Getting a haircut and shave while traveling

I’ve pretty much always gone way too long between haircuts. My neglect is really just about thinking it’s a time consuming hassle. Back in The States I begrudgingly pay Supercuts US$15-20 to cut my hair, although increasingly I just have Elena drag electric clippers over it for me because I loathe driving to the haircut place, waiting for an indeterminate amount of time, having someone drag electric clippers over my head with varying levels of skill.

Being a digital nomad and going from country to country means eventually you need to get a haircut from people that are unlikely to speak your language. That can be a bit intimidating at first, but now I actually prefer it all the other options.

The first haircut and shave in Thailand

A couple years ago in Thailand I drove by one of the many little barber shops you see lining the roads. Local Thai men getting a cut and shave from barbers. From the looks of it these people were paying pennies for that classic barber shop experience that I last witnessed when I was about 5 years old and my dad took me to one. Yeah, in the US hipster barber shops the recreate that have been popping up for a decade, but I’ve never actually visited one.

Anyway, one day I finally decided I’d surmount the language difficulties and go to one of these local little barbershop. It was _so_ much fun. I’m sure I wasn’t the first foreigner to sit down in there, but I’m sure I was the first to do so with a beard like mine. We laughed, and as is de rigueur they joked about shaving my whole beard off.  While I’m not quite ready for that, truth is if it happened I’d roll with it.  You’ve got to be prepared for things to go wrong, even though at least in my dozen or so experiences now it never has.

In desperate need of a haircut and a shave in Indonesia

Note: I took this photo 5 times... how this is the one I saved I'm not sure... but it pretty much sums it up.

Note: I took this photo 5 times… how this is the one I saved I’m not sure… but it pretty much sums it up.

I could have pretty easily gone into a barber shop back on Bali where they all spoke excellent english, but I kept having other things to do.  Then this morning I thought I’d try on the say to the airport, but they didn’t open until noon.  My flight was so delayed that I probably could have done that, but alas I didn’t. I flew to Malang, Indonesia still needing a haircut and beard trimming.  Malang is not a tourist destination and while in the first few hours I’ve found a lot of people do speak some english, it sure isn’t Bali.

Finding barbershop in Indonesia

IMG_2994Foursquare helped me find 2 near by barber shops. GoJek got me a motorbike ride the 1km to the nearest one, Pullman Barbershop, which turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.

There is a growing hipster kind of barber shop thing going on over here in asia as well. Only this haircut, shave and shampoo only cost me 70k IDR (US$5.38).

A couple of the guys in the shop spoke very good english, well enough to help the guy actually cutting my hair (who spoke very limited english) to make sure he was getting it right.  A few “Satu centi” while pointing at my beard to say, “1 centimeter” and “tiga tiga tiga” while pointing all over me head to say #3 clippers and a very barber who really wanted to make sure it all came out alright made for a lot of fun and a nice clean up for dinner tonight with Tri and Tunggul. It’s good if they don’t think there boss is a homeless dude.


  1. I hear ya Jon Brown!

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