It is given that the red light districts is sometimes if not often included in our itinerary during our travel, I guess some will react to this but mostly men as well as women wouldn’t mind going to these areas, whether to look around and have few beers while enjoying the scenery, few laughs and some flirting but what happens beyond will be individuals preference.
These days Red Light Districts have gone beyond being devoted to sex tourism alone, and are now often seen as destinations for artistic, historical, and cultural interest. Bars, clubs, pubs, restaurants and even art galleries are popping up all over the place… that said, the sordid underbelly remains.
Amsterdam’s De Wallen – The Netherlands
Amsterdam’s De Wallen is the biggest red light district in The Netherlands and undoubtedly the most famous red light area in the world. Over the years De Wallen has become a major tourist attraction with its unusual coffee shops selling “herbal remedies”, great clubs and pubs and of course to have a peek through the over 300 glass doors that line the streets. De wallen also is one of the oldest precincts in Amsterdam so if you can divert your eyes upwards take a moment and be amazed at the houses and buildings which are truly magnificent monuments.
Reeperbahn, Hamburg – Germany
Known to the locals as ‘the sinful mile’, Reeperbahn is the biggest of two major nightlife centers in Hamburg. Obviously with the gallery topic you can experience strip clubs, sex shops and everything else that goes hand in hand with red light districts but the Reeperbahn also features many not so risqué clubs, pubs, musical theatres and some quite risqué museums and cabaret shows.
Kabukichō, Tokyo – Japan
Often called ‘the sleepless town’ Kabukichō in Tokyo is home to many eloquently named hostess bars, host bars and love hotels making this one of Japan’s most popular entertainment/red light districts. Similar to other red light districts but with a distinctly Japanese twist, you can enjoy great food, sing at karaoke bars and party at some of the best night clubs you will find in Tokyo.
Patpong, Soi Cowboy & Nana Plaza Bangkok – Thailand
Patpong, Soi Cowboy & Nana Plaza in Thailand are the most famous of all red light districts in Asia for westerners. Now I will not go into all there is to know about this area, as most people already know about it, and if you don’t then you probably don’t need to. One thing this area is popular for is the night market, which is overpriced and mainly geared towards the tourists, but if you’re prepared to bargain there are good prices.
Kings Cross, Sydney – Australia
Known to the locals as ‘The Cross’, Kings Cross in Sydney has had a lot of publicity over the years including a recent show based on the areas crime issues called ‘Underbelly’ and books such as ‘kill and catch your own’. Today the area is dominated by restaurants, nightclubs, adult stores and the attitude that the party never ends, with much of the area staying open 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
Portland Street, Hong Kong – China
Portland Street in Hong Kong is famous for it’s large skyscraper complex known as Langham Place, restaurants, massage parlours, karaoke and hostess bars. With it’s dizzying and chaotic array of neon signs the area has become a popular place for movie makers.
Paris’ Pigallem – France
Home to world famous cabarets Moulin Rouge and Divan du Monde, Pigalle has had a raunchy reputation since WW2. Many famous artists have lived in Pigalle over the years, including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, and Salvador Dali. Dali’s art can even be enjoyed at the nearby Espace Dali. Not only will you find your fair share of sex shops in the area, but also other places you may never have dreamed existed. Sex museum anyone? The Musée de l’érotisme, or Museum of Eroticism, is home to extensive art collections that consist of religious art of india, Japan and Africa and contemporary art all with obviously an erotic focus.