Ho Thuy Tien water park opened on the outskirts of old town hue, Vietnam in 2004 and after its short lived success, upon closure has become a popular tourist curiosity with the added myth you might be accompanied by crocodiles on your visit.
Taking a 15 minute drive south from the old citadel (imperial city) the sealed roads became dirt, the cars and pandemonium on the roads ceased to exist and we found ourselves bouncing along a dirt track, overgrown with jungle with an array of bizarre statues placed along the roadside leading the way.
Upon arrival to the park gate the taxi pulled up to an old toll gate, beeped the horn and out walked the most questionably legitimate security guard I had seen. He required 20,000 VND each for us to pass and for his effort to pull a drawstring rope to open the barrier , regardless it seemed reasonable so onwards we went down a pedestrianised path in the taxi until it stopped at a lakeside.
Note: if you can hire a scooter/moped it’s probably recommended and it’ll save a lot of walking (or sprinting if the taxi meter keeps on ticking) making the distance from attraction to attraction in the park much more accessible.
In broken English we deciphered from the driver that he would wait for us, off came his shoes, seats flung back, head on the back seats and feet dangling out the window there he would stay for another 30 minutes amazingly not charging us a penny for his time (we tipped him for his patience and kindness)
First stop on the itinerary was the iconic 3 story dragon aquarium, in its heyday being the draw for many to the waterpark itself. Shaped like a coiled dragon, entering the aquarium in 2005 you would have walked around the belly of the beast, through its rib cage and witnessed manta ray, sharks, crocodiles and a variety of other watery behemoths ( the crocodiles of which have added to the legend and draw of this place as they where released into the surrounding lake when the park closed, unfortunately no longer existing). Expect graffiti, smashed glass, creaky staircases and an eery apocalyptic vibe from this massive structure as you explore its innards.
Continue walking through the jungle along the lakeside past many cows and rusty signs directing you to the next fun filled attraction and you will stumble across the waterslides! Swirling, moss Lined slides run into Stagnant pools filled with black water, three of them in total. Here expect to find some edge of the seat action as urban explorers usually seem to be walking up the slides to the top of the tower or sliding down and seeing how close they can get to the water before scuffling back up or bailing of the side if their impromptu calculations didn’t quite add up.
Next door is the children’s pool, an oasis surrounded by palm trees with great views of the lake approximately a decade ago is now transformed to a surprisingly well preserved creepy spectacle. Covered by graffiti the children’s slide and play area is over watched by a fibreglass elephant in need of some TLC and surrounded by the same black bog water you will have seen previously. Fun for all the family!
After cooling off at the waterslides continue the walk around the lake to the amphitheatre and space simulator!
Once a bustling arena filled with performances and the laughter and screams of the crowd, the now abandoned space provides a soul sucking quietness. There is no passable entrance as such to this area so find the entrance tunnels, choose the middle one and clamber over some bamboo blockades to gain access, hundreds of seats face over the lake providing a great view of the park in its entirety and don’t forget to check out underneath the stands for a first hand experience of what I imagine a crack den to be like.
Additional to the amphitheatre placed a few metres behind in a crumbling tin hut is the space simulator! Completely intact, what seems to be a very expensive space shuttle simulator sits in a hut surrounded by faded retro posters of the future. I’m sure you could take a ride if you wanted too but noticing the door was jammed open with a few precariously thin sticks I didn’t fancy my chances of becoming a prisoner to the “thrill rider sonic Galaxy 15 space ship”
Basically, that’s the park or at least what was easily accessible, I highly recommend a visit and its definitely not something that’s so common as usually a $3,000,000 waterpark isn’t left abandoned and everything still intact so go explore!