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Phuket's Splash Jungle: more lifeguards than guests, but not for long

Phuket Waterpark Slashes Entry Price in Half

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Splash Jungle Photo Album Above

NOW PHUKET residents can get wet at West Sands. The Splash Jungle waterpark, near Phuket airport, has slashed prices by more than half.

The entry charge for all-day admission for anyone who can produce ID that proves they are residents of Thailand is now 750 baht for adults and 380 baht for children.

That's less than half what was being asked when Splash Jungle opened on January 30. Normal admission prices have also nosedived to 1495 baht for adults and 750 baht for children.

Water Park General Manager and Director of Operations, Christopher R. Stuart, told Phuketwan today that the park was geared up for an influx of customers this weekend.

A new marketing strategy is now in place. Coupons are being handed out at Central Festival, Tesco-Lotus and Jungceylon, promoting discounts of 20 percent.

Another offer, buy one, get one free, is also likely to be available around Phuket's popular haunts as the awareness campaign intensifies..

Mr Stuart is blitzing tour agencies, telling them what a great place Splash Jungle is for tourists. He was about to head off to an Iranian agency. Apparently it's the holiday season there.

The waterpark is the island's first theme park, a state of the art product with fun rides of many kinds, covering 14 rai and costing about 500 million baht.

Splash Jungle sits close to the West Sands Residences and Villas Resort, with many condominiums having ringside seats for the waterpark action.

''The feedback for the waterpark so far is 100 percent positive,'' Mr Stuart said. ''And that goes especially for safety and staff.''

Initial high prices brought virtually unanimous criticism from Phuketwan readers and others who felt Splash Jungle was simply too expensive, although management struck comparisons with the cost of other theme parks in international destinations and a round of golf on the island.

At much lower prices now (Slash Jungle prices), the critics will be able to afford to visit Splash Jungle and decided for themselves whether the novelty day out is worth the money.

Today, when Phuketwan visited the park, we found a couple and their toddler virtually had the place to themselves. It was late morning.

We watched the young family arrive in one of the special Splash Jungle buses. A whole fleet, similar to the the FantaSea vehicles, now criss-crosses the island, bringing visitors from their resorts.

Tried the new waterpark? Tell us what you think in Comment below


Estimates of daily entry numbers vary from 50 a day during the working week to perhaps 200 at weekends. For a park capable of holding 2000 swimmers and sliders, Splash Jungle at times has more lifeguards than customers.

''We use a mannequin on the slides sometimes to surprise the lifeguards and make sure they stay alert,'' Mr Stuart said.

At the new lower prices, Mr Stuart expects Thais to now try out the waterpark in much larger numbers, and word of mouth about its attributes is expected to spread quickly.

Concerns that the fleet of buses might drive into conflict with local taxi drivers on Phuket have proven to be unfounded. Taxi drivers who bring visitors to the park earn a commission.

Mr Stuart was keen to make the point that although Mai Khao is one of Phuket's longest beaches and officially the waterpark's home address, Splash Jungle is located at the southern end, close to the airport.

The turn-off road, just north of the airport t-junction, has recently been resurfaced and widened almost all the way to the entrance of the park.

Coming up soon is a charity outing for up to 700 children . . . a real chance for the waterpark to make a splash.

Splash Jungle waterpark, open daily. For details, Telephone 076 372111.
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Well that didn't take long! I think the reason is not just the high price, but the location. All in all I am not surprised to hear "when Phuketwan visited the park, we found a couple and their toddler virtually had the place to themselves. It was late morning."

Well, at the new price we might just try it, but it'll still be 2000 Baht+, add on transport, drinks, food etc... Not all local foreign residents are rich! However, if it's quiet, might be a nice half day out during the kids school holidays....

Posted by Jamie on March 2, 2010 14:59

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Ah, splendid, Mr Editor. Another photo advertorial masquerading as news. Your gall amazes me. Really, I am impressed. Well done.

Editor:The waterpark is Phuket's first theme park - big news. .Are you sure you're not barking up the wrong tree?

Posted by Simon Ellison on March 2, 2010 16:28

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It amazes me that someone with the business acumen to raise 500million baht in capital, hasn't come up with a realistic marketing strategy to recoup their investment, and finds that even during high season, they are having to HALVE their prices. Amazing !!

That said, the prices are a lot more palatable now and I'm sure more people will be able to visit it. Interested to know what ID they require to prove you live here!

Posted by Mr Mark on March 2, 2010 16:28

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Jamie got it right. Still no bargain, but at the new prices, it might (might!) warrant a closer look for the kids.

Posted by D on March 2, 2010 16:52

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Location. Location. Location.
Great, nice and peaceful (not) with the 747 going over head.
Whoever thought of investing 500 million on this. it amazes me!

Posted by Nick on March 2, 2010 17:09

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Ah... another rip-off gone wrong ... And nice to see the double standards are still strongly enforced with double pricing - it's still an attitude of them and us. I won't be going and I wouldn't advise an other sane human being to do so either.

Editor: Double pricing? Us and Them? Every individual lobbies airlines and resorts these days for the best possible deal. Isn't this the 21st century free market in action? Why not dynamic pricing for a water park? On a cloudy day, they will want you . . .

Posted by Noddy on March 2, 2010 17:43

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That price is more realistic think now it may be worth it to drive up from Rawai

Posted by Michael on March 2, 2010 19:54

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Editor, can we get some clarity and what is their definition of ID proving residency?

I certainly hope they meant Thai Drivers, License, or a work permit or a Thai ID.

Not that it matters to me as I would never support a place that has exploited the pristine land and has yet to still be accountable for the trees and yet offering nothing back to Phuket....

Would be nice if they made a good will contribution and shared some of those lifeguards, being that they have so many idling the days by and such high standards.

Hey they could wear a SJ shirt and hand out coupons (as long as they promised to pick up the discarded ones)

Editor: I assume all usual acceptable ID will do the trick, but prospective island patrons without any of those may need to check about other documentation. Hasn't every single construction on the island destroyed ''pristine'' Phuket to one degree or other, with the possible exception of those built on old tin mine sites?

Posted by Vfaye on March 2, 2010 20:46

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Your headline is misleading. A little. :)

Here your original post:
> Splash Jungle offers introductory rates at 1795 baht ++/adult and 1050 baht ++ /children (Height 100-130 cm). Free of charge for children under 100 centimetres and for Thai Residents 1500 baht++

/end

If I understand right, then the normal price went from (introductory) rate 1795 ++ to 1500 ++. (Or no ++?).

Second the hight for kids is now 122 cm free of charge or start being adult? Or what is this picture telling us?

But everyone with a Thai driver licence (?) or a farang kid will pay 750 ++ (or not ++?) Baht. Thai kids or farang kids with proper Thai id (?) pay 380 Baht.

So as a BIG NEWS thing it, price change, you kept it a little fuzzy on the details. But I do not want to bark the wrong tree here.

For the guests out of EURO land, that price decrease only adjusted their lower power of purchase... or nearly. :)

But with this extra 20% voucher or the maybe 2for1, it could pull me in.

Until now, nobody can tell how good?

Editor: Lena, If I spend too much time explaining the prices, I will be accused again of promoting Splash Jungle. Yet there is clearly huge public interest. Anyone with questions should call the waterpark for a definitive answer. The ++ has been removed from pricing. And yes, the heading refers to the new entry charges for residents of Thailand (expat or Thai). If you are not tall enough to ride the slides (ie 122 centimetres) it would seem unreasonable to be charged an entry fee. My understanding is that the shuttle bus is included in the full entry charge, and it would be a pleasant surprise to hear that residents not only gain the large price cut but also a free ride. As with the fluctuating cost of rooms in resorts, it's an issue on which our reporting is not necessarily going to stay reliable. So my advice on the issue of entry costs is: give Splash Jungle a call.

Posted by Lena on March 2, 2010 21:45

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to editor: Ok. Point taken. Thanks anyway for the additional info. Transparent pricing without this ++ is a friendly thing to do. And if the transport is included, that could tip the balance and we visit. :)

Posted by Lena on March 3, 2010 01:37

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Now it seems to be a bargain :) (only around a one week local Thai salary for tourists).

But well, anyway, it's still to far away and too risky (I mean the crazy traffic)for my family.

Posted by Richard on March 3, 2010 02:34

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Editor. About your comment to VFaye and destroying 'pristine' land. I agree that all development 'changes' pristine land. That is the price we pay for development. My gripe though about Splash et al is that they used 600 million litres of drinking water to fill the thing, and use undisclosed amounts to top it up each day. Drinkable water - in a venue next to the sea. Drinkable water when we are rapidly approaching a drought. Why weren't they forced to use sea water, or install their own RO (Reverse Osmosis) plant? That is where the real destruction has taken place. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

Editor: Filled once, the waterpark then recycles, with only a small loss due to evaporation and on sliders' bodies. The waterpark management is responsive and aware of the need for conservation. The park relies on well water to top up. The lack of water on an island where more than adequate annual rain falls is the responsibility of local administrators, not theme parks . . . or resorts for that matter, although obviously everyone needs to save water where possible. When will tanks for rain water become compulsory with every new development? When will rain tanks be installed at all existing properties? That water would be drinkable. Can water from local reservoirs be considered safe to drink? It's not my place to act in defence of Splash Jungle but I am sure the waterpark management would answer any questions you have about water usage. Give 'em a call.

Posted by Mr Mark on March 3, 2010 06:58

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Huge parking area, with not a seep through tile to be seen. That means dirty polluted rain runoff right into the ocean.

Posted by Horse Doctor on March 3, 2010 08:58

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is a "proof of residence" document that you can get at the immigration office sufficient to get the cheaper entrance price?

Editor: Probably, but best check with Splash Jungle

Posted by Anonymous on March 3, 2010 10:32

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A meal for 450 bath is not acceptable if you go there with your family. Good luck in the low season.

Posted by Christian on March 4, 2010 00:29

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Why dual prices?

Even at reduced rate for Thais, this is not affordable. And rich Thais already have private swimming pools. Like the one at Chalong Country Home for 30 THB a visitor.

BTW: I go to my own indoor/outdoor water park in Germany for 3 euro!

Editor: This is a 500 million baht waterpark, not a swimming pool. The reduced rates are not just for Thais but all Thai residents. Thais who have seen the waterpark say the new prices are affordable.

Posted by wezzi on March 4, 2010 15:51

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Even with the reduced prices still a long way to go to still have an expensive day out to slide down some chutes on a rubber ring. Think I'll wait a little longer till the one in Kathu opens.

Posted by Ivan on March 7, 2010 22:30

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It's still way too expensive. Water parks in Euro land are the same price or cheaper and they aren't in the emerging markets with Thai salaries to pay. It's a long drive to get up there and I won't chance having my drivers license rejected only having to drive all the way back. Also stunning beaches are free! Money well spent.

Posted by Mike Hunt on March 9, 2010 02:48

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What a bunch of miserable moaning people . . . think of your kids and the fun they will have. My son loves them, took him to Australia to go to fun parks in Gold Coast, cost me a lot more than the fuel from Rawai to the north of the Island, but it was worth it. When he comes back here in June I will be taking him, no matter what the cost. Its got European safety standards and it look like great fun

Posted by Michael on March 10, 2010 10:47

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It would be a very nice gesture, and good publicity, if during this first opening year the park would give free entry to all Phuket school children and their parents.

Posted by elizabeth on March 11, 2010 00:24

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How many tourists, who are surely those who would most want to use this facility, are able to show a Thai ID? The 'dual pricing' scam rears its ugly head again. Plus, they built this near the airport. Why?

Patong would be the obvious choice (best place to maximize revenue by ripping off tourists with dual pricing), so it's hardly surprising that they have been forced to slash the price in half.

Editor: If you can find 14 rai in Patong for the price of 14 rai in Mai Khao, I'm sure you'll find a waterpark investor easily.

Posted by 007 on March 12, 2010 13:33

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It's still twice as much as it should be and confusing to charge different people different amounts, based on their residents status.

The whole place needs to seriously rethink its marketing and stop sending out confused messages.

Posted by Benjy on March 14, 2010 17:59

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Editor: In response to your response to 007, are you saying that it would have been impossible to find 10+ rai and build a waterpark closer to (or in) Patong for 500 million Baht?

Editor: The waterpark has always been part of the now-900 unit West Sands Resort, built along 500 metres of beach. There is no equivalent property in Patong. The waterpark is in Mai Khao because the resort is in Mai Khao.

Posted by Benjy on March 14, 2010 18:15

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Splash Jungle waterpark is well run and fun. But the price, even at 750 per adult and 375 for kids is still to high for Thai or farang residents. A family of four (2 adults and 2 kids) costs 2260 baht. How often will a family do this rather than just go to the beach, for free? Also, the food concession inside the park near the rides is very poor and limited. The "restaurant" just inside the park is better, but why not have a great food concession?

Posted by James Santhi on August 30, 2010 09:08


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