Whether they are talked about in hushed tones or openly, the red light areas are the corners of almost every major city where sex trade thrives. There is so much to experience in a city once you cross the landmarks of the guidebook’s to do list. To get a deeper look at what makes a town to tick, exploring the underbelly is a must. From the alleys of Bangkok, to the regulated lanes of Amsterdam, the sex industry has made an indelible mark on some of the most popular destinations in the world. If you are considering adding visiting these international erotic playgrounds either as a curious spectator or participant, here are the the 5 best red light areas in the world to add in your itinerary.
5. Patpong – Bangkok in Thailand
With its high pace of life and high temperatures, Bangkok is famous for all things sordid and steamy. Sex work in the city is not exactly legal nor illegal but it has made Bangkok a hub of sex trade in Southeast Asia. This means you are in for a memorable experience while walking down the streets of Patpong Market, Soi Cowboy and Soi Nana. On a tour of Patton market, expect to find every stereotype you have heard of about Thailand from ladyboy cabarets, go go girls, massage parlors, ping pong shows, and stalls selling wide collection of sex toys and enhancements. Hawkers are always lined on the streets selling anything from live sex to ping pong shows and the best part is that the participant has a say in the final price.
4. Pigalle – Paris, France
Paris is known as the city of love. Couple stream here to ogle sights such as the gilded halls of Versailles, the Eiffel Tower as well as the collection at Louvre. Therefore, it makes that you will also find the sexier side of life in Paris. Pigalle, located at the heart of Paris, harbours one of the most active red light districts in the world. It is packed with strip clubs, sex shops, porn stores, rowdy clubs and bars as well as peep shows. It is also home to the infamous Moulin Rouge which features dinner service and that are titillating without being obscene. X-rated adventures await you in Pigalles clubs, shows and erotic museum.
3. Reeperbahn – Hamburg, Germany
Reeperbahn in Hamburg, Germany is one of the most infamous red light areas in Europe. It is packed with bars, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs making it a go to spot for both locals and travelers looking to let off steam over the weekend. The real action takes place along Herbertstrasse Street where naked prostitutes entice potential clients from behind the windows.You will find a melange of porn stores, sex shops, strip clubs and a sex museum along the street all aimed at giving the visitors a good time. So as not to offend people with delicate sensibilities and minors, Herbertstrasse is gated off and only persons over 18 years can get in. Find more about Germany’s red light districts here.
2. Kabukicho – Tokyo, Japan
Japan is famous for its bizarreness with one of the biggest red light district being among its eccentricities. Located right in the middle of Japan’s busy capital, Tokyo – Shinjuku district is packed with bars that are staffed with pretty semi-naked men and women who are paid to dote customers. You will also find naked karaoke, sex dolls for rent and themed love hotels are nearly every block of Tokyo. Though sex work in Japan is illegal, sex workers in Kabukicho, Tokyo have found ways around the laws.
1. De Wallen – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Charming canals, quaint row houses, bright orange Olympic speed skating outfits and Dutch pancakes are what comes to mind when Amsterdam is mentioned. In addition to this, De Wallen is Amsterdam’s biggest red light area and the biggest in the world where sex workers occupy windowed cabins along the streets. Government regulations helps to keep the town as pure and clean as a district dedicated to sex could possibly be. Today, brothels must be licensed, pimping is illegal and all participants from the worker to client must pay tax. Amsterdam even has a sex worker’s union. In addition, organizations such like the PIC (prostitution information center) offer a pro legalization platform for sex workers in the city including tours of De Wallen. Their aim is to empower workers working in the sex industry and de stigmatize prostitution. Find more about De Wallen here.