Amsterdamage: Surviving the Red Light District and making it back to your hotel alive

Ah, Amsterdam! When you take the time to explore it, it’s actually such a beautiful city. However, the cute little canals and buildings are not the reasons that many avid tourists come to Amsterdam each year. It’s the incredible nightlife.

Coincidentally, Amsterdam was the final leg on a 2 week Contiki tour I was doing of Europe, and of course it was going to end on a high note (both literally and figuratively). The two nights I spent in this city are all but a blur, but at the same time, two of the craziest nights I’ve ever had in my life.

Here’s some handy tips to ensure you get the ‘Amsterdam experience’ and also end up in one piece afterwards:

1. Visit a ‘Coffeeshop’
A trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be the same without the customary visit to the ‘Coffeeshop‘. You can find one on almost any street, and I can guarantee you they sell more than just coffee if you know what I mean *winky face*. A safe environment for you to get inebriated with your friends before your night begins.

2. Walk through the Red Light District
They weren’t exaggerating when they said that Amsterdam is the sex capital of the world. One walk through the Red Light District will certainly prove that much. The alleyways are lined with small rooms with glass windows looking out onto the street, where girls of all shapes and sizes are waiting to give some lucky lad the night of his life. If that’s not your thing, you can also see a sex show. It’s exactly what you’re picturing in your head right now, but quite a common tourist activity here in Amsterdam, especially with Contiki.

3. Get your drank on at  Chupitos Shooter Bar
Chupitos is a shot bar unlike any other. With over 500 different types of shots to choose from, there is literally something for everyone.If you get the chance, ask for a ‘Harry Potter’ shot. It’s lit! (no, seriously, they set it on fire).

4. The Heineken Experience
If you love beer, or even if you’re like me and you don’t, you can’t miss the tour of the Heineken factory. Super informative and a lot of opportunities for a free beer or 4. You can even get a custom made Heineken with your name on it to take home as a souvenir (Souvenir for Dad/brother/boyfriend/any beer loving friend – check!)

5. Cruise along the canals
The Amsterdam canals are certainly the staple of the city, so if you get the chance, definitely take a boat ride along them. Or if that’s a bit hefty for you price-wise, you can rent paddle boats instead.

6. Visit Anne Frank’s house
This iconic building attracts thousands of tourists a year, but it’s worth the visit and the queue to get in, especially if you’ve read Anne’s memoir.

7. Use the buddy system
If you’re heading out on the town, always make sure to have at least one friend with you at all times. Amsterdam is a huge city and it’s very easy to get separated from your group.

8. There are drugs everywhere
Once the sun sets on this beautiful city, an array of characters emerge from the shadows. The majority of them are drug dealers who will do anything to sell to you, including letting you ‘sample the goods’. Be wary guys.

9. Try something new, but don’t go overboard
In Amsterdam you have so many things you can access quite easily, that you would never come across back home. This is one of the many reasons that people have their first experiences with certain substances in Amsterdam. If you’re going to try something for the first time, again, have a friend with you at all times and know your limits.

Till next time!

-K

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