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Take a walk on the wild slide: Phuket's Splash Jungle gets set to get wet

Prices UPDATE: Splash Jungle Opening

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Entry Price UPDATE: Album Above

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 and for Thai Residents 1500 baht++ Introductory rates valid to April 30, 2010. For more information or reservations, contact hotline: +66 076 372 111

Original Report

FINISHING touches are now being applied to Splash Jungle, Phuket's first world-class theme park, which will be open to the public from Saturday, January 30.

Phuketwan took the first exclusive tour. Our conclusion: we think islanders and visitors will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the waterpark and take the plunge in droves.

The Splash Jungle waterpark is part of the West Sands Resort, on Mai Khao beach and so close to Phuket International Airport that the waterslide tower also provides a great view of aircraft takeoffs and landings.

A fleet of 12 colorful minibuses will soon be seen crisscrossing Phuket, picking up and dropping off guests in much the same way that FantaSea buses do now.

At first sight on a guided ''dry run'' this week, Splash Jungle is impressive.

We can't wait until the island takes the advice on the front of the brochures, now being distributed in their thousands: ''Phuket. Let's get wet!''

In preparation for the big opening, we took a walk on the wild slide with a man who probably knows more about the place than anyone: the director of operations and waterpark general manager, Christopher R. Stuart.

While the whole space is huge, capable of holding 2000 people soaking wet, the tower is what catches your eye instantly. Boomerango, the Super Bowl, the thrills and spills really start from up here.

Down below, jungle green scenes were being painted on walls near the large entranceway, which leads to a car park for 200 vehicles and a large changing room pavilion.

We resisted the temptation to take a dry run down one of the flume tunnels, having wisely left our Billabongs at home. If we'd been dressed for the occasion, the temptation might have proven too much.

''I've been doing water parks for 30 years,'' said Mr Stuart. ''This is a very exciting project because truly there's something for everyone. We have some innovative rides.

''First there's the Boomerango. There's a steep drop that goes into a back and forth oscillating ride, which gives the sensation of a fall out or freefall, then riders go clear up on a near vertical wall, then there's a back and forth sensation until it works out into a splash pool at the end.

''I would say it's exciting for the thrill-seekers. The one next to it is also high-thrill.

''You enter from the same height level as the Boomerango. There's a steep drop then you go into this bowl, we call it the Super Bowl.

''As the circumference reduces, the speed increases. You come out the bottom into a splash pool at the end. Both of these rides can be taken in a double or a single tube.''

We had to be restrained from taking the plunge right then and there. If only a double tube had been within reach.

From the top of the slide tower there are more conventional paths to the bottom, too, on the slide flumes.

You just jump in, and the water and gravity do the rest. Around us, the eight-storey condos of the West Sands Resort hem in the waterpark.

Owners and guests in that accommodation will have excellent views of the non-stop action and probably be within earshot of squeals of delight, too.

There are five giant slides and five smaller slides, squirt guns . . . you can't keep from getting wet. Height determines whether children can ride the more daring thrills.

At ground level are the Splash Jungle theme parks, surrounded by the Lazy River where those inclined to a more leisurely pace can do a circuit of 335 metres to investigate all that's on offer.

''We've done some preliminary tests . . . it should all be great,'' said Mr Stuart, who has been involved with waterparks since the industry's infancy.

''They've come a long way in the last 30 years,'' he said. ''Especially in the slide design, and the improvement in safety.''

Mr Stuart started out in the US and has opened several parks there, as well as in Korea and China.

''Right now the growth is in Asia,'' he said. ''Splash Jungle is probably medium size, but in rides and attractions, we're state of the art.''

Mr Stuart's last assignment was an indoor waterpark at a snow-skiing resort in Idaho. He has been on Phuket for two months.

''Next week we are going to do a sales blitz and visit some of the resorts and travel agents so we can introduce ourselves, and that will give me an opportunity to get out and see some of the island's attractions.''

He sees the location, to the north of the airport, as easy to reach for people using the shuttle bus service.

The technology behind the park, or more appropriately beneath the park, is also state of the art. A labyrinth of chambers and pumping systems will keep the waterpark functioning.

The perfectly formed waves in the Wave Pool, for example, will be generated by blower fans below.

''We have sophisticated infrastructure to support the waterpark,'' Mr Stuart said. ''Our filtration, circulation and disinfectant systems are all state of the art.

''Our system is automated so that we can continually monitor the chlorine and pH level and inject only the chlorine that we need to have crystal-clear water.''

The original water for the first real ''fill'' will be trucked in. After that, supplies will come from a water well.

''You might think that a water park is a water hog but that's not the case,'' he said. ''All the water is recirculated. We really only use what is evaporated and the small amount that people carry off on their bodies.

''Water conservation is important to us. That's why we recirculate all the water.''

So shake yourself off before leaving the pool . . . .

And Mr Stuart appears to be correct. There is something for everybody.

Fancy a dip in an ice-motif warm springs spa, or a sauna in an igloo? Hey, no problem.

Rent a Jungle Hut Cabana all day, try some Terrazona sunbathing, check out the Aqua Play Pool, swim up to the Splash Bar, or eat at the Coconut Cafe or the Jungle Deli.

The waterpark is equipped to light up at night, which would add another dimesion. But for now, it's daytime only, 10am-6pm.

Being open at nights during high season is ''very possible'' for the future.

Traditionally, the representative from the water slide manufacturer takes the first ride. We're assured that they haven't lost a ''slide pilot'' yet.

Resort managers, concierges and families are being invited to the waterpark this weekend, Saturday January 23 or Sunday January 24 between 10am until 6pm. RSVP via email: splashjungle@west-sands.com

WEST SANDS Resort has a new senior team, with Tony Cousens as Chief Executive Officer and Sean Boyle as Director of Resort Operations.

Splash Jungle hotline: +66 (0) 76 372111 www.splash-jungle.com
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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i don't know WHO made the pics - but that photographer should give back his licence to being allowed to make pictures for Phuketwan!

Posted by Arom on January 16, 2010 11:13

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Thank you for the great reporting, great pics and especially the content between the lines.

I also commend your nearly successful efforts to be unbiased.

If there is something for everyone does that mean Thai Children will have a chance to enjoy the park? Perhaps they can provide free swimming lessons as a way to give back to the community.

Posted by VFaye on January 18, 2010 12:58

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Can that photographer keep a camera straight?!

Posted by Jamie on January 19, 2010 14:41

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"A fleet of 12 colorful minibuses will soon be seen crisscrossing Phuket, picking up and dropping off guests in much the same way that FantaSea buses do now."

Have they cleared this with the tuk tuk owners??

Posted by another steve on January 19, 2010 16:05

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Is this the place that's going to be charging 2000 baht entry, $60 to go swimming is crazy unless the slides (and water) is made of pure gold.

Posted by Benjie on January 22, 2010 00:24

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For more information about Splash Jungle, please visit our website http://splashjunglephuket.com/

Posted by Splash Jungle Team on January 25, 2010 09:56

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Ah, more PR blurb by Phuketwan for Splash... Incidentally, just above the "comment" box is this: Comment (text-only, no links or tags, thanks). How then can the "Splash Jungle Team" be allowed to post a link to its website?

Editor: PR blurb? We think it's a matter of great public interest. Phuket gets its first theme park only once. Doesn't that strike you as a newsworthy event, deserving coverage and information? We're keen to let readers decide what they think about the waterpark - and its prices.

Your line of questioning is valid, but the only benefits Phuketwan has derived are a free lunch as we interviewed, and the promise of a first-day ride . . . and after that, we can tell you whether it's worth the money. The ''link'', by the way, is text only.

Posted by Owen Meaney on January 25, 2010 17:43

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Balls, Alan, utter balls.

Editor: Thanks. We're glad you admire our courage, Owen.

Posted by Owen Meaney on January 25, 2010 18:13

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What courage? The sheer audaciousness of masquerading your PR efforts as ahem "news"? Basta!

Editor: You don't think the advent of Phuket's first theme park is news, Owen? Hmmm . . . we don't do ''PR'' only news. If we mention a sponsor, you get to know about it.

Posted by Owen Meaney on January 25, 2010 18:28

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Although it does not affect me, I'm interested in the double-pricing policy of Splash Jungle. 1,795 baht for adults, but only 1,500 baht for Thai residents. On what basis will Splash Jungle decide if someone is a Thai resident?

I hope they mean someone who is resident in Thailand, rather than a resident who is of Thai nationality

Posted by Simon Luttrell on January 25, 2010 18:30

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I was looking forward to enjoying this park with the kids but at those prices I will stay in the local pools. Crazy.

Are they going to offer any sort of season ticket or discounts for island residents ???

Posted by Bernie on January 25, 2010 18:47

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These prices make the tuk tuk drivers seem reasonable, apart from the hefty adult entry fee, the height limitation for child discounts (130cm) rules out anybody over the age of 7/8 yrs. My nine year old "adult" offspring won't be going there.

Posted by mark on January 26, 2010 13:27

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Can Phuketwan confirm if this is the most expensive waterpark in the world?

The waterpark in Singapore is only 300 baht entry, The Massive Dubai waterpark (Jumeirah) is less expensive and that's ISO Certified and very impressive.

Editor: No. But it is for now the most expensive - and the cheapest - on Phuket

Posted by Benjie on January 27, 2010 22:56

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Owen Meany, What the world needs now is, like in my youth, before Reagan, is news that is subsidized- by a mandate, to be unbiased and does not accept advertising as a corpidity ( new word, thanks to recent SCotUS ruling), or have otherwise, personal stakes in presenting a certain view.

Mmmmmmm It Can Be Done...

Posted by A Prayer for.. on January 28, 2010 10:05

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Yes these pictures are bad and that place is ugly. It doesn't look like a jungle but actually: a concrete jungle!

Are you joking about this price?

Why not make free entrance and earn money on food and drinks?

Posted by J on January 28, 2010 19:31

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How did this new business get a phone line so fast?
We are 3 years and still waiting .

Posted by John Irving on January 29, 2010 08:38

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The place needs a bit more shade, but I wish them the best of luck. Good to see some new ideas on Phuket.

Posted by Duncan on January 29, 2010 15:42

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I hope the place does well, but those prices seem really high. 1795 baht is about USD 55, which is a lot of money for one, but really pricey for a family of 2 adults and a child. That is about USD 175 before food and transportation.

Does anyone one know of a water park priced higher somewhere else in the world?

Hopefully the food will be cheap so the customers will feel like they are not being mugged.

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2010 16:28

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It's great to see something different on Phuket but those prices are ridiculous.

They are of course older but Sunway Lagoon in KL or Siam Park in Bangkok are less than half the price.

No doubt there will be quite a hefty charge for the shuttle from the beaches in the south.

We don't know what agents will be able to sell it at but I am very disappointed at this pricing.

Editor: We believe the cost of the shuttle is in the price.

Posted by Steve on January 29, 2010 17:21

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I agree the photography is terrible, the prices are a joke and how close is it to the Airport? The Beach for my Kids and a visit to Wild Wadi Dubai on Holiday, a waterpark that is cheaper.

Posted by Splash Free on January 29, 2010 21:35

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What happened to the original introduction price of 1495? Now it's over 2000 baht with the ++ pricing.

What "service" do you get for the 10% service charge? I'd dare say no service at all, just an extra built in charge.

Posted by Way too high on January 30, 2010 12:04

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Having a double pricing policy is making it impossible for me to visit this park.
It is even worse that it seems to be under Western management,which endorses such a thing with their good name. Nothing but an absolute shame!

Posted by jts on January 30, 2010 14:06

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5,000 Baht ++ for my family even as "local residents" ... For sure we will not be visiting. Absolutely crazy prices.

Posted by Jamie on January 30, 2010 15:43

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I know phuket is expensive but this place take the price! we are 2 parents and 4 kids in the age of 10-17, how can we afford this ?
well let's go down to Kata, 300 bath 3 chairs at the beach :)

Posted by Anna on January 30, 2010 17:22

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Hope we get a nice coverage of the opening. I have to admit, I am curious. Even though the pricing is odd. Seems to me the costs of an additional visitor should not be so high and so it looks to me as an outsider that the price is too high. But then, maybe I am not targeted and the place will be profitable with all the rich and famous flogging to the island coming to visit regularly.

Posted by Lena on January 30, 2010 17:57

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is it any cheaper if you have a car and don't need to be picked up by shuttle....?....1795bt ++....do they pick you up in a rolls royce....?

Posted by gerard on February 3, 2010 15:47

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Splash Jungle is a fantastic day out for the whole family. We had to go three times on our two-week vacation to Phuket!

It isn't cheap but is great value compared with the other activities on the island and the kids absolutely love it. The rides are good for adults too as it the pool bar and river.

It feels very safe and the food is superb and reasonably priced. I can recommend Splash Jungle waterpark as one of the best things on Phuket. Can't not go if you have kids and are holidaying on the island!

Posted by auzzy on April 12, 2010 23:17

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Hey Auzzy, Are you applying for the job they have advertised for Sales and Marketing Manager?

Posted by Bobby Brown on April 13, 2010 08:06

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They certainly need a good marketing manager. I stayed in the Laguna area for two weeks over Easter, and could not find one leaflet or any printed information an any hotel lobby, bar restaurant or anywhere at all. Many hotel and beach tour desks were not aware it had opened! All that potential custom remained virtually untapped.

Editor: We've seen plenty of brochures around the island. Laguna may be off-limits, perhaps, as a rival to West Sands.

Posted by stuart on April 13, 2010 10:26


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