Asia’s largest red light district?

Here’s a well written and informative piece on Dolly, the quaintly named red light district of Surabaya that is touted as Asia’s largest of its kind.
clipped from

Timdog enthuses over the brothel district of “Dolly” in Surabaya.

Hello Dolly! – In Praise of Lokalisasi

On the high ground among the graveyards and working class kampungs above the Banyu Urip canal is Surabaya’s most notorious corner.

Mention the East Java capital to people anywhere in Indonesia and they are likely to rattle off a handful of associations: historical heroism, good food, violent soccer fans, and as often as not – with a snigger, a raised eyebrow and an obscene hand gesture

Dolly, mister, tahu Dolly? Sering ke Dolly, mister? (Nudge nudge, wink wink.)

For the upright, decent citizens of Surabaya it is a cause of some shame that their city is perhaps most famous as the home of a semi-mythical, much sniggered-over, much fantasised-about place: “Asia’s biggest red light district” – Dolly.

  blog it

6 thoughts on “Asia’s largest red light district?

  1. This issue was illuminated by Kompas this morning, how this site (Dolly) had been sharing the cake of economy to so many beneficiaries beside the prostitutes and the procurers and how this region had help other people to make money and feed their family. So, I think it will be very difficult to “clean” dolly since there are so many actors involved and take benefits from it.


  2. Why would anyone attempt to clean dolly, or any red light area for that matter? Prostitution has been around since the dawn of civilisation, it’s a simple case of demand and supply – and I’m only referring to the customers and “service providers”, not the actors behind, beneficiaries etc. Any individuals or institutions trying to shut down these places are just showcasing how “munafik” (pretentious, hyprocrite) they are. The best way to clean dolly is literally to CLEAN it – improve living conditions, give away condoms, educate on medical care, hygiene, retirement plans, childcare etc.

    I used to live in Surabaya when I was in school, and with some friends I drove around dolly just to watch in awe at the transactions going on in there. My male friends told me that if I hang around the area longer than a few minutes, most likely I would see someone I know (despite the fact that Surabaya is quite a large city). I think they were right… hence again, it’s delusional to think that prostitution will cease to exist.

    I guess I just have to do my absolute best that my husband won’t feel the need (urge?) to become a customer in one of those places ;-p


  3. Unspun, is this your way of answering my e-mail? “You very Seow”… Anyway, I just picked up a book entitled “Trafiking Perempuan dan Anak” subtitled, “Penaggulanan Komprehensif Studi Kasus: SULAWESI UTARA”, published by Yayasan Obor in Jakarta.

    Makes for an interesting read, but definitely not bedtime material. It’s just too upsetting…….


  4. Speaking of Brothels, I went on a tour of Langtrees 181 in Kalgoorlie Western Australia on the weekend.
    Very clean rooms and informative.
    Really took away the seedy stigma attached to prostitution.legalised prostitution is the only way to clean the industry.Is Prostitution legalised in Surabaya or do authorities just turn a blind eye?


  5. I go bankok every 3 month for holiday n night life, bt this time when i have goan n pick up t lady from disco n she has given me drug in my drink n take 10000 bhat frm my purse n live me alone then police have taken me to hospital n after 2 two day i was consious, so i want to know that in indonesia is this problem is there what ? Please let me know bc now in my life time i dont want to go bangkok


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