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Thread: Weekend in Vietnam

  1. #1
    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Weekend in Vietnam

    It's 2:20am and I'm extremely tired after a day's work and travelling, but I managed to find the 'backpacker' district and scope out the bars.

    My hotel is probably 10 mins away from Bui Vien, which is basically the 'backpacker' street. I'm glad I didn't stop closer or the noise might be too much. It's an incredibly busy street that focuses on eateries more than bars, although the eateries probably sell the cheapest beer I've seen. Investigating the 'soi' I noticed the cheap/backpacker restaurants were selling cheap Saigon beer for 12k a bottle (literally USD 0.5 a bottle!). Named bottles went for around USD 1-1.5 a bottle, depending on the size of the bar (e.g. I sat down at a small bar and had a 330ml Tiger for USD 1.5, or 660ml for USD 2). Across the street at Crazy Buffalo the prices were 2-3x, pretty crazy indeed! I stupidly sat down at Crazy Buffalo first and took the price list to be perhaps an average, but they are ridiculously overpriced.

    So I soon settled into the side bars, usually paying 1-2 USD per bottle. For this small area of Saigon it was actually pretty fun. I'd probably compare it more to Cambodia than Thailand, as the girls didn't really play the LD angle as much as in TH. I got the impression this stretch was mainly a beer guzzling area, and whilst the girls are beautiful it seems the average punter is looking at the beer cost rather than the girl cost.

    Regardless, towards the end of the night (2am for me, as I was shattered) I did get dragged into several bars on my way home. It was an interesting experience, as my drink cost was roughly the same, but the "lady drinks" always went for JD+coke, which was about 4 USD. Okay okay that's not a great deal, but when you compare it to beer cost it is quite high, and usually involves more than one lady.

    I have to say I'm pretty disappointed with the night. Of all the trips to SEA, my planning has meant Vietnam has had the least information possible. When I went to Cambodia it was a spur of the moment trip, yet there was plenty of information to guide me through the area. With Vietnam I feel like its completely hit and miss with regards to structure. I know there are other areas than Pham Ngu Lao, but its extremely hard to gauge the quality of these areas.

    I saw numerous times western guys approaching bars looking for gogos or girl bars, only to be turned down. In the end this area seems a bit hesitant to your typical mongering area, though it is extremely cheap. I'd almost compare it to Singapore in terms of public facing entertainment, which is a shame as I met some absolutely lovely girls working the local bars. If it was more public I think it would more attract your typical SEA monger, but "officially" Vietnam is quite conservative.

    Despite being knackered this first night was still good fun

  2. #2
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    get thee to Apocalypse Now....its a zoo but it works

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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Pattaya Addicts, which is a forum I typically dont like as I find the tone is often misogynist, has a few decent threads on Vietnam. The only section I look in to there is the Trip Reports for 'other destinations'... to get/share info on Cambodia for the visa runs I've made lately. I have seen some Viet trip reports in there... might be useful.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Tonight was another good example of not knowing a fcking clue about Saigon, and how valuable up-to-date information can be. If you read other forum trip reports you'd think HBT (Hai Bu Trung) had lots of hostess bars that are worth visiting. Well I ventured over to that side of the city and spent about 30 minutes wandering up and down the street looking for a bar.. any bar... I couldn't work it out, from what you read you'd think there were a good chunk of bars on that street, but nothing...

    I finally found one (91 HBT, hard to tell it was a bar at first) that was rather empty, but the girls were half decent so I checked it out and a spent a fair bit there playing pool with a rather nice girl. The rules are similar to what I play in Singapore (foul means free ball), but the stakes are a bit different - you win, she gets her tits out, you lose, you pay USD10 (I think, I didn't lose lol..) So thankfully it was an extremely poor table and she was pretty useless. Nice reward though

    I was propositioned by the mamasan to take the girl out, for which it would cost me USD25 for the barfine, and USD60 for the girl. She mentioned the issue with hotels and suggested if I did take up the offer that we go to a hotel they know is safe, which would cost USD20. Pretty expensive overall, in fact similar prices to Singapore!

    I also stopped by Apocolypse Now, but honestly the entire area was as quiet as a mouse and rather eerie - not a soul in sight, so I didn't bother going in.

    Comparing the previous night I had much more fun on Bui Vien (backpacker area). It's a lot more lively and has tons more character. Overall though I'm missing Thailand/Cambodia where it's just a lot more simpler and obvious, and easier to find what you want. We'll see how the last 2 days go but so far really not impressed, I'd have more fun back in Singapore.

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    Senior Member Loop's Avatar
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    Get thee to a Hot Toc

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loop View Post
    Get thee to a Hot Toc
    Even that isn't so simple. Not all shops offer specials, you need a local who knows which do - but obviously you wouldn't ask the street guys, so you need someone you can trust. So again all about the right information.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    re Apocolypse Now....it is in a quiet part of town by design.....go after midnight...tons of FLs in there but it is a bit rough

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    Senior Member billpay's Avatar
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    Just go to Nguyen Phi Khanh St in dist. 1. Street looks very slow, but just need to walk into one of the barber/massage shops. Only the mamasan will be able to speak English. This street is a gem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billpay View Post
    Just go to Nguyen Phi Khanh St in dist. 1. Street looks very slow, but just need to walk into one of the barber/massage shops. Only the mamasan will be able to speak English. This street is a gem.
    Do you shave every day on holidays Bill? 555!

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilbaz View Post
    Do you shave every day on holidays Bill? 555!
    You see a lot of running jokes with this type of place.. no scissors in sight lol.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Went to the War Museum today. Very easy to get to as its in District 1 so only about D40k taxi. D15k to get in.

    Lots of tanks, guns, artillery, planes, jets etc on display, good for photos. Inside a bit more grim as it's obviously portrayed from their side, so a lot of "US GIs doing such and such terrible things to poor little homeless beggar". A bit OTT, but well it's their museum.

    I want to go to the Cu Chi tunnels tomorrow but it's a good 1.5 hrs away I believe, and I'm usually not in the mood for that much travel when I wake up after a night out, so we'll see.



    Yes the tanks are big, but coincidental timing of the shot made it look even bigger...
    Last edited by NeedHoliday; 8th September 2013 at 16:51.

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    Senior Member Stillearly's Avatar
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    Pretty sure I went to that one , was there a heap of scrap metal , twisted propellor blades etc , with a small sign saying Amercan B52 bomber ?
    'If it floats, flies or fcuks , it's cheaper to rent"

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    Of course it has an Anti-American (and Allies) slant - the VC won!
    Last edited by Evilbaz; 8th September 2013 at 18:55.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stillearly View Post
    Pretty sure I went to that one , was there a heap of scrap metal , twisted propellor blades etc , with a small sign saying Amercan B52 bomber ?
    Yeah that's the place.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Back in Singapore now, still raining.. doh

    I had a good time even if it was a little frustrating. It is very very similar to Singapore in that if you know locals, or have enough up-to-date information before hand (or past experience), you won't have too much trouble finding what you want. As it turned out that street I mentioned (HBT - Hai Bu Trung) had been raided recently which would account for it being so quiet. Without local expats or recent travellers reporting on that though it would be very confusing to a newbie.

    One thing that was on the back of my mind the entire time was my safety. I was constantly checking my pockets every few minutes, always on alert when walking alone in a non-so-populated area, and generally feeing uneasy. Maybe I was being a bit too cautious as I didn't see anyone having any trouble during my stay, but you do read about it happening (especially pick pockets and drive-by snatchings).

    Not sure I'd want to go back in a hurry, too annoying and too much effort for some nightlife fun. The bars around Bui Vien (backpacker street) were good enough fun that I happily spent a few hours a night there, and one bar in particular had one or two extremely cute girls that I could have had tons of fun with if needed (shame the mamasan/owner was a bit of crazy bitch and was constantly refreshing the girls drinks thinking I had endless money).

    Vietnamese girls are very very beautiful though - their brighter complexion must be the envy of most SEA girls, and a lot seem to be quite top heavy for their size

    Strike #4 for SEA countries visited, not sure if I'll try somewhere new next or just go back to what I know and feel at home with.

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeedHoliday View Post

    Not sure I'd want to go back in a hurry, too annoying and too much effort for some nightlife fun. The bars around Bui Vien (backpacker street) were good enough fun that I happily spent a few hours a night there, and one bar in particular had one or two extremely cute girls that I could have had tons of fun with if needed (shame the mamasan/owner was a bit of crazy bitch and was constantly refreshing the girls drinks thinking I had endless money).

    Vietnamese girls are very very beautiful though - their brighter complexion must be the envy of most SEA girls, and a lot seem to be quite top heavy for their size

    Strike #4 for SEA countries visited, not sure if I'll try somewhere new next or just go back to what I know and feel at home with.
    it is easy to say when I am not mongering but maybe you looking to hard, if that makes sense
    i remember when i was mongering, some nights i'd go out with it totally on my mind and it dictates your evening, sometimes in a bad way

    funny enough, i stayed at the Rex Hotel and right around the corner was a trendy disco. it was a mix of trendy locals but there were definitely FL's there
    they had good drink specials
    i would never be able to tell you the name or how to go there and i was with my wife, so that is why i probably stumbled into this place
    if i was looking for FL's.......i'd never have found it 555

  17. #17
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    If you like Viets, Beach Club in K-L is chock full of them...

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarProfiteer View Post
    If you like Viets, Beach Club in K-L is chock full of them...
    Singapore is full of them too, I don't need to go far In fact I ran into numerous girls who's friends or sisters were working in Singapore so it was all too familiar a name for them. Story usually started with "she marry singapore man but finish now, work bar".

  19. #19
    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    it is easy to say when I am not mongering but maybe you looking to hard, if that makes sense
    i remember when i was mongering, some nights i'd go out with it totally on my mind and it dictates your evening, sometimes in a bad way
    That's the thing, I wasn't actually going out every night looking to take a girl back, in fact I'd much prefer to sort out that side of things during the day as after a good few beers I'm pretty useless anyway 555. All I wanted was a decent bar with decent girls that you could have some fun with. I just couldn't find the right mix of bar I wanted (comparing to Thailand/Cambodia), it was either too conservative if a normal bar, or too OTT for ending your drinks to go boom boom if it was a FL bar.

  20. #20
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeedHoliday View Post
    I just couldn't find the right mix of bar I wanted (comparing to Thailand/Cambodia), it was either too conservative if a normal bar, or too OTT for ending your drinks to go boom boom if it was a FL bar.
    This matches a lot of complaints I've heard about the Viets... they tend to be over conservative (the nice ones) or completely mercenary in their approach to the nightlife. Of the 2 I had from Beach Club, one was definitely the lying, straight to business, make an excuse to leave after type of gal. Never an inspiring thing to hear when you agree to LT and the gal says "must hurry to finish quick, ok?"... ya just know it's going to be a bad time soon. But the other gal was really very nice and quite enjoyable. She had been eye-balling me all night the night before, but I went with the mercenary gal because I stupidly fell for her BS. The next night I suddenly remembered "choose from the ones that are choosing you" (it was a "use the force, Luke" moment)... looked at the gal that was trying so hard and thought "well, she's kinda cute, nice knockers, obviously very keen on me... why not?"

    And it turned out quite good... could've easily been a multi-day GFE if I'd had more time.

    So for me it was a mixed bag. I did see some of the Viet gals come and go 3 or 4 times for ST just in the 3-3.5 hours I hung around there. I just shook my head and took note of which ones were doing that and struck em off the list of potentials. They seem like they can be a little more cut-throat and hardened than their Thai and Cambo sisters, but like any group, you'll always have ones that go against the common tendencies.
    Last edited by WarProfiteer; 10th September 2013 at 15:24.

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