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