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Travel & Resources: HANOI

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HANOI -- area code +84-4

General Information

    Vietnam's capital city is lively and full of charm. The diminutive old quarter is a canton of shady, tree-lined lanes with names like "Comb Street" that reflect the goods traditionally sold from its shophouses. In fact, virtually any patch of open street or sidewalk is turned into a place to sell anything or park a motor bike. Pedestrians are often forced to share the road with traffic in an intricate ballet that must be quickly mastered the moment you ease out of your hotel (don't dash!).

    Hoan Kiem Lake sits at the hub of the old city, a jade mirror reflecting the French colonial facades and Chinese ornamentation that have both contributed to the city's heritage. The Opera House and classic Metropole Hotel are at one end and the old quarter and markets are at the other. For shopping, you might want to bring a calculator with you: Vietnam's instant millionaire Monopoly money is fun to play with but exhausting to manage.

    While there are plenty of gays in Hanoi, most are cornered into marriage and raising a family, and they don't frequent public spots where they might be subject to gossip. This makes for a quiet gay scene at mostly mixed places. The Internet has become the primary method for educated, working gays to meet each other and foreigners. This shadowy life has also made gay tourists a target for scams and hustlers -- Hanoi is full of smiling, fresh faces that flirt for fun and are looking to seize any opportunity to rise up out of poverty. But local gays want you to know that criminal characters are in the minority, and you'll have a lovely time here if you just use your common sense and, again, don't dash into anything. We suggest you make some friendly contacts online before you arrive, rather than succumb to visions in Hanoi's romantic haze.

    The metropolitan population of Hanoi is about 7 million (that's about 300,000 Utopians).

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  • Hai Dang (Light House)
      736-6653. A club, under the auspices of the Center for HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, which offers social support and HIV education to the GLBT community as well as sponsoring events and activities.

Travel Services

Popular Spots


Bars and Clubs

Massage for Men

Meeting Places

    • Hoan Kiem Lake -- beware of rip-off criminals posing as friendly gays. UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
    • Lenin Park -- beware of rip-off criminals posing as friendly gays.
    • Thien Quang lake, especially cruisy, but beware of rip-off criminals posing as friendly gays.
    • Truc Bach Lake UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
        Utopia Map. Public exercise corner has lots of eye candy in the late afternoon and a beautiful view of the lake. Also, shirtless hunks jog all around the lake towards evening.

Restaurants and Cafes

    • Daluva (fine dining) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
        33 To Ngoc Van St, Tay Ho Dist, Utopia Map, 3718-5831, email. This upscale, yet casual, LGBT-friendly fine dining and cocktail bar has been completely refurbished and redesigned in 2013. With weekly menu changes stressing contemporary and refined falvors using fresh, seasonal foods, Daluva is one of Hanoi's only inventive modernist cuisine venues. Select, varied wines (a dozen available to try by the glass) and always new cocktails to try. They make many of their own ingredients, including fresh goat cheese, bitters and floral reductions used on their menu and in their drinks. A comfortable place for local and foreign gay and lesbian guests as well as LGBT employees. Vegetarian-friendly.
    • Hanoi Social Club UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
        6 Hoi Vu St (look for the rainbow flag on the door), Utopia Map, 3938-2117. LGBT-friendly coffee shop and restaurant that is a sponsor of VietPride and a friend to the queer community. Cozy and warm chill-out environment on three floors including a rooftop garden bar. Fantastic fresh and healthy foods (with lots of veggie options) and inventive drink specials including must-try "egg coffee" (don't miss!), homemade hibiscus soda and lemongrass-aide with vodka. Kick back with a beer and a bowl of their Pork Scratchings and fried tofu skin chips. Occasional music events. Open 8am-11pm daily. 6 Hội Vũ, Hoŕn Kiếm

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