Vietnam 01/23 – Đầm Sen Park
With a more successful than anticipated first day out of the way, day 2 in Ho Chi Minh was nothing more than an attempted mop up. After some well-deserved extra sleep, we booked another car over to the third and final ‘most significant’ park of the city. This is precisely where Grab started to let the side down. For some reason after working perfectly throughout the first day, it would no longer let me use my credit card when making the bookings, throwing up one of two generic errors that didn’t make sense. Time to start counting the cash.
Day 2 – Đầm Sen Park
Though the parks had been far from busy the previous day, this Monday morning brought the old classic ghost town vibe often associated with establishments in this region. I was surprised to learn throughout the day that they even deemed themselves significant enough to have a fast track system.
After acquiring entrance tickets and wristbands in this case, there was barely a soul to be seen on the pleasant walk over from decorative garden section to amusement section.
Unfortunately the first coaster we came across was closed, becoming the first spite of the trip. A sign outside stated our old friend ‘maintenance’ and a nearby staff member confirmed that it would not open today.
This non-cred happened to be a significant distance from any others, as we continued on a slightly more despondent journey around the park. Mercifully signs of life were seen at another powered dragon, it was time for a +1.
If I’m not mistaken, #1 Flying Dragon is exactly the same hardware as the indoor one from the previous day, just outside in some trees rather than inside in some trees. Go dragon, go.
Just across the way was #2 Children’s Spiral Coaster, an inviting looking wacky worm with a twist. How often have you seen one of these with a watermelon AND an apple? The clearance and proximity to foliage on the journey round was highly questionable on this one, but that only added to the experience, along with the world’s most intense lift hill engagement.
We next sat on a bench in front of this building and had some refreshments while contemplating my favourite question of the current era – is it a dark ride? Signs pointed to no, nothing on the pictures indicated anything but VR experiences, of which there were several.
With only one way to find out, headed in and noticed a non-descript inner building on the right hand side which turned out to contain a 4D cinema of some description. That’ll do.
Somehow the waiting area ended up being even more pedestrian than the last of these, which only added to the charm.
Inside were these 12 seater simulator pods and a film of a crude fantasy rollercoaster rendering with awkward trackwork, uncannily similar to what you would see on your average Planet Coaster POV these days.
From here I actually bothered to look at the park map instead of winging it, in order to locate the final coaster. Turns out it was the exact opposite end of the grounds but there was a sketchy looking monorail that departed from nearby and should have taken us to the far side.
I say should because it didn’t… Frustratingly this attraction appears to have lost its original purpose and is now seen as ‘yay, we’re riding a monorail’ rather than transporting people from A to B, and occasionally C for groceries. Instead it ploughed (at a comically slow pace) straight through the station we wanted and wound it’s way back round to the start.
Views varied from this.
After that unfortunate set of events, we took the long walk over to where I didn’t particularly want to be, amusingly beating the monorail on foot before it even came round for another lap. I was completely torn on whether I actually wanted the last cred to be open or not. On the one hand it would have sucked to be 50% down for the day, on the other…
It was another one of these.
Sadly #3 Roller Coaster was running, and just to make matters worse they moved me from my tactically central chosen seat to one of the extremities of the train to put me next to some sweaty bloke because ‘rows need to be loaded in 2s’. That’s reassuring.
The only mercy is that it had a single vertical loop instead of two. Nevertheless it was awful, an instant headache was induced and on that note it was time to leave.
Incoming rant that’s characteristically longer than the trip report:
Grab let us down a second time here, though it was most likely the driver’s fault. It developed this annoying habit of saying ‘your driver has arrived’ when you could clearly see they hadn’t yet arrived, both in person and on the map. It then started threatening things like ‘if you’re not in the car in the next few mins, you’re the one who is late, extra fees or cancellation fees may be charged’.
But he’s not here mate. And there’s nothing you can do to protest it. It basically gets stuck in a never ending loop thinking you’re in the wrong (kinda like the Chinese version did a couple times).
So as we watch the screen, he completely skips past the specific entrance I have pinned, where we are standing in a car park getting sunburnt. The car then drives the perimeter of the park and stops for several minutes at the opposite end. Well that’s no good, and it’s still threatening me for not being in the car yet. One of the, what should be useful, features of the app is you can send the driver a photo of where you are, of which I now sent several, just to emphasise the point of where to look.
The car starts heading back towards us, only to completely miss the turning again and come into yet another entrance which was on the far side of a dingy multi-storey car park. Sigh. It looks like we’ll have to go to him then. We start powering through said car park, with the attendant looking like he wants to say something, but doesn’t. By the time we reach the other side we lay eyes on the car for the first time, only to see him driving away from us and out the exit again. At this point I’ve had enough and just hit cancel on the app. The guy’s clearly an idiot and stuff your cancellation fees, you don’t even have my card details now, why does nothing work.
It lets me, and them I’m scrabbling around to try and book the exact same thing again. Guess what? It just pairs me up with the same guy AGAIN. Well third time lucky, he actually bothers to come to where the app is telling him to, and we’re off.
On route I decide to visit the customer support bit of the app to have a moan about the credit card situation. Apparently it’s a security feature (for them, not me), though they refused to explain exactly what that means and how it works.
All they could offer was ‘wait 6 days and try again’, to which I responded ‘that’s no use to me, my holiday will be over by then.’
We go round in circles for a bit and then I get the exact same copy paste answer ‘wait 6 days and try again’. Thanks for listening.
Things should have improved from here, as we arrived at one more park for the day. They did not.
I was intrigued to ride my first officially Vietnamese manufactured coaster, adorned with fun RCT graphics. Even after all the faff we arrived about 10 minutes before 15:00, when the rides were due to open. 15:00 came and went, but although there were staff busying themselves around the ride all this time, they were more interested in jet washing their motorbike than their prospective paying customers.
I opted to give them a while and took a wander around the rest of the park where I made the greatest discovery of a generation – there’s a new cred here no one knows about.
Bonus cred! I snapped many photos to mark the momentous occasion and headed back over to the ticket desk to wait.
15:30 came and went, other people were wandering through but seemingly on their way to other places and showing no interest in the rides. We needed to be gone by 16:00 really.
Found a Vietnam cat in the ‘ride area’.
It was time to ask the ride staff. When will the rides open?
It was time to head to the airport. All that for absolutely nothing.