Travel Diary: A Vietnamese Man Talks About Gay Life In Saigon

In this comprehensive sầu gay guide khổng lồ Saigon you"ll find tips on the gay scene, the best gay bars to go out, places to lớn stay, activities, restaurants and more….

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“Guys, just follow my lead and slowly cross the road with me: the cars & motorbikes will just weave their way around you…”

…so said our friover Quan who showed us how to lớn navigate the crazy traffic of the streets of Saigon. Honestly, you"ve not been lớn Saigon until you"ve tried to lớn cross over one of the main roads or taken a scooter ride through the busy jungle of moving vehicles; it"s something you won"t forget in a hurry!

Saigon is a lot of fun. It"s busy, frenetic, has super feisty locals, manic traffic and delicious street food. The gay scene is also pretty good, with a large LGBTQ community of both expats & locals.

This is one place we quickly fell in love sầu with & know you will too! It"s definitely a must for LGBTQ travellers visiting South East Asia và we"ve got you covered in our comprehensive sầu gay travel guide right here.


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Covered in our travel guide show
1What"s the difference between Saigon & Ho Chi Minh City?
2How safe is Ho Chi Minch City for gay travellers?
3The gay neighbourhood of Ho Chi Minc City
4Gay hotels in Saigon
5Gay bars in Ho Chi Minc City
6Gay clubs in Ho Chi Minch City
7Gay events in Saigon
8Gay saunas/spas in Saigon
9Gay restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
10What khổng lồ do in Ho Chi Minc City
11Planning your trip lớn Saigon
12Gay bản đồ of Ho Chi Minch City

What"s the difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minc City?

So we hear you asking, what"s the actual difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minc City? Is it the same place?

Short answer – yes! The city has actually gone by many different names in its long and complicated history, reflecting different groups that have controlled it through the years. It was named “Gia Din” until the French conquest of the 1860s, when it was named Sài Gòn – and westernized to be “Saigon”. After the ‘Fall of Saigon‘ at the over of the Vietnam war, the thành phố was renamed Ho Chi Minc City in honour of the late North Vietnamese president, Mr Ho Chi Minch.

Nowadays the name Saigon is still used to lớn refer lớn the city centre around District 1, while Ho Chi Minh City generally means the entire modern đô thị with all its districts. But don"t be surprised lớn still find places (especially hotels) named after Saigon as people often use the names interchangeably.


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Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City? We"ll just go with what the beer says…!

How safe is Ho Chi Minh City for gay travellers?

We found Vietphái nam as a whole to be quite welcoming towards us as a gay couple. In relation to LGBTQ rights, Vietnam has never had any anti-gay laws và although gay marriage is not yet recognised, the outright ban on it was lifted in 2015.

One thing we would mention is just to lớn take caution with public displays of affection và perhaps avoid them lớn be on the safe side. As gay friendly as Vietnam is towards foreigners, attitudes nonetheless are quite conservative sầu and there are still no anti-discrimination laws in place khổng lồ protect you should anything happen.


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While Hanoi hosts the main gay events, Ho Chi Minc is where you will find the best gay bars và clubs in all of Vietphái mạnh. It"s also trang chủ to a large và thriving LGBTQ community comprised of both expats and locals. The gay scene of Saigon is constantly changing & evolving; bars/clubs open và close all the time, which we"ve kept up to date in this guide.

Find out more in our interview with local boy Quan from Saigon about gay life in Vietnam.

The gay neighbourhood of Ho Chi Minh City

There isn"t an official gay neighbourhood in Ho Chi Minch City, but most of the queer hangouts can be found in and around District 1, which is also the most touristic area. District 1 is home to lớn the city"s major museums, fine dining and exciting nightlife, as well as most of the international 5-star hotels.

If you"re travelling on a budget, you"ll want lớn kiểm tra out the area on the fringes of District 1, which has become known as “the backpacker district”. There are plenty of affordable gay friendly accommodation options around Bui Vien and Pmê say Ngu Lao streets, while still being cđại bại to all the major sights.

Pool party gay fun in Saigon!

Gay hotels in Saigon

All the places we stayed at in Saigon had no issue about hosting us a gay couple. As a rule of thumb, international chain hotels are accustomed khổng lồ dealing with LGBQ travellers anyway, & there are also a handful of hotels that also cater specifically to lớn queer travellers, which we"ve phối out here:


The Reverie Saigon

District 1


There"s a beautiful outdoor swimming pool on the 6th floor, which looks out over Saigon và features plenty of comfy spots to lounge. The large fitness centre also gives you the chance to lớn work up a sweat while looking out over the pool or the đô thị through panoramic windows. For some relaxation and pampering the spa has a huge các mục of treatments khổng lồ enjoy, from massages to toàn thân wraps, facials, body toàn thân scrubs & massages. They also offer a romantic couple"s packages.

There are no less than FIVE different places lớn dine in the Reverie. Romeo and Juliet Restaurant (or R&J as it"s often called) serves authentic Italian dishes in a stunning space with Italian mosaics, elaborate candelabras và a collection of differently styled dining chairs. There"s also the Royal Pavilion for exquisite Chinese cuisine (và decor) while Cafe Cardinal has the best French desserts & pastries. If you can manage lớn roll yourself outside, the rest of the city will be waiting for you!

Cheông chồng availability

As you can see, the outdoor pool is a haven of relaxation and sophistication. The provided pool service means you can have sầu a drink or snaông xã while lounging in the sun, or perhaps a thắm thiết sunphối cocktail. There"s also a large fitness centre with lots of amenities khổng lồ keep yourself looking good. The Xuan Spa uses traditional Vietnamese rituals và ingredients, with treatments based on resources from the Mekong Delta – the perfect way khổng lồ relax after sightseeing.

While you"ll be able to lớn easily explore the restaurants và cafes surrounding the hotel, there are also plenty of fine dining options within the building. Opera is the main restaurant, comprising the main dining room, bar and verandah where you can enjoy Italian cuisine. Square One on the mezzanine floor combines French và Vietnamese dishes for unique flavours as well as a cellar door for wine tasting. And that"s not even mentioning the two bars, pastry boutique & lounge where you can have afternoon tea!

Cheông chồng availability

The bedrooms are very clean và cosy. To save money you could book a room without a window, although it"s still very affordable lớn stay in one with a balcony and/or a pool view. Even though the hotel is located in a busy part of town, known for its noisy nightlife, the khách sạn itself is very quiet. The staff are exceedingly friendly, helpful & able khổng lồ assist you in organising excursions or activities khổng lồ vì in the đô thị.

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Guests can enjoy a big (free!) buffet breakfast next khổng lồ the pool each morning, with many western and Vietnamese dishes khổng lồ sample, from traditional Vietnamese pho, khổng lồ good old bacon & eggs. Beautiful Saigon also has its own in-house spa chăm sóc sức khỏe và làm đẹp, where you can relax with different types of massages, or treatments such as waxing, pedicures, body scrubs and toàn thân wraps.

Cheông xã availability

The staff are super friendly, helpful and chatty with everyone. They will tell you all about the history of Saigon as well as giving recommendations for things lớn vị, see & where to lớn eat nearby. The hostel is also right next lớn the huge Ben Thanh khô market, which has a food section as well as lots of options for buying souvenirs or gifts lớn take home with you.

We love how the interior of the hostel looks like an ultra-modern New York loft, with balconies looking down over the courtyard and potted plants everywhere. Even the dorm rooms are beautifully designed with privacy curtains, plenty of storage space, lamps inside your bunk and gorgeous shared bathrooms. Walking inside Prei Nokor is like stepping into another world!

Cheông chồng availability

Gay bars in Ho Chi Minch City

We loved the gay scene of Saigon. There is a large and active sầu LGBTQ community here along with a handful of gay bars lớn check out. Most of them can be found on the lively De Tsay đắm Street, in the heart of the backpacker area:

The Tipsy Unicorn

The Tipsy Unicorn is one of our favourite gay bars in Saigon. It"s a great place khổng lồ start a night out & it"s where all the local gay boys come khổng lồ watch RuPaul"s Drag Race episodes. Look out for their daily 2 for 1 Happy Hour cocktail deals between 4-7pm. We also love sầu their trivia nights which get can get super camp và quite rowdy! The Tipsy Unicorn is open daily from 4pm until 2am and is located at 37 De Tmê say Street.

Thi Bar

Located in the Bui Vien backpacker"s area, Thi Bar is owned and run by a French-Vietnamese gay couple. It attracts a mixed crowd who come to lớn enjoy the live music. Friday & Saturday are the main gay nights where the local gay lads alternate between The Tipsy Unicorn & here before heading over to Republic later on. Located at 224 De Tmê man Street, Thi Bar is open every day from 5pm until 1-2.30am.

Papa Cafe

Papa Cafe is more of a restobar that turns into lớn one of the hotthử nghiệm gay hangouts later in the evening, particularly at weekends. We love their karaoke nights – lets just say that Vietnamese gay guys are very passionate about belting out their live Diva tunes! Upstairs is the more uber-cool chill-out lounge area to lớn hang out with friends. Papage authority Cafe is open every day from 7am-midnight and is located at Cong Truong Quoc Te, right next lớn the Turtle Lake traffic roundabout.

Whiskey & Wares

Owned by two xinh tươi American guys, Whiskey & Wares is a bar that attracts a mixed crowd of locals, expats and LGBTQ travellers. Obviously they serve some excellent whiskey varieties here, but they also sell craft beers & delicious Vietnamese-inspired cocktails, which were responsible for lots of Seby hangovers… The owners & staff are so friendly they make you feel lượt thích you"re hanging out at trang chủ – that is, if your home was decorated in a cool industrial-style! Located at 196 De Tmê man Street, Whiskey & Wares is open every day from 5pm until around 1.30am.

The Tipsy Unicorn guys are certainly on point with their branding!

Gay clubs in Ho Chi Minch City

The main gay club in Saigon is Republic. There are also a few gay events that take place every few weeks or months at different locations throughout the city. We"ve set the main ones out below:

Republic Lounge

We love sầu the gay scene of Saigon mainly because of Republic. It"s a super fun night out where almost every gay in the city eventually ends up at! We suggest heading here around 11pm or midnight when it starts to get going. On Thursday & Friday evenings they have sầu hilarious drag shows which you have to lớn see at least once! Oh – và did we forget the cocktails? They"re pretty damn tasty and super unique, especially the cumquat mojitos! Republic is located at 274 De Tmê mẩn Street và is open every day from 7pm-3am & until 5am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Full Disclosure Entertainment

Full Disclosure Entertainment organises super fun gay parties in Saigon every month. Our favourite is ‘Yaaaas" – lets just say that as pop music geeks, we can never get enough of Britney, Beyonce & Lady Gaga on the dancefloor! Make sure you kiểm tra their Facebook page khổng lồ see what"s coming up while you"re in the thành phố.

Les Come Out

Another excellent organisation that organises lesbian & trans-inclusive parties. It was created by the ‘Amazing Race 5" contestants Nic & Lisa Truong-Marchetkhổng lồ. They ayên ổn to provide safe spaces for the local LGBTQ community & we totally high five them for this! Be sure lớn kiểm tra out their Facebook page for details of the lademo upcoming events.

Gay events in Saigon

In terms of official gay events in Ho Chi Minh City, there"s really only VietPride in August. We"ve sầu also included some other fun events that are definitely worth checking out if you"re there at the right time of year.

VietPride aka Saigon Pride (August)

While VietPride began in Hanoi, it now takes place in cities across the country, including Saigon. A big parade marches down Nguyen Street with thousands of participants waving rainbow flags. There are also lots of gay parties, film screenings & other activities surrounding the Pride celebrations, so keep an eye on the Facebook page if you want to know all the details for the next one.

Tet – Vietnamese New Year (February)

Tet is the name for Vietnamese New Year, which takes place based on the lunar calendar and is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. Celebrating the arrival of spring, Tet usually falls in January or February. During Tet, Vietnamese families make traditional foods and also decorate their homes with beautiful flower displays.

Songkran (April)

Songkran is the Buddhist New Year, which is most known for being celebrated in Đất Nước Thái Lan but is also celebrated by the many Buddhists in Vietphái nam. In Saigon, the entire gay community gets involved khổng lồ take part in the “Thai water festival Songkran” which is lượt thích a huge street-wide water fight and organised by Saigon Outcast.

National Day (September)

National Day or Independence Day is a national holiday in Vietnam which celebrates the declaration of independence of Vietnam after WWII as well as commemorating the passing away of Ho Chi Minh. Taking place on the 2nd of September every year, you"ll be able to lớn see lots of lit-up signs, flags, flower displays, a parade & even fireworks at night.

Mid-Autumn Festival (September/October)

The mid-autumn festival, also known as Trung Thu, celebrates the kết thúc of the harvest season and is the second most important festival in Vietnam after the Lunar New Year. The best way khổng lồ celebrate Trung Thu in Saigon is in the Phu Bin lantern-making village, one of the few villages in the city that still make glass paper lanterns for the festival. It"s beautiful khổng lồ see all the lanterns glowing, and don"t forget lớn try some delicious traditional moon cakes.

Gay saunas/spas in Saigon

There are a surprising number of male-only spas and saunas in Saigon, where you can go for some discrete cruising action. Vietnamese guys are usually pretty shy so you might need to make the first move, but these saunas are also a good way lớn just relax and make some new friends.

NaDam Spa

NaDam Spa is one of the biggest và most well-known gay saunas in the city, with truly stunning Vietnamese architecture. There are wooden walkways above a pond filled with koi và numerous leafy plants everywhere. Facilities include a steam room, dry saumãng cầu, a wet area with rain showers and two bathing pools, one with Jacuzzi jets và massage fountains. This is a gorgeous spot lớn relax and maybe have some fun! Located at QL13, Hiep Binh Ckhô hanh Ward, NaDam Spa is open every day from midday until 10pm.

De.soi9 Sauna

De.soi9 is not your typical sauna, but definitely a lot of fun! Down a quiet alley in the heart of Saigon, there"s a lush garden that makes the place feel more like a beer garden than a sauna. There"s a steam room, saumãng cầu, cinema, Jacuzzi và private cabins, as well as a nice rooftop where you can tia laze in the sun. De.soi9 Sauna is located at 24 Dinh Tien Hoang Street and is open daily from 1pm-10pm.

The SixtyNine Zone

Run by the same people behind De.Soi9 Sauna, The SixtyNine Zone is a popular gay saumãng cầu which holds regular themed days for bears, students etc. Spread out over two floors there"s a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi và even a private play space called “The Tiger Cage Area” – phwoar!!! The SixtyNine Zone is located at 39/3 Pđam mê Ngoc Thach Street & is open every day from 11am-11pm.