With all of the excitement that comes with moving to a new country, hitting the gym isn’t usually on people’s minds when they first arrive in Ho Chi Minh City.
Besides, getting used to the scorching sun is already a battle, so why work up even more of a sweat? Well, after months of indulging in delicious Vietnamese foods like bánh mì and cheap bia (beer), many expats and English teachers find themselves with some extra padding around the sides (and front).
What’s more, with such a low cost of living in Vietnam (and even relatively low cost of living in HCMC, the country’s most expensive city), there’s still a good chance you have room in your budget for going to the gym. Just remember to pack your gym attire when you come to Vietnam!
To make your search for a gym a bit easier, we’ve put together this list of the best gyms in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city.
Local Budget Gyms
Small local gyms can be found on almost every big street in Saigon. They are often hard to find due to being crammed into typical Vietnamese buildings that are very narrow from the front. It’s easy to miss them when driving by, especially when the front view is blocked by parked motorbikes.
Characterized by their intimate yet friendly atmosphere, these gyms will set you back as little as $1 a day or $8 a month. Whilst you won’t find air-conditioning in most of these gyms, they often have plenty of fans and a mix of free weights, machines, and cardio equipment all packed into a small space.
Although they are not well-advertised online, most can be found via a quick Google search. You can also try searching for phòng tập (gym) or phòng tập thể hình (fitness center) to increase your chances of finding a local gym near you.
Multi Location Gyms
Probably the most well-known gym chain in Vietnam, this high-end gym offers pretty much everything you can expect from a gym in terms of equipment and facilities along with huge floor space.
Annoyingly, they do not have set membership prices, so you’ll have to battle with their army of salespeople. If you’re looking for a monthly membership then expect to be quoted around 2,000,000VND.
The only way to get a reasonable rate is to sign a 1,2 or 3-year contract which can bring the monthly rate down to around 600,000VND, which, for the quality of the facilities is very reasonable. Beware however that these contracts require the total contract price upfront with no month-to-month payment option, so you will be required to shell out $$$ upfront.
With 18 gyms in Saigon alone, there is most likely a California Fitness near to you. If you plan to stay in Saigon for a long time and have the cash flow to pay for an upfront yearly contract then go for it.
The facilities are very modern and include everything you’d need from a gym and more. If you prefer not to sign a long contract and pay such a large amount of money upfront then California Fitness probably isn’t the gym for you. Keep reading as the rest of the gyms in this guide have very affordable monthly memberships with no long term commitment.
Price: Depends on contract
Affordable Monthly Membership Gyms in Ho Chi Minh City
Ask most expats what was the first gym they were recommended when arriving in Saigon and there’s a good chance they’ll respond with Mach’s Gym.
If you’re living or working in District 1 then Mach Gyms should be your first choice for a gym. It’s a fairly standard gym but the equipment is more modern than most gyms in Saigon with a decent amount of space.
It also has a better range of barbells that come in various shapes and sizes including a hex bar. Besides its great range of barbells, Mach’s Gym has a good balance of cardio, resistance machines and free weights to suit any workout style.
A bonus is the large changing/shower rooms which unlike most budget gyms, means you’ll never have to queue or wait for a refreshing shower after your workout.
Price: 500K / $21 month (double check in case prices have changed since I wrote this)
Saigon’s first dedicated calisthenics gym has arrived with Reborn Fitness. Located across the main road from Thao Dien, Reborn is the ideal playground for bodyweight enthusiasts or beginners looking to discover just what their body is capable of with the right training.
Those experienced with Calisthenics will undoubtedly fall in love with this gym at first sight, for those not familiar with this type of training and prefer a bit of guidance then don’t sweat, well not yet anyway, Reborn offers affordable classes that will introduce you to the movements in a fun and friendly setting.
Memberships are limited to prevent crowding, so for 950K per month, you get access to great facilities and don’t have to worry about rubbing sweaty shoulders with people.
Note: Reborn Fitness has closed since I first wrote this article, but now they are running fitness camps here.
Hoàng Tần Fitness (HT Fitness Center)
One of my favourite gyms in Saigon, Hoàng Tần Fitness offers great value for money. It’s open-plan layout along with high ceilings and empty floor space means that even during the busiest times of the day, you do not feel cramped and have plenty of space to move about.
For around 350K per month, you get a decent amount of free-weights, most machines you’d need, lots of space for stretching/yoga and even a deadlifting platform. Upstairs is home to a table tennis club which is always busy with retired Vietnamese couples and provides a nice ambient background noise during moments of song changes.
Price: 350K / $15 month (double check for latest prices)
Phu Nhuan District
Popular among bodybuilders, Dungs gym is well equipped with modern equipment and it is also well air-conditioned.
The gym is smaller in floor space but has more specialized equipment such as monkey bars, a climbing board and a floor dedicated to martial arts. They also have a ‘Relaxing Room’ with very comfortable armchairs and TVs just in case you want to wind down after a hard workout.
Price: 600,000VND / $25 month (double check for latest prices)
Getting back into a healthy routine can be hard when living in a new country. We hope this article helps you with finding your perfect gym in Ho Chi Minh City. You may also want to read our guide to how to dress in Vietnam, when you step out of the gym, that is!