“A family amusement water park mysteriously closed down over a decade ago in Hue, left to be overrun by the forces of nature. Rumours of wild crocodiles, unstable attractions and illegal entries. Well, you can count us in…. “
Discovering ‘Thuy Tien Lake’, the eerie abandoned water park in Hue is certainly one of the more bizarre experiences we had during our time in Vietnam. We’d heard rumours of its existence from other travellers, and thanks to our shared passion for adventure & a common interest in abandoned places, it quickly found its way to the top of our Vietnam bucket list.
For those intrigued to learn more about this epic location, below we will share everything you need to know ahead of visiting.
THE ABANDONED WATER PARK IN HUE, VIETNAM
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WHERE IS HUE
Hue is located central of Vietnam, and can easily be accessed via bus from most major cities throughout the country. We took a sleeper bus from Hanoi, and the journey time was approximately 12 hours. Check 12go, Asia for the latest schedule and prices. When you are finished with Hue, consider travelling from Hue to Hoi An.
HOW TO FIND THE WATER PARK
When we first heard about this mysteriously abandoned water park in Hue our inner explorers were half expecting, half-hoping, that we would have to partake in some kind of Indiana Jones-style quest in order to find it. Therefore we couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed when we found it to be clearly marked on google maps!
The water park is situated approximately 9km outside of central Hue, and while the common choice of transport is by scooter, if you are not an experienced driver you may wish to take a taxi. You don’t need to worry about the locals discouraging you to visit. They all seem perfectly happy to talk about its existence and point you in the right direction.
We decided to walk that day to get some exercise, and it took us just under 1.5 hours.
THUY TIEN LAKE MAP LOCATION
WHY IS THE WATER PARK ABANDONED?
Thuy Tien Lake opened for business in 2004, however for what can only be assumed as financial difficulties, closed down shortly after in 2006. The area has been left abandoned and derelict ever since, and although there were rumours that it might re-open, it never did.
OUR EXPERIENCE & HOW WE GOT IN
After deciding to walk the 9km to the abandoned water park, we marked the location on our maps.me and set off on our adventure. Just under 1.5 hours later we found ourselves on the dirt road approaching what once was, the main entrance to the water park. From a distance it seemed that the entrance was clear of any security staff, however, when we spotted another group approaching the gate up ahead, we decided to hold back and observe. It looked as if the group were going to clear the gate without any issues, however out of nowhere 2 men approached and stopped the group from entering.
While the 2 men were distracted, we saw this as our opportunity to make a run for it, and after spotting a pathway to the left through the surrounding forest we took our chances that it would lead us into the park. We heard some shouting in the distance behind us, but refusing to look back continued our pace along the rugged path. It wasn’t long before we stumbled upon what we were looking for. The path opened up directly onto the lake and there we were greeted by the iconic dragon that we knew to be the main attraction of the park. The 3-story-high dragon feature, now adorned in graffiti, towers over the lake replicating a scene from an apocalyptic horror movie.
Our illicit entrance to the park left the adrenaline well and truly pumping, however, our new found rebel status was to be short-lived. As we made our way towards the entrance of the dragon we were surprised to find a refreshments stall, strategically placed for any visitors who enter the park. Although we found this to be a little odd, we were even more surprised to bump into the group whom we had seen stopped at the entrance beforehand. After speaking with them, it turns out that the men only asked for a small bribe (equivalent to around $1.50) in order to enter the park! Not quite the ruthless criminals we imagined ourselves to be after all…
After coming to terms with the embarrassment of our overly dramatic entrance, we set off to explore the park. The aforementioned dragon was once home to the park’s aquarium, evident throughout the lower level of the attraction, which is now littered with smashed glass from the old tanks. It is said the tanks once held tropical marine life and crocodiles, and rumours say the latter were left to roam free for some time after the park was closed down. After exploring what’s left of the aquarium, we made our way up the spine of the dragon (which also happens to be a well-conditioned staircase) into the mouth, and through fierce, jagged teeth were rewarded with spectacular views across the lake and surrounding jungle.
When we were done exploring the show-stopping dragon, we went off in search of what else the park had to offer. Other attractions included derelict water slides, moss-infested swimming pools, and a haunting amphitheatre, all of which consumed by the eerie solitude that plagues most abandoned places. One thing we did notice, however, is that all of the attractions seem to be unusually sprawled apart, and I can’t help but wonder if this is why the park may not have been such a favourite among its visitors.
In summary, the park didn’t turn out to be quite the illicit adventure we had imagined it to be, however it was still an extremely cool experience. It was rather trippy imagining the park full of life a little over a decade ago, with marine life filling the aquarium and families enjoying the attractions. A stark contrast to the morphed version of wonderland that it is now. It’s also one of the few attractions in this modern world of social media, which isn’t completely overrun with tourists. For any intrepid travellers out there, Thuy Thien Lake is a must-do experience.
Entrance Fees – Although there are no official entrance fees, there are ‘security guards’ who will ask for a small fee to explore the park without any hassle from them. The price should equate to no more than $1.50/pax.
BEFORE YOU GO TO THE WATER PARK
- Be sure to check out this Vietnam packing list. You’ll need to wear sensible shoes as there is a lot of smashed glass and unsteady walkways. We recommend ALEADER 2 in 1 water/hiking shoes.
- The Park has been abandoned for 12 years, so consider that some areas may be unsafe.
- The attractions within the park itself are quite spread apart, so you may wish to take your own transport to ride around on.
- Take a camera as there are a lot of insta-worthy opportunities. (Are you following us on Instagram? Follow us here!)
WHERE TO STAY IN HUE
Hostel – Anh’s Homestay – This affordable hostel offers simple accommodation in perfect location. The property offers free bicycle hire, a beautiful garden and free breakfast!
Budget Private – Hue Four Seasons Hotel – Featuring a garden, views of the lake and just 2.5 km from Trang Tien Bridge. The accommodation also offers an outdoor pool, shared kitchen and free breakfast!
Luxury – Hue Orchid Riverside Villa – For a touch of luxury in this new build. The property boasts a swimming pool, a garden, a bar, sun terrace, free bicycle hire and breakfast, while positioned in close proximity to the highlights.
For more Accommodation in Hue, you can check the latest prices here.
More on Vietnam
Planning a trip to Vietnam? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
- TOP 15 INSTAGRAM SPOTS OF VIETNAM – ULTIMATE GUIDE
- BUDGET TRAVEL GUIDE TO HOI AN, VIETNAM
- CHEAP EATS & CAFES IN HANOI, VIETNAM
- HA GIANG MOTORBIKE LOOP – TRAVEL GUIDE
- DINING IN THE DARK DINNER DATE, HO CHI MINH
Did you enjoy our guide to the abandoned water park in Hue in Vietnam?
Well, that concludes our guide to the abandoned water park in Hue in Vietnam. We hope you enjoy your time in this magical country. If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below, through our contact us page. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here where we share further travel advice & inspiration.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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