Where to bring your friends and family to beat the sizzling summer heat – the newest rage in Thailand, the waterparks!
by Rich Kantita.
In the last few years, theme parks and water parks have mushroomed around Thailand. This is not surprising, as these parks allow both the young and the young at heart to enjoy some adventure, with unique fun rides and all. With domestic family travel becoming big, and with summer all around us, it is not only timely that we compile a list of some waterparks destination close to Bangkok, which you should hit up while the summer heat is sizzling!
If you are a water park lover, Black Mountain Water Park (1 Moo Tambon Hin Lek Fai, Hua Hin, 032 618 444) should have made it to the top of your list a long time ago, being the first to open before other waterparks begin popping up around the country. Situated about 15km outside the city of Hua Hin, this waterpark has it all: a Wake Park, golf course, waterpark, and more. Tour groups and families visiting Hua Hin should definitely drive up to the place for a relaxing all-in-one vacation. Large white tents surround the park with shades and sunlight alternating with each other, and the clean water, ground, and benches are worthy of the THB 600 entrance for adults (THB 300 for kids). Enjoy the slide carefree, with your belongings safely tucked in the lockers, which are available for rent with THB 200 deposit, and the magnetic key bracelet safely at your wrist. Towels can be rented at THB 100. By the way, this one-stop destination is also a resort. Nestled in a very luxurious and green valley, Black Mountain has a well-designed, well-appointed private pool villa, facilities for delectable dining and other full-service facilities, and the best part is, the breathtaking getaway is not too far from Bangkok!
Located strategically right at the entrance of Hua Hin, at Cha-am, is the whitewashed cubist houses of Santorini Park Cha-am and Santorini Water Fantasy (Petchakasem Road, Cha-Am Phetchaburi, 032 772 9979), now one of Hua Hin’s main attractions. Beautifully designed and inspired by Santorini in Greece, it is both a theme park and a waterpark. A full day at Santorini might not be enough to check out both the theme park and the waterpark, but once there, you should definitely try to check out both. There is a Ferris wheel that gives an amazing view of the neighboring landscape but which should be ridden during sunset, or when the sun is not blazing hot. Night view is recommended as well. Santorini Ares’s King Cobra, the water park’s signature attraction, is not only very alluring in the design but also utterly fun. Slide down the 78m-tall snake and then test your fear of falling with the Apollo’s Drop Screamer, and you will understand what we mean. For family with kids, we recommend the Kid’s Paradise of Demeter, which is adventurous enough for endless enjoyment.
Vana Nava (129/99 Soi Moo Baan Nong Kae, Hua Hin, 032 909 606), the “first water jungle in Asia,” is colorful, exciting, and scenic on its own. Recently voted as one of the “Top 10 Thailand Best Tourist Attractions 2015,” this co-venture of Tourism Authority of Thailand, King Power International, and the largest Chinese online media, Shanghai’s SINA Corp, has it all. Vana Nava has one of the largest slides in Thailand, sure to give riders butterflies in their stomachs and make them scream loud. Try the Abyss, a 28m- tall slide that will make you drift into the huge funnel making you wonder how loudly one could scream, as well as the SuperBowl and Freefall. For adults, the Swim-Up Bar at the Infinity Pool gives an amazing view of the entire waterpark besides making pretty delicious cocktails as well. But be reminded that drinking while swimming could make you drunk faster than usual, so be think again before taking thrilling rides that might require your ability to focus.
If you grew up with the Power Puff Girls, Cow and Chicken, and Cat and Dog, Cartoon Network is surely part of your deeply rooted childhood. The kid in us rejoiced when we heard that the popular kiddie TV channel has opened a theme park in Pattaya, the Cartoon Network Amazone (888 Moo 8 Na Jomtien, Chonburi, 085 367 1611), which claims to be the first not only in Thailand but also in the world. Here, you can geek-out and kid-out like it is no one’s business because not only does the rides look colorful and mesmerizing, but also inside some of the tunnels are strips of colors like those rainbow eyes in the TV cartoons. There’s a full scale of adventurous slide to try here. The 90-degree drop is where one stands in the tube and wait for the floor to open as one drops down into the dark hole. If you have ever dreamt of falling into space, this is where you can live out that dream for real. For a more low-key effect, you can enjoy sitting the waves at the gigantic pool, Mega Wave.
Ramayana Water Park (9 Moo 7 Na Jomtien, Chonburi, 033 005 929), which is yet to open as of this writing, is set to become the biggest waterpark in Thailand. With over 50 rides and activities, this new destination situated not far from Pattaya proper, at the Jomtien Beach, promises utter fun for waterpark lovers. Besides the waterslides and activities, there’s a large locker room to accommodate enough people at over 184,000sqm. The wave pools are popular but there are natural rivers at the park as well for those looking for a healthy dip without chlorine. After a splish-splash in the waters, you can enjoy a Ramayana performance at a stage with LCD screen that entertains visitors all throughout day and night, and you never even have to leave the water. With VIP Cabanas in the Water Park and Guesthouses, there’s really no need to be anywhere else but inside the facilities.
Chang Carnival presents Global Carnival (Lumpini Square, Rama 4 Rd; 02 262 3838) comes to the heart of the city direct from Europe. Located across Lumpini Park on Wittayu Road, it is easily reachable by MRT. Just opened last month, the carnival is here for the short-term (just three months) but this early, because of good feedback, we heard they are thinking of extending the visit for another three months. Fun-seekers can enjoy many thrilling rides, many of which take it back to the old-school and familiar, such as Bumper Cars, Log Flume, Speed, Skydiver, and more. Of the total 21 rides, four will give adults a good scream. The other 10 are family friendly, and seven others for exclusively for kids. The highlight of the carnival is the Booster, with its 360-degree spin (about approximately four to five-storeys high). Other rides might seem childish but worry not as they will give you enough butterflies in the stomach. There are more fun games for the skillful and a booth for food and beverages. The park opens daily from 4 to 10 p.m. During the evening the rides lit up with colorful lights, which makes getting on them a lot more fun. Entrance fee is THB 90 exclusive of rides fee. Each ride costs from THB 50 to THB 250. Monthly tickets are available at Thaiticketmajor.com.