, buddists, christians prayed next to each other. Until the year 2000 the building was even used as a therapie centrum for everybody who needed help. Drug addicts came here as well as people with mental problems to get new energy and hope on this mystical place. After this the church stood empty in the middle of the jungle for years.

Story that I read 2 years ago

Normally Kevin was not interested in churches and praying, but this information fascinated him so much, he couldn’t get it out of his head. Maybe it was the idea of united believing in good instead of separating in religions, maybe it was the idea that everybody who needed it could get new energy, maybe just the idea of the building in the middle of nowhere with the funny chicken shape or simply just the fact that all of this so unrealistic and seems to be so unreachable as it’s at the other side of the world. But this unique combinations were just worth it to be seen.

 

We started from our hostel in Yogyakarta on a scooter at 6 am for the 1,5 h ride on a busy street with a crazy mix of trucks, cars, scooters and even lot’s of cyclers. Most of this people on the road went to the famous temple Budurbudur and probably never heard about the real attraction in the area. The fresh morning breeze let us forget all the noise and dirty smog around us and we were just happy and excited for our highlight. After we passed by the temple there was no traffic anymore and the roads got worse. When we arrived in a small town next to the chicken church we could already feel the peaceful atmosphere. It felt like no tourist ever passed by here even if the big famous temple is just a few kilometer away.

Suddenly we stood in front of a guy who wanted us to leave the scooter on a payed parking spot in the middle of the jungle. He explained us that we have to park the scooter here for our own safety as the further road is too dangerous to drive for us. In the moment a local just passed by on the road with his scooter. To dangerous? Haha! This is totally not what we expected. We wanted to see the chicken church because it’s NOT and tourist attraction and we DON’t have to pay for every stupid thing. After a short discussion we turned around and drove away. After 500 m we took a small road in the jungle and parked the scooter next to a small house. When we stepped off, we realized that we could already see the head of the chicken church behind the jungle. We arrived!

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After a 5 minutes jungle trek we stood in front of this incredible building. It was exactly as impressive as I expected but also totally renovated. A investor bought it and wants to make an tourist attraction out of this. Therefore they even added some balconys on the tail of the chicken for a café. When we wanted to enter the inside of the church DSCF7589somebody asked for entrance tickets. What? Come on! That’s really not the meaning behind this building! We realized that we just skipped the ticket counter with our jungle trek and made up a story that we forgot the tickets in the scooter. They finally believed us and we could enter the chicken. After we passes by the entrance later and saw the tourist discrimination we were even happier not to support this thing with paying the entrance fee. Tourist should really pay double the price than locals. In Europe this would be unbelievable.

The architecture with the light flooded cross on the roof and the round windows on the sides was incredible. Especially if you make yourself clear that you stand in a building with the shape of a chicken in the jungle of Java, build by local people with natural building material. In the basement where some separated and hidden praying rooms. A further highlight was going up to the top in the head of the chicken. Everywhere in the head we could see paintings on the wall.

They must be from the time when it was still used as a therapy centrum. Finally we entered the top of the head and enjoyed the incredible few. What a feeling! My dream came true and even if the church starts to become a tourist attraction it was still a mysterious place. I also did what I never expected to do here. I went down in one of the praying rooms and just let my thought go in this positive vibe. Before we headed back we just stood in front of the chicken for a couple of minutes and stared on it. Just wow!

Back at the scooter we saw a old guy sitting in front of his house. His didn’t weared a shirt and we could see his bones trough the skin. He just sit on the ground and smoked a big self made cigarette. He almost didn’t had any teeth in his mouth and gave us a big smile when he realized us. We decided to give him some money as a parking fee for our scooter.

Honestly, after I saw the chicken church I could not imagine a better place to get some positive energy and believing in the good for every kind of problems.

Hat Yai 

Our last ‘stop’ in Thailand was the business city Hat Yai. We were staying there at The aree hat yai hostel for one night and got lots of information from the guy who was working there. Not only about this great city but also how to travel to Malaysia and what/where to go next. 

In Hat Yai we walked to the night Market. There Kevin got followed an interviewed by some teanagers. When we left we recognize that really no one walkes. Even when they just have to go to a place 50 meter further, they always take their scooter or car. Not only bad for the environment, but also unhealthy. Anyway… We followed the advise of a guy to go to a nice bar. Unfortunately it was closed and we ended up buying a beer from a 7 eleven. 

Probably because it’s closer to Malaysia they could already speak much better English. And we saw more expensive and European cars. This city offers much more than the night market but we left the next day to go to Penang Georgetown.

Ko Sriboya 

After a night on the night boat we left the boat around 7 am. We walked to the bus terminal in the city and took one of the loca big busses without airco to Krabi for just 150 bath. Also here lots of people will ask you ‘Where you go?’,  and offer you an organized trip with a minivan with airco. Janneke just started asking back… Where do you go? 

The bus ride was hot. As we said we took the one without airco and it was a very hot day. We missed the last official bus stop and the bus driver brought us to a bus parking spot twoo streets further. Because we didn’t discuss what to do next we decided to go to a restaurant with wifi. There we decided to go to Ko Sriboya. 

Ko Sriboya is a small island in between Krabi and Ko Lanta. Most people are moslim and because it was Ramadan and low season we were the only tourists on the island. When we walked maybe 5 minutes with our backpack there was a lady who sayd we had to jump on the scooter. She brought us to the bungalows. A nice service we thought. But later they wanted to charge this even though we sayd we could walk. We couldn’t find food anywhere during the day, just at our own hotel. Oh, and they also had beer 😉 It was the only place on the whole island who offered alcoholic drinks. We stayed two nights, hired a scooter and drove slowly around the whole island in 2 hours. As we want to try as much different things as possible we searched during our ride for sone local food. Sounds easy, but during ramadan on an islamic island in the low season it was a big challence to find any food. Not even the few small local restaurants served anything during the day.  Suddenly we saw a girl in the village who made very nice sugar pancakes. We jumped to her with big eyes and an empty stomache and enjoyed maybe the best food on the whole island. The view from our bungalow was great, Kevin found again a coconut to open with his knife and we saw lots of rubber trees. On this island we were the attraction. There was really nothing to do.

From Ko Sriboya we wanted to go south by boat but there was just one boat, the one that took us there. So we had to go back to were we came from. We walked half an hour to the boat and took again a minivan to Nuea Khlong. And there we decided to go hitchhiking. Very fast a car stopped. A couple from Phuket brought us totally south to the business city Hat Yai!

Chumphon & Ko Phangan

 

From Bangkok we took a train to Chumphon. Because we took a train without airconditioning third class we just payed 272 bath. Buying at the station is btw cheeper. It was very hot but we could open a window to get some ‘fresh’ air.

When we arrived in  Chumphon it was already 23:00 h on a Sunday night and found two German girls who went to a hotel that was open until 23:30h. And because it seemed to be a small town we decided to book a room at the same place. A basic hotel where we had our first bunk bed. This evening we found out that the whole city can just cell beer between 17:00h and 22:00h so especially Kevin was a little bit sad. We ate very good fried big noodles next door and went to bed.

The next morning we found out that the night boat (actually a car ferry) was the cheapest way to get to Ko Tao. And at the same time we skipped a hotel night. Perfect! We spend the day to discover the city in the rain and went in the evening to the ferry. The beds were small, it was hot and we were laying in between snoring Thai locals but luckily we can sleep anywhere ;).

We arrived early in the morning at Ko Tao. The weather was bad and Janneke her leg was still not totally healed. When we decided to go for a walk she almost had a coconut on her head and decided to give her foot some rest. Kevin liked to test his rain jacket a little more and walked through the storm to find a nice place for breakfast. Unfortunately without succes. Then we walked back to the next pier where we also dropped our backpacks and found out that the boat from 15:00h didn’t go in low season. Just in time for the ferryof 10:30h we quickly bought a banana coconut Nutella pancake and jumped on the boat to Ko Pangang. This island is a little cheaper than Ko Tao and has less rain.

The boat from Ko Tao to Ko Phangan with the cheapest ferry made many people see sick, including Janneke. She never felt sick on a boat before but the pancake was maybe not the best idea.

Ko Phangan is a great island. We planned to stay maybe one week and stayed almost two! Siam Cookies took good care of us. Even though we were the only customers. We had the best bungalow with a great view and could really get our rest. Next to enjoying the weather we also saved a protected tree and took trash from the beach. Kevin found out that he can cut open coconuts with his knife and for his birthday he got to kill his self bought chicken. We saw a lot from the island but mostly we enjoyed Why Nam beach, Yoga lesson at the beach, Vegan coffee, Reggae House on Friday, sleeping at the Sabai bar of our new friends and eating at our favorite restaurant called “For U”. Of course we were at the Full Moon party but actually we think it’s already too commercial. It looked a little bit like Ballerman of Thailand.

Tips:

  • Also on this island is a water refill machine. For 1 bath you will get 1,5 Liter water.
  • For U. Restaurant has great food for 40 / 50 bath and always free drinking water.
  • The viewpoint in between Haad Rin and the next beach is more beautiful than the viewpoint at the highest point of the Island. Taking a hike saves you 250-300 bath what you normally pay for the boat trip.
  • Buy tickets at the pier to get to Surathani. And from there a local bus. Organized tours are always more expensive.
  • Extra sleep! The night boat from Ko Pangang to Surathani goes at 22:00h but we were there at 20:00h. We were tired and could already get a nice bed and sleep early. Also when we arrived at 5:00h am the taxi drivers trie to get us out of the boat but we slept without problems until 7:00h.

 

(pictures and videos follow)

Arrival in Bangkok

After the 14 hour flight we arrived at our first destination Bangkok. The best place to start when you travel the world. You can find cheap flights, the city offers you unlimited possibilities and travelling is made easy for every backpacker.

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Stepping out of the airport tired, we took a taxi and got tricked directly. The taxi driver turned off his meter and asked for a much more higher price. After a hard negotiation we still had to pay far too much for our ride. Nice lesson for the beginning 😉 This will not happen again.

We stepped out of the taxi in a heavy rain and walked through flooded streets where big rats came out of the drane. Unless the rain we were very happy that we could finally test our new rainjacket.

On top of this, Janneke cut herself on day 1 with her razor. The skin was hanging between the knives and it looked like she peeled a potato. When she stood there bleeding like a pig Kevin suddenly jumped away and came back with the camera. He remembered what the cycling legend Heinz Stücke told him:

“Leute wollen Bilder von Unfällen sehen. Das erinnert sie daran, dass es anderen noch schlechter geht als ihnen selbst.”

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The first days we spend at Flapping Duck, a relaxed and cheap hostel run by a reggae Thai, not far from Khoa San Road. The perfect place for us to start our travellers life without caring about time, appointments, tomorrow. The time is now.

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How to save money in Bangkok:

  • Take the bus instead of a taxi or tuktuk. The local busses are for free! Bus 53 takes you everywhere and there’s mostly a bus manager who tells you where you ‘should’ step out because they recognize you’re not a local.
  • Buy train tickets on the train station. We bought a ticket 3nd class for 270 bath to Chumphon, if you buy this online the prices could be higher.
  • Refill your water bottle in the refill machines at the side of the streets for 1 Bath instead of buying new bottles. This safes not just money, it’s also good for the environment.
  • Just walk into hotels with a rooftop swimmingpool to enjoy refreshing dive instead of staying there over night.

 

Most impressive:

The refuse collectors were not just picking up the trash and threw it into the garbage car. They separated the trash right on the street before throwing it in the car … and where still smiling 🙂

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And of course the bottle flip! Also in Bangkok 😉

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The journey begins

One of the biggest challenges was to decide what to take. After many ours of brainstorming, we finished our packing list and are hopefully ready for the upcomming adventure.

Packing list:

  • Backpack, daypack, hipbag, dry bag, waterproofed covers
  • Takkie!!!
  • Mysteryland sweater, cap, fan and sunglasses
  • Boef cap
  • Rain jacket, softshell jacket
  • Longsleeve, cap, handgloves, legging, warm socks and scarf (for the colder days)
  • Palladiums cotton and waterproofed
  • Flipflops and watershoes
  • Hammock!!!!!!!
  • Sleeping bag, blow-up pillow
  • Beach blanket, fast drying towell
  • 2 long pants
  • 2 short pants
  • 1 swimming pants / 2 bikini’s
  • Dive mask and snorkel
  • Chiller pants
  • Shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Headtorch
  • Knife, fork, spoon, cup and a water bottle
  • Book to read and trade
  • Lock
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, ear sticks, razor, day cream, beard trimmer
  • Medicine mix
  • First-aid kit
  • Sun cream, anti-bug spray
  • Passport, yellow vaccination book, international driving licence, insurance card, credit card and bank card
  • Laptop and mouse
  • Camera and go-pro
  • Loading tools and cables
  • International plug
  • Presents from our family and friends

Gute Quali

We woke up at 4:00 a.m. to avoid traffic jams and arrived at 8:30 a.m. at Schiphol airport. There we had our ‘last’ good Douwe Egberts coffee. After the coffee we walked to the check-in, sayd goodbye to Janneke’s parents and Lotte and waited until 10:50 a.m. before we could finally walk to our gate. One-way tickets of germans can cause some delay in holland (racists).

At 11:55 the plane left towards our new travelers life. Wooohooooo!!!!

Don’t forget…. it’s just a long holiday ;).

Reed the story of the bracelet on https://www.goudsmidmargriet.com/geen-categorie/dochterlief-gaat-op-wereldreis/

Janneke’s story of the bracelet: Ergens begin april 2014 zag ik een foto met een armbandje waarop de tekst ‘The time is now’ stond. Dat wordt mijn armband dacht ik toen. Om me heen zag ik iedereen hard werken, veel stress hebben en vergeten om te leven. Tijd is kostbaar en om mezelf daaraan te herinneren zal ik het armband dragen aan mijn linkerhand, in plaats van een horloge. Als iemand mij vraagt hoe laat het is laat ik het zien…. The time is now. Wacht niet tot het te laat is en streef je dromen na. Mijn moeder is zo lief om mij dit cadeau te schenken en ik zag nooit vergeten wat zij ooit tegen mij heeft gezegd… Je kunt beter spijt hebben van de dingen die je gedaan hebt dan van de dingen die je niet gedaan hebt.