Amsterdam for one is known for being an expensive city, but for me it was still quite easy to find places to eat and things to do without breaking my bank account. There were Maoz falafel & vegetarian restaurants and the Chinese fast food (always go for extra veggies and mushrooms) scattered around the city. I spent my 3 days there walking around the old town, checking out the museums, palaces and the sex shops. I did not manage to take the canal tour, but I would highly suggest anyone to do it if time permits.
Other than being expensive, Amsterdam – or Netherlands – is also widely known for its open-mindedness, evidenced by the presence of sex shops displaying their products openly and the sex workers in the Red Light District. I could not help but felt that just by being in Amsterdam, my sense of freedom was elevated to the next level. I even had half a mind of trying the “coffee shops”, but I was alone and not sure if the effect would last longer than expected, so I took a rain check on this one! 😂😂
VENUSTEMPEL (THE SEX MUSEUM)
This is one of the must-visits in Amsterdam. It will make you smile, cringe, laugh and probably a bit a shocked at some point. It has a wide range of collection of…. anything related to sex! People were already laughing and pointing at things in the display while they were queuing up at the ticket counter. Read more here.
THE BODY WORLDS
They call it “Body Worlds: The Happiness Project”. Basically, it is an exhibition of various specimens of well-preserved human bodies, displaying all the details, from a brain up to a sliced phallus. 🍆
Visitors would have to start from the 6th floor (we used the lifts, of course!) – this is where the “story” begins, then go down to the lower floors. Each floor displays different parts of human bodies and it should give the visitors an idea of the complexity of our body – the organs, cells, nervous system, muscles, senses, etc. There are some tools that the visitors can play around with, like the blood pressure monitor or a body scanner that reflects our body (kind of) on a wall-sized screen for us to study. The way I see it, they want to show the connection between the human’s bodily functions and state of mind, i.e. happiness.
THE ROYAL PALACE (KONINKLIJK PALEIS)
Admission: €10 (audio guide included).
I certainly cannot visit a city in Europe with checking out at least one palace!
It claims to be the only active royal palace at the moment that is available for the public to visit. Actually, I noticed that only the first floor that was open and some of the chambers did not even allow the visitors to enter. Nevertheless, it is still something one cannot miss while in Amsterdam. Read more here.
DE OUDE KERK & RED LIGHT DISTRICT
I was actually looking for Oude Kerk (The Old Church) and did not realize it was really in the Red Light District and next to a brothel house. I did look at a map earlier but sometimes I forgot that it was an old town dated back to 13th century, therefore pretty small and a lot of buildings were within proximity to each other! Read more here.