The foggy islands of Ha Long Bay. The narrow and winding streets of Hanoi’s Old Town. The bright lights of Ho Chi Minh City. These are the tourist sites you think of when thinking of Vietnam. But an eerie abandoned water park is becoming one of the country’s must-see sites, even if there are some out there who still deny its existence.
Ho Thuy Tien waterpark sits just outside of Hue, the rainy, one-time capital of Vietnam which sits almost exactly halfway between the modern metropolises of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
The park has only been closed for just over ten years, but it’s already become reclaimed by the jungle to Tomb Raider levels.
The park was set to open sometime around 2004, but for reasons which still remain largely undetermined – possibly a Jurassic Park-esque reptile uprising but probably something to do with money – it never fully opened to the public.
At the centre of the park is a giant dragon sculpture. Climb inside, and get a view of the surrounding jungle from inside the dragon’s mouth. There are also a number of water-less water slides and looted gift shops.
While the abandoned park may not have attracted tourists as it had been intended to, it has now become an attraction in its own right.
Backpackers making the north-south trek from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi have made the pilgrimage to the park, which some travel agencies have denied the existence of – only adding to the mythical appeal of the place.
A look through the pictures gives an indication not only of what might have been, but the way in which the park was abandoned.
As soon as the financial hopes of the park took a downturn, those behind it seemed to have left almost immediately. The aquariums are still full of water (not fish), and they left the crocodiles behind (and although a blogger recently suggested that the crocs have been removed, we wouldn’t recommend taking a swim to test it out).