Before I go to sleep, it is now 2:04am here, I just have to share this which got me highly amused.
On my way home this evening, there was this group of ladies from a foreign country who boarded the same public bus as me. They were standing in front of me and then, one of them asked me how many bus stops it were to XXX address, which she showed me on her phone. I replied her and there then was a bit of communication confusion before I told them that I would inform them when they had reached wherever they wanted to alight. The same lady then asked me something about the ‘Red Line’ and I thought she was referring to the MRT line, but she was not. She was instead talking about the ‘red light district’ of Geylang, and I was floored when I heard that they wanted to see the area. I mean, hello!!!! This is not Amsterdam. The ‘night birds’ are not that exotic as the Dutch’s as most of them have flown from PRC. But anyway, this goes to show that even tourists from the neighbouring countries know about the inFamous Geylang area, all pun intended.
But what got me worried was that this group of ladies, about 5 of them, were all dressed very decently, and they were also about in their 20s, so my next question was, “Are you sure?” The shocked on my face must had been very evident as they were reassuring me that they only wanted to go take a look at the “colourful” nightlife there before they go back to their hotel, which I suspected to be in Chinatown as one of them asked which bus service to take them there, and go home to regale their families with stories of sleazy Geylang.
I am really tickled that there are other people who put visiting Geylang in their list of must-see Singapore itinerary. Well, I hope those ladies were alright and managed to get back to their rooms safely as there are occasional raids by the police in the area. The tourists would not want to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. :S
Welcome to Singapore. 😀
A little bit of information:
Geylang is located in the eastern part of Singapore. It is actually quite a huge area so we locals are quite specific when we mention which part of Geylang. It is named after the Geylang river in the area.
There is Geylang Seri, which is a predominantly Malay area encompassing Eunos and Paya Lebar MRT, stretching to Joo Chiat Road/Joo Chiat Place. Other than Kampong Glam in the city area, Geylang Seri is a good place to get traditional Malay clothing and food, especially at Geylang Seri Wet Market a.k.a Geylang Pasar, and also Joo Chiat Complex. As now is the Muslim month of Ramandan, there is a Pasar Malam (Night market) set up in the area, selling food, clothing and other stuff in preparation for Hari Raya Puasa. There are some stalls opened during the day but most stalls will operate from late afternoon till early morning. The Pasar Malam is quite pack during the weekend so keep your wallets and purses close to yourself at all times.
And then there is Geylang ‘Red light district’, which is the area after Payar Lebar MRT to Aljunied MRT, bordering Guillermard Road. Most of the action takes place in the areas surrounding Lorongs (Malay word for lanes) 16-12. If you happen to see lighted red lanterns hanging in front of houses, that is the usual sign for the brothels. When you happen to be traveling westward on the public bus, and going through Geylang, you will be bound to see “night birds” out at as early as 8am. You can easily spot them standing along the five-foot way of the shop houses, or else chatting with leering old men, dressed in really short dresses or short pair of shorts. Somehow, they stand out even when they are alone. Also, in recent years, the ‘red light district’ had seen an influx of foreign workers, especially from the Middle Kingdom, so we locals dubbed it the “unofficial Chinatown” or “the second Chinatown”. You will know what I mean if you do visit that place.
The other parts of Geylang are mainly Governmental Housing Estates, so those are very safe. None of the sleazy stuff. Just ordinary folk leading ordinary lives.
So, if you are thinking of taking a trip out of the usual Singapore itinerary, make a trip out to Geylang but just be careful, of everything. Even though it is mostly safe here in Singapore, just take precaution, like how you would travel in any other part of the world.