Getting lost in a Creepy Vietnamese Amusement Park
Did I mention it was also abandoned? Just goes to show how getting lost can lead to the most interesting discoveries.
We had been driving from Saigon into Mũi Né, the serene fishing and beach village on the south east shore of Vietnam, and had taken quite a few wrong turns along the way. Doing so while trying to get out of Saigon was quite a pain because it never led to anything interesting. A wrong turn just took you on the wrong highway, filled with more industrial, dusty neighbourhoods. Once we got out of the city’s sprawl though, a wrong turn could lead you to a cute cafe, a breathtaking view, or an interesting neighbourhood with smiling kids, waving as you pass by.
There was nothing sweet about this discovery though. Night had started to fall, we had just entered Phan Thiet from QL1A and taken a wrong turn on a roundabout, which there are so many of that I think the Vietnamese might actually be more fond of them than the Brits.
What we stumbled upon is something I can only describe as the setting for a horror film: an old, abandoned, exceptionally creepy amusement park – Khu vui chơi giải trí Suối Cát. We discovered it when these centaur statues guarding an entrance beyond some walls and across a bridge caught our eyes. Naturally, we had to drive across it. We might as well have entered a portal to another universe. It was filled with the strangest statues I had ever seen, each creepier than the next, baffling me as I maneuvered my motorbike along the gravel roads linking them together.
Little, supposedly once functional, choo-choo trains surrounded some of them. Animals of all types were visible, some arranged as predators attacking others, their crumbling statues giving them a zombie-like appearance. Various anthropoid dog families were arranged in inexplainable scenarios, making it seem like Pluto had been put into an asylum and later released to haunt this park.
A large dragon statue at center of the park was the most calming one of them all, towering over a barren fountain. As we approached it however, we saw a solitary, red slipper resting inside of it. It was not a crumbling piece of the park, but real and fresh, as if a lost child had ventured in not long ago and the park’s lost souls had swallowed them up, leaving behind but a single, inconspicuous trace.
The most daunting statue however, was at the back of the park: a large mouse with its mouth open, providing entrance to a long mysterious building. I wouldn’t let my kids get near that thing but Arjun and I had to check it out. By then, night was falling and we needed a light to see inside, but a phone camera flash is all we had. As we approached and entered the mouse’s mouth, we were surrounded by mirrors on every wall, which made the entrance seem to continue into infinity and for our lightbeam to spread into a million tiny dots. The first turn inside the building led to a pitch black corridor and we proceeded at a snail’s tiptoed pace. We definitely felt like we were intruding and, as if in defence, the building let out a heap of bats that flew over and around us, startling us to bits. We both ran out, screaming like a bunch of school girls.
We decided that we had seen enough and headed back on the road but were filled with intrigue. Unfortunately, we never were able to find out what lay inside that building, but it put an interesting spin on an otherwise hard day of travel and reminded us how full of surprises the road can be.