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Review: Hoai 42 — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

As reported on this site many times there are several goi dau hair wash slash massage parlors hot tocs in Ho Chi Minh City where women on staff tend to offer more than a blow out. While places of this type are scattered around the city there are some areas that have larger concentrations than others.

Some others have reported on these types of places in English in recent years too. Unfortunately some of that reporting contains falsehoods. The same goes for some of the “common knowledge” on the subject I have seen repeated on various internet forums and comment sections.

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I have written about some generalities years ago. When it comes to hair salons and barbershops in Ho Chi Minh City the most obvious places usually offer the least in terms of extra services to men. That means that the well lit and open places with gorgeous gals sat outside waiting for customers are probably nothing more than regular old hair salons. At the same time the places with frosted glass and out the way locations are more likely to offer extras.

Of course this is not always true. There are some well lit and open hair salons in the city that have large staffs of women who offer full service to customers on a regular basis. At the same time there are even some old and decrepit looking places with bad lighting where women on staff offer nothing more than manicures and ear cleaning. There is a lot of grey area.

So when you read that any place that actually has a male barber on staff does not offer anything more than a cut or a hair wash you should take the information in with a very large helping of salt. There are in fact some places in the city where guys can get a legitimate hair cut plus a little more.

Location and layout

Hoai 42 is located on Vo Thi Sau across from the Le Van Tam City Park. Astute observers will note that this is only a few streets away from Nguyen Phi Khanh street which is home to several hot tocs of its own.

Hoai barbershop is not to be confused with the Kim Ly barbershop located nearby on the same street. That shop is restricted to approved services like nail and hair clipping. Some of the people working at Hoai 42 tend to go a little further.

Every shop in Ho Chi Minh City has a sign with a name and address. Since the names seem to blend together for some people many refer to places by their street addresses. Hoai 42 has a very public presence with a big sign that displays the name of the shop in gold letters on a black background above the door. The shop has large open glass windows that reveal its innards to anyone in eyeshot. Inside several women and one or two male barbers sit waiting for customers. The women are dressed in moderate yet nice looking dresses that show off their legs and cleavage.

The lobby at Hoai 42 is moderately sized and open to the street. It is filled with the typical barbershop accouterments like barber chairs and mirrors. Everything is there for a proper hair cut which is quite fitting since they offer exactly that. The women on staff can also do things like clip customers finger nails or clean their ears.

Staff and services

A different set of women on staff offers massages upstairs. The women all wear identical clothing but they know among themselves who does massages and who does the downstairs treatments. This is not out of the norm in places of the type. Even at the saunas in Macau there are some women on staff who massage feet and others who massage the “inner thigh”.

The women at Hoai 42 would probably be described as average by most observers though beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. I can say that the ladies who perform the personal massages upstairs don’t seem to be any more or less attractive than the other gals on staff who do the provide the more pedestrian services.

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Customers who opt for a massage are led up a set of stairs to the typical private room filled with individual booths. At Hoai 42 the booths are separated by frosted glass walls that don’t go all the way up to the ceiling.

Each booth contains a shirt hook, firm table and a sink along with a decent supply of wet wipes. The rooms are cooled with fans but they actually seem to do the trick. If the place ever got really busy things might heat up but I doubt that would happen.

Somewhat surprisingly the women working the body rub concession actually perform massages on customers. Of course they are rather rudimentary but it is still somewhat surprising to see in a shop of its type. Further services are usually offered rather quickly into any massage however so things can quickly go in another more familiar direction.

Prices

At some other nearby shops the house fee is around 200,000 Dong ($9 USD) with customers free to tip whatever they would like to their providers. Price and tips are rarely if ever discussed though some unaware visitors can be hit with quotes of as high as 500,000 Dong ($22 USD) if they show their ignorance by asking the going rate.

At Hoai 42 the actual cost of a massage is 120,000 VND (~$5 USD) though the service providers can hint around or even ask openly for tips if customers want any extras. Starting quotes for the kind of oral offered at other similar shops can be as high as 500,000 VND on top of the house fee though as with most things in Vietnam negotiation is common. Hand services might be offered for less.

Conclusion

The services rendered at Hoai 42 aren’t necessarily performed as rigorously as they are at other similar shops despite the somewhat higher asking price. Sometimes that is just how things go. Price is not always an indicator of really anything when it comes to certain adult related businesses and services.

That said the women working at Hoai 42 do seem to want to satisfy their customers the same as most other women in the local industry. As far as I know no one has ever decried the Vietnamese for their work ethic.

Whatever services customers partake in at Hoai 42 they pay their total tab on the way out of the place. That is the norm at any and all hair salons in the city whether or not they actually have anyone around who knows how to cut hair.

Hoai 42. 42 Vo Thi Sau, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Open every day from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

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