Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is very gay-friendly, just as most of the other cities in Vietnam
I am so happy we are all able to travel again! To return to sunny days of travel, I chose Ho Chi Minh City. That is one of the favourite gay destinations in Asia. For all good reasons.
Ho Chi Minh City, called Saigon by the locals, is broad and breezy. It is tropical and easy-going, with just the right balance of urbanity and grittiness. The city centre is filled with trees, parks and boulevards lined by heritage buildings.
The European-flavored heart of Saigon stretches from the river to the Opera House along Dong Khoi St and is lined with 5-star hotels, trendy coffee shops and fine dining. The city spreads out from there in all directions. It keeps going – an interlocking puzzle of French colonial architecture, art deco streamline, mid-century Googie, and geometric Colorforms tacked on everywhere.
It’s an authentic café society, balancing hard work at multiple jobs with recliner chair-lined, al fresco drip coffee shops and alcohol-fueled eateries that are open and patronised round the clock. Ho Chi Minh City’s atmosphere will make your holiday feel like a relaxing vacation.
The best way to see the city is on the back of a motorcycle. Also, high-quality taxi services are plentiful. Ask your hotel which ones are reliable.
Dining and Shopping
Dining delights are plentiful and cheap. Shopping opportunities abound. Prices are meagre, and vacation budgets go a long way here. The best way to see the city is on the back of a motorcycle, but high-quality taxi services are plentiful (ask your hotel which ones are reliable). Use your common sense to avoid scammers (like overfriendly Filipinos who accost you in high-end shopping malls and tourist areas).
Ho Chi Minh City is a young city. Much of the population in Vietnam is under thirty years old. Saigon is filled with spunky, lean, fit and handsome gays. Most are genuinely friendly and looking for stable, long-term love.
Saigon gays do not lack places for a bit of fun. Gays here long ago colonised all sorts of semi-private, non-gay businesses for their social purposes. Many blind massage spas, for example, have a parallel life with a gay cruise space.
Aside from the more open gay bars, discos, spas and saunas, there are cruising parks, fitness centres, public pools, happy hair salons, and even Internet cafés with hook-up spaces for the locals.
However, most gays are not yet willing to be recognised, so most of gay life remains discreet and underground. Growing ranks of pink-collar professionals regularly escape to nearby Cambodia, Thailand or Taiwan for their advanced gay hobbies.
LGBTQ rights in Vietnam
The breezes of freedom are blowing through the city. As of 2015, Vietnam recognises same-sex unions to some extent. An open discussion of homosexuality is fundamentally rippling through Vietnamese society. From famous poets to fashionistas, gays have always been an integral thread in the fabric of Vietnam.