I have been in Vietnam for about six weeks now and the time had come to find a barber shop in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Liem Barber Shop was the one that popped up and had good reviews.
If you type Barber Shop into Google Maps anywhere in the city, Liem Barber Shops pop up on the maps.
I settled on the shop just down the road from Ben Thanh Market as it was easier to catch the bus there and back.
The little man is coming with me for this adventure so we set off on the bus into the city.
After getting off the bus I fired up Google Maps and set off to find Liem Barber Shop.
I had read somewhere that many of their barber shops are in alley ways and narrow lanes.
This shop definitely was!
There are motor bikes parked all out the front and the first impression is, wow.
There certainly are a lot of barbers working in this shop and lots of people waiting.
It shouldn’t be a long wait at all with that many barbers cutting.
There is a guy waiting outside on the bikes who ushers you inside.
I was wondering about this and found out later what I think he does.
There is a video on the Liem Barber Shop YouTube Channel that has a barber talking about how he started at the shop and started his career as a barber.
One of his first jobs was looking after the motor bike parking outside, this is the starting job if you want to be a barber here.
So I’m guessing this guy outside is the new apprentice.
He has to walk before he can run and prove to them he has what it takes to work in the shop.
A very old school approach, it teaches them to value their position and what they have though I bet.
When you first walk into Liem Barber Shop you slide the door across and take a step in, to the left is a mannequin holding the ticket machine.
You take your ticket and then you have to find a seat.
This is great if you don’t speak Vietnamese, as there isn’t too much of a barrier to get in line for a haircut.
This place is pretty busy so we had to head down the back to get two seats together.
It’s pretty daunting going into a barber shop for the first time in a different country.
It felt like we were in an old cowboy movie at first walking into a bar for the first time and the whole place stops to look at us.
Truth be told, they probably were looking at the little man as he attracts attention no matter where he goes at the moment.
People were yelling out to him the whole way to the barber shop, giving him high fives and rubbing his head.
This also happened all the way back home too, classic!
The music pumps in this shop too, YouTube music videos on a TV screen through not a bad sound system with a good amount of bass.
There is plenty to look at if you do have to wait for your haircut, as you can see the walls are full.
Another thing to be wary of is when your number is called out, you need to listen.
I looked up what the number five and one were so we wouldn’t miss out.
We didn’t have to wait too long and we were ushered over to the barber that spoke the most English I think.
Little man is going to have his haircut first.
Before it was my turn with massive hair and beard that hasn’t had a chop chop for a few months.
Explaining what we wanted was easy and the barber set about his business.
The way of cutting is a bit different to the barbers in Australia.
They use hair clips to pin the top layers of hair up so they can work the back and sides with the clippers.
And another thing I noticed is the amount of hair on the floor is substantial.
I’m not sure how often they clean out, but I’d say it would have to be done more than a few times a day.
Not a bad thing, just a different way of doing things compared to home.
Little man had a flat piece of wood put on top of his chair.
This gave him a bit more height so the barber could cut his hair easily.
The hair clips went in and the clippers went to work.
It didn’t take long at all and he was happy with the outcome too, a great boys haircut.
Next up it was me for a haircut.
I just asked for the same as him with a bit more off the top and a beard trim.
My haircut took a little longer and it was done in the same manner with the clips.
The only difference in the end between my haircut and the little mans was the razor blade shave on the side part and the at the back of my neck.
And of course the beard trim.
By the end of my haircut there was a bit of a gathering happening around us to watch the trimming.
They were fussing over the little man too, he had been given a bottle of water and he was happy.
One of the guys on the side spoke English pretty well and asked me “How old are you?”, I told him and he laughed.
He then told some of the guys next to him and they laughed too.
He told me that with y beard I looked well over 50 years old, it was pretty funny!
I headed over to pay the bill, for both of us to get haircuts and my beard trim it cost 168,000 VND.
This is about $9.80 in Australian dollars, so not a bad deal at all and a great experience.
We will definitely be back as the haircuts were good and the value for money is excellent, and the bus trip on Bus 06 takes us pretty close and close to home.
So we said goodbye and headed out to catch the bus.
I’ll be writing about catching the bus here in Ho Chi Minh too.
But on the way home we had a first time experience with the traffic.
It was peak hour traffic and I waved out to the ticket person that we wanted to stop at the next stop.
The curtains were a bit closed in this bus and I was standing in the aisle.
I hadn’t taken much notice that we were in the middle lane in the twelve lane highway.
The bus pulled over to the median divider which is concrete and stands about 500mm high.
A bit of quick thinking had to happen, so I put little man straight onto the concrete divider and held him there.
Then we proceeded to cross the busy highway timing our runs.
I watched a person cross the three lanes section, which is just full of motor bikes.
They just waved an arm to the ongoing traffic and slowly headed across.
I thought, that’s the only way we can do it too, so I started flapping our motor bike helmet up and down and we slowly trekked across the road.
We made it and only had one motorbike beep at us, so it was a win.
Anyone that has crossed a street in Ho Chi Minh knows that it is a mission sometimes.
But crossing a busy highway is next level!
So our first trip to a barber in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam was over and it was a great experience.
I’d recommend Liem Barber Shop to anyone coming over here and even if you live here too.
Like I have said above, good price and a good cut too.
Here is the address for the shop we visited
If you want to look at the other shop addresses to see if there is one closer to you.
Just head to their Facebook page, I have put this below for you.
Liem Barber Shop
79 Nguyen Son Ha Street
Ward 5, District 3
Ho Chi Minh
Facebook Ho Chi Minh Barber Shop