One Of Hong Kong’s Best Kept Secrets
I’m sure that a lot of Hong Kong expats will hate me for writing this article. For a long time this was our best kept secret, our thing we would have looked forward to every week. Every Sunday afternoon it was our day in Wan Chai – Hong Kong’s most seedy nightlife district. We wouldn’t go out on a Saturday evening, but we would save up energy for the next day. After having a nice breakfast you would go into the MTR – our superior subway system – and we would head to Wan Chai for an afternoon of partying and drinking. In the MTR we would already see them staring and giggling at us, and heading the same direction as us. Why on earth would people do this on a resting day? First let me give a brief sketch of expats in Hong Kong and their relationship with local women.
The older long-term Hong Kong expats I meet are probably one of the most cynical and disillusioned people of all the other Asian expats I’ve encountered. You can live in Hong Kong all your life and be completely segregated from the local people. You don't have to learn Cantonese, even not a little bit and you have all the western comforts you can find at home. And while some of these men have dated Hong Kong women or even have been married to one, they have a very negative attitude towards them. While they are undoubtedly the hottest, cutest, well-spoken and most beautiful girls in Asia, they are very materialistic - which should not come as a surprise in one of the world’s financial capitals. I mean Hong Kong is a feast for the eyes, the girls are so incredibly cute and if you have a Hong Kong girlfriend, you don't have to worry for third world-like scams. However, being a British ex-colony, as a foreigner you are not that special. Foreigners are part of everyday life. And forget finding a Hong Kong girl if you are twice the age and you are neither wealthy nor successful. I had to send many disappointed friends home, who thought that they could find a cute girl in Hong Kong as easy as in Thailand. Hong Kong girls are in that aspect very down-to-earth girls (but that doesn’t mean that many aren’t interested in finding a foreign boyfriend!). And I am not going to blame them for being materialistic, I’d rather blame capitalism. And of course we cannot generalize – every country has its fair share of materialistic girls.
Anyway, our disillusioned expats have their needs as well. They all seem to agree that Hong Kong girls are either way out of their league or they hate their materialistic preferences. Of course, Hong Kong expats regularly visit Thailand or other South-east Asian countries, and they kind of envy the expats there who don't lack the attention of beautiful women. We envy them on every day of the week, but not on Sundays. No Sunday is our day.
Hong Kong has more than 30,000 domestic helpers from the Philippines, Indonesia and to a far lesser extent Thailand. In a city where work is the mantra, you cannot afford to spend your valuable time for housework. So for as little as $3500 HKD a month you can hire a domestic worker doing those chores for you. Many of those domestic workers are hot, young and single women and Sunday is their only free day in the week. So on Sundays, Hong Kong parks, malls and other public spaces are full of domestic helpers chatting, eating, and having fun. On Sundays also the Wan Chai bars and clubs are full of domestic workers partying and flirting with foreigners. They have their sexual needs as well, and even though many of them are (or become?) lesbians, most of them have affairs with expats or other Asian immigrants (like Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos etc.), or are looking for a foreign boyfriend. In a city where local women are not that easy, for many expats those domestic workers are their only pool of available women.
Wan Chai during weekdays is full of prostitutes, expats and curious Hong Kong people, having a good time, or doing business. I have read a guest column of one of your readers about Wan Chai and he advised people to go to those girly-bars. People don’t do it. People are just ripping you off there. The same counts for the freelancers working in other bars in Wan Chai (who are literally from every part of this world – South-east Asians (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.) East-Asians (Chinese etc.), Africans (Nigeria, Tanzania, South-Africa etc.), Russians, South-Americans (Venezuela, Colombia, etc.), Westerners (once in a while I encounter one), and even girls from the Middle East). The well-seasoned expat knows that during weekdays you shouldn’t look for women in Wan Chai. You could better go to Lan Kwai Fong, the more mainstream nightlight district, or to Kowloon side (Jordan, Mongkok etc.), where you can find cheap prostitutes for as little as 200 HKD. Well-seasoned expats know that Sunday afternoons (or to a lesser extend Saturday afternoons) in Wan Chai is the best time to pick up a beautiful young girl (or a middle-aged one, or whatever satisfies your needs). And most of the girls going out on Sunday afternoons are not sex workers. If you go out on a Sunday afternoon, as a foreigner, be prepared for a LOT of female attention, whether you are young or old, and the best thing is, you know that they are ‘normal’ girls. Of course they often have a double agenda, which I will deal later with, but that special feeling, or fantasy, we have in Thailand or Philippines can be experienced every Sunday afternoon in Wan Chai. It is Friday now (at the time of writing this), and even I am looking forward to Sunday even though I’m not even sure whether I will go out then.
Interested? Keep on reading... I will now showcase a typical Sunday afternoon in Wan Chai. All of the mentioned places are in Wan Chai, and if you just go to Lockhart Road, it’s hard not to find those places – so I am not going to mention the addresses of those places) nor do I have any interests in promoting those places.
10:00 – Wake up and have your breakfast and head to Wan Chai. 11:00 – You could have some pints in one of the local pubs (where it is not as crazy as clubs) such as Queen Victoria or Old China Hand. 13:00 – Probably now it's the best time to go to Bar 109. It’s a relatively small bar and at this time it’s full of drunk Indonesian or Filipina girls, expats and all-nighters (women to men ratio will be 4:1). And even though the place smells like puke, the drinks are overpriced (54 HKD for a pint) and it is very very seedy, this place is Sodom and Gomorrah. Seriously..... girls are dancing on the bars, you will get approached by various girls, and everywhere people seem to be making out or worse.... (don’t go inside this place when you are sober....). It's full of girls looking for foreign men, and most likely the sex workers (who are domestic workers as well) – normal girls ratio is 1:2, but the line between sex worker and normal girl is very blurry, it is a very gray area. I will deal with this issue later on.
15:00 - 17:00 – Everyone is leaving Bar 109 and actually now the party is really starting. You have several options now. I will deal with all of them now:
· New Makati - a disco full of Indonesian and to a lesser extent Filipina girls. The drinks are around 50 HKD (actually the prices everywhere are the same) and it’s a good place to meet your beautiful girl. However, these days more and more sex workers or domestic helpers interested in getting paid for sex are coming. It’s a pity.
· Neptune II – If you are interested in normal older Filipina women, this is the place to be. You can buy two Coronas for 46 HKD, and all together the place has a good vibe (as opposed to other weekdays). It’s a good time just to party, not necessarily looking for a girl.
· Neptune III – Even though this place is not as wild as other places, finding a ‘normal’ girl is very easy here. Sex workers are not really interested in this place, but be prepared to meet a lot of mediocre girls here. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. This place will have equally as many Indonesians as Filipinas as well as many Hong Kong and Indian men, who know where the place to be is for picking up a normal girl.
· Going to any pub with an outside view – this is probably the most relaxing way to spend your Sunday afternoon and you can just look at people passing by. But it can also be very boring and it’s relatively expensive.
· Hanging out in front of Seven Eleven – In Wan Chai nothing is too crazy or too cheap. You can just hang out in front of Seven Eleven and meet those girls there. Why not? It’s good for your wallet.
19:00 – You are pretty tipsy already, but it is not finished yet. The following options you have:
· Stay in one of the bar/clubs I mentioned above. The party is continuing and the girls keep on coming.
· Forest Music Bar - If there is one place I never skip when I’m coming to Wan Chai on a Sunday afternoon, it will be this place. Situated on the second floor, this is the place with the hottest domestic workers of Wan Chai – with a sex-worker – normal women ratio of 1:5; and a men – women ratio of 1:6. This place is crazy, which otherwise is a very dull place during weekdays. No girl begging for a lady drink (BTW in none of these place I’ve mentioned during Sundays) and the vibe is great. The place is usually full of Indonesian girls and every time when they play this song everyone goes WILD! I have met so many hot girls in this place, and you feel like a movie star. The bar itself is very neat as well, not as seedy as other places in Wan Chai. For now, a good place to go, but things change rapidly in Wan Chai.
· Amazonia, Escape, Joe-Bananas other places in Wan Chai – during Sunday afternoons I find none of these places very exciting. You could take a look in Escape (which is crazy during the weekdays – with the most beautiful prostitutes you have ever seen), I have not really visited this place on a Sunday afternoon – never saw a reason to, but do go and explore if you have energy left. There was another place, called Traffic (above Forest), but that one seemed to have closed down.
21:00 - Girls are going home now, they have to work tomorrow and the regular prostitutes seem to be coming now. You could stay in Forest or in any other places for a longer period of time, but drinking starting from 11:00 o'clock can be very tiring. And hey, probably you have to work tomorrow as well. By the way, this is for the people who were not aiming at finding a girl for sex at that day. It is relatively easy, but I never did it (I have a girlfriend) and there are some other reasons why I have my reservations. But that’s for you to decide and judge.
23:59 – you came back home, probably twenty new phone numbers richer and you are about to go to sleep, but not after having a great Hong Kong midnight snack or just the local McDonalds.
I was writing this column, not only to show you an insight in this phenomenon, but also to write a kind of travel guide, and therefore I feel myself morally obliged to give you the following tips and dangers, in your interest and the interest of those girls.
· Always have a double SIM card and / or Facebook page. Those girls are persistent, and will keep on contacting you if they are interested in you. Don’t mix up your Wan Chai life with your regular life, simply just don't.
· Don’t offer those girls to sleep with you for money. Many foreigners are spoiling our Wan Chai Sunday afternoon fun for offering 2000 HKD or more to regular, often mediocre, domestic workers to sleep with them. As a girl it is very tempting to accept this offer (since it is equal to half their monthly salary) and many become hardened and use their body as tool to earn money. If you want to pay for sex go to Wan Chai every day of the week, except Sunday, PLEASE. You can get way hotter prostitutes for that kind of money, and you won't have to deal with problems such as emotional attachment or stalking behavior from that girl.
· Be sensitive – only sleep with those relatively normal girls if you are serious in becoming their boyfriend. While many of them are hardened and don’t mind having a one-night (actually one-afternoon) stand, other girls are seriously looking for a boyfriend. Having sex is a big thing for them. Don't be the dirty sleazy westerner ruining the lives of those girls. However, it is hard, very hard, to find a ‘good’ girl in Wan Chai. But don’t promise those girls the world if you just want to have a quick shag.
· Be aware of psychopaths. Many girls in Wan Chai are bi-polar, because of their tough lives, and you don’t want to meet a stalker or someone who threatens to kill herself after you performed the deed and ask her to go away. You don't want to be involved in these kinds of situations.
· Be careful of finding a serious relationship. I can write so many horror stories of people’s lives being ruined by their Wan Chai girl (maybe in another column). Believe me. Have some emotional distance.
· The best reason to go to Wan Chai on a Sunday afternoon is just having fun with beautiful ladies – for me nothing more or less. And just don’t mention to them that you are a tourist.
There are people there who found a relatively good and stable girlfriend and of course they are a much better alternative than the bargirls you will find in Thailand and the Philippines. But the line between sex worker, domestic worker wanting to be paid for sex and your regular girl is extremely blurry. Use your common sense and read the tips found on this website.
What are the benefits of having a Wan Chai Sunday afternoon partner?
✓ They are way less materialistic, and satisfied with less.
✓ You are not involved with any triads, pimps or noisy families trying to rip you off.
✓ Generally the mentally sane Indonesian girls and Filipina girls are easy going, funny and easy to talk with. However, there are fundamental differences between both groups – Filipinas tend to be more cunning, their English is perfect, less easy and more dominant and jealous, while Indonesian girls, even though their English can be quite troublesome (they know Cantonese better than English), are more easy going, less jealous but also more subjected to mental problems. In terms of beauty, I prefer Indonesian girls, they are younger than the Filipinas and more feminine and attractive.
✓ You only see them on Sundays, so other days you can have time for yourself, at least if that is your thing.
What are the disadvantages of having a Wan Chai Sunday afternoon partner?
· Mental disorders - like I mentioned before. Many are bipolar or suicidal. This can result in domestic abuse, stalking behavior, extreme forms of jealousy, threats, but also suicide attempts or they trying to kill you. I heard an interesting story of an expat about his one-afternoon girl who has locked herself up in his bathroom after she realized he was not that serious, and cut her own wrists. Thank God she could be saved, but this is a kind of girl you could meet as well. The expats you meet can give you some good advice who you should chase and who is better to be left alone.
· Cheating behavior. If you think that this girl is just making out with you or fancying you, then you are wrong. Many of these girls have a multitude of boyfriends or sugar uncles. Don’t be fooled, and don't go for the first girl who approaches you. Even the die-hard Wan Chai veterans are cheated once in a while (while he cheats her as well, karma I would say), so have some healthy emotional distance, but don’t be a total woman-disrespecting asshole.
· Many of those girls are looking for new employers. Western employers tend to treat their domestic helpers better, and pay most. So many of those girls are looking for a new employer. Often they say: could you sign my contract? But seriously, would you like to have a girl who is your domestic helper and girlfriend in one? I couldn’t (and I don’t have the money as well).
· Like I said before, the gray area of sex workers, domestic helpers wanting to be paid for sex and normal girls, can be troublesome. Be clear about what you want, and definitely don't want. Don’t pay if it is not agreed upon.
· Many guys who are involved in relationships with domestic workers, are being domestically abused, lose their social life because of their wives’ jealousy and are being controlled and dominated. Be careful, like I said before.
I guess I’m a bit tired of Wan Chai afternoons. I prefer to put in that little bit of more effort in finding a cute and more suiting Hong Kong girl, than chasing those domestic helpers. I’ve not lived long enough in Hong Kong to be that bitter yet. And looking at it through a sober lens, sometimes it's a bit of a sad story, of two groups of people just being confined to each other and finding each other not necessarily because of choice but out of necessity. But if you are visiting Hong Kong, don’t forget to visit Wan Chai on a Sunday afternoon - you will find this nowhere else in the world except Hong Kong.