Modern theme parks add value to Vietnam’s tourism hotspots

By Phat Dat   July 25, 2019 | 07:03 pm PT
A new wave of theme parks, cable car rides and architectural masterpieces have reenergized several of Vietnam’s leading holiday destinations.

As an emerging tourism destination, for many years, Vietnam leveraged its natural beauty –beaches, mountains, rice fields and so on – to attract increasing numbers of international visitors.

But it lacked world-class entertainment facilities that would give tourists more reasons to visit the country and entice them to stay longer. The lack of such facilities also affected the appeal of destinations for domestic tourists who chose to travel abroad, given increasing affluence, budget carriers and visa exemptions to ASEAN members, in particular.

According the Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA), in 2016, approximately 6.5 million Vietnamese people traveled abroad, spending approximately $8 billion, nearly doubling 2012’s $3.5 billion. One of the reasons for traveling abroad was to seek out new experiences, so places like Disneyland and Universal Studio were added attractions.

Entertainment begins at home

Aware that Vietnam was losing out as both domestic and international tourists were seeking world-class entertainment elsewhere, the Sun Group came up with  simple yet far-reaching plan: to develop complexes where world-class attractions and exhilarating rides would entertain both Vietnamese and international tourists when visiting some of the country’s leading holiday destinations.

Implementing this plan has seen five Sun World complexes spring up, allowing Vietnamese to enjoy a "Disneyland experience" at home.

The first Sun World Complex was built in Ba Na, high up in the hills that overlook Da Nang City and the coastline in central Vietnam. Inaugurated in 2009, this complex transformed a sleepy mountain town into a hugely popular tourist destination.

The cable car ride from the foot of Ba Na to the top became an attraction in itself, offering awe-inspiring views of the lush jungle and mountains all around.

Today Sun World Ba Na Hills boasts stunning scenery, good restaurants and cultural festivals throughout the year to keep all visitors entertained. It’s also home to the Golden Bridge, an architectural creation that has been hailed as the new iconic must-see attraction in Vietnam.

Sun World Ba Na Hills.

Sun World Ba Na Hills.

Closer to sea-level, Sun World Danang Wonders is located on the western bank of the Han River. It has some wonderful architecture and offers visitors a range of exciting cultural activities, unlimited indoor games and attractions – in short, everything a family needs for fun-filled day in the heart of the city.

When Sun World Danang Wonders first opened in 2014, it was a huge moment for the central city, which had seen tourists flock to nearby beaches, where they stayed in resorts, rarely visiting the city. But thanks to both Sun World Danang Wonders and Sun World Ba Na Hills, Da Nang is now attracting more tourists than ever before, infusing the city with greater energy.

Sun World Danang Wonders.

Sun World Danang Wonders.

Sa Pa transformed

Further north, Sa Pa had always been known for its mountains, forests and terraced fields. It was mainly a destination for young and adventurous travelers, who would trek through the hills, in particular, to conquer Fansipan—the "Roof of Indochina", which stands at over 3,100m. That was a trek far beyond most people until 2016, when Sun Group unveiled the Fansipan cable car system, which departs from a station right in Sun World Fansipan Legend.

Now, everyday many thousands of visitors travel to Sa Pa where they can discover more about the rich culture and landscapes of the northwest. Tourists can also take a ride through the nearby valleys on the Muong Hoa funicular before taking a trip on the world’s longest three-cable car to the peak of Fansipan, where the Sun Group has developed a stunning complex of Buddhist pagodas, shrines and monuments.

These attractions alone have truly transformed Sa Pa, not just visually. In 2018, Sa Pa received 2.4 million visitors, an increase of nearly 60 percent compared to the same period in 2016, when Sun World Fansipan Legend opened. Industry analysts have forecast that Sa Pa will serve nearly 4 million visitors by 2020 and 8 million by 2030.

No more a ‘beach town without beaches’

Ha Long in the northeast of Vietnam had been described as "the beach town without beaches" for a long time. The town had been criticized for allowing its Bai Chay beach to be contaminated with garbage and wastewater. This was a hugely disappointing situation considering the city and beach stand on the threshold to the UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay, one of the world’s natural wonders.

But now, Ha Long has been rejuvenated. Bai Chay is now rubbish free and tourists can enjoy the sight of white sands and crystal clear waters. By night, the Bai Chay Bridge is illuminated with colourful LED lights that reflect in the bay waters. All around the city there is a much more lively atmosphere. A huge part of this is due to the Sun World Halong Complex, which features a range of exhilarating rides and water games. More importantly, it has turned the city into a destination in its own right rather than as a springboard to other destinations.

Sun World Halong Complex.

Sun World Halong Complex.

When Sun Premier Village Ha Long Bay Shophouse, an ideal place for entertainment, shopping and relaxation, comes into operation,  Ha Long will have  even more to offer visitors, further embellishing a city previously treated as a pit-stop, where tourists climbed off a bus from Hanoi and boarded a boat to see Ha Long Bay.

Polishing a rough diamond

Last but not least, Phu Quoc has long been considered Vietnam’s leading beach destination. Seen as something of a rough diamond, located in the middle of the sea, the island has often been tipped as the next Bali or Phuket. But the island had for many years lacked diversity in terms of entertainment.

This changed overnight when the Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park opened on the southern tip of the island. A journey from the main island on the Hon Thom cable car – the world’s longest sea-crossing cable car system at over 7 km, offers amazing panoramic views.

When they arrive at Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park, visitors will discover a mesmerizing world of beach games and water sports, before enjoying a delicious meal.

In developing the Sun World complexes, the Sun Group has undoubtedly added a much-need dynamic to some of Vietnam’s most popular destinations. Working with the world’s leading designers, architects and contractors, the group has strategically invested to create manmade marvels and fun-filled theme parks that have raised the bar for tourism and entertainment within Vietnam and caught the world’s attention.

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