Vietnam Hanoi: Water Play in Vinpearl Water Park

Travel Period: 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014

{PREVIOUS: Food in Vietnam Hanoi: Pho & Spring Rolls }

Hanoi Day 2 Itinerary –

  • Vinpearl Water Park, West Lake, Bun Cha

Morning

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The night before, we were informed by the hotel staff that the government would be cutting off the electricity in the morning. We would have to quickly finish our breakfast and head out. We were so tired that we didn’t manage to wake up early so by the time we went down to the breakfast area, the lift was not working and we had to walk downstairs.

Settling down, we were told we could order from a “breakfast menu”or take from the buffet table and there was a variety of Western and Vietnamese food. We prefer hot food so we ordered and waited for them to cook. Meanwhile, we started with some spring rolls from the buffet table. I ordered a bowl of Pho Ga and I felt it was more delicious than the one I ate last night. (Read more about the hotel we stayed in)

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HanoiDay01_CalpysoHotelStayBreakfastMenu

A short while later, the lights blacked out…

Though we knew of this beforehand, it still stunned everyone and cause a little commotion. The staff took out candles and set up our “candlelight breakfast”. It was about 8.30- 9 am then. Many of the guests quickly finished their breakfast and left the place since it was pretty stuffy without the air-conditioning. We just started so had no choice but to continue.

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Finishing our satisfying breakfast, we had to walk back up the stairs to our room on the fifth floor which was a small inconvenience. Coming back down with our backpacks, we asked the hotel staff to help us call for a taxi.

The taxi soon arrived at the shop across the alley and we journeyed out of the Hanoi Old Quarter into the “city” area.

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Vincom Royal City Mega Mall

We had planned to spend a day here so the “blackout” back in Hanoi Old Quarter didn’t affect us.

The seat belts weren’t all working properly so in our taxi rides, I would use the working one to buckle Dar while I go without. The taxi ride was rather comfortable though under the hot weather so I took it as a sight-seeing journey, observing the locals on their motorbikes and cars to work. The amount of motorcycles were more than cars and it is interesting to note well-dressed women with high-heels, riding motorcycles to work.

The journey was quite long and Dar got impatient, asking us when we would reach. Finally, we caught a glimpse of the building but with the driving speed at 40km/hr and busy traffic all around, it still took some time to reach the doorstep. The taxi fare was 110,000 VND and we arrived after 20-mins (it was only a 6km ride).

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Entrance

The European Garden

Entering the colonial-looking building through the glass doors, we spotted an escalator going down. The Mega Mall was actually built underground! That was interesting!

At the other side of the building was a huge expanse of space with European statues and a fountain. We couldn’t resist going to it first and take a family picture.

Those buildings behind us were residential areas so some security guards were eyeing the three of us suspiciously, wondering what we doing as Vin set up the “self-timer” function on the camera. I was praying they wouldn’t stop us. We look like an innocent family just trying to take a moment, right?

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After the picture, we walked into the glass doors again and went down the escalators. The place was “Mega” indeed. There was so much space to walk about, with about two storeys of shops. In fact, the place where we stood just now and the European Garden was the “roof” of this Mega Mall with another exit at the end of the Garden. I’m really amazed at the architectural design.

This huge wall of artificial fountain was the first “sight” we came across. We stood there for a while to take in the structure of the dragons and flying fishes. It seemed to tell of the legend of how Vietnam came about.

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Due to it being a weekday, the mall’s few shoppers contrasted greatly with the huge space.

Vinpearl Water Park 

Soon, we reached the Vinpearl Water Park, ready for a few hours of water play. There is no lack of water play back in our tropical Singapore but I just had to try this place to find out how an indoor water play is like. Besides, it’s a holiday bonding time for the three of us so it would be great to enjoy the place with Dar on a weekday, when there is no overcrowding of people.

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// Entrance Fees: 2 Adults – 340,000 VND  / 1 child – 100,000 VND = Total: 440,000 VND (abt SGD$27.38 )

Entering the place, we had to put our things into the lockers and change our attire. The counter lady told us to purchase a locker key each but they would return the deposit to us after we returned the key safely (I think it was 100K VND). Therefore, keep the key around your wrist carefully always! We could open the lockers unlimited times with the key. I’m glad that I could easily go back to it during our water play, to drink water or take some belongings.

We couldn’t have one locker because the lockers are located with the shower rooms in two separate areas, differentiated by gender. Hence, women would go to the female locker room with shower facilities inside and vice versa for men.

1. Lockers

This was how the lockers area looked like. Vin took this for the male locker room but the female ones look exactly the same. Hair dryer was even provided, which is a nice touch.

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Entering the huge place with rows and rows of lockers, I was awed. It felt like a library! I wonder whether the weekends are packed full of people that they had to have such a huge area? To find our locker, we are supposed to look through the shelves to find the number that corresponds to our locker key. It is an electronic key, so we just have to place it to the lock where it would be scanned with a “Ti-ti” and the door opens.

Before this, I was quite confused because the counter lady has a limited English language ability and couldn’t explain what we were to do with the key. I entered the place and looked so bewildered that a Vietnamese woman helpfully grabbed my hand and took me around. She couldn’t speak English so she pointed at the numbers and the number on my locker key so I finally understood I was supposed to find the locker with the electronic lock. She helped me tap the key onto the lock so I learnt how it worked. The problem was, there were also lockers with the same number but with a normal lock (with keyhole) so it took some time.

The below picture shows Vin’s backpack fitting into his locker. The locker space is quite adequate.

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2. Play

Finally dressed with our swim wear, we entered the play area and was excited to go to the playground. It looked really fun to play! As usual, Dar was cautious and wanted his Daddy to accompany him to play.

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Just when we were approaching, this happened.

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Thus, Dar became afraid and refused to enter it anymore. We had no choice but to stay on the outskirts and the back of it, warming him up first in the water. This was due to a huge bucket which fills up with water as time goes and automatically topples. It is similar to Singapore’s Downtown East’s water playground which Dar also dislike.

By the way, we were pleasantly pleased to find that the water is heated and kept at a comfortable temperature around 30 plus degrees Celsius. There was an electronic display on one of the pillars, showing the temperature of the water. However, coming out of the water, I felt quite cold walking to the changing room some distance away. The air-conditioning contrasted with the warmth of the water. Therefore, we stayed in the water as much as we could.

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After exploring other areas, we finally convinced Dar to go up the water playground again.

Adults are not allowed to go up the playground but the staff allowed Vin to accompany Dar up and slide down the water tunnels because Dar was so afraid of the huge splash of water. We didn’t know of this at first until we saw the sign. A few youngsters were shooed away by the staff too. I’m glad for his understanding about this so we do not make a wasted trip. In fact, this playground structure was the reason I chose to come here, thinking Dar would like it. Oh well, it is hard to predict with young kids.

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This was a family area low-level water and some floats for very young children to use and float around. Dar was not interested.

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We walked further to the back and saw this high and long slide. To do this, one would have to climb up a flight of steps several storeys high, bringing a mat. There was a height limit and Dar was not eligible. It was very far behind and high so I felt discouraged to walk up. Vin then tried this while I stayed with Dar downstairs and waited. It took a long while before he appeared, sliding down on his stomach on a soft mat. He enjoyed it and said it was fun.

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We went back to our favourite area of the water park and spent most of our time here. This area consists of six slides but only about three were opened this early in the morning. “Opened” as in, there was water flowing through them to help us slide down. We had the entire pool to ourselves as there were few visitors. Some locals did came here too but soon moved off when they saw we were laughing and splashing about too much…

The height was to Dar’s chin but he has taken some basic swimming lessons, so he had no problem with swimming a little and skipping about to cross the water.

He enjoyed the slides so much that he kept doing the same thing repeatedly. Slide down, swim to the stairs, go up the stairs, slide down again.

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There were almost no one around the play structures because many locals were here for actual swimming in the deep pool for adults.

We spent slightly more than 2 hours here before heading to lunch at 2 plus in the afternoon. Dar was reluctant to go, but the early breakfast we had was fully digested by then. We were famished.

Lunch

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Lunch was at this BBQ restaurant just a short walk from the Vinpearl Water Park. We ordered two plates of BBQ chicken with rice and a kid’s set for Dar. His set consists of tomato spaghetti, rice and fried chicken. The BBQ meat was delicious and we considered ordering a second plate because we finished the meal so fast! We had to give it up as there was not much time left. We still needed to check out the ice rink and other areas of the Mega Mall.

// Lunch Cost: Kids Set : 69,000 VND | BBQ Chicken Leg Set: 166,000 VND | 7-Up : 19,000 VND  | Tiger Beer: 30,000 VND. Total Cost: 284,000 VND.

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Across the water park and the restaurant, was the “Vinpearl Ice Rink”. We planned to try this too after our water park fun, but on learning that they had only fixed timings with an expensive fare, we had to give it up. Mainly, we could not afford to wait until a certain time before starting and skating for 2 hours, because there were other places of interest we wanted to go. We also felt it was not worth it since we have an ice-skating rink back in Singapore too with cheaper rates. There were only one or two people skating too, so we would most likely be putting on a “show” for others.

Shopping

After deciding not to ice skate, we were left with plenty of time and explored the shops in the Mall. I was not in the mood for shopping but did check out some children’s clothing for Dar. I then bought a OshKosh B’Gosh t-shirt for him at a discount price of 150K VND (unfortunately, the red colour at the collar bleeded into the white once I washed it…happened for other dark red/purple clothing materials we bought from Vietnam too).

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More of the European Garden

We left the place around 4pm and went up to the European Garden (the mall is underground below it) to take a thorough walk. The courtyard was so huge that we took a while to walk from one end to another, admiring the statues and fountain along the way.

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Reaching the end of the garden, we found another entrance to the Mega Mall. This was where the taxis were.

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The view from the other end, how far we walked.

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We got on a Hanoi Taxi (check the name of the taxi company carefully before boarding) to go back to our hotel. Resting for a while, we decided to rush to Westlake by taxi to catch the sunset…

{ NEXT: Sunset in Hanoi Westlake }