Nha Trang, for us, was turning out to be a vacation from travel. Everything we did was silly giddy fun, and this day was no exception. We were heading to Vinpearl Land, an island resort with rides, a water park, arcade games and an aquarium-and we could not have been more excited. After all, it is where dreams come true! Or is that another famous theme park?
Vinpearl Land resides on one of Nha Trang’s offshore islands, which allows for a very dramatic entry to the park via the world’s longest over-the-sea cable car.
I’m not afraid of heights, but there was still something nerve-wracking about being enclosed in a glass box high above the endless ocean — in a country not necessarily known for its safety standards.
As the cable car drew closer, we got a better look at Vinpearl’s Holleywood-esque sign.
Within minutes of arriving we bumped into a group of friends we had first met in Sihanoukville. It was an ideal situation, since theme parks are less of a romantic date location and more of a group-race-down-the-waterslide kind of place.
And race we did. Vinpearl isn’t exactly winning any international awards, but the water park was definitely an ideal place to spend a beautiful day. Some of the rides are boring and/or painful, but there are a handful of strong staples.
One of the fun things about Vinpearl is it’s a huge domestic tourist draw, so we saw just as many Vietnamese families out to have a good time as backpackers. Vinpearl is for everyone! Or, on second thought, maybe not. We nearly lost it when we spotted this sign warning that “Mental patients, pregnant women, and people with heart disease should not ride this ride.”
Even funnier than the existence of that sign was the fact that there were no rules. Truly, we were able to freely violate pretty much any international health and safety standard that could possibly exist. On the rides where there actually were employees, they barely blinked when we used half-deflated floaties, violated all sense of line procedure, or seven of us went down a slide at once.
The downside was that there weren’t enough of these astute employees to go around, so only half the rides were open at any given time. Posted out front were the most random opening times, with each ride being open for a few 45 minute to an hour intervals each day. We waited very patiently for the wave pool to open (the biggest in South East Asia- and that’s saying something.)
Afterwards, while we were waiting for one of the slides to open, an impromptu obstacle course was started in an unused pool with some spare floats. As one guy was trying to hop from the slide onto land without touching water, an employee walked by. Again, barely a blink registered. Can you image that happening at a water park in the States?!
When that ride did open, we got to see some serious engineering ingenuity. How to get a massive pool float up to the top of a several-stories-high ride? By hand-pulled pulley system, of course.
The ride operator dropped down a crane that the riders then attach to the handles of the float. The ride operator then used elbow grease to pull that baby all the way up.
I was so busy documenting the whole thing that I somehow got left behind at the top of the tower — meaning I was subjected to another painful walk on the horrible metallic stairs. I think they were trying to prevent running — and it worked.
It took us about half a day to cover the whole water park, with a few repeat runs on the best slides.
We were sad to leave, but tummies were rumbling. I was dreading getting lunch in the park, having flashbacks to the ridiculously overpriced $20 lunches at Great Escape theme park in my childhood. To our surprise, food was extremely reasonably priced and I spent only a few bucks for lunch.
Our next stop was the aquarium, which Mark and I laughingly realized was our third aquarium in three days. It was included in the ticket price and quite good, featuring a moving walkway through an aquarium tunnel, and great conditions for the marine life.
Unfortunately, our next stop wasn’t so animal friendly. En route to the arcade we were distracted by some pups performing in an animal show. The dogs, being the domesticated and human-pleasing species that they are, actually seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Sadly, the monkeys that came on next were not. They were actively resisting the “tricks” they were being ordered to perform and looking miserable all the while. It was upsetting to watch and we quickly left.
In contrast, the arcade was basically Mark’s dream come true: a two-story fun house with games, rides, bumper cars, and a 4D theatre- and they were all free. It was after dark when I was finally able to drag him back onto the cable car.
Vinpearl Land has a pricey-for-South-East-Asia entry fee of 360,000 Vietnamese Dong, or about $18 USD — but compare foreign exchange rates online for current rates. But what I liked about it was that unlike most amusement parks in the West, they didn’t create millions of opportunities to part you with more of your money once inside. The rides, the aquarium, even the amusement games were all totally free, and food and drinks were fairly priced.
Not to mention it was hilarious to observe first hand (and take advantage of) the lax safety standards that exist in even the most Western of establishments in South East Asia.
If you ever find yourself in Vietnam and travel-fatigued after weeks or months on the road, take a day off from hard core backpacking, treat yourself, and make some dreams come true. Go to Vinpearl Land.
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Please tell me that the mechanical bull ride was included in your ticket price.
I am happy to confirm that it WAS! I was pretty amazed by this because when I had my birthday at the mechanical bull bar in NYC (notice how I slipped that into the conversation here) we each had to pay $5.
Looks like a lot of fun in the sun
Looks like fun. We are getting the sleeper to Nha Trang today (from Hoi An). Would you say it was worth the cost, going to Vinpearl?
Absolutely! I had such a fun day there pretending to be a kid again. It’s a well worth it splurge 🙂
Hi Alex. I saw you mentioned you got a good deal on accommodation in Nha Trang – do you know the places name? Your blog is so helpful!!
Hi Caitlyn, thank you! Unfortunately years have passed now and I don’t remember the name. The dive shop at Sailing Club sent us there — maybe they can help you.
i strongly suggest you never ever recommend this place vinpearl is a nightmare but worse you are stuck there
I will begin my story on our very first day of arrival. We checked in, not a particularly quick process, there seemed to be no order, or guidelines as to how check ins occur, everyone was doing different things, no communication while we just waited. Eventually we were taken by tut tut to our villa. Well that was an experience, disgusting mud, thick and roads all smashed up, at one point I thought our tut tut would crash down the hill, there was so much mud. Let’s at this point not mention the disgusting, livid stench of the place, smelt worse than sewage. My first thoughts were thanking god I brought aero guard. So many diseases are spread through insect bites. We are dropped off to our villa, get ready this is the only decent part of the story. It was gorgeous, however after waiting quite some time for our bags to arrive, my hubby went to the loo. After a long flight and travelling, showers, water, and washing hands is forefront in my mind. Un beknown to us, as nobody thought to tell us, we had no water. NONE. I than picked up the internal phone to get some help with this, yuk poo in 2 toilets and cannot wash our hands, I’m disgusted. Well, well, well the phone does not work there is no sound. So, within the first hour of arriving and my apparent “LUXURY ESCAPE” I am literally stranded in my villa not knowing what to do, as I have no phone, no food, no water, it is pitch black, raining, not to mention the carnage from the massive storms just days ago, Construction workers everywhere 24 hours a day, banging, slamming. Our bags finally arrive, so thankfully we tell the man we have no water, no phone. He has nothing to say and takes us to the buffet dinner. I am not very happy at this stage, my ocd ways are thinking how many other people have used the toilet and not had water to wash their hands. I obviously did not eat, no thanks. We than order drinks and the female waitress was disgustingly rude, unable to understand us, getting our order wrong even after pointing to what we wanted on the menu. She than throws a napkin and menu down like a spoilt rotten child and rolls the eyes and huffs several times.
The following day my husband was deathly sick, we are frequent travellers and he has never in 25 years experienced the vomiting and diarrhoea like he did on this day. I believe it was from the previous night meal, our first one at the buffet that Vinpearl served. Ian spends the next 2 days in bed being so ill.
Our beach front pool from arrival was disgusting, murky, slimy, and green. There was no way I, or the kids would swim in it. We complained, 3 days later we arrived back to the villa to find our pool completely empty. WTF so once again we call the duty manager and voice our concerns. This was a daily occurrence.
My son than got very very ill, we phoned the doctor and asked he come immediately as he had terribly dangerous heart rate. Well I tell you I am pleased he was ok, because if there was a medical emergency on Vinpearl, they do not even have a defibrillator so you would die. Nor are the doctors, doctors simply assistants. Not great for heart health concerns.
Vinpearl water park, well I sat on a seat waiting while the others went on the rides. I was surrounded by disgusting, dirty, infested water in pools that were not currently operating. Riddled with mosquitos or other harmful insects that were breeding in these pools you could see them . I was being eaten alive, I could only bare sitting there just a few minutes .
The Christmas eve ball, that I was continually hounded to pay for prior to my arrival, well that is yet another disaster. Far too many tables and chairs set up in the area available with no regard to stairs and internal pillars. Our table and chairs were directly next to steps. So, you would push you chair out to get up and get it maybe a quarter of the way out, so you than had to struggle to get off the chair, I managed to fall and hit my legs,the left leg was by far the worst has it had cuts and bruises everywhere. I was bleeding and staff were everywhere, not a single staff member helped me. I was worried about infection so my hubby went to the doctor to try to get disinfectant, once again due to NO COMMUNICATION SKILLS in English, they could not understand us so could not help us. I use the term doctor lightly because that is not what they are they are pretend medical specialist with no degree.
It gets better….
There is nothing to do at the resort. On the second night whilst my hubby was sick with food poisoning, my 20-year-old son was bored, so got showered and dressed to see what was happening at the bar. Even putting nice clothes on was beyond risky because all the mud from the roads would splash up all over you. He put on his gold chain, a very thick solid gold bracelet, my Dad had given him just before he lost his battle with cancer after battling 15 years. My son was gone maximum of 10 minutes before he returned as there was only one person at the bar. He took his bracelet off, left it in his bedside table as I was asleep and the safe was in my room. We went to breakfast and the Vinpearl land and returned just after lunch. At this stage, we were discussing paying additional fees for our flights so we could leave Vinpearl early, we were so bored, the communication issues were because the service and resort was terrible. I changed my flights, yes this cost me money, I also paid for additional nights accommodation in Ho chi Minh, even though we had accommodation paid for including breakfast and dinner at Vinpearl. I didn’t care I just wanted to leave.
On our final day as we were all packing up, and checking, triple checking we had everything. This was approximately 3 hours before we had to depart the island. We realized Tysons gold braclet 156gms was gone. We searched high and low, every single bag, every single tiny inch of the villa but it was not there. I than phoned reception and told them something had been stolen from my room. Two duty managers came to our villa with security officers, they too searched our entire villa lifted rugs, moved beds, but as I already knew it was not there, it was gone. By this stage I am so angry, this bracelet cannot be replaced can it, my Dad is gone, in heaven. Let’s not even mention the financial cost to replace this bracelet it is priceless and cannot be replaced. I spoke with the General Manager and he assured me he would keep in constant contact with me during the investigation to find the bracelet. I prayed, hoped, begged to the universe that perhaps it turned up in the laundry or something. We left the island and flew to Ho chi Minh. I got 2 updates the first day, telling me they were continuing the investigation.
Let me ask you all. So the braclet was worn one night, taken off put in bedside table. Is it possible for it to grow legs and walk away. No, it is not. Vinpearl staff member who had access to my room decided they would take it. I have also spend considerable time since I have been home researching and of course there are others who have had their belongings stolen too.
AVOID THIS PLACE LIKE U WOULD THE PLAGUE
Hey Dee, sorry you had such an unpleasant experience. I didn’t stay at the resort, just had a blast at the water park. Happy travels in the future.