While De Wallen in the Dutch city of Amsterdam is without a doubt the most well known red light district in the world there are many others around. In the age of the internet and a host of sex shops offering all sorts of services the red light district seems to be dying a slow death. There are exceptions but many of the old traditional window districts have either closed up or are in the process of doing so.
The South Korean city of Seoul is home to several red light districts. Although the sale of sex is officially prohibited by law these areas continue to operate openly. Many are even specifically marked off by local authorities and come complete with government signs warning pedestrians that they are about to enter an “adults only” area.
For years there have been rumors and stories that many of the red light districts in Seoul are going to be closed. In many cases the official reason is that these undesirable places must be eliminated for the good of the area. In reality many seem to be in the way of plans for commercial developments that will make people a lot more money than renting out some lobbies and bedrooms to working women.
Past attempts to close red light districts were met with protest. Some simply withered on the vine. Today the talk of red light district closures seem a little more realistic. A recent Constitutional Court ruling that sex workers have no right to operate may have paved the way for closures.
In any event red light districts continue to operate in South Korea. The most well known to foreigners is Itaewon’s infamous Hooker Hill. That place is not frequented by Korean customers who prefer other districts or more discreet sex shops and agencies.
Nearby areas like Suwon have their own red light districts. They are within reach of people in Seoul but residents of the capital are more likely to visit windows in the city itself. I have already reported on the Cheongnyangi 588 district and the Cheonho district.
Seoul is a very modern and clean city. One can wander from one end to the other with ease as a network of subways, buses, taxis and walk ways makes access cheap and easy. Large skyscrapers and huge apartment blocks dot the city. It is rare to see any crumbling structures or infrastructure.
Miari Texas is a different animal. Taking up a series of old winding alleyways the red light district is probably the most aged and beat up looking area of the entire metropolitan area. The rooms inside are pretty clean and well kept but the paths leading to them look like something out of a underdeveloped backwater.
Most customers reach Miari Texas by going out of Gireum Station‘s exit 10. Just after exiting they travel through a curtain covered entrance to an alley just to the right. This entrance is not marked but it is rather obvious. It looks like the inside of an automatic car wash.
Once in the alleyways that line the red light district customers are approached by older female managers who wait around for guys to walk through. In the winter months these women even have little heaters to keep them warm while they wait. At night the area is almost totally dark.
When the managers grab the interest of a guy they guide him into a nearby lobby where he can see the women available. Most of the older women manage a house with two or three women. The women who work in the houses tend to be in their thirties. Most are reasonably attractive. A few are a little larger than the average Korean woman. That is not usually seen in the two other main red light districts in the city which use clear windows. At Miari the women wait in closed rooms where they cannot be seen by people passing by. That may have something to do with the presence of heavier women though I cannot be sure.
Sessions at Miari Texas range in price. Customers often negotiate with the managers to reach a rate they find reasonable. Most sessions cost customers around 90,000 Won ($82 USD). At times customers pay much more or much less but this seems to be the most common rate.
Once customers pay for a session they are guided up some stairs into one of many little bedrooms. These rooms are plain and usually contain nothing more than a small mattress and a dresser. Customers strip down and are wiped with wet clothes. Then their service providers strip down and perform full service. Some also perform oral services but this is not always the case.
Women working at Miari Texas have a reputation for operating without protection. While this does happen it is not always the case. Most women have protection and prefer to use it. When they go without it is usually by request of customers who refuse to pay for service if they must cover up.
Miari Texas is not aimed at foreigners at all but the district does seem to be more welcoming of non-Korean customers than the other districts in the city. This may be because the small winding alleys provide more discretion. Managers are more likely to invite foreign guys inside if there are no Korean guys around to see it.
Houses that invite foreign guys inside can apparently form bad reputations among Korean customers. In Miari those Korean customers are the lifeblood of business so houses have a real interest in keeping them around and coming inside.
Miari Texas is an old red light district that continues to live on. At least for now. If any red light districts will be eliminated in the near future it seems most reasonable that this place would be wiped up first and foremost. Whether or not that will actually happen is anyone’s guess.
Miari Texas. Open seven days a week from around noon to around midnight. Click here for a map.