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[Photos] An Urbexer’s Paradise: Inside the Rides of Hanoi’s Abandoned Water Park

Almost everyone has, by now, heard of Hue’s apocalyptic abandoned waterpark – a place so eerie it feels like entering a Jurassic World sequel. Who knew there was another park right here in Hanoi?

Such places are gold dust for Vietnam’s urban explorers. Urban exploration, urbex, or UE, is a form of recreational urban trespass. Urbexers find a way into anything from derelict factories, sewers and asylums to skyscrapers, missile silos and power stations. Usually, they begin in abandoned ruins, searching for beauty in dereliction.

Cong Vien Tuoi Tre Thu Do, which roughly translates as ‘Capital Youth Park’ is a semi-derelict area in Hai Ba Trung District. In 2006, there was a plan to turn it from a privately-owned business into a public park by 2012, but somewhere along the line, the plans halted, leaving large areas of the grounds to become overgrown.

For those of a certain mindset, the aesthetic payoffs of venturing inside are enormous. To the left after entering, a vast Ferris wheel lingers, half-hidden by trees. Though the windows are smashed and the steel rusted after a decade of monsoon rains, many of its colored carriages are still attached. They swing and creak upon entering, personifying the pathos of abandonment.

Within the waterpark, blue slides spiral through the air, their exteriors covered in mold after years of neglect. Their exit points, once falling into clear, cerulean water, now drop into stagnant shades of brown. Inside, the growth along their outer walls creates mottled patterns, helping to form jade-green light tunnels that twist beyond sight.

The entire park is abandoned, and despite the presence of a few guards, nearby tea-sellers and a pop-up bia hơi, nobody seemed to mind or even notice that we were there. For those that enter, all that’s really needed is a lack of vertigo and a taste for decay.

The rusting Ferris wheel. Photo by Julie Vola.

A red carriage hangs from the wheel. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

Gazing through the smashed window of a carriage. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

A decade of rain has rusted the metal frame. Photo by Julie Vola.

The view from directly beneath the wheel. Photo by Julie Vola.

The carriages still swing and creak upon entering. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

The wheel is now half-hidden by trees. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

Staring down a rusty ladder that leads to an upper section. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

Crossing a bridge in the water park. Photo by Julie Vola.

The entrance to the water park. Photo by Julia Vola.

Slides slip into dirty, stagnant water. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

The area is completely overgrown. Photo by Julie Vola.

The 'ghost' graffiti tag appeared across the park. Photo by Julie Vola.

Decaying slides curve through the air. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

Mold covers almost every surface in the park. Photo by Julie Vola.

Trees encroach upon the slides. Photo by Julie Vola.

Slides twist with the Ferris wheel in the background. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

The entrance to the main water slide. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

Light patterns inside the slide. Photo by Chris Humphrey.

A jade-green tunnel. Photo by Chris Humphrey.


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