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Work on the Phuket water park can resume now a blockade is over

Phuket Water Park Dispute Ends: January Opening

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
A TWO-WEEK blockade of the large West Sands project by local villagers is over, and Phuket's first theme park, Splash Jungle, is now set to open early next year.

To settle the lengthy stand-off, West Sands' owners have given to the Phuket provincial government for public use a road that enables direct access to the Mai Khao beachfront.

Barricades blocking a road leading to West Sands' property came down on Monday evening.

''We are glad to see construction now going full blast,'' West Sands' new CEO, Tony Cousens, told Phuketwan today. ''Things are back to normal.''

The 500 million baht Splash Jungle, which covers 14 rai and includes an array of waterslides, seven mini-parks, a wave pool and a meandering lazy river of 345 metres, was due to open on December 20, with the West Sands Resort.

Both will now open at a date to be specified ''in the first half of Jauary,'' Mr Cousens said. The resort will consist of 110 villas and condos and is expected to grow to 447 units before the end of 2010.

Some details are known about the water park. Normal admission charge will be 2000 baht for adults and 1500 baht for children, but during the introductory period, prices will be 1495 baht for adults and 750 baht for children, with those under 100 centimetres entering free.

Splash Jungle will open at 10am and close at 6pm. Its waterslides can cope with 360 riders an hour, and the park can hold 2500 people.

''Splash Jungle is on par with other world-class water parks in Hong Kong and Korea and we've benchmarked the prices against other theme parks,'' Mr Cousens said.

''In many ways, Splash Jungle complements FantaSea, which is Phuket's night-time equivalent. We have lost a couple of weeks, but it will be great when it opens up.''

Splash Jungle is intended to occupy families for between six and eight hours, offering cafe and deli facilities, retail outlets and relaxing ''jungle hut'' cabanas.

Local orbortor council head Sarawoot Srisakoolcarm said that villagers were pleased to see the long-standing dispute settled with the ceding of the roadway for public usage.

The road, originally built on West Sands' land, tracks the southern perimeter of the property, and ends close to the Phuket International Airport perimeter.

Anger among local villagers resurfaced when eight shade trees were lopped along the beach, in front of West Sands' property. The axing of the trees triggered the blockade and reignited the issue of beach access.

Mr Cousens said that West Sands remained committed to an MoU that had been signed with rangers in neighboring Sirinath National Park back in April.

''Most of the misunderstandings about the trees have been clarified,'' Mr Cousens said. The MoU is believed to include landscaping improvements along the beach as well as ''enhancement of the national park environment.''

However, a final agreement has ''yet to be articulated'' and is still being discussed. During the dispute over the lopped trees and the road, the Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-ngob, asked authorities in Bangkok for clarification of the arrangement between West Sands and the national park.

During the villagers' blockade, Phuketwan drove down the now-public road and found several lopped trees along the beachfront. They had been close to the newly-laid foundations of what appears to be a beach club, fronted by a large swimming pool.

The main public area at Mai Khao beach is notable for a tall stand of shade trees that give it a distinct character when compared to other Phuket beaches.
Phuketwan on West Sands

Phuket Splashdown! Jungle Waterpark Opening
Latest Phuket has long been waiting for a resort theme park to rival those of other destinations. The Splash Jungle Waterpark may be worth the price of admission, but we can't say for sure yet.
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Phuket Waterpark Halted by West Sands Blockade
Photo Album A long awaited Phuket waterpark is on delay in a dispute with West Sands about chopped trees and access to the beach that has irate villagers winning the governor's support.
Phuket Waterpark Halted by West Sands Blockade

West Sands Phuket Blockade Over Chopped Trees
Latest One of Phuket's largest property developments faced a continuing blockade by villagers in a dispute over the chopping of eight trees they say were at least 100 years old.
West Sands Phuket Blockade Over Chopped Trees

Phuket Developer Sounds Alarm on New Hotels
Latest The West Sands strategy indicates that the property industry on Phuket is becoming more closely wedded to tourism. Success of its waterpark will be closely monitored.
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V-Day For a Phuket Success That Isn't Open Yet
Photo Album Here's a new resort with a serious problem. People say the prices are too low for the quality of the product. It's a Phuket success story, and it hasn't opened yet.
V-Day For a Phuket Success That Isn't Open Yet

West Sands Wins Go-Ahead After Long Wait
Latest The large West Sands development to the north of Phuket has approval for a part of the project that was the subject of an environmental review. Now a billabong is to be protected.
West Sands Wins Go-Ahead After Long Wait

West Sands Vows to Protect Mai Khao Beach
West Sands and Sirinath National Park hold a media conference to announce a joint plan to protect the Mai Khao beachfront and encourage environmental protection
West Sands Vows to Protect Mai Khao Beach

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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What is West Sands, winner of a Green Award, doing to counteract the amount of rubbish they have already created, coupled with the amount of trash that will continue to manifest?

What kind of programs to do they to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem? Did they plant any new trees?

Good luck training lifeguards!

Posted by VFaye on December 16, 2009 11:28

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2000 baht... that equates to 40 GBP... welcome to planet Phuket

Posted by Nick on December 16, 2009 14:52

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Wow, 2,000 baht! That's more than any of the water parks in Southern California which range from around 800 baht to about 1200 baht. And Southern California is the heart of overpriced tourist traps. The park in Bangkok is only 900 baht a person, and we paid around 1000 baht per person (including transportation) while on holiday in Malaysia a few years ago.

Posted by Anonymous on December 17, 2009 02:31

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I have been looking forward for a long time to take the family and enjoy what Phuket should really have had for many years now. But being on local wages, 2000 baht times four people is just a little excessive for a day out, no matter how amazing the water park is to be!

Posted by Matt on December 17, 2009 09:22

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Anyway they won't see my family & me for sure and probably only just a few customers, they are dreaming.

Posted by Jean-Paul patrick on December 17, 2009 09:23

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It costs 300 baht to get an all-day pass for the inflatable water park in Patong near the end of Soi Bangla

Posted by Sam on December 17, 2009 14:11

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At least the park won't be crowded.

Think about it: Family with one kid from Patong, take a red "taxi" to that thing - drive about an hour one way - and also eat in the park, you spend easy more then 10.000 Baht a day.

And now they lost big part of the high season, thanks to the tree chopping.

But maybe they will keep the "initial" offering and just want the crowd to come, because its on sale and you save money. *55555

Posted by Jerome on December 17, 2009 15:53

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2,000 baht per customer, in a country where labor costs are tiny? It's an insult to tourists' sanity. I am HEARTILY tired of the tourist industry here taking the entirety of the salary advantage for themselves, rather than letting prices be the natural low that Thailand's cheap workforce could allow.

If Phuket continues to be as expensive as California and Hawaii, without the lifeguards, honest businessmen, and public safety that those places have, why would ANYone come to Phuket?

Phuket's business is committing suicide-by-greed.

Posted by Anonymous on December 17, 2009 16:50

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And what is the cut for the tuk tuk drivers and unlicensed taxis?

West sands has accounted for this right?
30% per head is 600 baht. Not bad for a days fare.

Or perhaps they will have their own transport and cut out the commission for the drivers and drivers? That will go over really well. Perhaps the Tuk Tuks can focus there attention that way instead of in Karon!

Natural resources have been destroyed to make this concrete water park.

So sad. Who approved this?

We know it was not our current governor (as he has already made un-supportive comments about the billboards from West Sands)

Posted by VFAYE on December 17, 2009 17:22

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They won't be seeing any local expats or locals until they come up with realistic pricing.

I love how they base their prices on "other similar world class parks" and not based on costs and ROI.

Posted by Anonymous on December 23, 2009 07:59

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Had been looking forward to it. But at double the cost of state of the art parks no thanks.

Thanks to Air Asia I have booked to Bali in Oct of 2010. By pre booking my passes I can get a family package of two adults and two 12 year old kids for 65 usd at Water Bom in Bali. 10 world class slides.

You have got to be kidding. How much do the condos and villas cost?

Posted by peter cannon on December 25, 2009 17:55

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Much needed facility but the admission price is plain stupid. It would cost me 9000 baht for a family day out. Can't pay... won't pay.

Posted by bob oxford on May 9, 2010 00:02


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