Gay Vietnam: discovering gay Saigon with local boy Quan

Gay Vietnam: discovering gay Saigon with local boy Quan

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 recently appointed (on December 2014) US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius arrived with his husband and baby in hand:

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 that various friends of mine recommend:

In District 1 we have an “Pink Tulip Guesthouse” which is gay owned, has really cute staff and do excellent spa treatments. I believe that’s where you boys also stayed in Saigon. Prices start from $25 / £16 for a standard double bed with breakfast included.

There’s “Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel” which is gay friendly, also in District 1 and more mid range. It’s got a really cool swimming pool and staff welcome gay travellers. Prices start from $45 / £30 for a double bed with breakfast.

I also heard about “The Reverie Saigon“, which is popular with gay travellers and also centrally located in District 1. This one’s more up market and prices start from $260 / £175 a night.

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

Travel recommendations to Vietnam

Flying in Vietnam: Airfares in Vietnam can be very cheap if you do your research and book in advance. For example, flights from Ho CHi Minh to Hanoi come as low as $30 (£25) one-way. We recommend using Skyscanner to find the best prices for any given month.

Visa in Vietnam: Depending on your nationality and the number of days you plan to stay in the country, entry requirements may be different. We recommend using the services of a reputable agency such as www.vietnam-visa.com to obtain your visa.

Travel insurance: Whether you go diving, hiking or just lay on the beach all day long, you need travel insurance. We use World Nomads because they offer considerable coverage especially for adventurous travellers. They also make it easy to make a claim as it’s all done online.

Hotels: Vietnam has a huge diversity of accommodation options. We recommend Tripadvisor to research about the best places to stay and activities to do. Use Booking.com to find the best deals and book your accommodation online.

For more inspiration:

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126 Comments

  1. Hi. I would like info on guides. I’m going to be there for Christmas.

    Reply
    • Just emailed you 🙂

      Reply
  2. 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

    Reply
    • Sure thing! Just emailed you 🙂

      Reply
  3. 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!

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff, thanks for the comment. I’ve sent you an email about it.

      Reply
    • Hello dear..
      I’m going to Saigon Vietnam in November and would love to have a handsome gay tour guide who can help me out day and night!
      Million Thanks
      James

      Reply
      • Hi James I’ve emailed you about it.

        Reply
  4. Hey would like to know possible guides if you could! Flying to HCM next week!:) THANK YOU!!

    Reply
    • Hi Mark, just emailed you about it.

      Reply
  5. Hi there
    Can you let me know any gay guides İn HCMC, phnom penh and siem reap. Thanks a lot

    Reply
    • Hey Muurat no problem. Just emailed you.

      Reply
  6. 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

    Reply
    • We can introduce you to an excellent local gay tour company if you want. Let me know if of interest.

      Reply
  7. 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!

    Reply
    • Hi Victor, I’ve just emailed you introducing you to Danny Tran – a gay local guide in Vietnam.

      Reply
  8. Hi,

    Coming to Vietnam next week, love to have a guide.

    Reply
    • I’ve just emailed you introducing you to an excellent local gay tour company based in Saigon.

      Reply
  9. 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!

    Reply
    • Hi Josh! Thanks 🙂 And have emailed you.

      Reply
  10. Nice and informative article. I will be visiting HCMC this August..im 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.

    Reply
    • Sure thing – email sent 🙂

      Reply
  11. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  12. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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
        Praveen

        Reply
        • I’ve emailed you.

          Reply
  13. 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?

    Reply
    • Hi Huddy- I’ve enailed you.

      Reply
  14. Hello! Would love contact details and a quote (?) maybe. Thank you so much in advance!

    Reply
    • Just emailed you 🙂

      Reply
  15. 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!

    Reply
    • No problem Hero- email sent.

      Reply
  16. 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!

    Reply
    • Done! Just emailed you 🙂

      Reply
  17. 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

    Reply
    • Hi Ray – I’ve emailed you introducing you to an excellent tour company.

      Reply
      • Hi guys,
        Great site and wonderful writing!
        I will be in Vietnam in a few months.
        Can you email me with info about the Tour agency you wrote about? I wasn’t able to locate then online.

        Many thanks!

        Reply
        • Just emailed you 🙂

          Reply
  18. HI there. would like any info on someone to guide me around. Heading to HCM next week

    Reply
    • Sure thing – I’ve emailed you about it.

      Reply
  19. Thank you so much for sharing this experience!!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading Brian 🙂

      Reply
  20. 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!!

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

      Reply
  21. 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

    Reply
    • Done! Apologies though I called you Syafiq in my email instead of Iqi 🙈

      Reply
  22. Hallo Stefan, it is a very great article. Can I have Quan contact ? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Thanks David. Sadly not but we can instead introduce you to an excellent gay tour company in Saigon?

      Reply
      • Ofcourse. Thanks.

        Reply
        • Sorry David tried to but each time I hit send there seems to be a problem with your email address. If you complete the box above it may work better- and you can claim a discount on tours booked with them.

          Reply
  23. 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)

    Reply
    • Hi Mark sure thing will email you now about it.

      Reply
  24. 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.

    Reply
    • Hi Jeremy – have sent you a private email about it now 🙂

      Reply
  25. 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!

    Reply
    • Done! Check your email 😊

      Reply
  26. 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 ??!!…; ]

    Thanks..

    Reply
    • Hi Noel- I’ve just emailed you about this now.

      Reply
  27. Hi Quan….. will be in ho chi minh next weekend till end jan…. need guide for gay places…..please help

    Reply
  28. Hi! Looking for a guide to show us around for the day. Can u share Quans info?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  29. 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.

    Reply
    • 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 🙂

      Reply
  30. 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!

    Reply
    • Hi Chris- Quan is not available but we can connect you up with an excellent local gay tour company if you want 🙂

      Reply
      • Yes please of any information for gay expats since it appears I may be getting a job offer there… Thanks!

        Reply
        • Done – email sent 🙂

          Reply
  31. 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

    Reply
    • Hi Patrice, Quan is unavailable, but I can email you details about the gay tour company right away.

      Reply
  32. Hi Stefan, please email me those details, thank you.len

    Reply
    • Hi Len- done 🙂 Danny has contacted you.

      Reply
  33. LOL… Quan is a popular guy 🙂

    Reply
    • Hahahaha he sure is 🙂

      Reply
  34. hi.. would like to know how to engage Quan. Would love to know someone local in Saigon.

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff, sadly Quan is not a guide, but we will email you details about an excellent gay tour company in Saigon who do tours of the gay scene and more.

      Reply
      • Hi Stefan, Can you send me the gay tour company info. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Sent!

          Reply
  35. Can you give me Quan information and contact ,I will be there next week and stay for 3 weeks ,please

    Reply
    • Hi Kent. Quan isn’t a guide but I’ve emailed you introducing you to an excellent gay tour company we know who can offer you a variety of activities.

      Reply
      • Thanks

        Reply
  36. Dear Stefan

    Can I have Quan’s contact please? Would like to have a tour guide when I am there in June. thanks!

    Reply
    • I just emailed you details of an excellent tour guide.

      Reply
  37. Hi,
    I will be visiting Saigon in teh forst week of January. Could you send me suggestion for a gay tour guide?

    Reply
    • Sure thing – will email you now.

      Reply
  38. 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!

    Reply
    • Sure thing. Stefan will email you 🙂

      Reply
      • Hey Stephen Bery interesting article.

        I’m going to HCMH in june and would like to know about this Gay tour companion contact number. Please send me some info. Thanks.

        Reply
        • Hi Kart I will email you details.

          Reply
  39. 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.
    Jao

    Reply
    • Just emailed you details

      Reply
  40. 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

    Reply
    • I’ve just emailed you.

      Reply
      • Hi. Great article. Am staying at the Polygon Hotel but would love to meet Quan. Excited about my trip but like many others nervous as I will be alone. Love to meet some friendly faces.

        Reply
        • Thanks Chris. We can introduce you to an excellent gay tour company.

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

    Reply
    • Sure thing- I have just emailed you.

      Reply
  42. 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.

    Reply
    • I will email you details of an excellent gay tour company 🙂

      Reply
  43. 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

    Reply
    • Hi buddy thanks for your comment, I will email you details.

      Reply
  44. 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?

    Reply
    • Of course – Stefan will email you now.

      Reply
  45. 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!

    Reply
    • I’ll email you details.

      Reply
  46. I really liked and enjoyed your article. Many thanks for sharing.
    Please, may I have Quan’s contact?

    Reply
    • Thanks Mike. I’ve sent you an email.

      Reply
      • Hi Stefan, could you please text me Quan’s detail contact. I need a help in Hochiminh city, thanks

        Reply
        • Hi Daniel- would love to but he’s not available. Maybe you can try to connect via my Facebook 🙂

          Reply
    • Please, may I have Quan’s contact?
      I am planning First time visit to Vietnam. I look for a guide . thanks

      Reply
      • I will email you.

        Reply
  47. Please share Quans whatsapp or Line. Need guide!

    Reply
    • Hi Kas thanks for your message. We’ve private messaged you.

      Reply
      • I would like to contact Quan for a booking. Can you please send me contact information. Thank you.

        Reply
        • Hi Ron, I have emailed you details of an excellent gay tour company we know and love in Saigon.

          Reply
  48. GREAT READING AND A LOT OF GOOD ADVICE FOR A FIRST TIME TRAVELER TO VIETNAM. THANK YOU.

    W.T.

    Reply
    • Thank you

      Reply
  49. 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.
    Cheers,
    Hans & Jeff

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  50. Great piece! I found Vietnam pretty open and welcoming to all, but Cambodia was even better. I think it has something to do with Buddhism teaching acceptance and harmony.

    Reply
    • Thanks Dannielle. Yes we found the same about Phnom Penh compared to Saigon/HCMC.

      Reply
    • The majority of Vietnam is Mahayana Buddhist. Only a minority are Catholic.

      Reply
      • An influence from the French 🙂

        Reply
  51. Excellent article; very informative, thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Henry.

      Reply

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