Vietnam 02/23 – VinWonders Nam Hoi An + 29-3 Park
What the hotel room lacked in views, the rooftop bar made up for, except for the times they hired it out for birthday parties and karaoke.
Dragon Bridge on a misty morning.
Our driver friend was on top form again today, picking us up at the allotted time in order to take us to the last major park in the region. Before arriving he had sent me a couple of photos of local spots ‘on route’ that he recommended and could take us to on the way.
One of them involved boats and looked rather time consuming when I really just wanted to be getting on with things, so we plumped for the other – it looked nice.
He dropped us off at the side of the road where there’s an outdoor elevator to take you up to this stuff, hidden away in a mountainside.
I think it was the right pick.
We took some time up here to explore what else was around after finding a big map on a sign.
While our friend waited for us at the bottom – no problem, take your time.
This cave was rather spooky with no one else around.
Just the sound of water dripping from the ceiling while ominous statues peer at you through the darkness.
Rather than take the elevator back down, you can climb down a ton of stairs on the far side. To not keep him too much longer, we headed out this way and jumped back in the car to
Day 4 – VinWonders Nam Hoi An
I got confused by the poor admission staff here, who immediately cracked out a park map and drew two prices right in the middle of it. It read like they wanted to upcharge me for the ‘meal plan’ ticket, though it eventually transpired that they were just illustrating that the ‘meal plan’ was free with a regular ticket and I was saving hundreds of thousands (of Dong)! That’ll do.
Hmm. Quiet. But nice. First impressions of the other big theme park brand of the country were that it was rather polished.
Though perhaps only on the surface. First cred we came to, just another Vekoma SFC Orkanen clone, was closed, with the sign saying come back at 11. Ok.
Instead I headed for the Wacky Worm to begin the day in style. It was the type of ‘quiet’ in a theme park where all the staff are literally just standing at their rides and watching you walk past because there’s nothing for them to do. Not always the most comfortable of situations. This only became worse upon reaching the worm, only for the attendant to deny us entry saying ‘no, we wanted the big rides’ gesturing at some horrible flat ride and a drop tower.
No thanks, we’d like to ride this one please. Another staff member from the Wave Swinger opposite slithered towards us, offering neither a positive or negative reinforcement. The answer was still no, for reasons unexplained. We reached an awkward stalemate, never aggressive, it seemed they had our best interests at heart and that silly tourists shouldn’t want to ride the kids ride, but still, surely cycling the ride would break up your otherwise monotonous day at this point?
In stark contrast to this ‘policy?’, we stood outside #1 Spinning Coaster for no more than 30 seconds before a friendly operator came powering over and asked if we wanted to ride. Ride? In a theme park? Go on then.
No issues at all, except for it being a burdensome SBF.
Just another Vekoma mine train clone in #2 Lost Valley. Tick.
Discovered a 4D cinema inside their big, not quite centrepiece castle. Not come across the film before, though it seems rather well distributed. It’s actually a really decent, funny and well written story. There’s no dialogue at all, everything emotion needed is conveyed through actions, suggestions and grunts, which is pretty clever and makes it fairly universal for any park.
With no more rides of interest available for now, took a stroll through the ‘cultural’ section of the park. They have various displays and events going on throughout the day including that stick dance display that was better at Xishuangbanna.
It also contained this oddity, a big spiral observation type building with a surprise at the top – an observatory with a 3D show inside. Rather than shoe covers, it was shoes off here, which is always an odd sensation in public. Rather than seats, it was beanbags, which get rather uncomfortable after 10 minutes. On the domed projection we watched some weird video about a German professor in space flying around some dinosaur-occupied planets. It weren’t great, but we may well have been the only visitors of the day.
In the main street along the river they also have more cultural old timey stalls and houses, along with most of the restaurants. We claimed our meal voucher at a Korean BBQ restaurant, with decent quality food and drink ending up being entirely free. I like this system.
I had a score to settle at this point, we had been back to the SFC at 11 as promised and they had removed the sign, replacing it with a man shrugging and saying he didn’t know when it would open. I was still bitter about the worm too, having sat down on a bench and re-read evidence of someone else whose life was consumed by this silly hobby riding it with no reported issues. The park map had a symbol for Guest Information in the key, and yet the icon didn’t appear once on the entire thing. Heading back to the entrance there was a man with a small plinth of maps, greeting guests.
For fun, I asked first where the Guest Information was, perhaps I had missed it?
The reply was ‘that’s me!’
Perfect. Question 2 – when will the SFC open?
A radio call was made. Maintenance, it won’t open today.
Fair enough. Question 3 – can I ride the worm?
Yes, yes you can, it’s open.
But I went there earlier and they said no.
A radio call was made. Let the man on the worm.
The operator was perfectly friendly on our return to #3 Family Coaster, letting us in and initiating our cycle, even offering to take photos at the end for us.
So yeah, I’ll chalk that one up to well-meaning misunderstanding.
With no more creds to be gained, it was time for the impressive looking River Safari. Love that plaza scene.
It’s a guided boat tour affair through various animals, with a couple of stop offs. The guide was very friendly and useful, doing each main speech for the locals and then sneaking over to us to do a little personalised side version in English.
They gave out free beans at the first stop, in order to feed the giraffes. They weren’t having it though.
Second stop was the elephants. Don’t think I’ve ever been that close before. This whole attraction was well up there in terms of animal experiences.
Feels like we’re being watched.
Now I’m scared.
This one’s got the right idea.
Thus concludes our time at this park, we booked our man to come back and get us again, conveniently he was only 20 mins away. I had already quizzed him on the ins and outs of our next park, because it was rather more obscure and I didn’t even know if and when they would be open.
They were. RCDB tells us a little history lesson here, in that the park is named after the date on which Đà Nẵng fell to the communist forces of North Vietnam.
What could be more endearing than this #4 High Speed Dragon through the trees though? Pure excellence.
I’m not sure this was open.
Sadly, #5 Potential Energy Train was. A mirrored clone of the ride that killed me the previous night. It’s actually perfectly tolerable if you know what’s coming, sit on your own and don’t get wedged, and continuously push yourself in the opposite direction from the lateral forces using your feet and legs. Only a small ask for a cred.
I ran out of small change at this point, but the operator of the final coaster was happy to walk me halfway through the park to find someone who could break down a mere half a mil into something more manageable. Legend.
Also what a ride it was (#6, no name). Two trains on a powered coaster? I thought that black magic was only reserved for the big named parks.
To finish up, I wanted to try at least one of these dirty shuttle things (particularly the one closest to the camera). Sadly the required operator wasn’t around, but at least I didn’t get caught up in that specific ‘coaster’ counting dilemma.
Park complete, there was some unfinished business down the road. I had completely forgotten that there was a second establishment within walking distance of Asia Park the previous night, in my trauma and pain, so headed back there again.
First I stuck my head in the door at Asia Park just in case Highway Spites had miraculously fixed itself in a day. It hadn’t.
Over the road is a combination of night market and mall, which was supposed to have an SBF spinner. Right on this very spot.
Stories on RCDB tell of it moving between the inside and outside, and the actual website for the place still advertises the ride as present, back inside the mall. Went in to have a good look for it.
Spoke to a lady at an information desk who confirmed it had been gone for a couple of years at least, so I’ve now added an entry and taken one away. We’re all square.