Singapore’s Orchard Towers weren’t designed to be a vertical red light district but every night that’s exactly what it turns into. The towers themselves straddle two sides of a road in a nice section of Singapore. They contain residential and office units but those aren’t seen by most visitors. They instead stick to a shopping mall like section that houses a number of retail establishments during the day time and a whole host of bars filled with women at night. People are referring to the latter when they talk about the “four floors of whores.”
The Orchard Towers are easy to find. A quick search online indicates the location. Those who don’t have a smart phone handy can simply ask or hop in a cab. Every taxi driver in Singapore knows the place and chances are they also know why you want to go there.
There are bars in the structures on both sides of the road with more on one side than the other. It’s easy to move back and forth between the two either by crossing the road or using the elevated walkway on the second floor. The bars vary a bit in style but none are all that different from one another. By ten o’clock most of the bars have reached their zenith though many stay empty all night long.
The place is generally pretty worn down. That applies even more to the bars than the building itself. The various levels of decay and dirt really contrast with the rest of Singapore which is generally kept up quite nicely. On the other hand even the worst bar in the Towers looks better than some of the massage parlors I’ve come across in Thailand and Vietnam.
The worst part about Orchard Towers are the male touts that stand at the top of the first set of escalators. They can be very pushy and aggressive and I’ve even seen them get right up in people’s faces pushing their bars. It doesn’t take much to let them know you’re not interested but those who aren’t capable of that can get ambushed. It’s a shame since they often have certificates for drink discounts but due to their behavior I wouldn’t deal with them if they were giving out free bottles of champagne. I understand that they’re just doing a job but surely there are more effective ways to go about it.
Eureka and a few others like it are quiet old bars staffed with Filipina women who range from average in looks to well over the hill. I don’t say this to be mean but looks do play a prominent part in the adult entertainment industry. The ladies can be nice enough and many are happy to do a bit of groping in the bar but their main game is pushing customers to buy very expensive sets of tequila shots in exchange for the pleasure of sitting and talking.
Country Jamboree is country music themed bar on the second floor. It’s one of the quieter bars in the Towers which allows guys to talk with the dozens of Vietnamese women who assemble there each night. The bar staff is attentive and the prices are reasonable for the area but the cowboy uniforms are a bit much.
Bongo Bar probably has the best looking women in the whole place. They hire a small team of beautiful friendly Vietnamese women in their early 20’s to drink beers and play games with customers who are willing to shell out for drinks. Those drinks don’t come cheap though, with the most economical option being a pitcher of beer for 50 Singapore dollars ($40 US). Some of these women will meet customers after work but there are no guarantees. There are also some freelancers in Bongo at any given time but generally the hostesses put them to shame in the looks department. Bongo is one of a few bars offering free wi-fi for those who need to do some online banking in between their forty dollar beer orders.
Cabin looks better from the outside than it does inside. The place is set up like a dance club and open until 6 AM but I’ve never seen a whole lot going on inside. A stable of Filipina women who are average in looks at the very best work the bar in search of very expensive lady drinks.
Club Romeo and Crazy Horse are ladyboy bars. I haven’t been in either so I can’t comment though they do seem to be among the most popular bars in the Towers.
Harry’s on the ground floor attracts its fair share of freelancers from Thailand but they tend to be on the very aged side of the scale. I once met a lady pushing her wears there who told me she was 55, which in reality means she was probably 60. I’m pretty sure the friend she came with was even older. Fair play to both of them but I have to wonder who exactly is shelling out for them.
Top 5 on the fourth floor is a large bar that always has at least some people in it. Entry requires the purchase of a slip good for a drink that costs anywhere from 10 to 20 Singapore dollars ($8-18 US). The mostly Filipina wait staff here is friendly and the stage shows consisting of Filipino cover bands or unattractive Ukranian dancers are okay but otherwise it’s not very alluring.
Without a doubt the most popular bar in the Towers is Ipanema. The fairly large bar operates somewhat like a club though there isn’t a ton of dancing going on. Instead dozens of ladies of largely average looks who mostly hail from Vietnam stand around trying to find a guy to take them out for a few hours in exchange for payment. Entry here also requires the purchase of a drink at the door. This isn’t cheap as even a water costs 9 Singapore dollars ($7.20 USD). The door staff sometimes asks people entering for identification. I’ve seen it happen myself though I’ve never been asked. Rumor has it that they only ask for ID from people who appear to be from certain countries. Upon entering customers have the pleasure of getting their hand stamped with an ink marking that is difficult to remove even with soap and water, a sure pleaser for girlfriends and wives who see it. Inside the bar is rather dark and the music is so loud that talking to anyone is virtually impossible.
Women working the bars of Orchard Towers tend to ask similar rates for fun. There are those who won’t or can’t leave the bars but most of the others are there to make money. A typical asking price for a short romp is 300 Singapore dollars ($240 US) though most will come down to 200 Singapore ($160 US) for those able to negotiate. All night sessions of course go for more and some women who think they are special for whatever reason can ask for as much as 500 Singapore ($400) dollars for a single roll in the hay. Considering that most of these women are at least 30 years old (with some being over 50) these prices are obviously high even by Singapore standards. Discounts can be had by making arrangements for daytime rendezvous but they’re never all that steep.
Beyond the bars are numerous small massage parlors scattered on different floors. Some are open during the day and others only open at night, with some closing their doors as late as 2 AM. They are usually staffed by a single lady aged 30 or more (sometimes much more) who try to tempt guys inside. While they aren’t the best places in the world by any means they are relatively safe and straight forward. Massage prices are printed on sheets shown to customers and the price of a hand job is usually quoted out loud. Customers who agree are led into little cubicles where they receive a perfunctory rub down and a happy ending. A thirty minute massage costs around 50 Singapore dollars ($40 USD) and the special treatment usually costs around 50 Singapore more.
As the night wears on one can find countless ladies (and ladyboys) hanging out in front of the entrance looking for customers. These gals aren’t aggressive in the least bit but they are willing to do a short romp for the right amount of money, which is certainly less than the women of equal looks ask for in the bars. All the usual hazards of street walkers apply but as with most things in Singapore they are probably at least a little safer than their counterparts in many other countries.
Of course not all of the women standing in front of the Towers are prostitutes. Some civilians even find their way into the bars of the Towers. It’s pretty obvious which women are working and which aren’t but it’s something that should be noted anyway.
That’s my report on the major fun going down nightly in the infamous Four Floors. I probably should have written this report long ago but to be quite honest it hasn’t been a big priority. After several visits I simply can’t figure out the reason that so many foreign visitors to Singapore seem to sing the praises of this place. My local friends and contacts agree with me and most say they wouldn’t be caught dead in the Towers, especially with the well organized legal brothels of Geylang only minutes away. Still the bars continue to draw customers year after year so someone must like them. I’ve received a number of questions and comments about Singapore that tells me that many readers are at least curious.
Everyone has their own tastes and different people can get different things out of the same experience. I try not to judge individuals. I restrict that to my reviews of places and simply report on whatever else I see as I see it. Hopefully at least some of you get a bit of entertainment out of it.