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A few facts about VN in 2023 and before

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I'm writing this new post to address the off-topic discussion in RXpharm's thread dealing with "French Documentary about Katoeys" and hopefully stop thread fucking. I believe that complaining about Vietnamese taxis without evidence of scams is akin to Vietnam bashing.

I recall my first experiences in a taxi, which date back to my childhood when my parents visited my mother's family in the countryside during the winter. We would take a train for most of the journey, but the last few kilometers were covered by taxi. When I was a student heading home, I sometimes opted for a taxi for the final 10 kilometers. I always found the service expensive, costing more than half of the train ticket for a 300 km journey. As a result, I got used to avoiding taxis to save money. In Europe, the only country with affordable rates was Portugal, at a time when the country was not as developed. But taking the bus remained the more economical choice.

A few years later, I worked as a taxi driver in Mid Georgia and discovered the other side of the business. I started with challenging days, spending long hours on the road and sometimes making barely enough money to earn $2 per hour. I had to deal with customers refusing to pay extras, sales tax, or even inventing scams to avoid paying. I also had to learn to identify customers who might try to escape without paying or engage in illicit activities like drug transactions. I even received tips from the police to ask for upfront payment from certain customers or refuse fares.

During my initial trips to Thailand and the Philippines, I enjoyed using bath buses or tuk-tuks due to their low fares. However, I soon realized I was using them excessively, so I began to be more mindful of my expenses. I started walking in many cities, saving money for my favorite activitiy with ladyboys. On my first trip to Vietnam in 2016, I tried to stay away from taxi drivers, as I encountered scenes at bus stations where they would pounce on me, not allowing me to find a cost-effective way to reach my destination. I was about 15 km away from downtown Saigon, and I eventually took a bus to my hotel in District 1 for just 6,000 VND (40 cents). The controller didn't even charge me extra for my luggage.

I only had one issue with a taxi driver during my first trip in Châu Đốc, where the driver, a very young man, couldn't find the boat terminal to go to Phnom Penh. In his defense, he didn't know that the boat terminal was located in a hotel by the Mekong, and there was no one to assist him except maybe me.

In 2018, I traveled from Hanoi to the extreme southwest of the country. I initially used open bus tickets but stopped in Huế due to discomfort and reckless driving. Although trains were more expensive, they were a cost-effective means of traveling long distances in Vietnam. Airlines cost approximately twice as much, but flying with them could also be a worthwhile option. The only dilemma arose in the southwest, where I had to choose between taking a bus or flying directly from HCMC to another city by plane. (It's too much expensive except between HCMC and Dương Đông)

In 2018, I began using Grab, even though I couldn't create a Grab account. I simply asked a waitress at a bar to order a Grab for me, and I would pay her. I remember traveling to remote areas without knowing my exact location thanks to Grab, then I would spend time with a ladyboy and find another grab or a taxi to come back. 

During my last trip in 2019, I used taxis in Vietnam once again. At first, I relied on Grab, which allowed me to travel across large cities for just a few hundred thousand dong. However, I mainly used city buses, allowing me to traverse the city, disembark in the middle of nowhere, and reach a hotel with a ladyboy ready for a hot time. On a hot afternoon, as I had a late dating, I would get caught in a heavy thunderstorm as I tried to return to D1 to spend time at Senorita bar. I hailed a white taxi, double-checking the route with Google Maps. On one occasion, I sensed that the driver was trying to disoriente me, but he ultimately arrived at the correct location via a narrow lane He appeared to be lost, but I assured him that he was only a shop away from the correct address. It was excellent service, with no scams involved.

During my most recent trip, I used taxis occasionally. I took buses from Hanoi airport to my serviced apartment. When I considered returning, I inquired about taxi fare prices, and my residence's quote closely matched the price on the metre. In Đà Nẵng, I disliked the aggressive attitude of taxi and motorbike drivers, so I chose to take the bus or walk instead. I later turned down a taxi in Nha Trang while negotiating flat rates for a shared ride with German and Swedish young people. I felt that the discount offered was insufficient, and I opted to walk instead, as my hotel was the closest. While there was no scam, I can be quite shrewd in business. I arrived at my hotel just in time for a shower, went to a restaurant, and reached the  spot with ladyboys street action in the right time. Upon arriving in HCMC, I used only city buses. In Dương Đông, on a rainy evening, I had to take a taxi as I was caught in a thundershower. The young driver initially seemed clueless to me, and as he drove away from the hotel, I shouted, "Bạn đi qua cầu". I was sitting in the back right seat, but the driver turned left and looked for another passenger. He burst into laughter when he realized I was speaking to him in Vietnamese. He turned back at the roundabout and took me to the hotel. He appeared frustrated when he realized that the fare was less than 50,000 VND, but I had avoided a mistake. I rounded up the payment to 50,000 VND (2$).

I can't categorically claim that Vietnamese taxi drivers are scammers. It's challenging for anyone to prove they've been scammed. In Vietnam, prices may seem relatively high, as 100,000 VND is equivalent to around $4 or 150 THB. However, what costs a small amount can be unsignificant. Taxi fares often appear expensive in various countries, so if you find them unpalatable, it's advisable to explore alternative means of transportation. For example, purchasing a Lonely Planet guide before traveling to Vietnam can be a wise investment. It can prove profitable after just one ride if travelers take the time to read and identify the right bus routes, such as the one that takes them to Chợ Bến Thành (D1) from the international terminal ofân Sơn Nhất . It doesn't require extraordinary intelligence to locate the appropriate bus route from Tân Sơn Nhất Airport to any hotel in the city. So, please refrain from fabricating taxi scams.

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What happened in Vietnam ? 

Back to the ladyboys, who are our primary concern, as outlined in my TR, I initially came across a few ladyboys in 2016, and this number increased in 2018. However, my most significant breakthrough came in 2019 when I discovered a new market. Traditionally, there have always been ladyboys demanding 2 million VND in Vice sisters or TS-dating. However, these self-proclaimed as 'international escorts' and offer hourly rates commensurate with what was supposed to be their high-level including English speaking. I discovered, however, that they relied on Google Translate and lacked proficiency in both English and sex in the room. In 2019, I came across new forums with ladyboyss who asked for prices ranging from 250 K to 500 K VND for short times. These prices were well-suited for local clients, aligning with my aim of tapping into this market. I began to explore this market in 2019 and initially found it quite satisfying. However, I started noticing some shortcomings, as I was only able to meet with about 20% of the ladyboys on my list, which seemed rather limited. In response, I began seeking out more ladyboys as the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold. This afforded me an extended period of three years instead of one to expand my network. Nevertheless, I couldn't be physically present to verify the data I had collected.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Vietnamese ladyboy population like a war. The majority of them were employed in non-essential businesses, leaving them jobless and without social insurance. Ladyboys in freelance found themselves in dire straits, struggling to pay their rent, especially those working in the streets as in Nha Trang. Many ladyboys residing in Ho Chi Minh City faced eviction when they couldn't cover their rent, with landlords taking action as soon as it had been legal.
During this time, the Vietnamese military presence on the streets became more pronounced. While a few ladyboys persisted in advertising their services, the risks of venturing out to meet customers had substantially increased. There was a real threat of being apprehended by patrols and facing hefty fines. Those who could do so relocated to their family homes in the countryside (the delta of Mekong is similar to Issan in Thailand as far as ladyboys are concerned.)
Many ladyboys disappeared from the market, waiting for the crisis to pass while staying with their families. Some transitioned to different lines of work, and a few more probably found money in their family to finance their SRS. However, those determined to continue in the field adapted by offering video call sex (VCS) instead of usual short times in specialized hotels. They maintained their service rates at 400,000 VND, but video calls or videos were real scams. Some claimed the video call's limitations affected the quality of their service itself. When in-person meetings became viable again, many ladyboys who could organize them substantially raised their prices, often to 2 million VND. A few remained more reasonable, keeping their rates around 700,000 VND, however, many had also moved on from the field of p4p.

Upon my return last year, I initially explored connections in North Vietnam, curious about the new ladyboys emerging in the provinces north of Hanoi. However, these newcomers appeared unaware of the typical market pricing . They might have only heard of the bygone era when a ladyboy or a GG could command a high fee for a meeting. Prices t represented a big amount of money for Vietnamese people at that time but very little for a Westerner(5 US$), what is no longer the case (10 million VND = 14,500 THB). 

Regarding the more reputable locations in South Vietnam, I discovered reasonable prices in Da Nang (the situation fitted with what local mongers had described before covid, but even then, this was not a great place for p4p) . Nha Trang, on the other hand, seemed to have experienced a complete disruption and disarray in its street action, while Ho Chi Minh City appeared to be going through significant upheaval. In Nha Trang, the military had forced ladyboys out of their usual places where they hooked up clients and throughout the rest of the country, those who returned to the p4p found themselves confronted with unfamiliar conditions. At the time of my visit, I couldn't quite comprehend the situation, but I remained patient, hoping for clearer explanations. 

My trip could have been as rewarding as it was in 2019 had I been able to convince  Daisy to come with me or regain contact with Ngoc My. Daisy had decided to shift to services priced at 2 million VND, and I had unfortunately lost Ngoc My's contact information. After my trip, I resorted to posting an ad on a forum in my quest to locate Ngoc My. A nice monger fellow responded and provided valuable insights, including Ngoc My's contact details. Ngoc My’s messenger account had  banned from the messenger at the request of the police. This is the way a specialized police service based in Hanoi struggle against p4p. The same service also censored forums that I used. I could still use them, but I noticed I would be redirected to new URLs but ladyboys and Ggs couldn’t be redirected. 

The nice monger  later informed me that renting an apartment in HCMC that had cost less than 2 million VND before the pandemic had now surged to 4 million VND, with the added inconvenience of reduced living spaces. This surge in living costs helps to explain why many ladyboys were hesitant to return to the business or demanded higher prices if they chose to re-enter it. Having decided for higher prices, average Vietnamese mongers can’t afford short times at 2 million VND, so the market remained inactive (It's a negative mix of inflation and deflation). In some sense, Vietnam hasn’t recovered of Covid yet. 

Last but not least. As i looked for airline prices for a trip in Vietnam this year, I found out that prices were too much expensive. I didn't want to pay for a return ticket to HCMC as much as forwith one way to Ha Noi and one return from HCMC last year. If I add a few more details (some ladyboys reproached me to have announced about a visitor in Saigon who didn't show up) I decided 6 months ago it would be a no go for this year. 

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I came across a discussion in PY where guys were still pondering over the concept of ladyboyfriendly hotels in Vietnam.  I haven't found time to comment for  a month or so but made it this week end.  Trời đất oy ! Individuals are still contemplating lists of ladyboyfriendly hotels in BKK or Saigon, and they've earned themselves the "advanced member" titles.. I’d rather grant them the title of advanced idiots. 




Vietnam is not fundamentally different from Thailand for us Europeans or American farangs. I believe that people's minds have been too heavily influenced by the PY state of mind. While these guys were posting, I had already shared most of my latest travel report from Vietnam, and I was still over there in Saigon.

I'm curious where they heard about issues with ladyboys in hotels. I also wonder where this 'JustSomeGuy' read about ladyboysfriendly hotels around the main tourist party area and that ladyboys know LB friendly ST hotel in the area.

Just like the 'true or fake' program on television, here's what's true in Vietnam.

P4P remains prohibited in Vietnam and police sometimes operates crackdowns. Just a reminder: Thailand signed the international convention to abolish prostitution, and you see how it goes in Thailand. Since 2013, the Vietnamese police opted for a softer strategy to struggle against prostitution. 

As mentioned in my TR, bars now strictly enforce a rule prohibiting their employees from leaving the premises with customers they are supposed to entertain. While this rule was occasionally overlooked before COVID, I observed a rigorous implementation by bar managers in 2022.
I haven't encountered any issues inviting a ladyboy to my hotel room, whether in major cities or provincial towns. During my initial visit to Vietnam, I invited a girl to my hotel in Hanoi, which explicitly stated that guests were not permitted. However, the night guards did not object to her entry.

During my last trip in 2022, even when I had concerns about arranging meetings in my hotel, I encountered no issues. In Da Nang where I intended to welcome a ladyboy in the lobby, but she arrived directly at my room, and I am unsure how she managed it at the reception. Additionally, I utilized ST hotels situated throughout the city, not confined to the main tourist areas, as detailed in my thread 'Trip report for a virtual trip.' By my last trip's conclusion, I had met ladyboys four times in ST hotels (including one in a city in the Delta) and nine times in my hotel or serviced apartment. (Yes, it's wiser to be discerning if you lack confidence in hotels).

PY not only censors BMs they have banned since the moderators dislike them but also allow uninformed members to cultivate false notions based on their own ignorance. They somehow prevent these members from sharing the truth. It appears that one PY member had come across my TRs but was either hesitant to delve into them in detail or afraid to address them accurately. This member not only distorted the truth but failed to cite his sources. He could have provided a link or mentioned me, allowing Kris80 to trace the source, but he chose not to. What's disheartening for PY members is that they are still debating the existence of ladyboyfriendly hotels in Vietnam, while the real concern is the transformation of the ladyboy market itself. As mentioned in my previous post, only a handful of ladyboys still offer their services in the p4p market, and most of them claim prices 50% higher than ladyboys in Thailand. PY members are unaware of their whereabouts and how to contact them 'behind the walls'. They are also unaware of the challenges within the local market or how to navigate them. Too bad for them. When comparing PY and VN, we are left to question where the underdevelopment lies, especially intellectual underdevelopment.

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