On top of the hill referred to locally as Big Mountain, the Ho May Cultural and Eco-Tourism Park in Vung Tau, also known as Cloud Lake Resort, is a sprawling park, zoo and amusement park rolled into one — it may remind you of a smaller scale Nha Trang’s Vinpearl Land.
From the top of the hill, the view of the city below is wonderful and unrivalled elsewhere in Vung Tau, a seaside city popular with locals from Saigon. You can slowly walk along the edge of the park and enjoy a 360-degree view of the city, or hop on a shuttle and enjoy the rest of the park.
The first section of the park is dedicated to animals. A handful of creatures can be found on display, the most prominent being the ostriches and horses, the latter if which you can ride on a short loop through the park. With a little searching you will also find exhibits of deer, porcupine, wild boar and goats.
Eco-tourism is a term loosely used here. While you’ll find a variety of plants and animals throughout the park it comes off more zooish than eco-tourist. Still, as far as animal exhibits in Vietnam go, the animals seem to be well cared for. The greenest thing about the park, which may unsettle some, is that the restaurant, located in the backside of Ho May, serves dishes made from some of the animals on display — serving dishes of boar, ostrich and porcupine all raised on site.
For those not interested in animals, plenty of excitement can still be had while enjoying the handful of amusement park-style rides found around Ho May. Rides range from basic, kid-friendly fare, like spinning cars and a merry-go-round, through to more adult centric entertainment, like a swinging ship and go-cart racing.
For the more adventurous, Ho May also offers a few extreme rides. First, you can give zip lining a try. Let the trained professionals harness you up and give you a quick lesson on the ground before strapping you to a long zip line, several storeys off the ground, and pushing you on your way. Or you can try the alpine roller coaster, where you strap yourself into a seal on rails and glide down the track as you control your own brakes.
If you would rather relax, the park still has you covered. Cloud Lake, in the centre of Ho May and boasting a nine-metre waterfall, is the place to start, offering shaded seating next to the water or romantic rides on swan pedal boats. Check out a bicycle and cruise around the park or enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around the lake. You can also take a moment to gather yourself spiritually, if you’re so inclined, at the statue and cave of Buddha.
For so much entertainment, the cost of entering Ho May is relatively inexpensive. An entry fee of 300,000 VND for adults and 200,000 VND for children grants complete access to the park and unlimited use of the rides, as well as your round-trip cable car ride.
If you enjoy the park so much that you don’t want to leave, Binh Minh Cable Car Resort, found toward the rear, offers affordable, quality rooms and park access is included.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 3rd October, 2014.