Vietnam 02/23 – Sun World Hon Thom
I suppose it’s time we looked an actually notable coaster for a change, I’ve been boring you for long enough.
The following morning saw yet another internal flight over to the island of Phú Quốc. It was the most faffy of airport experiences thus far, with some fairly chaotic crowding around the check in desks. A massive tour group was being funnelled through the regular queue in order to have arguments with the staff and their own guide about luggage restrictions, one at a time, so essentially no one was going anywhere.
Once we finally made contact with the desk and should have been sorted in about 30 seconds, a strange man from foreign lands sidled over to interrupt us and directly ask the airport staff member checking us in if they had space? Apparently he was trying to book said flight right now, 90 minutes before departure and it wouldn’t let him (I wonder why). Do you have space? No, but do you have space? Do you have space? This went on for some time while I wondered how he had come to find himself in this predicament (and whether he had any manners).
Neither the tour group, nor the man, seemed to actually make it onto our plane, for which I was rather thankful, and upon arrival at our destination we were paired up with a rather sleepy grab driver to the hotel, pinching his ears and noticeably nodding off at a couple of moments (thankfully the roads were dead). Rather than follow the instructions provided to him on the app, he obviously had it in his own mind where he was going and as such took us to the wrong place (they did have kinda similar names). Rather than listen to my clear instructions provided to the app, and demonstrated on my phone, he decided to drive into the wrong place anyway and ask them for advice. The advice was obviously you’re in the wrong place, maybe use the technology available and eventually we were dropped off at the originally intended location. Amusingly he then whipped out a business card and said call me again for your next journey. We did not.
Luggage successfully deposited, we then encountered our true driver for this portion of the trip. He wasn’t quite the legend of Da Nang, but an otherwise helpful and pretty cool guy. He helped us find some park tickets on route from some stall at the side of the road. They’re the same price as on the door (no point shopping around), so why not let the agent get a cut, I guess.
Day 6 – Sun World Hon Thom
Said tickets were for the cable car, and the next in line of the Sun World establishments at the far end of it. It’s that setup again.
I wonder what’s on the other side.
Once more this cable car has many claims to fame about being the longest, fastest and meanest in the world, with specific stipulations about the number of spans, the thickness of the cable and the colour of the air-conditioning units.
God Damn Iron Gwazi was it a beast though. The pictures really don’t do justice to the sheer scale of these pillars, which are comfortably taller than Kingda Ka. The effect of this on the ‘ride’ was actually quite pronounced, with each moment it ascended and descended the interval rumbling transition at each pillar providing sustained floater airtime that wouldn’t be out of place on your average B&M hyper coaster. The resulting sensation had everyone else in our car going “wooooooooohhh-heeeeeeeeeyyy”, losing their minds each and every time.
Oh and the views were good too.
Upon exiting the station into the resort I immediately clocked two things. First, it was ridiculously hot. Second, a massive sea of a tour group had just arrived, all with bright blue hats, and I had the strangest suspicion they were about to be led straight to the woodie, with the potential to turn the queue from walk-on to 90 minutes in a single hit.
My suspicions about their intended destination were correct, as we powered past them at speed, teased by views such as this.
I wouldn’t really call this a park just yet. The cable car is a massive part of the overall appeal right now and in the resort you’ve got a water park, which has existed for a number of years now, and the new ‘exotica village’ which contains the coaster. It only contains two other rides – an observation tower and a drop tower, with all three separated by a seemingly unnecessarily large walk. It’s a bit of a pain, given the climate, in what I assume to be forward planning, but could just well be designed to extend your visit time.
Eventually laid eyes on the entrance plaza, which I was rather fond of. The sign may be a bit mystic timbers-esque, but I love the more natural use of materials here, particularly the foliage in his less angry mouth.
What makes less sense with it being about a less angry tree is that the remainder of the theming has an atlantis/sea monster vibe to it, though I’m not complaining. Good character.
Also found Roaring Timbers dog here.
Fortunately the second half of my prediction about the tour group wrecking the queue turned out to be entirely false, as 95% of them saw it as a spectator sport rather than something to do. For the duration of the afternoon, dispatches were limited to one every 15 minutes and the train was never filled.
It had a nice observation/waiting area to the side of the station and a pretty rocking soundtrack playing intermittently.
So, how was #1 Roaring Timbers then?
I liked this more than I had expected to, but about as much as I had hoped for. It would have been a shame to come all this way for a Wicker Man.
The first drop, which you never really see, has some pretty wild banking and steepness to it which, combined with the momentum building turnaround at the top delivers a sort of Wodan 2.0 experience. That was a surprise.
It suffers from similar issues I have with most GCIs, being a little high-turn-heavy, with not much going on in parts, but these are mostly diminished in this particular case by some other really good moments and sequences, and some significant laterals.
There was intensity where I didn’t expect to find it. In fact, after a couple laps it appeared to re-open my wound from that horrible children’s ride, the faster turns that forced me one way or the other were reproducing that dull, bruised ache in my left side. I also had a Zadra experience where it got a bug under my eyelid. Scary stuff.
Elswhere the terrain action is welcome, there’s some reasonably solid airtime moments in there, for a GCI, both bigger and smaller. Most of all it has one run of four consecutive twisty, bouncy, out of control bits towards the end that are right up my street and I unfailingly hit the brakes both buzzing (it had been a slow week), and wanting to get out of the sun as quickly as possible.
Overall its high tier GCI for me, still way off top tier (I’m not sure what comes over them when they make those). Kentucky Rumbler territory if that means anything to you. Better than Renegade if that irks you. Definitely glad I made the effort.
Especially as there’s absolutely nothing else to do here. You do wonder sometimes what the plan is. In the interim, took a spin on this mean looking bird, Mắt Đại Bàng (Eagle Eye).
It’s a little redundant, given the views coming in from the cable car, but a welcome sit down and some intermittent shade.
See if you can spot anyone in the water park, it’s tricky. Which is weird, as there were quite a few people heading in and out of the entrance for it.
The drop tower was closed, so that brought them down to two out of three attractions. And I’m fairly certain no one else did the woodie more than once this day.
And so that’s that for the day, back to civilisation and our new main man.