Gay Life in Vietnam – The Nomadic Boys

Vietnam is one of our favourite places we visited as a gay couple travelling in Asia. From delicious foods to fantastic sites like 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) and 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 us, and getting a double bed was never an issue for us anywhere. However, Vietnam still has quite a way to go with regards to its LGBTQ laws, lacking any for anti-discrimination or for recognising same-sex 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.

Hello Quan, where are you from and what do you do?

Hi Stef and Seby.

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

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

Full Story at The Nomadic Boys

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

Gay Saigon – The Nomadic Boys

“Guys, just follow my lead and slowly cross the road with me: the cars and motorbikes will just weave their way around you…”

…so said our friend Quan who showed us how to navigate the crazy traffic of the streets of Saigon. Honestly, you’ve not been to Saigon until you’ve tried to cross over one of the main roads or taken a scooter ride through the busy jungle of moving vehicles; it’s something you won’t forget in a hurry!

Saigon is a lot of fun. It’s busy, frenetic, has super feisty locals, manic traffic and delicious street food. The gay scene is also pretty good, with a large LGBTQ community of both expats and locals.

This is one place we quickly fell in love with and know you will too! It’s definitely a must for LGBTQ travellers visiting South East Asia and we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive gay travel guide right here.

What’s the difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City?

So we hear you asking, what’s the actual difference between Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City? Is it the same place?

Short answer – yes! The city has actually gone by many different names in its long and complicated history, reflecting different groups that have controlled it through the years. It was named “Gia Din” until the French conquest of the 1860s, when it was named Sài Gòn – and westernized to be “Saigon”. After the ‘Fall of Saigon‘ at the end of the Vietnam war, the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in honour of the late North Vietnamese president, Mr Ho Chi Minh.

Nowadays the name Saigon is still used to refer to the city centre around District 1, while Ho Chi Minh City generally means the entire modern city with all its districts. But don’t be surprised to still find places (especially hotels) named after Saigon as people often use the names interchangeably.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Saigon Gay Travel Resources

Gay Friendly Asia – Nomadic Boys

Gay Friendly Asia - The Nomadic Boys

We spent 2 years travelling around Asia and completely fell in love with the continent. It offers so much in terms of cultural experiences, food and landscapes, with some of the most humble people you’ll ever meet.

But when it comes to LGBTQ rights, Asia has some serious work to do! In quite a lot of countries in Asia, being gay is either illegal or an arrestable offence, like in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, the Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. If it’s not illegal, then it’s such a strong taboo that you have to stay in the closet to avoid jeopardising your job prospects and embarrassing your family like in China, Russia and Indonesia.

Despite this, there are a number of countries in Asia that are paving the way forward in relation to LGBTQ rights. We’ve selected the top 10 most gay friendly countries in Asia, which we’ve based on the following criteria:

  • Where are they at with same sex marriage legislation, along with other LGBTQ laws?
  • What is the gay scene like and do they have any notable annual LGBTQ festivals?
  • Our personal experience travelling there as a gay couple, with reference to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index.

We have taken it as a given that homosexuality is legal in the countries we’ve selected, which is why we haven’t included Singapore despite it having quite a vibrant gay scene and a famous LGBTQ PinkDot festival in June/July.

We have also included two “places” (Taiwan and Hong Kong) rather than “countries”, because although they’re not officially recognised “countries”, they can still be regarded as a “country” given they have their own flag, currency, national anthem, set of laws etc.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Travel: Motorbiking Vietnam – Once Upon a Journey

Lesbian Travel: Motorbiking Vietnam - Once Upon a Journey

After a quick stop in Thailand, we are finally in Vietnam. For some reason, we had the idea to go to Vietnam for a long time but never made it. Our friend Marieke, a Dutchie who lives in Ho Chi Minh now, invites us to Vietnamese New Year, Tet. Time to visit Vietnam!

This time we only travel the south and middle of Vietnam, we save the northern part for next time. It’s a bit too cold for us over there right now. We fly Vietnam in to, and out from, Ho Cho Minh. The last couple of weeks we travelled at a high speed so we are super happy to see Marieke and to stay at her place for a couple nights.

We don’t see a lot of Ho Chi Minh but really enjoy doing the ‘normal’ things. We go to the cinema, sleep in, work a bit, enjoy Vietnamese food and go to our first Tet party. Marieke and her friend invite us over and we get to know the Vietnamese culture and it’s Tet traditions a bit more. We get lucky money (which we can’t use until next year) and eat and drink a lot, which also part of the Vietnamese traditions haha.

When Marieke finishes work we travel to Dalat with the three of us. It’s my second time in Vietnam but the first time I didn’t visit Da Lat. So I’m super excited to go this time! We rent motorbikes and go to one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. Go to the Pongour Falls when you are in Dalat.

By Roxanne Weijer – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

Queer Ho Chi Minh – Passport Magazine

Ho Chi Minh - pixabay

Ho Chi Minh City has the country’s biggest LGBT population. Vietnam has never had any anti-gay laws, and is relaxed and tolerant of gay and lesbian visitors.

For a generation of Americans, Vietnam is synonymous with the brutal war that raged here just a few decades ago. The first wave of US combat troops arrived in Vietnam in 1965, and remained until the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 that brought America’s military involvement in the war to an end. The war itself continued until 30 April 1975, when the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Vietcong liberated the southern Vietnamese capital, Saigon.

Veterans who returned played a role in improving ties between the two countries. Their presence also helped Vietnam to develop as a tourist destination, and today Vietnam boasts all the accoutrements that international travelers demand. Although veterans have reliably returned for decades, this generation is aging, but fortunately for Vietnam’s ongoing tourism economy, a whole new generation has begun to appreciate the country’s diverse offerings: including charming old cities like Hanoi and Hoi An, pristine beaches, and the vibrant and colorful metropolis formerly known as Saigon.

Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City (abbreviated HCMC) in 1976 in honor of North Vietnam’s first leader, the communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh. Although the city’s top-ranking sites relate to the Vietnam War, there’s now a much broader range of cultural attractions competing for the top spots on Tripadvisor, including boat cruises, foodie tours, and spa experiences.

By Stuart Haggas – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

 

Culture Shock on the Mekong River

Angkor Wat - pixabay Are you ready to cruise the Mekong River? Southeast Asia is a place of incredible contradictions. Urban megalopolises like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with their stunning French architecture and millions of motorcycles exist in a sort of awkward harmony with the ancient traditions of the villages along the lush Mekong Delta. And then there’s Angkor Wat – a 400 acre temple site that might have had Liberace going, “Do you think it’s too much?” Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is a selfie heaven, with its pine-cone turrets and scores of red-robed Buddhist monks. But traveling to third world nations where English is only sparsely spoken and whose infrastructure isn’t always on point can be daunting. The ideal way to see Southeast Asia is via a combination of land tour and a river cruise on the Mekong. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi have excellent five-star hotels which provide a fabulous respite from the cacophony below; but villages along the Mekong like Angkor Ban, Tan Chau, Sa Dec, Cai Be and even Phnom Penh don’t exactly have a Four Seasons. Having a five-star river cruise ship to return to each day provides the best of both worlds: the ability to effortlessly tour these charming towns and learn about cultures that have barely changed in hundreds of years, and the ability to LEAVE that culture behind at night and come back to a gorgeous floating resort. I mean, come on!

By Eric Poole – Full Story at Passport

Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

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Mr Linh's Adventures Travel – Gay Friendly Vietnam Tour Operator

Mr Linh's Adventures Travel Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay: Our company started business first in Ba Be National Park, Nam Mau, Bac Kan, Vietnam since 2008. We started in a small office on the lake shore and named it as ‘Ba Be Tourism Center’. We offered accommodation for traveler staying in our traditional stilts house. We offer a unique service of homestay accommodation – Mr Linh’s homestay. We provide excellent home cooking with English and French speaking knowledgeable local guide. We quickly attracted a steady flow of travelers who were looking for the unspoiled, remote beauty of the mountains, lake, jungle and minority villages. Following these success, we quickly expanded its horizons with the Mr Linh’s Adventures, opening its office in Ha Noi, offering its own tours to other areas. All the itinerary are tailor made and we use our utmost experience about the region to take tourist further not only in the North, but also in the South of Vietnam. Today Mr Linh’s Adventures serves up to 2500 travelers yearly, Our Sales and Operations offices in Ha Noi and Ba Be are run by a tight knit team, who, if not family, are loyal and long serving staff members, keen to share in Mr Linh’s vision. Sales staff act as consultants and advisors and the operations team work together to ensure that all aspects, travel, boats, hospitality and restaurant all run smoothly to ensure you have an enjoyable, stimulating and unique experience. Once again, thank you for contacting to us. It would be our pleasure to be listed on your shortlist.

See the Mr Linh’s Adventures Travel Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Vietnam

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Oceanlink Travel – Gay Vietnam Tour Operator

Oceanlink Travel Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay: Oceanlink Travel assembles members having great passions for the tourism industry. Besides that, our travel product team also specializes not only in running classic tours but also in offering unique and sublime tour programs by bringing tourists deep impressions of culture, local people, and cuisine in Vietnam. Especially, our leading programs are pre-wedding photo shooting, wedding and honeymoon packages for LGBT Tourists. We can turn tourists’ dreams of love into reality by our thoroughness and thoughtfulness, so as to ensure that the tourists will have truly memorable experiences in Vietnam. Why is Oceanlink Travel trusted to provide these leading packages for LGBT tourists?

  • In-house photographer & stylist
  • LGBT friendly tour guides
  • Using our own transportation fleet
  • Travelling with local experts
  • Offering unique & romantic beach resorts

See the Oceanlink Travel Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Vietnam

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