Saigon Prostitution; truths & risks

By Sam (from Malaysia)

Saigon prostitution isn’t as obvious and as open as other places in South East Asia, yet it’s still present. In fact, finding a lady of the night in Ho Chi Minh City is a lot easier than you might think. Girls are easy to find, open to suggestion, and are cheap.

Sounds good, but remember that prostitution in Vietnam is illegal and if you’re caught you’re going to be in trouble.

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Police in the country like bribes and they’ll question you to try to get you to pay up. However, being caught is unlikely and most people behave as if they don’t really care about the risks. For them, the benefit of getting laid is worth the tiny risk of a police raid.

The Saigon Red Light District

You can expect to see a range of young to middle-age Vietnamese girls. Some are students and are quite attractive. They’re looking for a little bit of extra cash whilst having a good time with a westerner.

There's no isolated red light district in Saigon, but you'll meet a lot of freelance working-girls in Bui Vien or Pham Ngu Lao. Be aware that many of these street walkers take drugs, and they aren't the most trustworthy companions... Heroin and crystal meth are popular. Several ladyboys are also found in these red light areas of the city.

You won’t find any official Go-go bars in Saigon. Strip joints are also illegal in Vietnam, but unofficial ones do exist.

You can find available girls almost everywhere in the city, but Bui Vien prostitutes are the most popular with western visitors. The main place to pick up is at some of the late night bars. Others hang around the streets. There are also lots of massage parlours that almost guarantee a happy ending.

Some bars and areas in Saigon are set up for foreign interests...

Biu Vien Prostitutes

Some waitresses at restaurants and some girls in karaoke bars double up as prostitutes, the Karaoke ladies tend to be younger and more attractive than most other working girls.

Attractive waitresses do not make up a large percentage of the Saigon prostitution scene, and it can be difficult to tell which ones are available. The girls that are available will be flirty and ready to have a drink with you.

If the drink and conversation goes well enough i.e. she doesn’t feel that you are a dangerous lunatic, she’ll be happy to meet up with you after her shift. In many ways, picking up a Bui Vien prostitute is just like picking up a regular girl back home... just a million times easier!

Karaoke bars have a different setup; you go in and pay for a room. In some of these venues there will be girls wearing revealing clothes who will quickly come and join you. Throughout the night you talk to them, they get flirty, and then you negotiate a price. If you decide to take one of them to the room, you need to pay a tab at the karaoke bar. Also, it's recommended that you give the girl a tip because the karaoke bar won’t give them anything.

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Saigon Prostitution Online

Finding the Saigon prostitution industry operating online is not difficult; dating websites are full of girls of the night. In fact, prostitution thrives online.

A friend once told me he found a girl online using his phone in a bar. Within 30 minutes he was in a hotel room with her. He got in touch, went to a nearby hotel, and paid for a room for two hours. These rooms are common in Saigon but not strictly legal i.e. it is actually illegal for a Vietnamese girl to be alone with a foreigner!

He sent a text to the girl and told her his room number. She came, they had sex, and went their separate ways. Saigon prostitution comings and goings are often initiated in the digital world.

If you’re out in a bar, the girls will come up to you. After around 1 am in Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien most of the bars are full of girls. They’ll come over and start to talk or show affection towards you. Expect them to pour your drinks, to touch your leg and to be super nice.

These girls will negotiate a price before heading off to a hotel room. Asking prices can range from as low as $20 up to $100 depending on what you want and where you want to go.

I had a friend who was in his mid-60s and always bought a different girl home with him every night. These were all young university students. I think the oldest he ever bought back was in their late 20’s.

This went on for a couple of weeks and I was new to Vietnam at the time so I asked him how he did it. He revealed that he paid them 1,000,000 VND each and he asked them directly if they want to have sex after a few drinks in the bar. He told me that he had about a 30% success rate.

Where to take the girl

Several hotels in district one offer a room on an hourly rate; some are better than others. One hotel room I went in was in appalling condition. They hadn’t cleaned up from the last person. The sheets were dirty and stained and a used condom was under the bed!

Be aware of this, but don’t make the mistake of taking them back to your own hotel room. It makes sense to keep these relationships secret and not give the girl any opportunity to acquire any of your personal belongings…

The Saigon prostitution scene comes with risks. The girls want your money and will go a long way to get it from you.

Never take them to your own apartment and show them your money and always make sure that you go to the ATM before meeting the girl. They tend to work in groups and the innocuous and friendly guy talking to you may be watching for your PIN to use later when she secretly takes your card from you.

No matter how drunk you are, it pays to be sensible and avoid unnecessary risks when it comes to Vietnamese working girls and money.

Things to Remember about the Saigon prostitution scene

Enjoy your time in Vietnam and if you want a lady of the night, take care to protect yourself. The Saigon prostitution industry is booming, but it can be a dangerous game.

I hope I’ve painted a picture of what Saigon prostitution is really like. Behind the surface there’s a thriving sex industry in Vietnam. Because it’s illegal, prostitution is less regulated than places like Thailand (Editorial Note: actually, prostitution is also illegal in Thailand, just as in most of SEA).

Here are a few things to remember:

  • There are prostitutes working on the streets, in the late night bars, in Karaoke bars and at some restaurants.
  • A lot of street hookers take drugs and may be affiliated with their drug dealers. Be especially careful with them.
  • 90% of the prostitutes that you’ll find in the late night bars will probably rob you if they have the chance.
  • Avoid taking them to your hotel or to your apartment.

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