From team sports to individual activities, there is something for everyone in our little town of Saigon. Whether you’re a newcomer who’s looking to find a ready made social circle; or a long term resident that’s looking for something new to try; or perhaps you’ve noticed that the Covid lockdown hasn’t helped your waistline and you just want to find a way to keep fit and active; there are plenty of sports clubs and activities in Saigon to explore. Most of these sports will even have their own women’s teams within the clubs, or at least have co-ed games, so there’s really something in here for everyone. Here’s a short list of different Saigon sports clubs and sporting activities that’ll help you on your way.
This is a working list, so if you know of any other sports clubs, teams, associations, or even just a bunch of mates who do weekend activities, drop the details in the comments below. We’ll be constantly updating this, but for the moment in no particular order:
This will be an odd sport for many people who haven’t heard of it before. It’s part regular soccer/football, part rugby, and some might argue part MMA. But it’s definitely good craic. The Saigon Gaels regularly host the team from Hanoi, or fly up to beat the Viet Celts on their own turf. They’re both part of a bigger Asia-wide league that has regional, and All-Asia tournaments. If you’re looking for a physical and challenging sport with a wide range of year round social activities, then Gaelic Football is definitely worth a try. The ladies’ team is arguably even better than the men’s!
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world, and there’s a thriving scene here in Saigon (though admittedly not as much as in other parts of South East Asia). The city has a number of different playing options catering to all skill levels. If you’re just looking for a pick-up game, just drop in at the SSA in Thao Dien, or touch base with one of the more organised private groups. If you feel like aiming for something a bit more competitive (or simply for the sole reason that you stand taller than 6 foot 2), try out for the Saigon Basketball league.
The Saigon Hash House Harriers (SH3) are an international group of runners who get together once a week to run, drink beer, and sing songs (usually all three at the same time). They have a number of different routes that take in all corners of HCMC, so there’s something for everyone. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, they also do regular “hashes” (runs) out in the provinces and even across borders into neighbouring countries. Coed activities.
There’s a surprisingly well-organised (and passionate) cricket scene here in Saigon, with at least two cricket “leagues”, one for men’s team and another for ladies’ teams, but there is a good amount of overlap and they have co-organised regular social events, tours, and even international tournaments. Clubs from India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Australia are well represented, but I’ve been led to believe that England have reasonably competitive teams that aren’t just there for the beer. If you’ve never played cricket before, don’t worry, they’re always happy to teach newcomers the ropes.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Vietnam, and unsurprisingly there’s a huge following for it in Saigon. With at least three different “leagues” catering to all levels of ability, there’s always a game to be found (or eleven people who are willing to start one up). Again, try the SSA in Thao Dien for small 5 a side games for people who don’t really like running that much. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more competitive, touch base with the Saigon Saints, or their arch rivals, the Saigon Raiders. Please also do check in with the women’s league, through the Saigon Storm.
HCMC is relatively flat, which makes it an ideal city to cycle in… if the streets were empty. However, there’s always traffic (which makes for an “interesting” experience), and the locals are more than happy to share their motorbike lane with you. Or basically, you share your bicycle lane with any manner of motorized vehicle. The good news is that there are a number of different cycling groups who regularly organise rides (both short and long), as well as actual races and tours either just outside the city, or in another city altogether. Coed activities.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is definitely on the rise in Saigon, and there are now a number of gyms that offer classes in boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and wrestling. If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge (or just want to beat someone up), give MMA a go. You’ll be able to find a few smaller gyms that offer training, pretty much in every district. However, for something a bit more organised, check out placed like Jiboia in D2, or Saigon Sports Club in D7. There will be female fighters and trainers.
Ok, so this might land more towards “games” rather than actual sports, but if they’ve now got computer games as a competitive sport in the South East Asian Games, then this blog post can include darts. If you’re interested, touch base with good folk of the Saigon International Darts League. Beer optional.
Not as locally popular as football, but rugby does have a thriving expat community in Saigon. If you want to give it a go (or are just looking for an excuse to run into people), then check in with the Saigon Geckos. They will have regular games vs their in-country nemesis, the Hanoi Dragons, and once the borders are open, the Asia tournament. And do take note, you don’t have to already know how to play rugby in order to join. They have sessions for beginners, and even have a “touch” session which focuses more on skills and fitness rather than actual hitting. Strong men’s and women’s teams.
Golf is a pretty popular pastime in Vietnam, and there are a number of excellent courses located just outside HCMC (in places like Ho Tram and Vung Tau). However, if you’re looking for something closer to home, then check out the driving range in Binh Thanh, which has some pretty good views of the river. There are of course a few other locations like the one in D7, if you live in that part of town. Coed activity.
This is another sport that’s growing in popularity, and this time with blunt weapons! Kidding aside, there is a small but dedicated group of people who regularly get together to play field hockey in Saigon. If you want to join in the fun (and games), then reach out to the Saigon Tornadoes on Facebook. Coed activity.
AFL/Australian Rules Football
Australian Football (AFL) is a sport that’s grown in popularity in Vietnam, and around the rest of South East Asia. Not surprising, given the number of Aussie expats who live in the region. If you want to give it a go, then get in touch with the Vietnam Swans. They have regular games and training sessions, and are always on the lookout for new players (both men and women).
Another sport that’s growing in popularity, but this time you get to hit the ball with a stick! Softball is a lot of fun, and is relatively easy to learn. There’s a surprising number of teams in the Saigon Softball league. If you’re interested in joining in (or just spectating), games are played every Sunday in Phu My Hung (D7). The official season runs from mid October through April. During the offseason, unofficial games are also held every Sunday at the Taiwan School.
Not necessarily a “sport” in the classic sense, but it’s definitely got competition. If not against other people, then at the very least against yourself. There are now a number of gyms in Saigon that offer classes. If you’re looking to get fit (and maybe even make some new friends), then check out one of the many Cross Fit (or at least “cross fit style”) gyms in HCMC. The community in Thao Dien is pretty nice, and has competitive coed events, as well as cross city events with the gyms in Hanoi. Coed gym, with lots of social activities.
It would be a pretty tall order to try and list down all the sports teams and activities in town, but we’ll certainly try. Having said that, there’s also an app that already does this, and quite well! Reclub is an app designed to help people connect with different sports teams and activities in HCMC. You can use it to find things like football, running, swimming, basketball, and even pickleball. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always create your own group or event. Best part? It’s free!
So there you have it! An incomplete but hopefully “acceptably comprehensive” list of sports clubs and activities in Saigon. If you’re looking for a way to kill some time, or just want to get fit and active, then one (or more) of these should do the trick. And don’t forget, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, reach out to Reclub! They’ll be more than happy to help you out.