From well manicured beaches and roadsides to striking architectural masterpieces, Singapore tops world’s most expensive cities list for 2014. Geylang, being called Singapore’s red light district is the place where tourist can experience the real Asian feel of the country. The interesting neighborhood is the opposite of the glossy magazine version of Singapore.
Home to brothel, KTV lounges and by-the-hour hotels, Geylang is juxtaposed against a background of prostitution and street-smart merchants, selling illegally imported cigarettes and Viagra. The streets are filled with young women, well-experienced in the oldest profession. the ladies were standing together in groups, chatting, drinking and occasionally spiting on the ground.
We dived into the vibrant district and was surrounded by the residents, mainly migrant workers from Banlgadesh, India and China, prostitutes and men that had came to seek pleasure and companionship.
The street merchants had opened their “shops” and were selling anything and everything. when we tried to take a photo of the stock on display, we were chased by a relatively young Chinese lady. She insisted that we delete all the photos we took, or we will have a problem. We deleted the photos, but later on came back and managed to capture the various items that she was put on display.
Further down the street, heavy smokers were excited by the wide variety of illegally imported cigarettes that were selling for $5 per piece. The cigarettes were places in garbage bags and the sellers were keeping smart distance, so they can attend their customers, but also to look like they are ordinary people that are just walking by.
The air was saturated with the heavy and sweet smell of Durians in combination with the smell that was coming out of the Korean BBQ restaurants. The streetwalkers and bicycle riders were completing the heavy traffic in Geylang, comprised of cars, taxis and minivans. The colonial style shophouses were adorned with neon signs that were illuminating the dirty streets.
Geylang is the place in Singapore that looks, feels and smells like Asia. With restaurants that run the length of Geylang both sides and a greedy grab of Peranakan, Indian, Malay and regional Chinese standards including the coconut rice and curry chicken. We finished the night passing by one of the most intriguing hotels in the area, Gay World Hotel.