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Rare old photos of first water park in Vietnam

16:18 | 19/06/2020

Saigon Water Park used to be a popular name for generations of people in Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring provinces between 1997-2006. 

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rare sketches of rural life in northern vietnam 20th century Rare sketches of rural life in northern Vietnam 20th century
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rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Marcel Lennartz, Dutch, started to work as an electrical supervising engineer for the construction of Saigon Water Park in Thu Duc in 1997 at the age of 26. His construction team consisted of both Vietnamese and foreign colleagues.

Lennartz took a lot of photos of the construction throughout the project, from the commencement date to the inauguration day. (March – December 1997).

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Workers installing one of the two big headlights in the park. The surrounding area of the park was untouched at that time, the two headlights therefore illuminated the whole area at night.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Being the first waterpark in Vietnam, Sai Gon water park is 5ha in size, offering a variety of water-based games such as wave pool, lazy river, spiral tube slide, black hole, etc. Total investment was up to US $12 million, financed by a joint venture between Vietnam and foreign countries.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

For Lennartz, language barrier and different working cultures were the two most challenging problems while working in Vietnam at that time. “In Vietnam, people consider the boss as someone who knows everything, but back in Netherlands, the boss is the person that connects the work together”, Lennartz told VNE.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Lennartz doing the hand wrestle with one of the workers at the construction site. “I had the chance to work with a very diligent and great team”, he recalled.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

One corner of Saigon Water Park construction site. According to Lennartz, who is 49 years old now, the onstruction process used to encounter land clearnace issues and meet difficulties in importing materials from abroad.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Engineer Gary looks proud to stand next to the train he designed at the Chilren’s lake.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Janitors preparing for the opening day of the water park.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Staff testing games before the official opening day.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

Saigon Water Park officially opened on December 13, 1997. Ticket price for one adult at that time stayed at VND 35,000 (US $1.5) and raised to VND 70,000 (US $3) when the entertaining facility closed in 2006.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

View from the top of a slide. “Saigon Water Park was built with very high quality standards, far surpassing the existing parks. Unfortunately, it no longer exists”, Lennartz said.

rare old photos of first water park in vietnam
(Photo courtesy of Marcel Lennartz/ via VNE)

The Water Sports Culture Joint Venture Company closed Saigon Water Park in 2006 due given the appearance of many rival waterpark. Where the park used to be today is still a vacant lot at the mouth of the Go Dua canal and the Saigon River, Linh Dong Ward, Thu Duc District, about 10 km from the city center

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