Have you ever wondered how a traditional Asian country like Vietnam deals with the surge of LGBTQ movement across the world? Are there any obstacles and challenges for the foreign LGBTQ community when visiting Vietnam?
Against all odds, Vietnam is a newly-emerging LGBTQ-friendly destination in Asia that has caught people’s attention. In order to help you delve into the underbelly of the LGBTQ tourism scene in Vietnam, we have compiled a definitive guide covering the best gay-friendly bars and LGBTQ-centric events in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city.
A Look into the LGBTQ Scene in Vietnam
Homosexuality is a topic and practice considered taboo by the majority in Vietnam considering it is a conservative country. Being inclined to tradition plays a huge role, however, the views of people are gradually changing.
Acceptance towards the LGBT-community is more prominent in urbanized cities, even though not in general, as some still have their reservations. However like-minded individuals have started to be open with their sexuality and campaigns supporting the movement have increased.
The year 2012 was a milestone for the community as Hanoi celebrated its’ first Gay Pride event. Then Former US Ambassador Ted Osius and husband Clayton Bond elevated this open-mindedness during their visit talking about different familial structures (VN Express, 08/22/2016)
This eventually led the country to lift its’ ban on same-sex marriage the following year, with Vietnam being hailed as a leader in establishing gay-rights. Whiffs of judgment between same-sex relationship towards foreigners are not as much if one partner is a Vietnamese. With parades celebrated annually and embassies authorizing same-sex marriages, it’s just a matter of time where prejudice is naught.
The country of Vietnam and its people gradually warmed to the presence and idea of non-binary gender classifications. With this came the surge of not just expats but locals as well who felt more comfortable in coming out. Places that are friendly towards the LGBT-community developed and in turn grew in popularity.
Clubs and gay bars are the first ones to come in mind with considerate regulations imposed. This protects the community in general, but also for those who are just looking into partying all night till dawn.
3 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Bars in Hanoi
Golden Cock Bar
Golden Cock, commonly GC Bar, is the longest standing gay bar in Hanoi with three-decades on its belt. The gothic-like decor lends a casual atmosphere with commodious space and pool tables available for anyone up to a friendly-match.
Affordable booze makes it a perfect place to swing by and get acquainted with the gay community. Friday and Saturdays see the place fairly packed with locals and foreigners partying the night away. It is also regarded as the unofficial LGBTQ headquarters where people of different sexual orientations are always welcome.
Address: 3-4 Hang Hanh, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
Often touted unique in the sense of decorations, Birdcage is one of those bars that keep the party going till dawn. True to its’ name, the outdoor space is furnished with vintage decors and numerous bird cages within the open vicinity.
Only open during Fridays and Saturdays but the patrons find their way back to the cold beer and fantastic sound system. Reasonably priced admission and eclectic music are what draws positive reviews from dozens of attendees that rave to its beats.
Address: Alley 264 Au Co, Quang An, Tay Ho, Hanoi.
It’s no surprise that internationally-renowned DJ superstars graced the booth of the IP Club. The professional and high-grade sound systems playing definitely lives up to the expectations of the crowd in attendance. The club has daily limited-timed events that sees guests enjoying one of the vast and immersive places in Hanoi.
One section of the bar is for those who love to energetically sing and dance with the crowd. The LGBT-community, whether driven to party or just casually drinking, are all welcome to enjoy at this trendy nightclub.
Address: 6th Floor, 41 Hai Ba Trung, Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
3 Most Sought-After LGBTQ Events in Hanoi
Hanoi Queer Takeover
The aim is true and simple, to express everything that the LGBTQ-community is and showcase their unstoppable spirit. The monthly Hanoi Queer Takeover is a night of safe space where everyone of all genders come and celebrate their uniqueness.
The lead-organizer, Cici, is dedicated to promoting gay visibility and awareness is a celebration of radical-love and self-expression. Join the takeover where the night is full of fabulous events and drag shows in the lovely city of Hanoi.
While Vietnam has become more lenient in accepting the gay community despite being a conservative nation, homosexuality hasn’t been officialized. Since its inception in the city of Hanoi back in 2012, the first-ever pride parade has been making headlines.
And much like any Pride Movement in the world, it advocates for an end to the prejudice against the LGBTQ-community. Calls to end discrimination, shame and concealment sparked growing support and courage from the people who stood up. Diverse members of the community who support the movement from several fronts have brought significant developments in the country.
Laws were created to recognize and empower members of this community, be it in workplaces, classrooms, and even at home. Gatherings of the annual Pride take place in 17 cities including Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang having their own separate parades. (Tuoi Tre News, 09/25/2017)
Nearing almost a decade now, these parades display the right to be seen and heard equally, everywhere in the world.
Gay Hanoi Tours – A Pioneer of Hanoi’s Local Tour Producers
A fabulous bunch of local gay guides in Hanoi are your best bet in getting a tour best suited for their fellow LGBT travelers in Vietnam. Not only does it feel like a closely-knit family, but they would also support in providing tips about the local gay scene. Anyone who’s looking to make new friends or even just a tailored-fit tour, then look no further!
That’s being said, there are no worries when visiting Vietnam while staying true to who you really are. With the friendliest locals living across Hanoi, you don’t have to worry about catching the bullet eyes when strolling down the streets anymore! Now it’s time to pack your bags, book the tickets and head to Vietnam right away!