Exploring the abandoned waterpark in Hue is another day that sneaks in as one of the highlights of my motorbike trip across Vietnam, though it’d be more accurate to give it a place as a highlight from all my travels. Maybe it was the company of new extremely talented and creative friends, or maybe it was the thrill of sneaking in to explore somewhere off-limits, but there was something magical about this day in Hue. The abandoned waterpark in Hue it no state secret, so finding it isn’t too challenging if you know the special entrance you need to access it via. Here’s a guide to exploring Hue’s abandoned waterpark!
What is the Abandoned Waterpark?
The abandoned waterpark in Hue does exactly what it says on the tin. Built in 2004 for a ridiculous sum of $3 million, this waterpark on the outskirts of Hue was an unfortunate flop. Apparently funds ran out and the park opened its doors before it was even completed. Undoubtedly this played a part in its underwhelming success, with the park shutting up for good only a few years later. The site has never been demolished and instead left to be reclaimed by nature.
Getting to the Adandoned Waterpark in Hue
You will need a motorbike to get to the abandoned waterpark. If you aren’t motorbiking across Vietnam you can rent one easily in Hue. A 1 day rental should cost no more than 150k VND ($6.40). Hue motorbike rental offers automatic bikes for 120k per day and will deliver the bike to your accommodation (they look to be a good option).
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By all means you could cycle, though it is more than 8km away. I wouldn’t recommend cycling there during the summer months as the temperatures in Hue soar into the high 30s (it hit 37°C when I was there in June 2018).
Another option for visiting the abandoned waterpark is to do an easy rider tour, or negotiate with a taxi driver to drop you off and pick you up again.
How to find the Abandoned Waterpark in Hue
The Abandoned water park in Hue is no longer a secret, so finding it wasn’t as challenging as I had thought it would be. I was 100% hoping for an undercover stealth mission to get in but alas it turns out it can be found on Google Maps by searching for “Thuy Tien Lake”.
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Getting past the guards and into Hue’s abandoned waterpark does however pose a challenge. There are two entrances to the waterpark, both guarded and both will require a bribe to gain access (though I’ve heard stories of guards not budging and refusing entrance despite bribes being offered).
The original and main entrance is more strictly guarded making it hard to gain access this route, not to mention it is more expensive to bribe your way in. This is where google maps takes you when you search for Thuy Tien Lake. I’ve marked on the map the other entrance, where you can pay off the guard with a 50k VND, as opposed to the 100k VND per person that the guards at the main entrance were requesting.
Exploring the Abandoned Waterpark
Let’s get into the juicy bit. Exploring the waterpark is such an unusual experience; its rare that you visit somewhere that has been deserted like this. There are three main parts that we explored. Because we had our motorbikes with us we were able to ride between the sites quickly but you can definitely walk around with ease.
This was the first part of the park that we arrived at after getting past the guards. It’s not the most exciting part but definitely worth a quick peak. I’m always a fan of building up to the best part so starting here is a good idea. The arena looks like it was once used for animal performances, and still has a lot of the seats left.
Now the slides, they are pretty cool. There are a number of waterslides and a lazy river that have been left here. You can climb on the slides, but the water is so disgusting (I mean what would you expect from somewhere that has been left unserviced for a decade).
The iconic pinnacle of the abandoned waterpark is certainly the dragon aquarium found in the middle of Thuy Tien Lake. Once home to exotic fish, including sharks and crocodiles, all that remains is the occasional shard of glass from the tanks (watch where you walk). When the site was abandoned the crocodiles were left to live “wild” in the lake, but thankfully they’ve all since been re-homed so there shouldn’t be any croc-sightings here!
You can see some of the original wall art, now splattered with graffiti, as you wind your way up into the dragons head. From here you get a stunning view over the whole park. We visited during golden hour and watched the sunset from within the dragons head.
The lowdown on visiting Thuy Tien Lake
Motorbike Rental: 120 – 150k
Address: Follow the map above to find the unofficial entrance to the park, where you will be more likely to get in (and for a cheaper bribe).
Cost: Anywhere from free – 100k depending on the guards
Best time to visit: Golden hour, so the few hours before sunset (4pm – 6pm)
Time to explore: 1-2 hours to explore all the sites of the abandoned waterpark.
I can’t say it enough. This was the best day. And I highly recommend going for a nosy around the park if you are in Hue and feeling adventurous. Of course you need to come with some caution and be careful where you walk (it is a derelict site after all).