Vietnam is a relatively hassle-free place for
gay visitors. Same sex relationships have never been
explicitly illegal but modern criminal law
prohibits acts that undermine public morality, a code that provides a legal basis for authorities to prosecute any
behavior considered out of the norm, and the government is
infamous for clamping down on gay venues. It is generally
understood that one is 'born' gay and same sex relationships
are quite common and accepted, as long as they are kept
private. Most gay people thus keep a low profile. Although affectionate behavior in public between people of
the same sex is very common, it doesn't mean one is gay and
explicit 'gay' behavior in public is certainly frowned upon.
Due to its close association with prostitution and HIV/AIDS,
authorities have sometimes harassed gay men and often turn a
blind eye to real crimes that target gay visitors, such as
organized rip-offs in which homosexuality is used as
blackmail by scam artists, usually posing as masseurs.
Modern gay life has well infiltrated nightlife, but a real
gay scene as in some other countries is in essence absent.
Gay people generally meet in mixed places such as discos,
pubs and restaurants.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
A cute waiter in one
of the many road side restaurants.
HO CHI MINH
Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, is a
metropolitan of almost 10 million people. It is situated on the
Saigon River, just a small distance North of where the Mekong
Delta floods into the South China Sea. The heart of the city,
also known as the 1st District, stretches from the river to the
Opera House, along the Saigon river which is lined with 5-star
hotels, trendy shops and fine restaurants. Most venues popular
with gays are also located in this area.
2nd floor, 131 Dong Khoi, 1st District.
Trendy disco with tasteful music and
handsome waiters, that are recognizable from their large
cowboy hats and shirtless vests. Good mix of locals and
foreigners. Crowded on weekend nights but, due to its
location, closes rather early (around 1am).
Samsara, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Samsara, probably the
most trendy gay disco in HCMC with a good mix of locals,
expats and visitors.
236 De Tham, 1st District.
A gay owned restaurant and pub in HCMC
backpacker's district. It has two floors, with the upstairs
being a stylish restaurant offering a bit more privacy. Very
friendly and helpful staff.
Eden, a gay-friendly
restaurant in Saigon with a mix of male and female
Eden, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ly Thu Trung, 1st District.
Mixed, gay-friendly dance bar with two
levels but without a dance floor. It also has pool tables
and there are couches all over. It also has outdoor
dining. Very crowded on Saturday evenings.
Windsor Plaza Hotel, 5th District.
Fashionable discothèque with a mixed crowd of young
Vietnamese and lots of gays. Hip and trendy music by DJ.
2B-2C Thi Sach, 1st District.
Straight disco frequented by many gays,
especially after other venues closed shop. Gay people tend
to hang out on the patio outside or in the corner near the
dance floor on the right side from the entrance. In the late
hours it looks as it sounds and it requires plenty of
security personnel to help with closing up. They also offer
Apocalypse Now, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
The entrance to
Apocalypse Now, a disco in Saigon, frequented by many
young Vietnamese and some gays.
3rd Floor, Orient Club, 6 Mac Dinh Chi,
Large and popular place for young gays to
hang out amongst other non-gay Vietnamese. It has a dance
floor with local pop music.
2nd Floor, Palace Hotel, 1st District.
A stylish but slightly pricey club, serving both beers and
cocktails. The clientele is mixed. Also light snacks and
food are available.
84 Tran Hung Dao,
A small gay owned boutique selling smart
and fashionable clothes. Very helpful and friendly service,
beyond what is normally expected in vendor vs. clientele
relations. If required can provide assistance and inside
information on Saigon's gay venues.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Casi collection, a
fashionable gay wear boutique in Saigon.
Nang Xanh Cafe
Phan Xich Long, Binh Thanh District.
Very small, gay karaoke bar with a mixed
clientele. Popular for singing and even some dancing.
Dong Phuong Bar
22 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, 1st District.
Gay karaoke bar that also offers live
performances of traditional Vietnamese folk songs. Liked by
people who love singing.
Vietnam’s capital with a population of almost
4 million. Hanoi is a energetic city full of attraction. It has
Hoan Kiem lake at its centre and many old quarters witness of
its French colonial past. Official attitudes towards
homosexuality are fairly conservative and many gays thus keep a
low profile. Some are also trapped into marriage and family life.
Notwithstanding a lively gay scene there are little gay venues and most
activity therefore takes place in mixed venues and over
the internet. This obscure existence has made gay visitors an
easy target for scams and hustlers engaging in prostitution and
Mao's Red Lounge
7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem District.
Gay owned bar with a nice atmosphere and cool
music. There are some friendly young Vietnamese waiters with a
good command of English.
Super Bowl Center, Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da
Popular disco with a young crowd. Especially
popular with local gays. It offers great music and is frequented
by a lot of gay guys who tend to hang out in the corner bar
area. Very friendly service.
New Century Club
10 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem District.
A mixed club with early on a variety show and
later good dance music. It is frequented by some gays, in
particular along the bar on the right.