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On the Lazy River at Phuket's first waterpark . . . now price will be the test

Phuket's First Waterpark a Test of Willpower

Saturday, January 30, 2010
Phuketwan Photo Album Above

SPLASH JUNGLE is open, and the battles of wills is on. Will expat locals who are protesting about the entry price of Phuket's new waterpark hold out?

Or will the thrill of trying something new eventually triumph? Hot weather, coolish water . . . the mix is intensely desirable on Phuket.

And Splash Jungle is obviously fun.

In its short history, West Sands at Mai Khao has already had the occasional dust-up, blockade and stand-off. Yet these have all been resolved peacefully . . . . so far. Will this one be different?

As the newshound bloggers who have reported most of the issues surrounding the resort and the waterpark, we were generously invited along to try Splash Jungle for free . . .

Most of the Phuket media, of course, would never write anything even vaguely negative about Phuket. It is, as everyone who reads some segments of the local media knows, an entirely harmonious destination for tourists where nothing bad ever happens, and where life is just dandy.

Three of the Phuketwan team were at Splash Jungle on Friday, and we have the free caps and the free t-shirts to prove it, although we were vastly outnumbered by freeloaders from other organisations.

The workers who built the waterpark have also had their free day, and given Splash Jungle the thumbs up, although everyone now agrees they should come back to put in a few more shaded areas.

One seven-year-old member of our team drew the short straw and was forced, on pain of having to go to school instead, to jump on board a blue waterslide tube.

He then risked getting over-excited in a rush to beat a few bubbles to the bottom.

His verdict?

How happy can a seven-year-old get? Our interpretation is that even if we'd had to pay for it, he would have enjoyed himself immensely.

Strange as it may seem, we suspect some of the critics of the waterpark's prices would think nothing of paying more than the price of a family admission for a whole day of fun on a three-hour round of golf, or a diving trip to the Similans.

Or perhaps even for a big night out with a good bottle of wine.

However, because we didn't pay, this article is just like those food ''reviews'' where the restaurant foots the bill. You can't believe a word we write.

Our photographer, crazy as his angles get, can show you what to expect. But we can't say for sure, having been contented freeloaders, whether it's good value or not.

We've yet to get wet. All we can do is point at the seven-year-old team member and say: you'd better ask him.

Entry Price UPDATE

Latest as at Monday, January 25: 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. For all residents of Thailand (those who can produce ID) 1500 baht++ Introductory rates valid to April 30, 2010. Bus shuttle included. For more information or reservations, contact hotline: +66 076 372 111
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Comments

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aha. here it is. I check only the left column for new stories, and there is no entertainment... odd.

Superb article. One of the best to read.

Nice pictures of an empty (?) water park. I expected more people, who do not work there, or is it just not really open? But it looks nice. I guess they wait desperately for the navy...

Even with the lot of water, it still looks super hot to me. So much concrete, stones, how to enjoy a longer stay there? How long did you stay?

Please tell me, when you will visit again. I mean you know now, if it is worth the pain of parting so much money for a family...

I really wonder when the prices will be adjusted or we will see some family packages. Like this it is a cool thing for single young men in little groups.

Editor: We were there for the indoors/outdoors grand opening ceremony followed by a social gathering and some early slide testing, so unable to say really whether the place is value or not. Most media were onlookers. As an invitation only event, the real test would begin from Saturday. The park seems very safe. For people who have tried waterparks and like them, something new for Phuket. More shade areas definitely needed.

Posted by Lena on January 30, 2010 19:27

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"everyone now agrees they should come back to put in a few more shaded areas"

I think that these are the guys who are in trouble for chopping down all those irreplaceable trees, so an appreciation of shade would not be one of their strong points.

Posted by Treelover on January 30, 2010 22:34

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Your story goes on and on...and on about whether or not this theme park is good value for money considering the high admission prices being charged....but you never say what the prices are. It's a bit hard to make a proper judgement without all the relevant facts.

Editor: Point taken.

Posted by Toby on January 30, 2010 23:29

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ok it is expensive -- but looks great and i'll be going!

Posted by paul on January 31, 2010 05:09

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If you go for a full day out at Splash Jungle, it's not bad value. Compared to many other day trips in the tourist market, it's in the ballpark. Once all commissions (etc.) are paid to agents the operators won't make a great deal so I hope they do keep it going. For Phuket's benefit.

Posted by Duncan on January 31, 2010 09:43

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The prices are quite outrageous. 1750++ as an introductory offer? I'm sorry, but that is even above European prices, and this from a facility that is paying its staff Asian salaries.
As an example, 2000 baht is about 40 Pounds UK. In contrast, Alton Towers amusement park in the UK is between 14 and 18 pounds for an adult - or a family of 4 can get in for 46 pounds.
Blackpool pleasure beach is 40 pounds for a TWO day ticket.
Allowing locals in free to the splash park is good, though I wonder how expat 'residents' will fare? Are they local?
For many retirees and teachers, 2000 baht is an awful lot of money.
I hope that people vote with their feet and the management review their pricing policy.
One also has to ask how and where the splash park gets its water from. Water is often in short supply in Phuket. With their profits, one hopes they will invest in their own desalination plant and use the abundant sea water.

Editor: Most of the initial water fill has been trucked in and will be recycled with very little loss to evaporation or on the bodies of visitors, so we have been told. Well water will provide a top-up. The lower ''residents'' entry price is said to apply to anyone who can prove Thai residency. Once the launch period has passed, fewer free passes are likely to be handed out. Comparisons with far-away destinations are not necessarily relevant, especially once you include the cost of getting there. We'd be interested to hear the views of visitors who have paid to go to Splash Jungle.

Posted by Mr Mark on January 31, 2010 10:39

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Dear Editor, thank you again for the extra bits between the lines.

Surprised they invited you back after the great photos you took last time.

At least these photos are better. I enjoyed the slide show of all that concrete, and fiberglass, especially those lux apartments in the background. Wow what a view.

I really like the way they integrated the park into the natural environment. It borders a national park, right?

Perhaps that is what inspired the concrete tree with no leaves. (photo 29)?

Posted by Vfaye on January 31, 2010 10:50

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You slightly missed the point Editor. Comparing the price with a venue that tourists come from IS relevant. The majority of tourists in Phuket are from Europe and this attraction is AT LEAST as expensive as a European attraction. The price for a family of four at Splash will be prohibitively expensive I fear.

The fact that they 'trucked in' their water is also irrelevant. Where did the 6 million litres of 'trucked in' water come from? Out of the island's water supply system, that's where. And anyone who has ever owned a swimming pool knows that evaporation is significant. Whilst they can top it up from their own well supply, it could amount to hundreds of thousands of litres per week. What a waste of a precious resource. They should have been forced to have a desalination plant. This is not a very eco-friendly place at all.
TAT's new slogan is apparently 'amazing Thailand, amazing value' This is NOT amazing value!!

Posted by Mr Mark on January 31, 2010 17:14

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Well I agree with Mr Mark

Posted by Sean on January 31, 2010 20:26

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dreamworld in bangkok is 500 baht all day at farang price with rides, waterslides, etc. it is just crazy to pay 1500 for this and insulting that it is the 'local' price.

Posted by girl about town on January 31, 2010 22:04

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1795 baht what a rip off,the only folk that turn up will be the better offs of Phuket. As for the locals they can't afford this, the only visitors will be tourists but with large families they would not be able to afford these rates. The question I pose to the operators: are you rates flexible in the low season? You better rethink your charges.

Posted by alex on February 1, 2010 06:36

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50 bucks a head just to get in and ++ ? That is crazy! And it doesn't stop there does it ? Your family of four or whatever is still going to have to eat and drink etc.Any info on food and drink prices, souvenirs etc. ? The usual crap that your kids demand and deserve on such an outing ? A day out with the "family of four" could easily run you 15,000 baht, the price of a good used motorbike.

I am sure they will get plenty of "one off" visits but who will spend that kind of coin on a regular basis when the beach is just down the road? Is this going to be the Thailand Tuk Tuk of waterparks ?

Posted by proper health care on February 1, 2010 08:13

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Nice photo of a new fleet of expensive customer shuttle vans. Please be advised, however, that they will not be leaving the parking lot. All transport on this island is provided exclusively by tuk tuks and their licencees. No exceptions.

Should you prefer to proceed and provide your customers with the option of riding to your park in those new and comfortable air-conditioned vehicles, then a few of the boys will be coming over to discuss license fees.

Hey, the boys have families to feed.

Posted by Tuk Tuk Man on February 1, 2010 08:14

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I now know who runs the island.
How putrid the smell of decay and rot, but without customers the tuk tuks can have it all.
The Economic tsunami has arrived.

Editor: You told Graham in another post his post was " Editor: .... thoughtless and hypocritical? Yes." Ha Ha Ha he was right on the correct button hey ? Hit a nerve he did.

Phuket's decent transport is dead.

Posted by Dun on February 1, 2010 10:22

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I heard way back when that the original concept was to open Splash to the public for a year or so... use it as a tool to put the resort on the map and as a tool to get tourists in and promote timeshares to them. Then, close it to the public and have it for resort guests only.

Any truth in this? Any insight, Editor?

Editor: That was what I heard as well, but before the economic downturn. What you could call a Dubai duck . . if it flies, great. A 500 million baht investment for owners and guests? I think someone did the sums.

Posted by Duncan on February 1, 2010 11:41

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Thanks for the pictures, but I still think this place is overpriced.

BTW, why do the vans show a website link to Villas/Residences. Do they own the park?

Thanks again for the pics.

Posted by Anonymous on February 1, 2010 13:22

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Is the waterpark insured? Or, if a mishap occurs as it did recently with an elephant tour and a bungee outfit, will the waterpark expect someone else to pick up the hospital bill?

Editor: Safety standards appear to be extremely high.

Posted by Bump on the head on February 2, 2010 03:10

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i would pay to go to the Similan islands more than a waterpark....i can go to a water park without travelling to thailand......can't see the Similan islands from here though....too expensive....our water park is approx 522 baht.

Posted by gerard on February 3, 2010 12:30

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It's as far as I'm aware the most expensive water park in the world.

Posted by Benjie on February 3, 2010 20:25

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Let's see:

Raging Waters in California is bigger and has more slides, and it is only 989B per adult.

Waterworks California about the same size, and is only 627B for adults

WaterWorld California is bigger and has more slides, and is only 1055B for adults and for only 1980B gets you an adult session pass that lets you go as many times as I want for the whole session.

It says it all when you can get a SESSION PASS to any water park in California for cheaper than Phuket daily ticket fee. Phuket once again is far overpriced when compared with the rest of the world.

Also with California for example you don't have to worry about Life guard competency, slide maintenance, general upkeep due to state regulations.

Why would someone come here, pay more for a smaller venue, and also have to worry about competency/upkeep?

Posted by Chris on February 10, 2010 15:21


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