Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Vietnam - Going Gay in Saigon

As I have mentioned before, Ho Chi Minh City, the great HCMC or Saigon (its original French name) is now a bustling cosmopolitan city that has adopted western ways and received investment from it's Asian neighbours, especially its Communist friend - China.

The Europeans educate in international schools, train educated Vietnamese in business, and develop a new economy for the nation. English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Americans, Australian, they are all serving in some capacity. Enjoying the great pay, cheap food, accommodation and excellent lifestyle of party and travel to discover Asia.

Therefore the city has had to adapt itself to being very Cosmopolitan, metropolitan, and embrace all things; although most Vietnamese just wouldn't openly argue or challenge anyone but quietly go about their own business mutely disagreeing.

So - yes - there is a gay nightlife. Though beware that it can be incredibly quiet on most nights, and if you have read my Vietnam - Hanoi gay nightlife story - the fact remains, the Vietnamese go out late, drink sheds loads of alcohol, then go home - they rarely dance or mingle! However these are the three places to check out:

Central Bar - by the Opera House.
It's busy on Friday / Saturday night, after about 11pm/midnight. They serve cocktails and beers, the cocktails are excellent in there and after three of them you'll be having a fantastic time. DJs on most of the week, and there are a few transgender people here. Gay male crowd who are rather mixed.

Apocolypse - just a couple of roads behind
This is a bar and dance club and the dancing area is where are the gays hang out - so it is very much mixed, and very western. There's nightlife all week and the cocktails are not too bad. Tends to be international pop music.

Windows - 
A popular gay hangout, there are two of these coffee shops in HCMC, one of them is near the Reunificaiton Palace. Large outdoor patio area serving fantastic frozen vietnamese coffee and cakes.


  1. Chao Em Ryan,
    I enjoyed your blog on Vietnam. I would like to inform you of a few things in your article. Saigon is a Vietnamese name actually 2 words "Sai Gon." China and Vietnam are not friends. They stay at a "ready" for war because of disputed islands and fishing territories. Not much investment in Vietnam is Chinese. Mostly; japan,Taiwan,Australia, Russia and USA as well as many other countries.
    The students attending international schools are made up of the small percentage of rich Vietnamese, Viet Khieu (Vietnamese Overseas)and children of foreigners working in foreign companies. Only a small number of the previlaged can afford to attend. The pay for the teachers are good for Vietnam, but very low if paid in the USA.
    The Vietnamese love everything American and are very vocal about it. They want Ipads, clothes made in USA, hair styles and American music, even in the countryside.
    The gay scene is not centrally organized, but gays are everywhere. Most all discos have a group of gays and some discos almost totally gay. They love to dance almost non stop. The heavy drinking tables are Viet Khieu or the limited rich. Most Vietnamese can only afford 1 drink for the evening. That is why there is often a cover charge. They cannot go out late as there is a curfew. Most disco's and bars have to close at 11 or 12pm. Not many are allowed to stay open until 1 or 2am. Vietnamese love to mingle and will come right up to you and start dancing or drag you into their group.
    And just one more little thing. It is Centro, not Central Bar.
    I hope this info will help you understand Vietnamese a little better. I spend much of my time there with my close Viet Friends and their families. "Toi yeu Vietnam. Cam on." Claude :)

    1. Thank you to the little more insight. I still think very fondly of my time in Vietnam and will definitely return at some point. I miss the food most though!

      I appreciate that you have corrected me. So thank you :-)

      Keep reading my blogs :-) More of Vietnam to come, I have some videos I have nearly finished editing.

    2. Thank you Ryan, I have been to Vietnam 23 times since 2002. My Viet Friends call me their "tourist guide." If you have any questions or want some ideas of, who, what, how or where, I would be happy to help. Looking forward to viewing your videos. Keep enjoying! Claude :) PS: Vietsingle and Utopia are great resources for information "Gay Vietnam."


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