It can get hot in Ho Chi Minh City. With average highs of over 30 degrees Celsius every month of the year, plus an average humidity of 75%, just a quick walk down the block have you ready to call it a day. So, if the Saigon heat has you feeling a little trapped, but you don’t have the time to sneak to the beaches of Mui Ne or Nha Trang, then head over to District 11 where you will find one of the best places in Ho Chi Minh City to cool off: the Dam Sen Water Park.
Dam Sen is a water park oasis, hidden outside the city centre. It has a little something for everyone; relaxing activities for the folks looking to kick back and I-can’t-believe-I’m-about-to-go-on-this-my-mum-would-be-so-mad water slides for those who live life on the edge.
If you’re in the first group you have several options. There is a large wave pool in the centre of the park where you can grab an inner tube and ride the tide, which doesn’t swell much over two metres, or you can take your tube to the lazy river and relax as you’re slowly propelled through the park. Old-fashioned folks can soak in the regular pool, where they can swim and have front row seats to people hilariously zip lining into the deep end. There is also a hot tub, which gets a bit crowded but is actually a hot tub, and not a small circle with the same temperature of water you’d find in the pool, which is quite common here.
If you’re more adventurous, this is where Dam Sen really shines. Home to several slides that may make you question yourself before you go down, it is perfect for water park adrenalin junkies. Try the Boomerang, where you climb into a raft with two friends and drop down a nearly 45 degree boomerang shaped slide, or the Kamikaze, a 19 metre-tall slide that brings you to speeds so fast you can’t keep your eyes open.
Keep in mind that the slides were built for lighter and shorter people, meaning you’ll be building more momentum than the locals. Some of the slides will rough you up, especially the Twister Space Bowl, which hurls you into a bowl and spits you out a metre over the water. But for all your bumps and bruises you will have no regrets — the slides are too awesome.
The park is about 30-45 minutes out of downtown by taxi, or about 15 minutes quicker by bike. From District 1 take CMT8 to 3 Thang 2, when you pass the race track and Parkson in District 11 take a right onto Lanh Binh Thang, which then turns into Hoa Binh. Admission is 110,000 VND for those over 1.4 metres and 70,000 VND for those who are shorter. The park has lockers and changing rooms, including one only for foreigners, located under the Kamikaze.
Remember, you’re in Vietnam, so this isn’t going to be the cleanest, or safest, water park you’ll ever visit; some areas could use a paint job and some sections of the slides might be due for replacements. But, if you keep in mind that you’re paying a little over $5 for entry, and you have your own segregated locker room, you should have a great time, just remember to tuck your elbows. Check out the quick video below to get a look for yourself.
By Angela Schonberg
Last updated on 27th December, 2015.