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Lesbian Resources: VIETNAM

Please help us keep these listings up-to-date. Special thanks to stefinguyen, amesy17, Nutella, sadie, variable_a, JaneHoi, miamore and Steffi!

Advisory: There have never been laws against homosexual activity in Vietnam. Although state-run media temporarily declared that homosexuality was a "social evil" in 2002 (surprising given that national revolutionary hero, "Uncle Ho" Chi Minh, is beloved by the Vietnamese people), officials quickly corrected those with ignorant, superstitious views and the Communist Youth Newspaper carried a story about homosexuality that same year stating "some people are born gay, just as some people are born left-handed." Gay venues openly exist and sport official MSM safer sex materials, the government put on an exhibition of photographs called Gay Life which toured all major universities, and the country recognized its first same-sex domestic partner of a diplomat with an official diplomatic visa. As of 2012, the government is officially debating the issue of allowing gay marriage and this open discussion is rippling through Vietnamese society in a fundamental and positive way. From famous poets, celebrities, and party leaders, gays have, of course, always been an integral thread in the fabric of Vietnam..

Homosexuality is not a crime, but blackmail is, so do contact the Police if you are threatened by a scam artist. Prostitution is illegal as is the payment of money for sexual services. Gay visitors can help to set a good example by observing the local laws and customs.


General Information

    Vietnam has become a favorite destination for travelers to Southeast Asia. Picturesque, vibrant and youthful, it offers magnificent natural wonders, gorgeous beaches, ancient city lanes, addictive cuisine and a paradise of shopping bargains.

    Vietnam is splashed with color, from verdant rice fields, hot pink lanterns and day-glo boutiques, to the increasing visibility of gays and lesbians adding their own special hues to Vietnam’s rainbow.

    Vietnam is a place to have fun, but also a place to use your common sense since the gay world here is still largely in the shadows.

    No seasoned traveler should miss a chance to encounter the amazingly friendly Vietnamese, to learn about their rich culture and enjoy their warm hospitality!

  • Vietnam Gay & Lesbian News
  • Travel in Vietnam message forum
  • Vietnam Lesbian Scene Updates message forum
  • Women in Vietnam message forum
  • Additional links for Vietnam GLBT information.



Organizations


Travel Services

  • LVP Travel Group UTOPIA VERIFIED MAR 2013
      123 Trung Kinh St, Cau Giay Dist, Hanoi, +84 6653-3869, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly travel focus in northern Vietnam. Trip arrangements at the beaches, in Ha Long Bay, Da Nang, Hoi An and more. Based in Vietnam, they offer full support along the way, from custom sightseeing trips, to tickets to the theater, to help with the dinner menu - they are your personal Vietnamese concierge. Utopia Member Discount



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 nearing 4 million (that's about 160,000 Utopians).

  • Hanoi Gay Scene Updates message forum

Popular Spots

Restaurants and Cafes

    • 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, Hoàn Kiếm

        Comments from Utopians:

        "Hanoi Social Club has a rainbow flag on the front door and Hanoi pride flags on display inside. You can also buy an educational book of real life stories by Vietnamese lesbians. It's owned by an Australian and very queer-friendly." -- J-Beau, Apr 28, 2013



HO CHI MINH CITY/SAIGON -- area code (84-8)

General Information

    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).


Popular Spots
Accommodations

      Click here for Saigon hotels and accommodations.


Restaurants and Cafes

    • Bread and Butter
        40/24 Bui Vien (off Pham Ngu Lao). A mix of friendly teachers. The chef is a lesbian, the food is good and the beer cheap.
    • Quán Thúy Linh UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2012
        239/66A/66B Trần Văn Đang St, P. 11, Dist 3, Utopia Map, 090-643-2589, 093-368-3719. In operation for almost a decade, this homey, neighborhood resturant is unique because it is staffed by transgender waitresses. Friendly, relaxed atmosphere with a mix of diners including some gays and lesbians.



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