Like all modern cities the best sports and leisure activities are not always in your face when you first arrive in Saigon; they have to be tracked down. In some cases you are likely to stumble across them, others need a bit of research. Watching sport is easy in this vibrant city, the number of sports bars is growing exponentially. Taking part takes a bit more effort, literally.
The Saigon Pool League was started early in 2014 and in the short time since has grown from just eight teams to a vibrant league of 35 teams playing in four structured divisions (three 8–ball and one 9–ball) with 20 bars taking part. Eight–ball league matches are played on a Thursday night and the newer and smaller 9–ball league plays on Monday nights. In excess of 260 players are now registered. In just two short years pool has grown to be one of the best sports and leisure activities in Saigon. The 8–ball League has everything from the top Premier Division for the better players, through the mid–level Championship Division for intermediates to the Social Division which is more light–hearted but still contains some very good players. The–9 ball only has one division at the moment. Players of all abilities are made very welcome and should contact Chris Lee at The Saigon Pool League for details.
Photo by: Saigon Pool League
The Saigon International Darts League has 22 teams playing over three divisions. Appropriately there are some 180 players regularly playing each week at the seventeen registered venues. Darts is very popular among locals as well as expats and most teams have a variety of nationalities within their ranks. The ladies are made very welcome as is everyone. It’s a great ice–breaker for newcomers to the city, with many social events linked to the league. Make your enquiries to Kevin Kuruvilla, email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by: Saigon International Darts League
Not the tallest of people, the Vietnamese still have a passion for basketball. There are many pickup games on courts throughout the city. Expats tend to play in their own groups but there is something of a crossover. Information is sketchy to say the least, but there are courts normally available on most days of the week. More information is available here. For those who love to watch basketball, Saigon’s own pro team, The Saigon Heat, play in the ASEAN League. Their home games are played at the CIS Arena in District 7 and draw good crowds.
Photo by: Saigon Heat
The football in Saigon falls into two distinct categories. There is the full on 11 man game and five or six a side short games. Both are very popular and are well subscribed. Having as it does many international schools, Saigon has a strong body of young(ish) athletic guys who are keen to keep up fitness levels by playing football. The new season of the Saigon International Football League kicked off in September 2014 at the new venue in Ky Hoa in D10. There 11 teams in the league and games are played on Saturdays and Sundays between September and April. Details are available on The Saigon International Football League website.
Photo by: Saigon International Football League
Established in 2012, the Saigon Monday night Five a Side league organises matches that generally play in D4. This popular format of the sport is a great way to keep fit and meet people. Their website is found here. There is also the excellent Arsenal Soccer Schools project. Originally just for juniors, they have a course concentrating on fitness for adults as well. They have three centres, in Districts 1, 2 and 7 and can be contacted here.
A very popular activity among both locals and expats. Whilst of course most of the condo blocks have superb swimming pools attached, not everyone gets to live in a condo. For those that have not got access to a pool, there are some extremely good community pools in and around the city. These can be found in most districts.
The Saigon Cricket League started in 2006 with just two teams. It now comprises seven teams, which are split into nationalities: Australia, England, two from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and a United Countries team. The standard of the league is pretty impressive, as it is in most Southeast Asian countries. Over the nine years of its existence, competition has slowly evolved from a fun day out to a quite serious league. Some of the teams train four times a week. Matches are played at RMIT University in District 7. For further information see the league website.