Vietnam is a remarkable country and from my perspective a MUST visit at some point in your life. This South-East Asian country is filled with scrumptious food, overwhelming scenery, major history, French colonial architecture and charming locals. As you travel through Vietnam you will notice how loose communism becomes as you venture towards the South.
Those who have already travelled will notice the vast difference in attitudes and behaviours of the residents in the North in comparison to the South. Meanwhile, it is rather common travellers opt for trains getting from one end of the country to the other. Often stopping off at cities on the way. A city worth visiting on this route is Huế located in central Vietnam.
What’s so amazing about Huế?
This city used to be Vietnams former capital between 1802-1942. Likewise, by going here you’ll be able to see how much history lies in this alluring destination. Most wanderers commonly opt to visit options such as its Imperial Citadel, the Perfume River, many pagodas, Bach Ma National Park and the hot springs.
During my time there I visited a few of those. However, what I was more interested was to venture off the typical tourist route and travel off the beaten track. I’d read about, watched and heard through other travellers about Huế’s abandoned water park. It became a popular topic. Upon arrival into this city, I made sure friends and I had to visit.
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What is this abandoned water park, you say?
The water park is known as Ho Thuy Tien lake and is advertised on google as closed. You cannot locate it on a map either as it’s only known by word of mouth from the locals of Huế. We reached by hiring a small minibus and driver to transport us. This haunting destination is located in the lands of the Vietnamese jungle side.
What’s mysterious about this water park is that no one has an idea why it shut down in 2004, after millions were pumped into it. After the closure, there are rumours of three gigantic crocodiles that lurked in the waters and kept alive by the locals. Some say they’ve been removed and others suggest they are still there. I, however, did not see any.
How to enter the creepy park
As we pulled up to the former entrance there was a guard lying there in a hammock with some metal barriers. I assumed this was just a local who wanted to take advantage of the situation. He charged us for 10,000 Vietnamese Dong for admission (a small amount) naively as tourists we just paid him as it was small change to us and we were eager to get in.
He did not stamp hands, tell us rules or say our time frame. We had the freedom to explore at our own will. As he just took the money, we got that vibe he was a local. The bus went in and parked next to the riverside.
We knew other travellers come to visit here and we’re not worried about “illegally trespassing” at Hue’s abandoned water park. Also if we were, we were fulled ready to risk it as
what’s the fun of travelling without being a risk taker?
Upon departing our minibus we noticed the first former attraction.
Attractions in Hue’s Abandoned Water Park
As you arrive you will discover the monumental dragon overlooking the lake. This is a three-story level dragon where you can climb up all the way to the top. If you’re brave enough you can sit in its mouth which showcases some epic views of the lake.
Around the dragon, you can clearly see that the area was to be an aquarium. Amongst the graffiti infested area be cautious of the smashed glass all over the floor.
The water slides
Now, this was like a scene out of a video game or even a movie. There were four slides. Two of vertical drops and the other two twisting ones. Trees, leaves and moss submerged them. I took great pleasure in wandering down them and back up again. However make sure to stay clear of exiting the slide, there is a deep pool of murky water. Who knows what is in there?
Nearby are more slides but on a smaller scale. You can clearly see that was meant for children.
The final part before our departure was the abandoned amphitheatre. I can’t help but think what performances were planned to go on here. Perhaps a dolphin or seal show? I sat there in the stalls with the in the humid jungle and thinking to myself how surreal this was. Yet such as shame a large investment was made and this is just left to stand and rot. With only locals taking a small pocket.
Who knows if this will be re-invested in, in the future? One thing for sure is that amongst all the activities I did in Huế my friends and I agreed this was worth the risk. The risk of trespassing, the risk of our health on falling on damaged parts and the risk-taking the limited time out to explore in the 2 days we were in Huế. This haunting memory will always stick me forever exploring the ghost space of Hue’s abandoned water park.