Hue

Abandoned Water Park, Hue — Entering the Dragon’s Lair

The Abandoned Water Park — or Thuy Tien Park (Vietnamese spelling: Công viên nước Hồ Thuỷ Tiên), is south of Hue city-center. Hidden in the jungle, it has become a place of interest for many curious travelers. A short ride along scenic country roads takes you to this unusual spot.

The amusement park was created in 2000 for family entertainment. But, instead of musical shows and thrilling rides, what’s left are ruins. Yet, despite overgrown vines and algae waters, it’s a top tourist attraction in Hue.

You can walk, cycle, bike, or take a taxi 8 km from the city center. If you bike it, make sure to lock up in case it disappears.

Urban Legends and The Water Park

Entrance Abandoned Water Park
The Entrance
[ by Mike O’ Sullivan from Flickr ]

About its location, there are quite a few stories, and some create a sense of mystery. As quoted in Huffington Post — “Because the abandoned waterpark is so cryptic, backpackers pass directions around on scrunched-up napkins, drop pins on Google Maps and show each other photos to get to the right place.”

However, in reality, just type in the park’s name on Google Maps or maps. me and the address pops up. Not much of a mystery, but travelers have used their imagination to create an aura around it.

There’s also an urban legend about the crocodiles still roaming freely at the park. Not entirely a myth, because when the park shut, crocodiles from the aquarium did roam freely. They were only occasionally fed though by locals and visitors. 

Their terrible condition eventually became known to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals). Soon after, the crocs were rehabilitated to a wildlife park in North Vietnam. There are no reports of crocodiles in the park anymore!

Why was Hue Water Park Abandoned?

Why was Hue Water Park Abandoned?
Mermaid Fountain
[ by David Escape from Facebook ]

The Thuy Tien Waterpark project cost over 70 billion VND (USD 3 million approximately). It opened in 2006 after nearly four years of construction. However, the ambitious project was still only partially complete.

Contrary to expectations, it failed to attract visitors. As a result, the original owners (Hue Tourism Company) transferred ownership to a private Hanoi-based company. Even so, the park remained unprofitable.

The park facilities closed in 2011, but the grounds remained open to visitors. In 2017, it was acquired by Thua Thien – Hue. This put it under the charge of the Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

One reason for the park’s failure may have been the layout. Attractions were quite a walking distance apart and plans to have buggies were uncertain.

Sadly, the constructions now are old and safety cannot be ensured. Therefore, from the end of January 2018, the park officially closed premises to visitors.

Arriving at the Abandoned Water Park

Trekking to Abandoned Water Park
Trek through an overgrown forest
[ by Wanglong Lu from Facebook ]

Covered in graffiti and overgrown forest, this decaying waterpark may not remain for long. One can only imagine what joy it must have brought. However, it still continues to draw visitors. Probably more now than ever.

Once you arrive at the Thuy Tien Lake, you’ll see a board that says the park is ‘officially closed.’ Don’t get dissuaded. You can still enter and the number of visitors there may actually surprise you.

While there is no entrance fee, you may have to pay the security guard a small token (from VND 10 000 to VND 20 000).

  • Google Maps
  • Location: Thuy Tien Lake, Thuy Bang, Huong Thuy, Hue

Exploring the Abandoned Water Park

Exploring the Abandoned Water Park
Mushroom-shaped sculpture covered in graffiti
[ by Andrew Nash from Facebook ]

Many visiting the park head out with a sense of mystery embellished with the supernatural. If you keep your expectations in check, the park will not disappoint.

There is a lot to explore and see in a semi-decaying state, though crocodiles are not to be found. It’s a great place to take photos and to enjoy the scenic landscape. The park has fountains and sculptures, the colossal Dragon, and much more.

Listed below are some of the must-see attractions:

The Aquarium and Dragon House

View of Thuy Tien Lake
View of Thuy Tien Lake
[ by Hannah Easton from Facebook ]

Built over Thuy Tien Lake in the park center, the 3-story Dragon is perched on the spaceship-type aquarium. The Dragon’s mouth is the perfect spot for a panoramic view of Thien An Hill (đồi Thiên An) and Thuy Tien Lake.

On entering the Dragon House, you’ll see the sorry state of the building. Everything is rusted with unused equipment and rooms filled with dust and trash.

The Dragon House

The massive Dragon is an impressive work of art now covered in moss and graffiti. All along the passage, you’ll see the skeleton of the dragon, sculptures of sharks, stingrays, and other sea creatures. The dark passage leads up the stairs to the viewing point.

Looking at the architecture of the Dragon, from its defined scales to its majestic presence, one realizes it isn’t ironic. The Dragon, a symbol of prosperity and power for Vietnamese, is one of the most enduring features of this park. 

The Aquarium

The space-ship type dome accommodated the Aquarium. Amongst other marine life, it even had crocodiles (the heaviest was 45kg and the lightest 35kg). Some tanks still have murky water, while most empty tanks now lie shattered.

Just outside the Dragon House and Aquarium, you may even find an enterprising make-shift stall selling drinks.

Water Slides at Hue Water Park

Water Slides Abandoned Water Park
Moss covered slides
[ by Tiffany Zandvliet from Facebook ]

As you leave the Dragon house, a bridge across the lake gets you to the water slides. There is a rusted sign that leads the way. There are three giant slides still accessible with a set of stairs.

The slides are damaged, overgrown with moss, and have rusted railings. In the current condition, it could be risky to climb up. However, if you make it to the top, it’s an excellent spot to see the sunset. The slides descend into the algae-covered pool. You can see a kid’s area with small slides and cubby houses.

Do take care and walk with caution for two reasons. Firstly, the view is nice so take time to soak it all in, and secondly, a slip could be a risky affair. Don’t worry; the overgrown foliage may look scary, but no wild creatures lurk in the shadows.

The Amphitheatre or Musical Stadium

Musical Stadium Abandoned Water Park
[ by Sam Child from Facebook ]

The amphitheater with approximately 2500 concrete seats is another highlight. You can spot it from a distance when you enter the park. Currently it’s a happy grazing ground for several nonchalant cows.

Although covered in grass and graffiti, it once showcased performances on a stage built over water. But now it’s a bit creepy with a post-apocalyptic feel. Everything left just as it was. Almost as if everyone suddenly just ran off as disaster struck.

Other Interesting Finds at the Abandoned Water Park

Concrete Car Abandoned Water Park
The concrete car
[ by Japp Florres from Facebook ]

As you walk through the park, you come across a mushroom-shaped fountain, abandoned villas, stone statues, and sculptures. Some deformed and some still standing. You can also see a concrete car like the Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.

The dreary weather of Hue adds to the sad state of the park. Thuy Tien actually means ‘daffodils’, but currently, the ‘moss waterpark’ may be more apt. A bit creepy with overgrown foliage, it may remind you of a movie set from Jurassic Park.

A New Lease of Life for the Abandoned Park?

Abandoned Water Park Now
[ by Mike O’ Sullivan for Flickr ]

There has been some news of renovating the park to serve the community. Suggestions for revival include making it a cultural park, eco-park, public park, or a contemporary creative area.

Before the water park was built, the place was frequented as a picnic spot, or used for sports and student field trips. With a checkered past, we do hope the future holds more promise. In the meantime, it continues to attract thrill-seekers.

Last Word on Hue Abandoned Water Park

Villas Abandoned Water Park
Abandoned Villas
[ by Dan Brassington from Facebook ]

Pro tips:

  • Wear robust footwear. There’s a lot of shattered glass, garbage, vines, and insects.
  • Preferably cover your arms and legs to save yourself from mosquitoes (all that stagnant water is quite a breeding ground).
  • Take plenty of water! The unrelenting humidity will take its toll.
  • Don’t let anyone take care of your moped or bicycle. Lock it up or better still, keep it with you.
  • Do not take unnecessary risks like climbing the slides or steps if it doesn’t feel safe.

Overall, Thuy Tien Water Park is an unusual but exciting place to visit in Hue. What was once a lively spot is now a reminder of an unrealized dream. However, it does add a splash of adventure to your itinerary. And for a cozy place to stay, discover the best hotels in Hue.

Discover the Best Things to Do in Hue.

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