Dragons, Smashed Aquariums & Murky Waters: Hue Vietnam’s Abandoned Water Park

Outside of the town of Hue, Vietnam is an abandoned water park called Hồ Thuỷ Tiên. The park opened in 2004, but didn’t make as much money as expected and was shuttered only a few years later. You can arrive by Grab or motor taxi, and while the entryway is closed off with signs and that say “do not enter,” you can easily walk over the dinky barrier to enter. No one is there to stop you.

I arrived mid-morning and began my way down the long, deserted road, feeling a bit nervous as there were no other people in sight. Suddenly, I saw a moto zipping towards me fast! I prepared to be yelled at and/or kidnapped, but the man in the official-looking but definitely not official blue shirt simply asked me for a small fee (bribe) to remain in the park. After walking for a bit on a wooded path I still saw no one, although I could hear voices through the trees. Eventually, I made it to the main attraction — the dragon on the water!

It’s possible to walk up the spiraling stairs and into the dragon’s head, and look out over the entire park though his “mouth.”  While inside I encountered two other girls taking a photo shoot, and my fear of kidnapping was thus reduced.

Inside the dragon are the remains of a massive aquarium, which once housed not only fish but sharks, manta rays, and even crocodiles. Apparently the crocodiles were released into the park when it shut, and have only recently been removed by a wildlife protection agency. All that is left inside are the remnants of smashed tanks, collapsing ceilings, ladders into the aforementioned shark slash gator tanks, and lots and lots of broken glass. I don’t know what happened to the other creatures, but probably it wasn’t good 🙁

Back outside, I continued down the massive circular lake path until I came upon another abandoned attraction – watersides! Having encountered one more tourist I was feeling bold and safe, so I spent some time in the bathroom beneath the slides, on top of the slide platform and exploring the areas below. To be clear, this was before I knew there might be crocodiles on the loose.

The slides lead to a massive pool below, where the water is looking highly-unsanitary.

The jungle gym is also partially submerged in this murky water these days.

Continuing around the loop I arrived at a massive stadium, with once-colorful bleachers and a big stage at front. It’s not clear what kind of shows they put on here, but probably some water-related ones!

I spent so long in the park, apparently way longer than “normal,” that my driver became alarmed and thought I was lost or missing. He almost left me behind.

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