Ho Chi Minh City has hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of barbershops across town, from high-end gentlemen establishments in 5-star hotels to one-man pop-ups on the streets with tarpaulins for roofs and mirrors resting on crumbling ledges of French colonial-era concrete walls.
With such a wide selection and variation in quality and prices, it can be difficult to know who you should put your faith in to get you looking sharp.
So I’ve put together a list of five barbershops I’ve experienced since emerging from the dark days of the pandemic lockdowns – from Chica, an all lady barbershop and the first of its kind in Vietnam, to the Dong Tay “Barber de Wheels”, a barbershop on the back of a small truck that changes location depending on demand.
Chica District 10
Established in 2022, this is Vietnam’s first all female barbershop.
Part of the Liem Barbershop group of shops in Ho Chi Minh City, Chica is challenging gender stereotypes in the workplace and greater society with a small crew of ‘lady barbers’ who are more than holding their own in the male-dominated field of barbering in Vietnam.
This is no gimmick – and it’s probably the cleanest barbershop I’ve ever experienced.
ADDRESS: 254 Nguyen Tieu La St., District 10
Liem Barbershop District 8
There aren’t too many barbershops in Ho Chi Minh City that look like this on the outside.
Think Stranger Things or even Back To The Future such are the retro-80s feels this place gives off from the street – I know because I…err…*cough cough* grew up in the 80s.
Inside, this branch has a similar look and feel as most of the other 18 or so Liem Barbershops, but it’s over two floors and in an area that you might not usually need or want to visit.
But don’t let that get in the way of your vanity!
ADDRESS: 44 Da Nam St., District 8
The Dong Tay Barber Trucks
You’d be excused for thinking that getting your hair cut and beard shaved on the back of a truck isn’t the brightest thing to do.
But at least the thing isn’t moving, so that makes it safe enough…I guess.
Dong Tay Barbershop has a number of these little rigs parked around the city and because they’re on wheels, they might be in District 7 one week, then on Diamond Island the next, depending on demand. Genius!
Okay, I have to admit I left fingernail marks in the ends of the vinyl armrests given the truck – probably better suited to milk deliveries – swayed each time a heavy vehicle passed by and somehow seemed to happen every time I had a blade to my throat.
But, hey, I’m still here to tell the story.
Mekong Barbershop District 3
Mekong Barbershop has been one of the highlights during my quest to find the perfect barbershop in Ho Chi Minh City.
It’s located about 5km from the city centre not far from the Thi Nghe Canal on the Hoang Sa Street side of the waterway.
Over two floors, Mekong Barbershop doesn’t try too hard with its concept, although the barbers are clad in white boilersuits, which is different in a One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest kind of way.
If you’re after dreadlocks or wanting to keep up with the cool kids and get some premlocking done, then this is your place.
ADDRESS: 177 Tran Quoc Thao St., District 3
Barbershop Vu Tri District 7
The brothers Vu and Tri need little introduction and I’ve featured them many times on The Bureau channels over the years.
Barbershop Vu Tri is legendary in Ho Chi Minh City with scores of shops across the city.
They have their own range of pomade and other hair products and they even have Vu Tri Academy, a training facility for all their new and upcoming barbers.
The exciting thing about this barbershop, aside from an excellent all-round experience, is that it’s given District 7 punters a long-awaited different option for a cut and shave.
ADDRESS: 354 Le Van Luong St., District 7