Hai Yen is a barbershop style massage parlor in Ho Chi Minh City where customers are offered a lot more than a haircut and a back rub. Located on a main thoroughfare with a large sign and a clear glass front Hai Yen is one of the many places hidden in plain sight in the city. For those who don’t know it might look like any other hair salon. But for those who know what to look for Hai Yen is in fact rather obvious.
When customers arrive at Hai Yen they are greeted by one of the male attendants on staff. Greeted might not actually be the best word to describe the situation but in any event customers are quickly guided into the lobby where they see six or seven women lounging around in tight fitting dresses.
The women working at Hai Yen are generally of average attractiveness and range in age from the mid twenties to perhaps the mid thirties. The gals are fit with none being large or overweight. More than a few do sport some tattoos though none have as much ink on their bodies as one of the male attendants who could probably impress the Yakuza.
Few of the women or men on staff at Hai Yen can speak much English or any other language besides Vietnamese but they all seem more than happy to work with foreigners. In fact at many shops like Hai Yen local customers are actually not accepted at all.
After customers select one of the women on staff for their massage they are quickly guided up a set of stairs into one of several large and cavernous rooms. There they find a sturdy massage table against the wall and a shower in the corner. There is not much else.
The attendants carry supplies which are mostly limited to towels, bottled water and some protection. It would seem that minimalism is the name of the game at Hai Yen.
Customers are instructed to shower in the corner booth. Then they relax on the table when a towel to cover themselves. At that point the attendant takes a shower.
Once everyone is clean the massage portion of the session begins. As one might expect there is little in the way of body rubbing at Hai Yen. Things seem to be rather direct and head right to the main event almost immediately. Time is money after all.
At any place with multiple people on staff and no particular training service will vary. Generally speaking the service is skilled and professional. There are no hard and fast rules at Hai Yen and the owners would probably not claim knowledge of anything beyond a standard massage session. Yet in reality things usually follow what is a somewhat standard path for full service massage places with some uncovered suction followed by the focal point.
Somewhat surprisingly the ladies at Hai Yen don’t seem to be clock watchers who want to hustle customers out the door as fast as possible. That is not always the case in Vietnam.
As sessions conclude customers are expected to hand over payment in the room. There may not be a standard rate but most foreigners pay 1,300,000 ($57 USD). Customers who ask the price may be told the rate is even higher. On the other hand regular customers in the know may pay as little as 1,000,000 ($44 USD).
Though many are unaware there are actually several shops like Hai Yen around Ho Chi Minh City and even other parts of the country. They don’t advertise their services openly and they tend to come and go from one day to the next but they are abundant.
Hai Yen, 815 Le Hong Phonh, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Open every day from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.