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Travel & Resources: HO CHI MINH CITY - SAIGON

Please help us keep these listings up-to-date. Special thanks to Denis, lochie, prnzardoz, WhiteHCMC, davidref, RobbiePepsi, Gaykute, bandit991, dophbd, joesu, tamquat, alittlepig, billylondon, dragon2001, pratt, AsianSense, boyvn, Locprince, Richard, Luke, Hoang, Serge L., Graeme D., Ronald, A.P., Hugh N., Marcel, Danny, Hai, Albert, Steve T., KB, Andrew, Olivier, Bao, Colin, Dana U., Tran and Jean!

HO CHI MINH CITY / SAIGON -- area code +84-8

General Information

Saigon street scene (c) 2012 photo by John Goss

    Ho Chi Minh City, called Saigon by the locals, is broad and breezy, tropical and easy-going, with just the right balance of urbanity and grittiness. The city center 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 and keeps going - an interlocking puzzle of French colonial architecture, art deco streamline, mid-century googie, and geometric Colorforms tacked on everywhere. It's a 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 patronized round the clock.

Saigon drip coffee (c) 2012 photo by John Goss

    Dining delights are plentiful and cheap. Shopping opportunities abound. Costs are very low and vacation budgets go a long, 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).

Pink Saigonite (c) 2015 photo by John Goss

    A young city (much of the population in Vietnam is under 30), it's filled with spunky, lean, fit and handsome gays, most of whom are genuinely friendly and looking for a stable, longterm love. That being said, Saigon gays do not lack for places for a little fun. Gays here long ago colonized all sorts of semi-private, non-gay businesses for their own social purposes. Many blind massage spas, for example, have a parallel life as a gay cruise space. Aside from the more open gay bars, discos, spas and saunas, there are cruising parks, fitness centers, 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 recognized and, so, most of the gay life remains discreet and underground, and growing ranks of pink collar professionals regularly escape to nearby Cambodia, Thailand or Taiwan for their advanced gay hobbies.

Saigon Grafitti (c) 2015 by John C. Goss

    The breezes of freedom are blowing through the city, however. As of 2015, Vietnam recognises same sex unions to some extent and an open discussion of homosexuality is rippling through Vietnamese society in a fundamental way. From famous poets to fashionistas, gays have, of course, always been an integral thread in the fabric of Vietnam.

    The population of Ho Chi Minh City is over 9 million (that's over 360,000 Utopians).

    Navigating the local gay scene is easy with our interactive Utopia Map of Gay & Lesbian Saigon:

click for our interactive map of Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon


Travel Services

Popular Spots


      Click here for Saigon hotels and accommodations.

Bars and Clubs Fitness and Gyms

      DISTRICT 1

      click for our interactive map of Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon District 1

    • California Fitness & Yoga UTOPIA VERIFIED JUN 2017

    • Nha Van Hoa Lao Dong (Workers' Club)
        55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, Dist 1, Utopia Map

        The Workers Club is a huge site that has indoor and outdoor sport facilities including pool, tennis, volleyball, table tennis, gym, basketball and ballroom dancing classes. Thousands of people use the facilities. At the back of the premises is the swimming pool. Gym, pool, and saunas can be very cruisy. Open daily from 6-9am, then they close and reopen from 4-7pm. You can buy entry for the whole day. No English spoken.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

    • Phu Tho Sports Club

    • Yet Kieu Club UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2022


Massage and Spas Meeting Places
    • Swimming Pools

        Saigon swimming pool (c) 2012 photo by John Goss

        Swimming pools in Vietnam are famous gay hunting grounds. The optimal time is around 6pm when families have thinned out. Following their watersports and cruising around the pool, guys strip and head to the shower rooms which may be discretely shared by more than one person. Make eye contact, and, if your gaze is returned, action may follow.

      • Nha Van Hoa Lao Dong (Workers' Club)

          See listing under Fitness. Pool and showers can be very cruisy around 6pm. Bring your own towel and swimwear or buy it at the shop on the right side of the entrance. Buy a ticket at the pool to enter the shower rooms. At the end of the hall is the storage area. Plastic bags are sold to wrap your clothes and belongings in. Not gay, so be discreet.
          Add your review, comment, or correction

      • Yet Kieu Club UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2022

Restaurants and Cafes

Saigon tower of shrimp (c) 2012 photo by John Goss

      There's so much more to Vietnamese cuisine than spring rolls and pho. Saigon is a moveable feast, both visually and for the taste buds.

    • Eating Saigon ! UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2024

        Gay-owned website for travelers to Saigon advising primarily on fun/interesting places to eat. The owner and his partner live and eat in Saigon and want to share their eating adventures. The website also provides tips for Saigon visitors, including the latest on gay venues.


    • Dong Hoa Xuan UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2020
        49 No Trang Long, Binh Thanh Dist, Utopia Map

        This friendly, humble local restaurant serves up local food (breakfast and lunch only) made with love. Try the stuffed bitter melon soup, iron pot fish in caramelized sauce (see video below), crispy pork, and heaps of "broken rice". Family run and still cooking grandma's recipes. After dinner, hop next door and try a bowl of che, bananas and rice cakes covered in warm, sweet coconut custard. Open 7am-2pm (closed Sun).
        Add your review, comment, or correction

      DISTRICT 1

    • Bun Dau Ngo Nho Phu Nho (Northern Vietnamese) UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2016
        Rooftop, Alley 158 Pasteur, Dist 1
        Utopia Map

        Just down a small, moto-filled alley and opposite the stairway leading up to Secret Garden. This humble, gay-owned restaurant serves up outstanding Bun Dau, Northern style rice noodle cakes, fried tofu, sliced pork, and crudités eaten with either fermented shrimp paste sauce or dark soy sauce (with optional red chilies and a bottle of garlic sauce to add even more pow). Their fried sour sausage is also great. Popular LGBT hang-out.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

      Saigon rau cau dua chilled coconut jelly (c) 2012 photo by John Goss
      A quick cure for heat: rau cau dua chilled coconut jelly.

    • Hong Hanh

    • Ice cream alley UTOPIA VERIFIED JUN 2019
        Utopia Map

        Foodie alert! Do not miss a chance to try the splendid ice cream here, especially the local fruit flavors such as custard apple and durian that knocked our socks off! In the evening this alley is packed with people sitting on tiny plastic chairs to sample the various flavors. Go ahead, have a second and third helping.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

    • Monngon (Da Nang cuisine)
        Utopia Map

        This humble streetside restaurant serves up tasty Da Nang style food. For appetizer, try the fresh spring roll and rice cracker with anchovy sauce. For main course try the #2 bun mam thit luoc (vermicelli with boiled pork and veggies) or #7 my quang dac biet (noodles in broth with chicken wings, pork, egg and shrimp).
        Add your review, comment, or correction

    • Nam Giao (Vietnamese) UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2019
        136/15 Le Than Ton, Dist 1, Utopia Map

        This popular, shady, fan-cooled restaurant is 1/2 east from the rear side of Ben Thanh Market, tucked down a covered alleyway lined with smaller shops and beauty salons. The simple photo menu offers a good selection of excellent Vietnamese specialties. The "Special Clam with Rice" turned out to have incredible, alien mouth feel -- fresh and clean, not really seafoody, with the texture of organic packing material comprised of banana flower, peanuts, shredded rice cake, mint leaves, cracklings and clam broth. They'll also place a towering plate of banana-leaf-packaged mystery items in various geometric shapes which you may sample if you wish. The rectagular ones are Vietnamese wedding cakes made from coconut and rice gelatin. On our visit, half the customers (and some of the staff) tripped our gaydar.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

      Saigon condiments (c) 2012 photo by John Goss

    • Quan Ut Ut (American barbeque and beer) UTOPIA VERIFIED APR 2024
        168 Vo Van Kiet St (and two other branches), Utopia Map

        "Ut Ut" is the sound a pig makes in Vietnam. Even in the US it is difficult to find barbeque of this high quality, not to mention the wide selection of succulent pork, beef and bacon dishes; traditional American side orders; and a variety of refreshing suds. Chow down sitting at indoor picnic tables and tap your feet to the rock and roll. Daily specials.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

    • Secret Garden (Vietnamese) UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2016
        Rooftop, Alley 158 Pasteur, Dist 1
        Utopia Map
        090-990-4621, email

        Gay-owned restaurant decorated like a countryside garden, just down a small, moto-crowded alley, and up on the rooftop of an old building, right in the heart of the city and opposite another popular gay-owned hole-in-the-wall, Bun Dau Ngo Nho Phu Nho. You may want to hold your nose walking up the four flights of stairs, but distract yourself with the Burma Shave-type signs on each floor with hopeful sayings like, "TASTE Better in small GARDEN." Thoroughly peaceful and relaxing atmosphere with delicious, home-style Vietnamese food cooked like traditional family meals. Local gays gather and hang out during evenings. Menu is picture based and the food is really outstanding.
        Add your review, comment, or correction


    • Dallas Cakes & Coffee UTOPIA VERIFIED MAY 2024
        233 Duong 3 Thang 2, Utopia Map
        028 6293 4975, email

        Gay-owned cake and coffee shop. They specialize in cupcakes, entremets (bite-sized layered cakes), coffee, frappuccinos, and specialty ice blend drinks. 2/F is a cozy, calm hang-out space where you can enjoy your time together with your friends.
        Utopia Member Benefit: 10% DISCOUNT off total bill.
        Add your review, comment, or correction

      scallops on the half shell at Vinh Khanh Food Street (c) 2019 by John C. Goss
      Scallops on the half shell with sauteed green onions, salt, and peanuts at Vinh Khanh Food Street

    • Vinh Khanh Food Street (open air local eateries) UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2019
        40 Vinh Khanh, Phuong 8, Dist 4, Utopia Map

        Foodie alert! Dozens of open air restaurants serving fresh seafood, cold beer, and other specialties to crowds of local diners in the evening. Walk around and find a place that is popular. Food offerings are on display, so you can pick what you like. Go with friends and order a variety of dishes to try while you enjoy the streetside parade of motos, wandering vendors, and happy Saigonites.
        Add your review, comment, or correction


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