The former water park at Thuy Tien Lake is as weird a place as you’ll find in the whole world, let alone Vietnam. The park was originally conceived as a family friendly getaway for nearby Hue, but when the park faltered, the owners gave up on the project. Now this failed dream brings in more graffiti artists than families.
Have you ever wondered what John Travolta and Barack Obama would look like if they had creepy, vacant eyes and bodies as stiff as boards? Well, at the Ba Na Hills Mountaintop resort you can see them and many other lifeless celebrities up close and… NO TOUCHING! It’s no Madame Tussaud’s, but the cable car ride up is pretty cool.
Crazy House – or Hằng Nga Guesthouse – is one part innovative architecture and one part psychedelic experience. But with all the tight stairways and steep drops, you probably shouldn’t ingest anything illicit beforehand. Trust us, there’s enough weirdness going on there already. There’s even the option of staying overnight in one of their themed rooms – and they’re just as odd.
The marble mountains between Danang and Hoi An are a popular attraction because of the unique cave formations and the pagodas carved into them. One cave stands out in particular, though: Hell Cave. Located in Water Mountain, the largest of the five marble mountains, visitors must work their way past statues of demons and crocodiles before ascending into the light to escape.
There are some pretty strange Christian theme parks around the world, but what about Buddhists? In Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll discover a place where many Buddhists go to show their devotion – and where you can feed 1,500 live crocodiles with meat slung from fishing poles.
This whole street is a testament to human weirdness. Those of the lower echelons from all walks of life show their true colors in the seedier, predawn hours – junkies, drunks, prostitutes, lewd backpackers, jaded expats, gangsters and curious onlookers out to see why the name Bui Vien carries so much baggage for a lot of people. This street is changing quickly – with the old school places getting bought out by giant beer clubs – but it’s still a weird magnet. Spend enough time on Bui Vien and you’ll get a crash course in the darker side of human psychology.
Ever had a shot of snake liquor? How about stir-fried snake? If you’re into weird meals then head to Le Mat village near Hanoi, and for an extra dose of unusual, ask to swallow a still-beating snake heart.
Captured Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers were held in this terrible prison from 1950 until the fall of Saigon in 1975, where they were routinely tortured and starved to death. It’s horrible what happened here. The mannequins used to show these atrocities are also the stuff of nightmares.
Climbing to the summit of Lang Biang mountain near Dalat is actually quite an enjoyable experience – tiring, but still a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The weird part is down in the parking lot, where some enterprising folks have painted their horses to look like zebras. Apparently, the logic is that people are less intimidated by fake zebras than a real horse…
How would you like it if you had a train rumbling by your front door twice a day? For hundreds of families in Hanoi, this is just part of their daily life. To get the full experience, we recommend you try to be around when the train goes by, which only happens twice a day. You feel the vibrations inside your sternum.
There’s a sizable Catholic population in Vietnam, but you still don’t expect to come across a mammoth Jesus statue. We still remember the first time we drove into Vung Tau, a beach town two hours south of Ho Chi Minh City, and found a 32 meter (105 feet) cement Christ with arms spread out to the sea. It’s an odd sight, that’s for sure. For those keeping score, it’s even taller than Rio’s Christ the Redeemer.