“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom; and in freedom, most people find sin.”
Fun, daring and kinky, I believe are the three best words to describe my whole experience in Amsterdam. Whenever I travel, I make sure I do the best things that the place has to offer. As much as possible, I indulge in their culture even if I am only staying there for a bit of time. When I ask my friends and co-travellers what to see in this city, they always say The Red Light District; but coming here and experiencing the city myself made me realise that it actually has more to offer than to roam around the city of sin. So here I am, sharing with you our three-day valentine’s celebration in this lovely Dutch city, Amsterdam. Read through and discover why I call it daring and kinky. 😉 *wink wink* The best valentine’s celebration ever!
The airport in Amsterdam is called Schipol Amsterdam airport. From here to city center, the best is to get there via bus 397, airport express. Tickets can be bought from a mini red bus ticket booth near the exit. Return, which is good for 14 days, costs €11.50, one way is €6.50. Make sure to not lose your ticket if you’re buying a return. I lost mine (not really surprising, I lose a lot of things while travelling, lol!). However, if you lose yours, not to worry, bus stops have ticket machines where you can pay with card, or you can pay cash/card from the bus driver too!
Google maps won’t help you with 397 bus times, so don’t waste your time googling it. If you use google maps to find your way to the city center, it will give you tram/train options. You will need to change transportation a couple of times. So yes, stick with the 397 bus, they’re always available. The last stop brings you to the center of Amsterdam.
Going Around Town
There are several transportations you can use to go around town. You can ride trams, buses, metro and bicycles! Cycling is very popular activity in Amsterdam, just like in Cambridge where me and my partner Jack live, but their cycle lanes here are crazy! They’re confusing because they’re cobbled like the walkways. Same with their tramways (see pic below), they’re on cobbled walkways too! So be extra mindful of your surroundings. I noticed that a lot of cyclists don’t stop when people cross the pedestrian lanes. They also cycle really fast even if they are sharing roads with pedestrians. In Cambridge, this is frowned upon. If you’re not confident with cycling, use other modes of transportation, or better yet, walk and hold hands with your partner while enjoying the view of the canals and pretty shops around the city!
If you wanna know more about prices of transportation, click here. Since our accommodation was pretty much in the centre of everything we needed to go, we did not have to buy tickets of trams/buses, and we used the extra money for other fun stuff *wink wink*
I always search airbnb first whenever I want to travel because it’s always cheaper, with the luxury of your own kitchen, bath, and other amenities that the usual hotel won’t offer. I love the idea of being able to prepare your own food in the morning. It is more affordable to buy your own food, plus you get to see what their markets has to offer. It’s all part of the culture trip!
Houseboats are part of Amsterdam lifestyle as they have canals everywhere. In fact, they even have the houseboat museum open for everyone who are curious of what it’s like living in a boat. So when we saw this in airbnb, we knew this will add to the fun experience of our trip!
It’s a houseboat with 2 bedrooms and our bedroom costs £186 for 2 nights. It has its own kitchen, shower and toilet, and a rooftop where you can sit and dine while people watching! It was one of the highlights of our trip!
ACTIVITIES WE DID AND PLACES WE VISITED
Let me share with you the places that appealed to our taste and I’ll let you decide if you wanna visit them too. We were only in Amsterdam for 3 days and I’m pretty sure there are other places near Amsterdam that you can visit. We didn’t have that time, but I believe we have seen a lot in Amsterdam city itself. Click on the titles to go to their websites where you can read more info about pricing, bookings and what to expect. I have also provided their google map location. 😉
(see location here)
“Starry, starry night
Paint your palette blue and gray
Look out on a summer’s day
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul…”
-Don Mclean, Vincent
If you’re a big fan of art, you definitely know who Vincent Van Gogh is. I have been a fan of his works, life and his influence to the modern art. He helped people understand abstract and is one of the great pioneers of impressionism. As a nurse and a fan of art, I have deeply appreciated his story as he tried to express his sanity through his works. In his later works, his brush strokes and use of vivid colours made me wonder how they look so cheerful yet depressing at the same time.
The museum does not only showcase Van Gogh’s paintings, but it tells his story and his admiration for living the simple life which echoes from his paintings and letters to his family.
This is what his painting called “The potato eaters” is famous for. It depicts the simple life of peasants and how he admired the peaceful life in the country side.
There is a nice museum shop near the entrance where you can buy things printed with Vincent’s artworks. Since my cardholder broke that day, I did not hesitate to buy this cardholder with a print of one of my favorite Van Gogh artworks. It’s €19.50 but it is made of Italian leather and has very nice feel to it. I also bought a lens cleaner for €2.50 because I forgot to bring mine. Also, I thought it would be nice to add it next to my sistine chapel lens cleaner on my work desk.
Although i liked the whole tour, I didn’t appreciate the fact that they don’t take cash for payments in the musem shop. A lot of tourists from other countries bring cash instead, so card-only policy doesn’t really make sense. Good thing my boyfriend brought his card with him and paid for my shopping! 🙂
Nope, I wasn’t able to see the famous Starry Night painting here as it was in a museum in New York, but my appetite for art was definitely satisfied by this tour. My boyfriend loved it too! He did not know much about Vincent before but he said he really enjoyed and learned a lot from this tour. I almost cried before leaving the museum and have loved Vincent’s life and works more than ever! Definitely worth it!
(see location here)
If you are a cat lover, oooh.. yes, you’ve come to the right place my love. Amsterdamians are fond of felines! Don’t be surprise if the restaurant where you eat have atleast a cat by the window. They keep them as fearful guardians against pests and cute entertainers for customers.
De Poezenboot, or The Cat Boat in english, is a floating sanctuary for our felines who are in dire need for home. Some of them are permanent residents here, but some are up for adoption. If you are craving to touch those little paws and soft furs, search no more, De Poezenboot is the place to be! You can play with them, scratch behind their ears and take lots of pictures with them. Just be careful of other kitties in pain, they are irritable and are trying to regain their strength, so DON’T DISTURB! The staff here are really friendly too. They will tell you which kitties will let you scratch their bellies or who will scratch you in the face. *meow*
(see location here)
There is a nice café after the shop. After the two-hour tour, it was fun to just sit there and relax and enjoy the sunny view of the canals.
(see location here)
This tour was definitely not my idea because I am not a beer-type of person. It was definitely my boyfriend’s suggestion to come to this place, but I am actually glad we did it, because I have learned a lot from this tour and Heineken is the best beer in Amsterdam and I am up for anything best whenever I travel!
The museum shows how the brewery takes place and the special ingredients they put to have a distinct Heineken beer taste. They let you have some shots of barley+water which lets you realise that without the hops, it will not have that distinctive spice of beer. Hops give the bitterness taste of the beer which balances the sweetness of barley itself. The A-yeast converts the sugar into alcohol. I never knew these things before and it was nice to learn about it while having a taste of it too!
It was very interactive and they let you experiece to stir the barley! These were the things I enjoyed in this tour, after this, everything was mostly touristy stuff which me and my partner thought were not necessary at all.
Free photos! We did enjoy this part too though. Cute valentine’s photos added to our Amsterdam experience!
What we enjoyed the most was the bar at the end of the tour. I thought I had a lovely conversation with my love in there while drinking the best beer in town. It must have been the green lights too, they were calming. In total, we each got 3 glasses of beers for free! But Jack had more because there was an old couple who gave us their beer tokens. They did not want to get drunk like we did, bless them.
(see location here)
Whenever I travel, I always make sure to find a good sky view of the whole place. Upon searching, I found this website for A’dam lookout that boasts of 360 degrees view of Amsterdam. I read through it and it looked interesting as they have various attractions in the building itself.
What caught my attention though was the swing on the edge at the top of the building. It’s said to be the highest swing in Europe – 330 feet high! This is one of the reasons why I call this trip daring. Would you dare try it yourself? I never had the second thought about it! If you are afraid of heights, of course you might not like this one. It felt really trippy. I wonder what it would feel like to ride on this swing while you’re high on cannabis. LOL! Maybe tell me on the comments section if you’ve tried it. *wink*
Anyway, it was a really fun experience especially with a loved one. You are literally on the edge, hanging by the moment together. It makes me smile just by reminiscing it.
To get there from Amsterdam, you need to go to Amsterdam Centraal Station and board the ferry going to Buiksloterweg. Don’t worry about the fare, it is free! It takes about 5 minutes until you reach Buiksloterweg, and from there, it’s about 2 mins walk to A’dam Lookout building.
Entrance fee to A’dam lookout is €13.50 if you buy it at the entrance, but if you book it online, you get €1 discount. You can also book the swing as an add on to your entrance ticket and it costs €5 per person.
Upon entering the building, your pictures will be taken like the one shown on the right. Digital copy is free but if you want it printed, you have to pay after the tour. They will give you a card with the website address and a code so you can download your photos for free.
After picture-taking, you will fall in line to ride the elevator going to the skyview. I think it was the best elevator I’ve ever ridden. Even this elevator was a bit trippy.
Looking up and watching those changing lights move up felt like you’re riding a time machine to the future. Again, now that I’ve thought about it, I wonder how it feels like to ride this elevator while you’re high on space cake? LOL! Whatever it was, I’m glad I did not try it. It could have been a sicky feeling.
I intentionally booked this tour near sunset time so we can have a romantic scenery of the city. It was a lovely panorama from the top of this building. After looking around and taking pictures, we rode the highest swing in Europe! It was the best swing I’ve ever had in my whole life! We saw the whole Amsteram city from there and a beautiful view of the sunset. We were very lucky to have had a nice weather that day even if it was in the coldest month of February. I actually thought it was going to rain, thank goodness it did not.
The swing pictures were free, but you can buy the video on the website they will provide on the card by the end of your tour. I bought it so you guys can see what it looks like. It is a pretty cool video, very instagrammable as it’s only a minute long. They only show the first minute of your swing experience though, so if I were you, do some cool, silly, or romantic stuff you wanna be captured on the first minute of the video if you are planning to buy it. It costs €9.50, it’s HD quality and they will send downloadable copy to your email address.
After we had appeased ourselves of the view, we decided to take a break in their very nice bar & restaurant called Madam which again had the panoramic view of the city, only this time, we were inside to stay warm. It was very nice and cosy. Drinks there were quite expensive though. Their cocktails range from €11 to €13.50 and their pint of Heineken beer was around €6-€7. So if you are staying in this lounge for a beer or two, I suggest you buy their premium ticket instead which includes the entrance fee to A’dam Lookout building, 2 drinks (cocktails not included) and a goodie (I don’t know what this is but it might be a snack), which costs €18.50 as oppose to the regular entrance fee of €12.50 without drinks, you do the math. 😉
We spent a few hours there and waited for the sun to totally set, and voila! City lights look fantastic from up here! Hello Amsterdam night life! The lights were so inviting so we thought it was time to head back to our little house boat and get ready for our next stop, where else, but to where the real night life begins: Red Light District.
(see location here)
AHA! I know this part is what you have been dying to read. Are you sure you did not skip the ones above to read this? LOL! This was where the real fun started. Although, I might say, this district is not fun for everyone. Others might find this place demoralising to women, a place for perverts and drug addicts, and religious people might say that this is the modern Sodom and Gomora. Well, you are not far off of it, but if you are daring enough to stay and walk around the city of sin, you will find that there really is a lot of fun in this part of town.
Walk around the district with an open mind
The first time I walked in the streets of Red Light District, I was really shocked. I have never ever seen a place so openly display prostitutes and drugs. There were windows with red lights in every corner we turned, and in them were pretty women dressed in their sexiest suits. Curvacious, thin, fat, pregnant, transgender, blonde, straight, curly, black hair, name what you are looking for physically in a woman, they were right there. I must say, this place almost converted me to become part of the LGBT community. Most women behind the windows were just damn gorgeous. I could not help but stare. 0_0 In my mind, this was wrong, but to survive this walk, I had to stay open-minded and reminded myself that this is part of their culture and prostitution and cannabis is legal in this country.
Watch a Peep Show
There are various activities you can do in the Red light district aside from staring at gorgeous women behind the red-lit windows. There is a Peep Show available at the Sex Palace where you have to enter in one of the red doors (shown in the picture above), which will bring you to a cubicle with a curtained window. There is a machine to insert a €2 euro coin. Once you have put your coin, voila! The curtain will open and you will see a woman dancing naked in front of you showing you all parts of her body, licking and playing with her fingers and orifices. My partner and I shared a cubicle and were just giggling and laughing at each other’s comments about the woman dancing on stage. I cannot remember how long a peep show lasted before it showed a different woman, but we started and finished a whole act and it cost us €6 in total. We wanted to see the couple but we felt it was a waste of money to wait for it, so we left and moved on to our next agenda.
If peep show is not enough, watch a live show!
I’m telling you, peep show is just a starter. If you want the main event, go and enter a live show. It’s €40-€50 per person depending on where you watch it. I would not be able to tell you the difference because we never went in one. But the title of the shows were interesting, like pens, balloons, etc. Uhm.. do they write with pens or pop balloons using their vaginas? I wonder. My boyfriend said he had been to one of these shows in the past so I did not feel like seeing one. I wanted to do something both of us have not done in Amsterdam. Oh and yes I wanted something more fun than watching a live show. *grins*
Drink in a bar, sit by the window, people watch then reflect on your life
There are a lot of bars on the streets of the district. If ever you are already tired of walking up and down, go to one, sit by the window and grab a drink. It was fun to watch men outside while they pick their ladies behind the windows, but it was sad that some of them were rude. I felt lucky enough that I was only sitting by a window at a bar with the love of my life, and not standing behind those red-lit windows for a living.
Discover why space cake is called space cake
Talk to women behind the windows
Out of curiosity, we bravely knocked on some of the windows of women we thought were gorgeous and interviewed them on what they do with couples who come to seek entertainment. They were very friendly which made it easier to talk to them. What was uneasy were the people around eavesdropping and watching our next move.
Some of them have never tried it with a woman before, and some of them were experts and were willing to do a lot of things with a couple from simple pleasures like sensual massage to kinky ones like SNM. The price is €50 per person per 20 minutes and it does not matter if one of you is just going to watch or join in. If you are a couple, price is the same for each of you, that makes €100 per session. No one is allowed to kiss them and one needs to use a condom when having sex or receiving a blow job. Obviously, for health purposes, they would not go down on you if you are a woman and you cannot go down on them too. This actually puts your mind at ease because you know that they protect themselves and that protects you too.
Interesting fact, a lot of couples go and try threesome with the ladies at Red Light District and most of the time, girls end up crying and arguing with their boyfriends. A lady we talked to said she does not have sex with guys when coming in with their partners because it always ends up badly. She only gives blowjobs and plays with the ladies. So if you are thinking about trying this with your partner, ask yourself first if you really want to do it and have a clear mind set of what you want to do before coming up to a decision. Afterall, you went to Amsterdam to have fun and if you think you can’t handle this, just turn around and walk away from the temptations that might break your loving relationship. 😉
Visit the Red Light Secrets Museum
If you want to know more about what is happening behind the red lit windows, either go and spend money on a girl behind one, or go to this museum. It shows what it looks like inside, tells a little bit of history about prostitution in Amsterdam, confessions from some prostitutes, how they do their business from renting a window to getting ready for their day, and even tells a murder story of a prostitute in the very building itself.
I like that it educates people about respecting the prostitutes. There is an interactive part where you get to sit and experience what it feels like getting stared at. I didn’t like the feel. I felt sad for them all of a sudden. You can never choose your customers, and some of them are very nasty.
I enjoyed reading through the wall of confessions at the last part of the tour. I found most of them shockingly funny.
There was a photobooth just before the exit and it was fun, although it didn’t have a screen where you can see yourself. As you can see I was at the edge of the picture at the top. I particularly liked the props and immediately went for the pink bunny mask. When I turned around to my boyfriend, I laughed so hard because he was already wearing a black masquerade mask and a collar. He gave me the kitty stick so I can slap him with it. It was hilarious! Very kinky indeed!
My Best Dam Memory is…
What happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam. So a lot have been asking if we did anything naughty at the Red Light. Well, neither I confirm nor deny. I will just leave you with this, Amsterdam is more enjoyable with a partner if both of you find fun in being naughty, playful and adventurous. This trip would not have been as much pleasurable as it would be if Jack was not as open minded as I was and vice versa. It had only strengthened our relationship and added more spice to it. This was definitely a very different trip from our Venice summer weekend which was very romantic and sentimental. Our whole Amsterdam trip was definitely fun, daring and kinky!