Gay life in vietnam: discovering saigon with local boy quan

Find out what it"s lượt thích growing up gay in Saigon & learn about LGBTQ rights in Vietnam in this interview with local boy quan tiền from Saigon.

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Vietnam is one of our favorite places we visited as a gay couple traveling in Asia. From delicious foods to fantastic sites lượt thích Ha Long Bay, you"re spoilt rotten in terms of a destination rich with culture. Vietnam also has a more liberal attitude towards homosexuality, with large thriving LGBTQ communities in Ho chi Minh city (Saigon) và the capital in Saigon.

We found Vietnam to be one of the most gay friendly countries in Asia. Locals were extremely friendly and welcoming to lớn us, & getting a double bed was never an issue for us anywhere. However, Vietnam still has quite a way to go with regard lớn its LGBTQ laws, lacking any anti-discrimination or recognition of LGBTQ couples.

We met up with our buddy quan in Saigon who gave us his perspective of what gay life in Vietnam is really like for LGBTQ locals in this interview.


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Covered in this interview show
1Hello Quan, please introduce yourself:
2Are you openly gay khổng lồ your family & friends?
3What"s it lượt thích growing up gay in Vietnam?
4Did you ever experience, and bullying or homophobia growing up?
5How did you meet other guys growing up?
6What are the best gay bars in Saigon?
7What are the best gay clubs & parties in Saigon?
8Are there any good gay hotels in Saigon you recommend?
9What are the best gay events in Vietnam?
10Where are some of your favorite places to visit in Vietnam?
11How bởi vì you recommend LGBTQ travelers meet local guys?

Hello Quan, please introduce yourself:

Hi Stef và Seby.

My name is quan Nguyen và I am 34 years old. I am a web designer living và working in Saigon.

Originally, I am from “Can Tho” in the Mekong Delta, but in my teenage years, my family moved lớn Saigon.

I come from a Catholic family, which surprises most people because everyone assumes all Vietnamese are Buddhist. Catholicism is one of the many influences in Vietnam from the French.


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Are you openly gay to lớn your family & friends?

I am fully mở cửa to all my friends and family. It was a bit hard at first, especially with my mother because homosexuality is still taboo in Vietnamese society. However, after a lot of tears, yelling & discussions they started to lớn accept me for who I am.

Wise words from big sis!

I think my mother, her main concern is my safety well-being & most of all my happiness in life. For example, she now worries about me growing old alone without anyone to care for me in my old age.

With my old sister, I"m very close. She"s always been accepting of me being gay & we always make jokes about finding husbands. Just the other day she said khổng lồ me:

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

What"s it lượt thích growing up gay in Vietnam?

It was quite hard when I was younger because traditional Catholic Vietnamese society was not always so mở cửa and supportive toward gays. Back in those days, the internet as we know it today simply didn"t exist and there were no queer hangouts around. At best, gay guys would seek each other out via well-known cruising spots or by friends of friends.

Today, of course, all that has changed, especially with the advent of Grindr và all the other gay dating apps over the past decade. We even have a growing gay scene in Saigon and Hanoi.

Also, more visibility of successful LGBTQ persons in the truyền thông helps society see us as something normal và positive rather than as something wrong or an illness. For example, the former USA Ambassador lớn Vietnam, Ted Osius is openly gay và was not shy about posing with his husband & baby. Also, there have been various notable LGBTQ Vietnamese movies made, such as “Madam Phung"s Last Journey” in 2014, “Finding Phong” in 2017, & the “My Best Gay Friends” YouTube series in 2013, which went viral:

Did you ever experience, & bullying or homophobia growing up?

Not really. At school a little bit because I hated sports and always hung out with the girls, so the guys on the football team would pick on me for being a “sissy”. But that was just little boys being little boys và I don"t think they intended or even knew about homosexuality.

Otherwise, I"ve been very lucky lớn avoid any homophobia. I"ll get the odd bình luận from senior members of my family about not having a girlfriend & not being married, but the older I get, the less frequently they make these remarks.

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Meet Quan: cutie from Saigon!

How did you meet other guys growing up?

I was quite shy và nervous about meeting other guys when I was younger, so it was more down to lớn luck rather than me seeking it out. My first encounter with another man was with a friend in the school changing rooms. You see, I may have been crap at sports, but I was always a star in the changing rooms!!

But for other gay guys growing up in the 1980s, 1990s, & early 2000s, meeting other guys was a challenge. There were no gay hangouts, so at best they would go to well-known cruising spots in the parks or public toilets. Before Grindr, dating sites like “Gaydar” & “Gayromeo” were very popular in Vietnam. Pool parties were also very popular growing up, and more so now. Remember that the temperature in Saigon never drops below around 27 degrees (around 80 Fahrenheit).

Can you spot our quan liêu amongst this fabulous bunch?

What are the best gay bars in Saigon?

The most popular gay bar in Saigon that I also love going khổng lồ with my friends is Thi Bar. It has gay nights on Friday and Saturday evenings. I usually head here first with my friends from around 9 pm until midnight & then we go dancing at Republic. But if you come before 9 pm, they have some really cheap happy hour deals.

In terms of resto-bar-type places, I recommend checking outPapa Cafe. It"s very popular for gay guys to head to for food, cocktails, and karaoke, usually in that order! Another favorite is the recently opened Pride Cafe, which I love coming to lớn for a long boozy Sunday brunch.

What are the best gay clubs and parties in Saigon?

On weekends after midnight, we head lớn our main gay club here in Saigon calledRepublic Lounge. I love it – this is the place to be! It"s always busy with a mix of locals and foreign guys. The music is a phối of classic pop hits. They have a drag show on Friday evenings and a large dance tiệc nhỏ with live music on Saturdays. Once I did my own show here as the very beautiful but super sassy: QUANITA (see photo above)!

I also recommend checking out the Full Disclosure events. Every few weeks they"ll organize a themed buổi tiệc ngọt at different venues, eg Beyonce/Britney nights và Ru Paul"s Drag Race viewing parties. Kiểm tra their Facebook page for up-to-date details of their next event.

And for gay guys looking for a hot time in a sauna, I recommend NaDam Spa.

Cocktails with quan liêu at Republic gay bar in Saigon

Are there any good gay hotels in Saigon you recommend?

There are several highly rated gay hotels in Saigon, which have been recommended lớn me by gay travelers visiting or are well-known locally as being gay friendly. The Reverie Saigon, is probably the most beautiful hotel in Saigon where gay couples và guys on their honeymoons are likely to stay. It"s right in the center in District 1 but it"s not cheap (around $260/£175 a night).

A more affordable gay khách sạn in Saigon to kiểm tra out is the Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel, also in District 1. It"s got a really cool swimming pool và welcomes LGBTQ travelers. Prices are around $45/£30 for a double bed with breakfast.


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What are the best gay events in Vietnam?

The Viet Pride in Hanoi is the most famous gay sự kiện in Vietnam. It has been taking place every August since 2012 and grows more popular each year. We also have the Hanoi Queer Film Week every August.

In April, we celebrate the Buddhist New Year (Songkran) across Vietnam. The best celebrations are in Saigon when the entire LGBTQ community gets involved & gets very wet! The main event to look out for is called the “Thai Water Festival Songkran” organized by “Saigon Outcast”. Whilst it"s not an exclusively gay event, it always attracts a large group of both local guys và ex-pat gay guys living/working in the city.

Where are some of your favorite places khổng lồ visit in Vietnam?

My favorite place in Vietnam was Halong cất cánh in the North. It"s unique & our most famous site because of the emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands. It is surrounded by a rainforest area. The best way to see it is on a lãng mạn cruise with your lover.

Here in the South, the Cu bỏ ra tunnels are the most fascinating thing lớn see. You can visit as part of a day trip from Saigon. They size part of a much larger network of tunnels that go under most of the country, which were used by the Viet Cong soldiers as hiding spots during the war with the Americans.

I also love Hoi An in the middle of the country. It has some of my favorite dishes (like Cao Lao và Bahn xeo) & is also close to An Bang beach, which I love visiting.

The view of Halong cất cánh during our cruise in the gorgeous region of Northern Vietnam

How bởi vì you recommend LGBTQ travelers meet local guys?

Well, I always meet foreign guys in the gay bars & clubs of Saigon which I phối out above. Obviously, apps lượt thích Grindr, Hornet, and Scruff will also help.

For solo LGBTQ travelers who are shy, I recommend reaching out lớn a reputable LGBTQ tour company like Out Adventures who organize some excellent tours.