Ho Thuy Tien: The Abandoned Waterpark in Hue

Ho Thuy Tien, the abandoned waterpark in Hue, Vietnam - AIMINGFORAWE.COM

Aimee Lim / Aiming For Awe / Copyright 2018

Ho Thuy Tien in Vietnam is like any other waterpark, equipped with water slides, pools, a lazy river, an aquarium, an amphitheater, the whole shebang - except for one thing: it’s abandoned. Taken over by graffiti and overrun by cows, the park exudes a certainly eerie feel. The waterpark was built in 2004 and costed $3M US dollars, but plans came to a halt and the park never opened to the public.

Over a decade later, there’s talks of “the abandoned waterpark in Hue” that circles around within groups of travellers. And since Kev and I for whatever unknown reason, booked 3 days in Hue with nothing but the Imperial City to see, we ventured off to find Ho Thuy Tien.

Prior to heading to the park, we read up on a few blog posts, just to get an update on the area in case some things had changed. And they certainly had. For one, they say it’s a secret place that’s shared only between backpackers - secret notes passed around on bar napkins. But this isn’t the case. They also say you can’t find it on Google Maps, that only a shared pin can lead you there. Also false - just search the waterpark name and it’ll lead you right to the front gates. They also say it’s infested with crocodiles. Also false. Maybe at one point there really were crocodiles there or maybe it was always a myth, but there definitely aren’t any crocodiles there now. Just cows.

But you’ll see this for yourself when you go visit the park. As long as you don’t leave when the park security guard tells you to...

Your Uber driver will likely drop you off at the front gates, which look like this:

Main gates at front entrance of Ho Thuy Tien (abandoned waterpark) in Hue, Vietnam

After the main gates, there’s a long stretch of road covered in leaves and debris, surrounded by tall trees and free-roaming cows. Good luck making it all the way down this road without being stopped by the park’s “security guard”. And I use the term “security guard” loosely because he looks like a random Vietnamese man simply trying to make a dollar from an abandoned waterpark that’s been known to attract tourists. He rides around the park on his motorbike, stopping tourists by holding up a sign that says “UNDER CONSTRUCTION, NO TOURISTS”, followed by some aggressive pointing towards the gates and shooing motions. After a few minutes of playing dumb and a frustrating conversation spoken in hand gestures, he finally caves, puts out his hand and says “ok, fifty”.

Sorry? Fifty what? Fifty dollars?!

In Vietnam, they use the Vietnamese Dong and the US dollar as currency. Having assumed he meant $50 USD, we scoffed. But before we could say or do anything else, a couple of tourists on a motorbike zoomed by - right past him without acknowledging him, stopping for him, or paying him. So off he went on his bike to chase after them.

We took this opportunity to jump into a bush along the side of the road and OFF WE WENT on our adventure! We spent the next couple hours listening intently for the security guard’s motorbike and dodging him left and right.

During our adventure through the park, we found an old ticket booth, decrepit water slides, an abandoned aquarium, a lazy river and empty pools - and even a giant dragon head.

Dragon Head at Ho Thuy Tien in Hue, Vietnam

The only word I can really use to describe this experience, is eerie. And creepy. Like the set of a horror movie. Not to mention it was an overcast kind of day, with nothing but grey skies, a chilled breeze and dead silence (aside from a creepy chiming metal tree at the entrance).

Maybe these photos can do better justice of expressing that mood.

Here’s a video walk through of our abandoned waterpark adventures in Hue.

And if you plan on venturing off to find Ho Thuy Tien yourself, then here are a few tips for you:

Rent a motorbike: Not only will it cost you less than ordering an Uber there and back, but it’ll be more convenient for you to travel through the park as well, since it’s spread out across a pretty large area. Not to mention, you’ll find it easier to run away from the security guard on a motorbike as well 😂

We found out after the matter, that it’s normal to pay 50,000 VND (Vietnamese Dong) to the security guard, which ends up equalling to about $2 USD. Not a high price to pay for an entry fee!

Keep aiming for awe, XO Aimee

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