priceofvia.com’s Saigon gay travel recommendations for where khổng lồ stay, rooftop bars, gay nightlife, things to do & exploring Ho chi Minh city gay life.

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I had one of the most memorable local experiences my first night in Ho bỏ ra Minh, even while super tired from the day’s air travel. I started my Vietnam gay travel journey by venturing out to find some Pho on the street.

A man sat me at a table along a busy road next to lớn a local. When I tried to lớn order, I realized we couldn’t communicate because he didn’t speak any English and I definitely can’t speak Vietnamese.



The man across from me helped me get my Pho và some iced tea. We then started talking for the next half hour & it turns out that he frequents the US for work; his Hospital in Ho đưa ra Minh works with a local university in Alabama. 

He told me his name is Mỹ, which means “America” in Vietnamese! As you may be able khổng lồ guess given the history of the Vietnam War, his father loved America. We had a brief but enthralling conversation about what it’s like living in Saigon.

My Saigon travel experience was undoubtedly amazing. Here in Vietnam’s capital, rush-hour traffic spills onto the sidewalks, và building facades glimmer with multicolored lights.

The nightlife district thumps with bass while hundreds of locals sing karaoke in the streets. Gay travelers should absolutely not miss out on a visit lớn Saigon.

Saigon is all about local alley life! Locals tuck themselves away in narrow alleys all throughout the city. Staying in an alley will be a bit quieter và it’s fun to lớn observe the local activity going on outside.

Quan 1 is the main central district of Saigon. Quan tiền 3 is just to the west of quan lại 1. Both these areas are great for accommodation locations.

Quan 1 hotels will be best if you prefer khổng lồ be right in the busiest part of Saigon. Quan tiền 3 hotels will be in a tamer area, yet also be quite central.

If you want one of the most authentic accommodations, experience alley life for yourself by booking a central Saigon VRBO rental. They’re quite budget-friendly, too.

Better yet, you won’t have to lớn skimp on luxury with VRBO stays in Saigon. So many apartments are newly renovated and have a clean, modern feel. They’re just perfect for Asia travelers!

The area west of Thu Thiem Bridge is certainly the most authentic area in Saigon. If you want lớn explore an area without any tourists around, spend some time here in Phường 22. It is a haven for street food, so come hungry!

Catch the best views of Saigon’s skyline midway across the Thiem Bridge at one of the lookout points. The lights are wondrous at night. Cảnh báo that to lớn stop here you will need lớn be riding a motorbike since there is no dedicated parking area.

Ben Thanh Street Food Market is the best in the city. Dozens of food stalls with both savory & sweet Vietnamese foods are clustered in a covered area with bench tables.

The service at Ben Thanh is excellent và the locals are very welcoming. You must try the sweet rice pudding with fried banana & peanuts! My absolute favorite.

Head over to Uncle Park’s for delicious Korean food. I absolutely loved everything, including the pork belly wraps. The interior is not too fancy, so it is best for a casual lunch.

I loved Propaganda Bistro, a popular và LGBT-friendly Vietnamese restaurant in Saigon. It is quite expensive but the ambiance is stellar và relaxing.

Lastly, don’t miss out on some classic Vietnamese Pho (pronounced “fuh”). Cheapest & still delicious right on the street, just walk up to a food vendor and point lớn this delicious soup. They will know what you want.

The Cu chi Tunnels are a tourist favorite for exploring the physical realities of the Vietnam War. The drive lớn the tunnels is about two hours from central Saigon. I highly recommend booking a tour.

Tours of the Cu chi Tunnels are quite cheap & the tour will take care of all the logistics of getting there. I would not attempt khổng lồ get there on a motorbike since it can be treacherous & not the safest.

The War Remnants Museum in quan 3 is another absolute must. A somber experience, the museum displays the harsh realities of the Vietnamese suffering. Make sure to explore the airplanes và tanks outside first, as you probably won’t be in the mood after seeing the morbid exhibits.

Thi Bar is the most popular gay bar in Saigon. It’s truly authentic as well…I did not find any westerners here. The bar is more relaxed with live music on a small stage. The performers here are incredibly talented! Take a listen to lớn the clip below.

Thi bar is located in the main nightlife hub along a street called Bui Vien. It was packed! If you’re looking for gay bars in Saigon, this is it.

The Tipsy Unicorn is another noteworthy official Saigon gay bar. It’s a very small lounge tucked away in an area away from other Saigon gay bars và nightlife. This part of town is filled primarily with local restaurants.

I passed by The Tipsy Unicorn on my motorbike to kiểm tra out the Tipsy Unicorn. Since it seemed quite empty, I skipped this spot.

Nearby Sahara Club has more of a club vibe with tables throughout the space. The DJ plays loud music, but there is no dancing. The cocktails are high unique and you will have khổng lồ buy one lớn enter.

Sahara Club is not specifically a gay bar, but it’s a club where gay travelers would certainly fit in.

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OMG Rooftop has stellar views of Saigon and absolutely delicious drinks, so don’t skip this bar! For the quality, it’s not expensive at all. If you can, try lớn stick to lớn their dress code by avoiding sandals or tank tops, but they won’t deny you entry.

Broma: Not a Bar is another stunning rooftop with amazing service. The ambiance is top-notch on both the roof and the indoor bar on the upper level.

Note that Broma Not a Bar is located in a pedestrian-only area, so you can park in the alley near the Saigon Skydeck entrance & step past the barriers khổng lồ the bar.

Traffic in Saigon is extremely hectic. With many millions of people riding around on motorbikes, driving is intense. If you have never rented a motorbike, then I would not try your luck for the first time in Saigon.

Download the Grab application on your smartphone and hop on the back of someone else’s motorbike. It’s so fun!

Many travelers feel much more at ease booking travel to unfamiliar countries when they insure their trip. A provider like Travelex Insurance can offer protection in case of medical issues abroad, theft, và even delays or cancellation of your trip! They have multiple plan tiers starting at $20.

For travelers renting motorbikes, it’s worth mentioning that Saigon roadway patterns can be pretty confusing. While riding around, it was never easy lớn get where I wanted lớn go because of turning restrictions, one-way roads, construction barriers, etc.

I had lớn use my headphones with Google maps directing me where to lớn go because it’s definitely not intuitive.

When parking in Saigon, it is very common for an attendant khổng lồ move your motorbike. There were a few times where I got a little worried because I couldn’t find my bike. They try to keep things organized, even though sometimes it is annoying. The attendant will give you a little ticket khổng lồ keep track of your bike.

In the nightlife district, you will be charged to lớn park your bike. It’s less than $1 USD at about 20,000 Vietnamese Dong. Make sure they give you the correct change.

I suggest comparing airlines with Expedia

 before booking your trip khổng lồ Vietnam. You can filter not only by airline but also according khổng lồ how much luggage you’ll bring, as well as if the airline charges change fees.

Obtaining the Vietnam tourist visa was the most difficult process I have experienced of any country I have visited. The process is extremely disorganized, so make sure you follow these tips.

Of course, you must apply for the visa in advance, which is simple và easy. However, when they send you the stamped size back via email, this is only the first step of the process. The rest must be done upon arrival in the airport.

When you enter passport control, go directly lớn the left where you will need the printed visa application form, two printed passport photos, and $30 USD cash. Here you will need khổng lồ pay a second time for them lớn actually give you the Visa.

I don’t understand why, but they are not privy to answering any questions there. Worst case, if you forget your photos, they will take some there for you, but you will wait.

Once they put the visa sticker in your passport, then you must wait in the normal passport control line. All in all, I spent more than an hour and 30 minutes before getting through passport control.

In Vietnam, same-sex sexual activity is not illegal and has never been specifically criminalized in the country’s history. However, LGBT people in Vietnam are not afforded the same legal rights & protections as the straight community.

Vietnam has seen progress concerning LGBT rights in recent years, with the abolishment of laws banning gay marriage. At the present time, gay marriage is legal in Vietnam, however gay couples still cannot obtain the typical rights afforded to married couples.

Transgender individuals also received more rights in the past five years. Gender reassignment surgery is now legal in Vietnam. In 2017, a law went into effect allowing transgender individuals to lớn register under the sex with which they identify.

Hanoi held the first Vietnam gay pride in 2012. The city has recently held its fifth consecutive gay pride event, a great channel of visibility for LGBT Vietnamese people.

Although the country has gained significant traction in the past decade, there is still much khổng lồ be done in protecting LGBT people in both the workplace & in general.

Now, Saigon gay pride parades are enjoyed each year. The VietPride parade đoạn clip above, produced by Saigoneer, shows the beautiful community that has come together lớn celebrate Saigon gay pride!

If you’re headed to nearby Cambodia, check out priceofvia.com’s gay travel guides to Phnom Penh & Siem Reap.

Because I"ve been lớn every destination I write about.priceofvia.com travel guides are based on my own experiences, plus trusted tips from LGBT travelers & locals.

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