February 18, 2014
Vietnam's Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park stirs together Buddhism and water park fun
Yup, there's another one.
Last year, we told you about the Buddhist theme park in Singapore that vividly displays the various hells you can get yourself into. On the off-chance that you're looking for a vacation destination that's a little more PG-rated—but still with that Buddhist twist—you're in luck!
Referenced by some as "Disneyland on acid," the Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park covers over 250 acres with more stuff to see, do, smell, taste, and Instagram than can be done in one day. Along with the usual amusement rides and games, the park features a gold dragon statue whose mouth contains a neon-haloed shrine to Buddha, a saltwater (and hopefully, chlorinated) pool, a giant nightmare-inducing head of a Hung King, and alligator fishing (you use chickens as bait!). The staff are friendly, too—employees roam the park in golden monkey outfits, taking pictures with visitors and causing mischief.
The amusement park's highlight, according to Atlas Obscura, is the 12-story "Face of the Buddhist Sages," with water slides emerging from the sages' beards. And just in case you wanted some gore to go with your day of fun and games, the park also features an 18 Gates of Hell ride.
All joking aside, Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park, located just outside of Ho Chi Minh City, is a great representation not only of Southeast Asia's animistic form of Buddhism, but also of the cultural tendency to elevate the importance of fun, even for something as serious as "religion."
See the photo gallery below for more:
[Note: The theme of water parks and religion is international: America's largest water park is called Noah's Ark]