There are so many activities that you can do in this charming city, from sightseeing, shopping, eating and, of course, experiencing the city’s night life.
A canal boat tour is a must in Amsterdam and there are many companies that organise tours that leave from the piers on Damrak close to the central railway station. The history of Amsterdam is intimately connected with water. About 165 canals were created over the centuries to stimulate trade, transport, and reclaim land to expand the city. No wonder, in 2010, Amsterdam’s canal ring was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Floating down Amsterdam canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city, whether you are a first-timer of frequent visitor. Everything in Amsterdam seems a bit more magical when viewed from a boat, as you can see more detail compared with being on land to see and take photographs.
Very close to Nieuwmarkt is a hidden gem that not too touristy: Chinatown, which is one of the oldest “chinatowns” in Europe besides London. You may find characteristic street names in Chinese and a big Buddhist temple in this area. The building named Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple is known as the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, built and designed by Dutch architect Fred Greven. The temple is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm and on Sunday from 10am to 5pm. There are many shops, delis and restaurants here and not only Chinese but other Asian cultures are represented here such as Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai. There are also supermarkets offering Chinese foodstuffs and spices.
Bloemenmarkt – The Flower Market
The Amsterdam flower market is located along Singelgracht, roughly between the Muntplein and Koningsplein area. Its unique feature is that a floating market has existed at Singelgracht since 1862. The 15 flower stalls are built out into the Singel, floating
on the water in houseboat-like structures. As tulips are almost iconic plants for the Dutch, you will find them and plenty of other specimens as well as a wide range of souvenirs here. It is really worth a visit. Open all year round, Bloenmenmarkt’s hours of operation are Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm and on Sunday from 11am to 5.30pm.
De Wallen – The Red Light District
The Red Light District is pretty much a mustdo in Amsterdam. Situated in the heart of the city center, this famous district is popular with tourists, covering several blocks of the city south of the Oude Kirk and crossed by several canals. De Wallen consists of a network of alleys containing over 300 tiny one-room cabins rented by ‘working girls’ who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door. The rooms are usually lit with a red light, hence the term Red Light District of Amsterdam. The area also has a number of adult shops, adult theatres, peep shows and numerous bars and coffee shops. The area is quite popular with the average tourist who is just curious and wants to see for himself what all the fuss is about. The Red Light District area is generally quite safe, with regular police patrols and doormen everywhere. But tourists are not allowed to take photos of the working girls, or they may find their camera tossed to the bottom of a canal.