Vietnam is home to some of Asia's weirdest and most wonderful sights and the amusement parks are no exception. Massive growth in tourism has also seen the expansion of the nation's network of theme parks. Serving the hoards of local and foreign tourists alike some of the attractions have barely had the chance to let the paint set. From Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Long Bay, the following list will introduce you to some of Vietnam's best theme parks.
Suoi Tien - Ho Chi Minh City
Suoi Tien (Fairy Stream) is probably the most memorable and strangest Vietnamese theme park you'll visit. The entire place is a heavily themed Buddhist wonderland. Statues and motifs adorn every spare corner of the park. Many attractions tell of stories of reincarnation and lessons of morality drawn from texts.
The main gate into Suoi Tien theme park hints at the wonders within (Source: Vina.com)
As for attractions, this park has a wide variety of rides and activities for all ages. Highlights are the huge Ferris wheel, roller coasters, waterpark and Unicorn palace. Known as a house of horrors, it takes you to the depths of hell and showcases the stages of punishment for sinners. A trip you shouldn't forget!
Suoi Tien is extremely popular on the weekends with Vietnamese tourists who travel far and wide from other provinces. Expect long lines and crowds at this time. The park is also open during the week, however, some rides and stalls will be shut and the entire park can be depressingly empty.
Dam Sen - Ho Chi Minh City
Dam Sen is an institution and for a long time it was the only amusement park in HCMC. There are two parts to this park. The water park is where most tourists will probably be heading. Only a short ride from the centre of the city it's a perfect respite from the urban chaos and heat.
Dam Sen Waterpark is a wonderful oasis full of shady palm groves (Source: damsenwaterpark.com)
Eating and drinking is a breeze here and most eateries and seating areas surround the central wave pool. There are dozens of exciting rides with unlimited access after the purchase of a daily ticket and showing a wrist band. 'Love Storm', 'Aqua Dance', 'Black Thunder' and 'Boomerang' are just a few of the creative water slides and rides.
The Dam Sen Cultural Park is a separate amusement and recreation complex. Showcasing beautiful gardens, a lake, a small zoo and a variety of restaurants and arcades. It has some rides such as paddle boats, a Ferris wheel and a small rollercoaster but don't expect anything too crazy.
Dai Nam Wonderland - Binh Duong
Located a little bit further outside the city, Dai Nam is much less visited by foreign tourists in Vietnam. Similarly to Suoi Tien, it's also based on Buddhist and cultural stories and characters yet is more sedate in comparison.
Not your normal theme park - Vietnamese cultural parks have some incredible architecture (source: itchyfeetonthecheap)
There is a huge variety of rides and kid-friendly activities. The park even has a huge go-kart and horse racing tracks. The adjacent water park is home to a huge artificial beach and the biggest of its kind in Vietnam. Rides and attractions here are all charged individually.
Dai Nam Wonderland is a labyrinth of artificial lakes, mountains and pagodas accessed by snaking pathways. The park is most famous for its zoo and is the best in the region. With a huge variety of animals and birds, it was the first place in Vietnam for a safari-style experience.
Vinpearl Land- Nha Trang
Vinpearl Land, off the coast near Nha Trang city, is home to Vietnam's most impressive amusement park. The 3km long cable car to access the park ride is an attraction in itself. Once on the island largest though you'll find plenty more on offer.
The park has all your standard park rides. The family-friendly section has a host of simple and fun rides. Another area is home to the more exciting rides such as the roller coasters, dodgems and huge toboggan course.
No trip to Vinpearl Land is complete without witnessing the views from the 'Skywheel' (Source: nhatrang.vinperaland.com)
Aside from the rides the complex also offers a spectacular waterpark. It contains a 900m river and wave pool which are extremely popular any time of the day. In addition to all this, you'll also be able to visit the highly acclaimed zoo, international-themed gardens and Vietnam's biggest aquarium.
Ba Na Hills - Da Nang
Sitting high in the hills above Danang is Ba Na Hills, Vietnam's first and only French-styled theme park. Local tourists regularly comment and are drawn to the fact that it feels like they have visited another country.
Misty mornings and foggy days add to the wonder of this other-worldly location (source: asianwaytravel.com)
If you're a fan of cable cars then you're going to love it here. Access to the top of the mountain takes about 20 minutes. Once there other cable cars can take you to other locations. Dotted on the nearby mountain tops are a pagoda, beautifully tended gardens and the incredible sky-bridge.
Aside from the incredible architecture and street-life of the 'Parisian village' you'll find a host of other things to do. A family-friendly arcade arena, wax museum, roller coaster and even a wine-tasting experience can be found. For more highlights of this picturesque and kitschy theme park check out the Ba Na Hills Guide.
Ho Thuy Tien - Hue (abandoned)
This place could definitely be in the running for Asia's strangest theme park. The most bizarre thing about it is that it has no rides or staff. In fact, it was never opened to the public. This unfulfilled vision hasn't stopped it developing a somewhat of a cult following.
Oddly, it's the mouldy slides, crumbling grandstands and broken paddle boats that attract people here. However, these ruins are not the main drawcard here. The showpiece of the park is actually a huge creepy concrete dragon which you can climb inside.
Is he keeping a careful eye over what is left or is he warning others of what may come? (source: wander-lush.org)
Although the park is officially off-limits it's possible to find a forest trail that leads into the complex. If you want to do things more formally, the security guards are usually happy to take a small fee and grant access. Good footwear is a must here as lots of old broken materials and glass has been strewn about.
Sun World Halong - Ha Long Bay
After exploring the world heritage listed Ha Long Bay and still yearning for additional action head to Sun World. From the mainland, you will cross the world-famous bay by what is claimed to be the tallest cable car in the world.
The gigantic Sun Wheel offers unrivalled views over the park and surrounding bay.
The entire complex is divided into six distinct areas with different rides, attractions and parks to explore. Highlights include the Mystic Mountain complex, the Typhoon water park and the Dragon Park which houses the more extreme rides.
All Fun Must Come to an End
With the right mix of quirkiness, cultural influence and flat out fun, the amusement parks in Vietnam are world-class. A trip to a theme park, however, is often overlooked by many foreigners who travel here. Like many other things off the well-trodden tourist trail, the bizarre theme parks of Vietnam are worth a visit.