The Bureau Asia and the Barbershop Vu Tri are jointly launching The Bureau Experiences, which is a set of experiences for busy businessmen who want to get more of a feel for the city in which they are doing business, without the hassle and anxiety of organising it themselves.
Whether Travellers are travelling for business or for pleasure, there’s one constant: the experience must be enjoyable. But that’s easier said than done. Especially when travellers are thousands of miles from home, living out of a suitcase, running from meeting-to-meeting, checking in-and-out of hotels, and waiting for flights that are often delayed.
In a seething metropolis like Ho Chi Minh City with 10 million inhabitants and almost as many motorcycles, dealing with the language barrier and getting lost in its gridlocked, disorienting streets and alleyways can mean the enjoyment factor of an experience is easily lost.
However, with The Bureau Asia’s Experiences, business travellers can now mix business with pleasure in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Busy Businessman
“The Busy Businessman” was the experience of an Australian businessman, David Rogers, until he’d heard through a friend about The Bureau Experiences.
“I’d done some research on Ho Chi Minh City before I went, but nothing really prepares you for it,” says the 45 year-old engineer. “It’s an assault on the senses and can be quite stressful, especially when it’s difficult to know where to find things.”
“On my last trip, my return flight back to Australia wasn’t until the evening, but I was required to check out of my hotel by midday, which left me with a few hours to spare before departing for the airport,” says David. “That’s when I decided to give The Bureau Experiences a try.”
Brought To Travellers By The Bureau Asia + Barbershop Vu Tri
The Bureau Experiences is the brainchild of a partnership between The Bureau Asia, an online travel and lifestyle magazine based in Ho Chi Minh City, and the legendary Barbershop Vu Tri, a brand of 13 barber shops across the city that have been in the men’s grooming game since 1992.
Brothers Vu and Tri brought their father’s barbershop business literally in off the street and into modernity, while their father, remarkably, still chooses to barber on the sidewalk just metres from his sons’ original shop.
The idea behind The Bureau Experiences concept came because they wanted to offer experiences beyond the usual cultural site visit, tired stage performance or cooking class.
“Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t really have those big ticket tourist attractions like many other popular cities among tourists around the world,” says Matt Cowan, the founder and chief of The Bureau Asia. “But it’s a city that, once you scratch the surface, reveals the hidden charm that people have talked about for centuries, and we’ve done that scratching for you.”
Bleisure Travel With Authentic Experiences
Adding leisure time to business trips is a growing phenomenon with a recent report indicating that somewhere between 70% to 80% of travellers have a desire to extend business trips for travel and leisure purposes.
The report also states that as the “bleisure” market has grown, so has the preference for authentic cultural experiences, something that the three friends and business partners have been keeping a close eye on.
“With Ho Chi Minh City’s rapid development, we’ve noticed an increase in business travellers wishing to tack on some extra time to their trips in order to experience more of what the city has to offer,” says Matt, who has been living in Ho Chi Minh City since 2010. “Unfortunately, Ho Chi Minh City is pigeonholed as merely a “fly-in/fly-out” point on travel agency itineraries, but there’s so much more to the city if you give it a chance.”
The Bureau Experiences
There are a number of experiences to choose from, starting with the basic Busy Businessman Experience, which starts with a pick up by car from the hotel or designated pick up point, which then takes the businessmen to the nearest Barbershop Vu Tri.
Once there, they get a calming hair and face wash, a head and shoulder massage, professional haircut, including a shave or beard trim as required, after which businessmen are dropped back to their hotel.
There’s also the option of paying extra to get dropped at the airport, fresh and ready to catch their next flight.
“It was amazing,” says David of his experience. “You just wouldn’t find this place by yourself and it’s as authentic and as professional as it gets.”
But if the businessmen have a little more time than David, say a couple of hours, and money to spend, they might want to squeeze a little more out of their experience with the VIP Businessman Experience.
This experience gives businessmen all of the above but more, including a welcome drink of whisky or local craft beer on arrival in the barbershop’s beautifully appointed upstairs VIP Room that has been especially designed for a more exclusive experience.
There are polished floorboards, sofas, a handful of old-school barber’s chairs, music and a small bar at one end that’s always open.
Small groups of mates or colleagues looking to spend some quality ‘bromance’ time together are also catered for with the Lads & Lords Experience, which allows exclusive access to the VIP Room for as long as it takes (approx. 3 hours) to chat over a whisky or craft beer at the bar in between each grooming treatment.
There are no windows in the VIP Room which means businessmen can blissfully lose track of time reminiscing and creating new memories — don’t worry, if they have a flight to catch, Barbershop Vu Tri’s dedicated team will make sure they don’t miss it.
Then there’s The Lot Experience, which is perfect for small groups celebrating special occasions like upcoming weddings and reunions and who are looking for a night out on the town. Something like this is perfect for those who want to enjoy the evening without having to worry about keeping their guests happy.
This experience gives businessmen the option of calling in a tailor to measure them up for a new suit, a craft brewery tour to see how one of Vietnam’s best craft beers is made, an exclusive dinner with one of the city’s finest chefs, or a ‘happy hour’ experience in one of Ho Chi Minh City’s many lively bars off the usual nightlife beat.
“These days,” explains Matt, with a smile, “it’s not taboo to mix business with pleasure, in fact, we encourage it. The Bureau Experiences is all about experiences that are authentic, enjoyable and no stress.”
The Bureau Asia is an online travel and lifestyle magazine based in Ho Chi Minh City that tells engaging stories about food, drinks, travel and lifestyle in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Its name is inspired by two things: one, news agencies that before social media was conceived, filed stories and received and disseminated news for their readership; the other, a writing desk that writers and journalists once sat at with pen and paper racing to meet their all-important deadlines.
Listen to The Bureau Asia team on Spotify and Apple Podcasts at https://podcasts.apple.com/vn/podcast/the-bureau-podcast/id1478396971