REVIEW: Siam Park City, Bangkok

There are a few theme parks in Asia, which regularly communicate on their development plans and Siam Park City is one of them. I remembered reading an article on their plans to increase the number of visitors to 3million per year and so I took advantage of a recent trip to Bangkok to pay a visit.

When I told local Thai people I wanted to go they seemed surprised and warned me it was quite far and very local. I became even more keen as I am always interested to see what a local park does well or differently from other international ones. I picked my day – 1st May Public Holiday – so that I sure it would be busy, which is always nicer for pictures and gives more justice to a park.

I thought of following transportation indications from the BTS skytrain website but I could not find the right bus near the exit they suggested so I ended up taking a taxi. The park is actually quite far, sort of near the new Bangkok airport. By looking at the car park I concluded a vast majority of the visitors come by car, or maybe by coach. But very few would be those using public transportation.

Not to my surprise – I lived in Thailand for 3 years – the façade of the park proudly features a portrait of the King. This sets the tone.

Siam Park City - Facade

On that day (during Summer Holidays) the price was THB 900 (US$30) for foreigners and THB 500 (US$16.7) for locals. Not cheap! But I am told it gives access to all rides and the water park.

Most of the visitors were Thai families (often with grand parents) and a few tourists from Russia and the Middle East. There would also be some Chinese tourists at times as the signage is in Thai, Chinese and Russian.

Siam Park City - Signage

Theme Park

Overall I was not impressed. From the entrance, which is a big bear hall, to the alleys of the park and the building facades, the theming is of poor quality and vaguely in the classic European Disney style. It looks a bit run down and clearly no renovation has happened in quite a while.

Siam Park City - Big Hall

Siam Park City - Restaurant facade

There’s a fountain that reminds me a bit too much of something I would have seen elsewhere. My friend The Theme Park Guy would not be impressed!

Siam Park City - Universal style fountain

A few large cheap shading structures have been installed to protect different areas of the park from the sun: stage, kids ride cluster and a small rides cluster.

Siam Park City - Kids Zone

Siam Park City - Shading Structure

On a positive note, some of the landscaping is good and helps making it a bit more inviting in opposition to the sun-baked bear pavement.

Siam Park City - Landscape

Plenty of F&B outlets are located throughout the park with a variety of local and international snacks complemented by a signature buffet restaurant near the park entrance.

Siam Park City - Food

Siam Park City - Food

Retail was disappointing: mostly cheap tourist souvenirs and equipment for the water park.

Siam Park City - Retail

Rides & Attractions

Siam Park City boasts three roller coasters (one was closed during my visit), which the local teenagers and young adults seemed to love! I tried the Boomerang, which starts going backwards slowly before dropping you for a few loops and going back up, but forward this time, and down the loops again backward. Quite a ride!

Siam Park City - Boomerang

One note I would make here is that there was only one staff manning the ride and he did not check that all of the personal protections were well locked before pushing the start button. Not the highest safety standards.

One of the park’s signature attractions is the Dinosaur Adventure, which I decided to queue for. I liked the idea that the ride was on board a real jeep taking visitors into the Jurassic jungle. But the execution is very poor: no pre-show, no word from the driver, very little story telling, just a lot of old animatronics barely moving (including of cave men!) and one elephant splashing visitors just before the end.

Siam Park City - Jurassic Adventure

Siam Park City - Jurassic Adventure

I liked the fact that the signature flume ride features an Asian cat rather than a cowboy theme; it made it more culturally interesting. A very popular ride under the heat.

Siam Park City - Flume Ride

There’s plenty of other small rides including a nice drop tower, a merry-go-round, various wheels and the very cool Tagada Disco, which is bouncing to the sound of popular hit songs.

Siam Park City - Drop Tower

Siam Park City - Tagada Disco

And to finish – but not my cup of tea so I didn’t go – the haunted house seems to be very popular with an East-meet-West theme. Why not!

Siam Park City - Haunted House

The Water Park

Clearly the main draw for most families on this hot holiday, the water park was packed. It features the Guiness World Records “biggest wave pool in the world”, a few slides and spa pool area (not so popular).

It felt like a popular beach near a big urban area. Each family occupied a small area, mostly sitting/lying on the ground, chatting away and eating or drinking from what they brought along or from one of the many snack carts around.

Siam Park City - Water Park

Siam Park City - Water Park

Overall I was expecting more from a park that aims for 3million annual visitors. The initial theming is poor and no significant renovation has been done in a few years. That being said it still makes a good day-out thanks to the giant wave pool, the roller coasters and plenty of cheap food & beverage. The other theme park in Bangkok, Dreamworld, is slightly better but clearly there is room for an international standard theme park in Bangkok.

PICTURES: Asiatique The Riverfront – Bangkok

On a recent trip to Bangkok I went to Asiatique The Riverfront, which I had shortlisted as a benchmark of lifestyle entertainment destination for clients but never had the opportunity to visit myself.

Asiatique is developed by Thai developer TCC Land and it is meant to replace the old Suan Lum Night Bazaar, which closed for redevelopment into residential. The irony of property development.

It is right on the river, just a 10min shuttle boat ride from Saphan Taksin BTS station, and it occupies the former East Asiatic pier. Here is my take on what makes the place successful:

– A strong sense of place with the presence on the river, the Ferris wheel and the atmosphere reminiscent of famous Thai markets (e.g. Chatuckak)

– A nice mix of modernity (funky restaurants and bars) and heritage with the old East Asiatic warehouse theme revisited

– Good entertainment offering with 2 shows (Muay Thai, Calypso), the Ferris wheel and live music

– Branches of famous dining institutions such as Capri and Baan Khanitha

– Partnership with Tripadvisor and Dao Dao to position as Bangkok’s must-go lifestyle destination

As a result the place was happening; I saw mostly Asian tourists (Korea, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian) and a fair amount of locals.

Riverside restaurants with live music

Riverside restaurants with live music

Ferris wheel and Thai style markets

Ferris wheel and Thai style markets

Muay Thai show

Muay Thai show

Calypso show

Calypso show

Stylish restaurants

Stylish restaurants

Warehouse & Pier theming

Warehouse & Pier theming