Over the years I have written quite a bit about the hot toc hair salons of Ho Chi Minh City. As described in previous posts, some of these shops offer sexual services while others do not. Le Duyen 4 is one of the hot tocs that looks like it might be sexual when it fact it is basically just a mainstream hair salon staffed by attractive women. The place still deserves a review however if only to give a better picture of what things are like in Vietnam’s economic hub.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the grey area of sexy hair salons in Vietnam but some generalities do emerge. In most cases the hair salons that offer sexual services are more discreet in appearance. At those places the women stay back from the doors which themselves are often frosted to conceal the interior. In the hair salons with big open glass fronts and lots of beautiful women clearly visible from the street the only services being sold are things like hair washes.
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There are of course exceptions including some I plan to report on in the future but these things are true often enough for people to repeat them as a sort of general truth. Since Le Duyen 4 has a glass front and an open ground floor it more or less fits the stereotype.
There are several Le Duyen shops around Ho Chi Minh City. Hence the number following the name. All of the shops make up a sort of chain. Though there are some minor differences between them they all basically operate in the same way.
Location and Layout
Le Duyen 4 is located on a main street. It has a big white sign above the doors that displays the name of the shop along with the phrase “Beauty Salon” in English.
Just inside the doors there is a counter where the manager sits and collects money. Payment for any services is rendered after the fact. There are set pricing menus but most customers just ask for the prices of the services before partaking or simply go with the flow secure in the knowledge that even a full round of services in a Saigon hair salon will cost less than a basic haircut in some cities like New York.
There are always male barbers on hand to cut or style hair. The women offer services ranging from pedicures to manicures to shampooing. They also do facials and massages but neither of those are sexual in nature even though there are rumors of some of the women meeting guys after hours.
Staff and services
Le Duyen 4 has a staff of dozens of women who range in age from 18 to perhaps 26. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder but I find it hard to imagine anyone denying the presence of some really beautiful woman at Le Duyen 4 and its sister shops. The fact that they wear form fitting colorful dresses with scooping necklines and revealing bottoms only enhances their attractiveness.
Like most people in Vietnam the women can only really speak Vietnamese though many do make an effort to speak English. At other Le Duyen shops English speaking is less common. Since Le Duyen 4 is near Ben Thanh market they probably have more experience dealing with foreigners.
Oddly some people have posted comments on the internet describing the place as “a scam” or a “tourist trap”. I am not sure what they are based on. As far as a I know a scam involves deception or robbery of some sort. At Le Duyen 4 the staff provides exactly what they promise for the prices they quote. Perhaps some people see good looking women in low cut dresses in Southeast Asia and think sex must be on offer. Or maybe people from countries without a habit of tipping are shocked when a woman who massages them for an hour asks for the equivalent of $6 US. I have no way to know for sure but I can say that Le Duyen 4 is not a clip joint unless of course you want them to take a little off the top.
In my mind it is difficult to imagine a place that charges 120,000 Dong ($5.30 USD) for a cut and wash by a beautiful woman as a rip off shop. But in an area where haircuts can cost as little as $1.25 and people barter over the price of a banana I guess anything is possible. One star.