Gay Vietnam: discovering gay Saigon with local boy Quan

Stefan Arestis

Vietnam is one of the most gay friendly countries we visited from our big 2 years trip across Asia. Overall we found the Vietnamese to be very welcoming, particularly to the LGBTQ community.

In terms of gay rights, Vietnam doesn't have any gay marriage laws in place. However, by Asia standards it is very progressive:

  • it has never had any anti gay laws (unlike the US and UK)
  • on 1st January 2015, the Law on Marriage and Family came into effect, outlawing the ban on gay weddings
  • it is extremely open to gay travellers as set out in our article about being gay in Vietnam for Matador
  • it held its first (peaceful!) pride parade on 5 August 2012 in Hanoi and has been going strong since
Viet Pride part of gay saigon and gay life in vietnam

Although we found Vietnam to be a relaxed and tolerant country towards us as gay tourists, Vietnamese society still remains conservative towards homosexuality, and most gay locals we met were still in the closet.

Despite this, we met a very sweet and confident local gay boy called Quan in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon). Quan gave us his perspective on gay Saigon and what it's like growing up gay in Vietnam.

gay Saigon Quan posing
Quan posing in Saigon

#1 Xin chào Quan, where are you from and what do you do?

Hi Stefan and Seby. My name is Quan Nguyen and I am 28 years old. I am from Can Tho in the Mekong Delta.

I am a web designer living and working in Saigon.

#2 Are you openly gay to your family and friends?

I am open to all my friends but not yet to my family. I plan to tell them very soon in fact, but I think my older sister knows because she once said to me:

“you better clean up your room if you wanna find a good husband!!”

gay Saigon Husband searching for Quan
Searching for a husband for Quan in the streets of Saigon

#3 How do you think your family will react when you come out to them?

I expect a few tears, especially from my mother because homosexuality is still taboo in Vietnamese society. But I think they may already know so hopefully it won’t be too much of a surprise.

#4 What's it like growing up gay in Vietnam?

It was quite hard when I was younger because traditional Catholic Vietnamese society was not always so open and supportive towards gays. It may surprise you I am Catholic not Buddhist – this is one of the many influences in Vietnam from the French colonial days.

But on the positive, a lot has since changed, which has made it easier for gay boys growing up in modern Vietnamese society. The growth of social media apps like Grindr etc have made it a lot easier for gays to connect with each other.

And, seeing more successful LGBT persons in the media helps society see gayness as something normal as oppose to an illness or wrong. For example, the former US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius is openly gay and was not shy about posing with his husband and baby:

gay Saigon Gay ambassador Ted Osius with husband and baby
Gay US ambassador Ted Osius posing with his husband and their baby

#5 How did you meet other guys growing up?

I was quite shy and nervous about meeting other guys when I was younger. I’ve only recently started to discover my sexuality, so I’m still a baby gay, coming out and discovering gay Saigon.

#6 What are the best gay bars and clubs in Saigon?

Our main gay bar is called Thi Bar and it has a great gay evening on Fridays and Saturdays, which includes happy hour offers before 9pm. Then after 11pm, most head to our big popular gay club called Republic. We have a drag show at Republic on Fridays and a large dance party with live music on Saturdays.

We also have a few gay friendly places which attract a mixed crowd, like Papa Cafe, which has live music, and Le Pub, which is open every day till midnight.

Seb and Quan at Republic gay club in Saigon
Seb and Quan posing outside Republic club in Saigon

#7 Are there any good gay friendly or exclusively gay hotels in Saigon you recommend?

There's a couple of hotels that are famous among gay travelers:

The Reverie Saigon, is in my opinion the most beautiful hotel in Saigon and very popular with gay couples. It is centrally located in District 1 with prices starting from $260 / £175 a night.


Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.

Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel is a more affordable gay friendly option, also in District 1. It's got a really cool swimming pool with prices starting from $45 / £30 for a double bed with breakfast.

Gay Saigon guide Pink Tulip gay hotel in Saigon
Pink Tulip hotel in central Saigon

#8 And finally, has Prince Charming come knocking on your door recently?

Yes he did. In fact there were 2 Prince Charmings if you can believe it!

Sadly for me, they ate all my food, took some pictures, then just abandoned me, hahahaha…

If you want to meet guys like Quan to show you round, drop us a comment below and we'll introduce you to some of the best gay guides in Saigon.

gay events and activities in saigon
Posing with Quan at a tank display at the Cu Chi tunnels

Happy travels are safe travels

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Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, an activity or your insurance, we’ll earn a small commission. There is never an extra cost to you for using these links and it helps us keep the site going.

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

188 thoughts on “Gay Vietnam: discovering gay Saigon with local boy Quan”

  1. Hi! Thanks for the nice interview. I’ll be in Saigon from the 6th of November till the 12th. It would be great if you could arrange a city tour like the one you had with Quan! Greetings

  2. Hi fellas. I’ll be in Vietnam first half of November – coming from Vancouver. Curious about a guy guide in Saigon, or Hanoi.

  3. Hello,
    Interesting article about Saigon. I will visit the town during spring 2020. Meeting young people there is an important aim….
    You have contacts there pls?
    A (gay) guide would be perfect!

  4. Hi Stefan,

    I will go to Vietnam for the first time in December.
    Can you recommend me some nice tour guides in both Ha Noi and also Saigon?

    I will also visit Phú Quốc island and I hope to stay at the Friends Gay Guesthouse there. If you have any tips for Phu Quoc island that would also be appreciated.

    Many thanks and I truly enjoy your site and news reports.

    All the best,


  5. Hi! I just landed in HCMC and I plan to stay here for a few weeks 🙂 would love to meet gay guide and community to show me the city around and make some networking and, of course, some love always 😊

  6. Very nice and interesting interview. I would like to visit Saigon in november and could be nice to meet a local boy for discovering gay saigon. Do you have any contact to give me? Maybe is possible to find somebody also in Phu quoc island?
    Thank you very much for your help
    Paolo, 52 yo, from Italy

  7. Hi there, nice article. I’m visiting HCM and Siem Reap this coming November. The flights and hotels have been booked. I will appreciate if you could introduce one or two local gay guys who can show me around the scene. I’m from Canada in my 40s.

  8. I’m looking for a gay guide for two days 9, 10 Sep 19 (Mon, Tue) for our coming trip to HCM. We will pay the gay guide+ he will get to party and enjoy nice food with us. Would you be able to recommend us any? Cheers

  9. Would love to travel and see a lot of Vietnam but being an older guy don’t have a travel buddy hence I am a little hesitant to do so solo,any helpful suggestions with meeting someone in Vietnam on arrival who is not out to take advantage??

  10. Hi
    Enjoyed your arricle. Thank you.
    Planning to go to HCMC in 2 weeks. Any chance to connect with Quan please?
    Cheers Ron

    • Hey Ron! We’ve sent you an email introducing you to Rainbow Saigon which is an excellent gay tour company.

  11. Hi! I’ve been enjoying reading you posts. I’ll be traveling alone from Hoi An to Saigon and will spend 5 nights there I believe.
    I am intrigued at the idea of having a gay local host some of my time while I visit. I was there for a week about 15 years ago with my, then partner, sadly no longer together.
    He is American Vietnamese and had family there. I have already done the Cu Chi, Mekong Delta and even a trip to Da Lat. Maybe this time I’ll fall in love!!!


  12. I am considering a trip to Vietnam early next year. I am looking for a gay or gay friendly younger man to be my companion and guide for traveling in part or maybe all of Vietnam South to North. Or perhaps connect me with someone in each of the cities or locations I would visit and share time with me.

    I am a 70 year old male, well educated and traveled and recently retired. I am from the USA.

    I enjoy good food and drink and getting to know the local people and culture where ever I travel. I did this with good success in Thailand earlier this year traveling solo with a young man guide. But I could be part of a group of travelers as well. Please let me know what kind of arrangements there might be for me.

  13. Hi I will be in HCMC over the weekend and would be grateful if you could recommend someone who is conversant in English to show me around. Thanks!

  14. Hi,

    Thank you for the article. It’s great!

    I am Vietnamese-American traveling to Saigon and Ha Noi February 1 – February 17. Would love to have someone like Quan show me and my boyfriend around. How can I find someone like that?

  15. Hi there,
    nice story, lovely.
    Ill be visiting HCMC in february and im interested in a guide to show mie around. It ll be my first time there, so it would be very helpful for me.
    Thank you in advance

  16. Hi There! I’ll be in Saigon over Christmas and would love to have a guide such as Quan. Would love the details of the company please 🙂

  17. My partner and I will be visiting Saigon at the beginning of January, we’d love to know more about finding a local city guide. Thanks!

  18. HI,

    We are visiting Saigon end of this month and we’re hoping you could put us in touch with some of the local guides.

    Thanks a million

  19. Hello!

    This is a good read indeed!

    I will be going on my first solo travel for a month around SEA starting at HCMC on the second week of Oct.

    First solo travel= anxiety, excitement and all that emotions!
    I would be glad to have someone to guide me around HCMC for a start.

    Thank you and more power!

    Warmest regards!

  20. hi,

    Will be travelling alone to Saigon on 18 Aug, would like to know some friends who can show me round the city nd hve some beer at night

  21. Hello!

    I’m going to Vietnam with my boyfriend in October and would love to have a handsome gay tour guide who can help us out day and night!

  22. Hi there. Great article! I will be coming to Vietnam Winter 2019 and would love to link up with a gay guide. Let me know if you can help. Thanks!

  23. Nice and informative article. I will be visiting HCMC this alone and im thinking if i can get a local tour guide just to tour around the city and its secret gay places. Thank you for your help.

  24. Hi guys,

    Your blog rocks! I would like to visit Ho Chi Minh in the coming July. Would you please share me some info about local guide, and maybe Quan’s contact? Thank a lot!!

    Ryan from Boston

    • Hi Ryan, Quan doesn’t want his details shared but we can certainly introduce you to an excellent local LGBTQ tour company who you can offer you a discount as one of our readers. I’ll email you about this now.

  25. Hi Stefan
    Me and my friend are traveling to Saigon early in July this year. We would be happy to have a guy both to show us around and give us good company. Would appreciate your guidance
    Thanks PN

    • Hi Praveen sure thing – we recommend Rainbow Saigon, excellent gay tour company with LGBTQ locals. If interested, complete the form in this article and you can also claim a discount if you mention us. Or let us know and we can introduce you to them.

      • Thanks Stefan for the prompt response. Actually my friend is straight. So I would prefer people with whom even he would be comfortable. It would be great if you could introduce us to them. Will the guide be available with us 24 x 7
        We would prefer someone who can accompany us all throughout our stay. Thanks again

  26. Thank you Stefan and really like your blog so informative!

    I am travelling to HCM in June 2018 with my family and would very much like to meet up a gay guy who is interesting to spend a day or two with us showing us around, Do you have any contact and perhaps cost of such service?

  27. Thanks for sharing this to everyone, this is very helpful! May i request, if you can also drop me the email/contact details as well? Thank you in advance!

  28. Hey. I am travelling to Vietnam soon and would appreciate if I could get in contact with the company! Hope to hear from you soon!

  29. Not sure if this the place to require what I want to know. . I have visited Vietnam 7 times,but this time October a friend is coming with me who hates motorbikes very scared. Do you have day tours in a car for visiting outside of the city. Thanking you Ray

  30. Hi, I will be moving to HCMC soon and I don’t know where to start when it comes to the gay scene. How did you meet locals? Any good place for a quite drink with some locals? Would love any suggestions on the night life!!

    • Hi Nei, definitely the places we’ve listed above. Also a Grindr profile we found very helpful to connect with locals.

  31. Hello there, my name is IQI . Was scrolling through looking for guide then I bump into this page. Could you recommend me some guide as I’m flying to Vietnam’s this April

  32. Hey – great article /interview with Quan. Would love to have someone like Quan show us around the Mekong Delta from Can Tho and also saigon. Any guides you know of?? please advise. Also any info as requested by jeremy (just before ours)

  33. I am planning on visiting Vietnam soon. Hue, Hoi An, Hanoi. Do you have the email contact of a legitimate recommended & friendly gay orientated company who could plan airport transfers, excursions & the like? And/or any authentic gay tour guides/guys? Thanks.

  34. Hello Stefan,

    My partner and I will be visiting at the end of the month and are interested in the possibility of a gay guide. Thanks!

  35. Hello Stefan and Sebastien great site very informative…..Thanks
    I’m Noél from Amsterdam will be in Vietnam/Ho Chi Minh City – 05-09/04/18.
    Very interested on a private guide whilst I’m there ….HELP ??!!…; ]


    • Hi Isaac thanks for your info. Quan isn’t a guide but we know an excellent gay tour company there who can offer packages for your Vietnam holiday if of interest.

  36. Hi. I was in Vietnam in Feb and loved it! I am returning in Jan. Do you know of any gay bars where you can talk and meet middle aged locals and travelers in Can Tho, HCMC, Hoi An, and Hanoi? Want to avoid noisy bars where you can’t hear each other.

    • Only the gay bars we’ve put in this article, which we keep updated. Otherwise, reach out to the gay tour company we mention in this article – they are gay locals and will know more hidden places better 🙂

  37. Great article. Looking to move to HCMC for a work position and would love to get Quan’s contact info to learn more about the scene there!

  38. Hello from Geneva, I want to go to Vietnam this December and get some details about Quan and the travel agency for my second visit and this time with a bit different style of Journey, In advance thank you

  39. Excellent blog. I’m traveling to Vietnam in December, do you know any gay tour guide or company based in Saigon and in Hanoi?
    Thank you!

  40. Lovely informative and useful article – thank you very much.

    Do you have any contact information for this guy or his guide service ? Going to Vietnam in december and desprtly need a guide.
    Please help me finding someone who knows vietnam’s hidden paradise please… and Quan would be good for this i think or anyone you could recomend?

    Realll need your help please.
    Warm regards.

  41. Hello guys,

    my name is Oscar from Berlin. I have read your blog about your experiences in Vietnam and it is just amazing. Actually Im planning to visit Vietnam very soon and Im quite afraid since I dont know anybody there. I guess you had good experiences with your tourist guide Quan as well and therefore I would like to ask you if you have got any E-Mail or WhatsApp from him that you can provide me. Do you think he will be able to show me around in his city? It would be great if he could guide me in Saigon too.

    I really appreciate yout help.
    Thank you very much
    Best wishes
    Oscar Rodriguez

  42. Nice website! I’m traveling to Vietnam in September, do you know any gay tour guide or company based in Saigon or in Hanoi?

  43. Hi- Thanks for the article and your website. I travel a lot and have been to Vietnam many times. I would like Quan’s contact info as well if possible. It would be nice to see the scene through the eyes of a local.

  44. Hi – Great article-well done – may you please send Quan details to me as we will be dropping into Saigon for 3 day break and would love someone to show us around –
    Thank you once again x

  45. Hi there, is it possible to share contact information for your guide Quan, would love to have someone who can show me around these sites in Saigon?

  46. This is a fantastic article – thank you! Do you have any contact information for this guy or his guide service (he should really start one if he hasn’t already)? Going to Vietnam in June and need a guide!

  47. Hey guys,
    Very nice blog! It seems you started this recently and i will have a closer look at it. Is Quan in Saigon a guide, who can show us the city and take ust to Can Tho?
    We leave for Vietnam by the end of February.
    Hans & Jeff

    • Thanks Hans. We’ve just celebrated our 2 years anniversary of the blog 🙂 Quan is a graphics designer, but I’m sure he’d be delighted to make new friends.

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