The Bar Scene in Hong Kong
I have read a lot about Thailand, the Philippines and, on occasion, Singapore on here. However, Hong Kong is virtually never mentioned. As a long-term expat and some-time mongerer, I thought I’d help redress the balance with my first ever post.
Hong Kong has a couple of red light districts. The main expat one is Wan Chai on Hong Kong island. Here, the girls are mainly Filipino, with a significant percentage of Thais. You can also find a mix of other nationalities (e.g. Cambodia, Eastern Europe). The other main area is on the Kowloon side, mainly around Tsim Sha Tsui but stretching out to Mong Kok as well. The girls in these places tend to be from mainland China. The Kowloon areas tend to exist more to service the local Chinese guys rather than their Western counterparts. I think there’s only one Filipino bar (Red Lips) and one Thai bar (name not known) on that side.
So, focusing on Wan Chai, I would say there are two distinct scenes: the gogo bars (which I will come back to) and the freelancer hang-outs. Prostitution in Hong Kong is legal, but the freelancers are invariably working illegally – they are generally in Hong Kong on tourist visas, or else they are domestic helpers looking to make some extra cash on their day off. The easiest place to find them is in the discos of Wan Chai. Neptune 2, Neptune 3 and Escape are all classic examples. These places can be fun to go to if you actually feel like dancing to the (often very good) Filipino cover bands there but beware: on busy days they can get very full. I can’t say much about prices in these places but I would guess some of the older, less attractive women would go for 500 HKD (60 USD).
Now on to the gogo bars, which I do know about. First off, the gogo bars are incredibly expensive. Ladies drinks can be 300 HKD (40 USD) each. Short term barfines are at least 1,500 HKD (190 USD) and all night barfines can be as much as 3,500 HKD (450 USD). You can easily rack up a bill of 7,000 HKD (900 USD) by the time you’ve bought drinks for various girls and mamasans, and agreed to pay an all-nighter. It really would be cheaper to fly to the Philippines and check out the gogo bars there. Obviously, that’s harder to explain to the wife so, if you’re old and rich like me, perhaps Wan Chai is still a better bet.
Okay – so what can you expect in a Hong Kong gogo bar? Well, there are about 15 or so of these bars all crammed along a relatively short stretch of Lockhart Road. They all look pretty similar inside – very small (rent is crazy in Hong Kong), with about 10 girls on show. They usually have a pole-dancing stage with a couple of girls dancing on it in their underwear (no-one has a licence for topless dancing these days). There are fixed stools around the bars, and more private booths around the edges, often with a curtain. Currently, I would say ‘Crazy Horse’ has the nicest girls if you’re after a specific recommendation.
The girls in these bars are almost always Filipino. They generally speak very good to excellent English, and can be fun to talk to. They are hired, completely legally, on 6 month contracts (with a health screening at the start). The tend to be slim and young (18 – 25). Looks-wise, some are a bit plain, others are stunners. They put a brave face on it, but this work is hard on them. The hours are very long, and they don’t get many free days (between 0 and 4 a month). Many of them do this to support their children. The rest have come to Hong Kong to support their parents and siblings. It’s not uncommon for these girls to lose their virginity to customers – I have personally known 3 who have done this. Because they are on a contract, they cannot quit whenever they like, or choose not to go into work for a few days – they have to turn up. They incur very significant debts to the agencies to come out here (covering flights, accommodation etc.) – this can be of the order of 30,000 HKD (3,800 USD). This is a huge amount for a girl whose family is so poor that she has to prostitute herself to support them. With this debt over their heads, the girls are under tremendous pressure to win customers. That said, the successful ones will be able to pay off their debts and make a lot more on top, even though less than one third of the barfine goes to them. The rest of the barfine goes to the mamasans who do, in fairness, have to pay the insane rent for their premises.
By law, the girls aren’t supposed to do too much in the bar itself – prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, but brothels aren’t. They might give you a welcoming ‘handshake’ during a topless lap dance but this is really just to get you in the mood so that you’ll pay the barfine and leave with your girl. That said, if you really don’t want to leave, and the bar has a curtained ‘VIP’ area, the mamasans might let you do your business then and there provided you’re quick. These bars do occasionally get raided by police – I’ve actually been present for one of these. You could be in trouble if you’re caught in flagrante but, otherwise, all they do is check the girls' passports to make sure their working visas are in date.
So, what happens when you leave, girl in hand? Well, for starters, Wan Chai is not just a red light district – it’s also a popular drinking venue for expats. So, you might want to be a bit careful about running into your colleagues from the office. So, hop into a taxi with her and go to an hourly hotel. Wan Chai is filled with them: the more expensive ones almost seem like normal business hotels – the cheaper ones are like mental hospitals. My favourite is ‘Hotel Victoria’ – this is the flagship hotel for a chain of hourlies called ‘Villa Victoria’. The girls will generally be well-experienced and careful to use condoms (which they will provide). They will give BBBJs, they won’t ‘take it like a man’. They won’t expect a tip at the end (the hourly hotels are usually walking distance from the gogo bars) but, of course, they will be grateful if you give them one.
Personally, I adore the Filipino girls I’ve met in Hong Kong – they are hard-working, passionate and fun-loving. Being with them makes me feel 20 years younger. To me, they’re worth every penny and then some.
Thank you for reading. Feedback or questions welcome.
I have heard that the best paid sex opportunities in Hong Kong are with freelancing escorts. They have small rooms and you contact them via various websites and the cost tends to be 350 – 800 HKD. I've seen photos of these girls and I have to say that they are remarkably attractive – and these are not photos on the websites but those taken by guys who read this site and send them through.