There are a number of amusement parks around Bangkok that are ideal for families of all ages. These include Safari World and Dream World which I have recently visited. Another large amusement park that I went to this week is Siam Park City (Suan Siam in Thai), a short distance north-east of Bangkok. It is very similar to Dream World with its rollercoasters and other rides. However, a large part of the 120 acre park is taken up with a water park. I went there with young Nong Grace to do a site inspection. I haven’t been here for about ten years and I must say that I was impressed with the large variety of things to do to keep everyone amused for the whole day.
We arrived at the park shortly before 10 a.m. when it was just opening its doors for the day. If you go at the weekend then it will open earlier at 9 a.m. The entrance to the park is through a large recreation of a Disney-like castle. At the ticket office they give you a bilingual map of the park where you have to make a decision of where to go first. Even if you stay all day until the park closes at 6 p.m. you will probably find it difficult to experience everything. However, as many of the rides weren’t open when we arrived, we decided to catch a ride on a golf cart for 10 baht each to the large water park on the other side of the park.
There is no doubt that for many families, that the water park is the highlight of any day at Siam Park City. In fact, you can easily laze around here all day. You don’t even need to feel pressurized to get your money’s worth by playing the other rides. This is because you can buy an admission ticket that includes only the water park. This is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children. When we arrived we weren’t planning on doing any swimming. However, when Nong Grace saw how much fun people were having splashing in the water we had to go to the shop to buy her some swimming gear. Apparently you can also rent. There are a number of different areas to the water park. Some were ideal for younger children who cannot swim as the water wasn’t that deep. However, it is advisable to keep an eye on young children as there are some rock pools and they could slip and hurt themselves if they get too excited.
The water park has three main features. First is the action river which flows around the park like a real river. Nearby is a giant waterslide with several levels depending on how brave you are feeling. The largest area is taken up by the artificial sea which even has waves. One area has shallow water with water fountains and waterfalls for the youngsters to play. The artificial sea section starts shallow but gets deep quite quickly by several meters. This area isn’t safe for young children to play alone. There were quite a few lifeguards on duty and one kept calling out in Thai to young kids who tried to play there alone. If your children are competent swimmers then you shouldn’t have too much to worry about. But, I fretted a little with Nong Grace as she is only five years old. She kept running off. There is actually a fourth feature which is the 3-storey high spiral slide. However, this was still closed after an accident earlier this year when 28 children were hurt, four of them badly, when a section of the slide broke and they fell two metres to the ground.
We spent nearly three hours at the water park. There were plenty of places to eat and buy food. You can even rent a deckchair for the day for only 10 baht. I think it is nice to come here for the day just for the swimming. However, there is also the theme park and amusement rides. If you bought an entrance ticket for the water park then you can pay as you go with each ride. The prices for these ranges from 30 baht for a boat ride for kids up to a whopping 300 baht for the Vortex rollercoaster where you are hanging beneath the tracks. The boomerang rollercoaster is 150 baht and Giant Drop is 120 baht. These are all new rides from 2007 and weren’t here during my last visit. If you are planning on doing a lot of rides you can buy a Silver or Gold combo ticket for 350 baht and 500 baht respectively. These give you discounts on many of the rides. However, the best value ticket is the Day Pass for 600 baht which gives you access to the Water Park and unlimited rides at all attractions. If you want to play everything then you should go for this one. However, if you are planning on coming more often then you should consider a Year Pass which is only 1,000 baht which gives you unlimited access for the whole year.
A new section that has just been opened this month is Africa Adventure. Nong Grace was really excited to go and see this one as she liked the drawings on the map. However, once on the boat ride, she kept saying, “They are not real”. But, she still enjoyed the boat ride through the jungles of Africa. The highlight was the waterfalls with the hippos and elephants. The most puzzling section was the African village where a white man was being burned alive over a fire. I am not sure what the story there was. At the end of the boat ride, we then switched to the train which took us around the jungle again. However, this time we had an unobstructed view of everything which made it easier to take pictures. The problem of the boat is that it has a low canopy and it was difficult to see anything high up. From my side of the boat I only saw the feet of elephants.
Near Africa Adventure there is a large building called Dinotopia. This is a kind of a dinosaur museum but it was a bit poorly maintained and really not worth a visit. We also felt let down by the Jurassic Adventure. Here we took a jeep ride through a park much like the movie of the same name. However, the dinosaurs were a bit pathetic. There was a commentary but only in Thai. The nearby Big Double Shock is a bit like a Ghost House. But, as Nong Grace was scared stiff of the one at Dream World we didn’t go in this one. However, she enjoyed the rides for kiddies in Small World. The park has two rollercoasters, a Viking Ship, a swinging Flying Carpet and 75 meter Giant Drop. We didn’t go on any of those but we did go up the 109 meter high Siam Tower which gave us some grand views of the park and surrounding countryside. We could also see a new area of the park which apparently will open in 2009. Grace also enjoyed the two-storey high Merry-go-round and feeding the fish on the lake.
We finally left the park six hours after first arriving. I think she wanted to stay longer but I was exhausted. We did have a great day and I am sure we will return again next year. Nong Grace certainly wants to play in the water park again. You can go to the park by public transport such as Buses no. 60, 71, 96, 115, Air-conditioned buses no. 168, 519, and Micro Buses no. 8, 17. We drove there easily via the outer-ring road and turned off for Serithai Road and headed towards Minburi. The signs were easy to follow for the park. From the new airport, I reckon it is only 30 minutes or less. So, if you have a day to waste then you might consider going to Siam Park City for a swim while you are waiting for your flight. Just take a taxi to the park. It is easy to find one to take you back.
We wish to thank the management of Siam Park City for sponsoring our visit for the day at the park. If anyone reading this runs a tourist attraction or a tour in Thailand and would like to invite us on a site inspection, then please contact us through www.PaknamWeb.com.