It’s hard to find a good barber in Asia.
But of course, like everything, I shouldn’t generalize. The quality of haircutting services for men (it’s probably much better and more consistent for women) varies greatly per country and even region.
For instance, I currently live in the Philippines, where taking out the clippers and giving you a fade is one of the things they do best. The food? Terrible. The music? Amazing. Haircuts? They’ve got that covered, all day long. In fact, you could go to any beat-down little humble shop in the poorest neighborhood and get a great cut.
However, when I lived in Cambodia, that wasn’t the case. In fact, in that country (which I absolutely love, otherwise), you couldn’t get a good haircut if your (social) life depended on it. Cambodian (called Khmer as a people) barbers actually butcher your lettuce every time you sit in their chair. They have this thing where no matter what you ask for, you end up with that bowl haircut like you’re a North Korean dictator. It was laughable how bad they would fade, and I often had to come home from a haircut and do some damage control by shaving it all off, myself.
In Thailand, where I currently am staying for a month, the barbers aren’t quite that bad, but they still don’t know how to fade short hair for the most part. The best we’ve found (before yesterday) was a 100-year-old man in a fedora who may or may not have been fully asleep when he accidentally shaved off my eyebrow. Oops.
Thank Buddha I rediscovered the Vintage Barber Shop last night. I actually had been there before a couple of years ago when I stayed in the Prattanak area of Jomtien, Thailand, for Judd Reid’s fight camp, which was held down the street.
But I forgot just how great Vintage is. The setup is on point, as they model it after a vintage (no kidding?) barber shop in the U.S., but also modernized and brightly lit. But they also blend in a full coffee shop inside so you can sip on a cappuccino while you’re getting your hair cut or waiting for your friend. The whole front of the shop is glass windows with old-school barber icons painted across, and inside there are also totems of hair cutting yesteryear.
The guys and gals working there are plenty friendly, but get down to business clipping your hair with a great fade (just know what guard number you want on the clippers), as well as all sorts of grooming. They can give you a hot towel for your face, a proper massage in the rooms upstairs, foot scrubs and waxing, and even have a small swimming pool out back to dip your tootsies on hot days!
All of that and a haircut only costs 199 Baht – or $6 approximately. If that’s not dope enough, you can walk next door to their sister business, a full bar with a pool table, hanging out there for a post-haircut drink or chilling while your buddies finish up.
I love Vintage, and will be back every ten days to get my cut while I’m here in Thailand!