Review: Tuan Tam — Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I have written quite a bit about the adult entertainment scene in Vietnam. It has all centered on Ho Chi Minh City. That’s partly because so much of the industry is centered there. A lot of other cities including the capital of Hanoi are either tougher to navigate or are more limited. In the case of the capital the outcall game seems to be the major player. Down south in Saigon there are a lot of shops that are more suitable to reviews like these.
Tuan Tam is a barbershop that does a lot more than cut hair. It is located near several similar shops on Nguyen Phi Khanh in Ho Chi Minh’s District 1. I have reviewed one of these shops before. I may review more in the future.
One could walk past most hot toc oms without noticing a thing. That’s because they for the most part look like any other goi dau hair wash places around town. Those who don’t speak the local language would be even less likely to suspect anything. The shops that appear to be sexy are mainly regular hair washing places where nothing other than some shampoo is offered. Looks can be deceiving. This is probably by design. While there are always discussions around bring the industry into the light of day it is unlikely it will happen anytime soon. I would love to be wrong.
Tuan Tam is located a bit down the street. Like most similar shops it isn’t very obvious at all. It really blends into the surroundings. There is usually a man out front who serves as security and occasionally as a tout as well although his English skills are negligible at best.
Through the entrance there is a small lobby area where things like ear cleaning and similar services would ostensibly take place. This is a resting area for most of the women on staff. They lay around waiting for customers to blow in from the street. Most are attractive gals in their twenties and thirties. Some are very plain. None can really speak English but they are all capable of communicating with hand signals and body language. For some translation apps are also a big help. The women at Tuan Tam wear short red dresses that tend to ride up and reveal undergarments with regularity.
After either selecting a service provider or taking the next one in rotation customers are guided up a flight of stairs to an upper floor with checkered tiles. Long red booths take up most of the room.
Inside of each booth there is a long flat table. These aren’t really massage tables. They are padded with elevated head rests. At the end of each of these tables there is a sink that is meant for hair washing but also capable of washing other parts of the body as well. Things like soap aren’t kept in the room but when customers lay day on the table they are retrieved from somewhere else by the service providers.
The booths offer a limited amount of privacy. The red walls certainly seal things off from the rest of the room but the front of each cubicle is only covered by a curtain. This curtain blocks the view from the outside but can’t do much more. The place is usually pretty quiet in any event so it doesn’t really seem to be an issue.
Service goes as it usually does at these sort of places in most cases. Customers prepare themselves. Then they are washed. Then they are serviced orally. After that they are cleaned again before getting geared up to head back out into the world.
Customers make payment on the way out of the place. A manager downstairs takes care of that. The typical rate for foreigners is 400,000 Dong ($18 USD). This is up from the 200,000 that used be the norm in this area. That rate still exists in some corners of the city but most foreign visitors who lack the ability to speak the local language will never find it.
Tuan Tam doesn’t really stand out. It is a fair example of a shop of the sort. I give it an average score of two-and-a-half stars.
Tuan Tam. 84 Nguyen Phi Khanh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Open everyday from around noon until early night.