PICTURES: [Closed] New Kuta Green Park, Bali

New Kuta Green Park is located in the Pecatu Indah enclave south of Bali. This 5ha waterpark was built alongside very large hotels in an attempt to create a major integrated resort. The waterpark was popular with domestic tourists for a while but is now closed. I enjoyed walking around and taking a few shots of the beautiful overgrown nature slowly taking over. I hope you enjoy!

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Construction Update: Movie Animation Park Studios, Malaysia

Having heard that this theme park under construction in Ipoh, Malaysia is not opening in December as planned but probably in April 2017, I thought I would stop by on my way to Penang over the end-of-the-year break to report on the status of construction and share a few pictures.

The entrance building and car park were finished early 2016 and it seems most of the rides have been delivered by now. The theming in Animation Square is almost done and you can actually see it from the highway itself. I wonder if that will be covered later as I don’t think visitors of the park want to see the highway from the square! It looks like the structure for the stunt show is also done. The main areas requiring more work are probably the Dreamworks Zone and the Blast Off Zone.

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View from the main entrance building of the bridge, Animation Square and Megamind Megadrop at the back

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View from the main entrance of Fantasy Forest at the front and Stunt Legends structure at the back

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Panoramic view from the entrance building

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View of the starship restaurant being built in the Blast Off Zone

REVIEW: Ramayana Water Park, Pattaya, Thailand

On the 5th of May 2016 the last of a series of new water parks in Thailand opened in Pattaya. I was lucky to be able to visit only a week later and here are some of my impressions.

Ramayana Water Park is located in Silverlake, south of Pattaya. Despite being quite far from the main hotel areas (Jomtien, Pattaya Beach), there is ample signage on the main road and most people seem to know about it. It helps that the project has been under construction for 5 years!

Opening promotion ticket prices (Adult – THB990, Child – THB790) are 20-40% cheaper than Cartoon Network Amazone, Pattaya’s other major water park also located in Pattaya South (10min drive from Ramayana).

Ramayana is shouting loud and clear it is Thailand’s biggest water park. I guess it makes for an easy positioning; and big always works in marketing! Using the theme – Ramayana – would have been a bit more difficult; and you will understand why below.

I went on a weekday (Friday) and the park was not too busy; there was a good mix of Thai families and tourists (Russian, European) mostly in couples. This made for an overall good family fun atmosphere.

The first thing that struck me about the park was indeed that it felt big thanks to the sense of space (enhanced by the setting in a flatland surrounded by hills) together with the sense of generosity (lots of seats and umbrellas everywhere, large shaded areas, spacious locker and shower room, etc). Then came the attention to details: uniforms, landscaping and soundscape.

But the most memorable was probably the service, starting with guest service staff assisting while in the queue to explain how the park works, and then continuing on throughout the park with staff that was helpful, spoke good English and presented very well. I was very well looked after and someone even helped me sort-out transportation back to Bangkok. I definitely left with a smile and so did most of the visitors who were being greeted goodbye by friendly staff!

In terms of rides and facilities, Ramayana offers the latest in trends and technology. The park is cashless and using a barcode wristband (incl. locker systems). The numerous slides are all from Whitewater including Thailand’s first water coaster (going up and down a few times) and the same kids play area as the new Lost Lagoon at Sunway Lagoon. It’s really fun!

The park provides a variety of different ambiences for different age groups and moods: kids, toddlers, activity pool, relax pool, wave pool. The only disappointment is actually the wave pool, which felt a bit small and with no strong backdrop/theming.

Speaking of theming, this is where I was disappointed, or rather mislead. My understanding was that when this project started many years ago it was going to be heavily themed following the myths & legends of Ramayana. But maybe with time and possibly changes in the management it seems the theming was forgotten; there is no flow-through on the slides or in the visual identity (logo, signage, etc).

In summary ‘Thailand’s biggest water park’ is probably the best tagline for this well executed, spacious and generous park offering the latest and best in facilities. This makes a great park for families with younger kids and therefore a good complement to Cartoon Network Amazone, which is targeting teenagers and young adults (DJ’s, live shows, etc). Visitors to Pattaya now have two great options for a fun day-out in the new water capital of SE Asia; a great positioning for the growing family tourism market into the region!

REVIEW: Dinosaur Planet, Bangkok, Thailand

This new attraction is Bangkok’s talk-of-the-town! It’s actually running only temporarily until March 2017 on a site owned by The Mall Group (Siam Paragon, Emporium, etc) to promote the new EM Quartier development and position is as a family destination.

The location – right on Sukhumvit Road and highly visible from the BTS – is fantastic and contributes to making it a must-go for all Bangkokians. As a result I hear the place is packed on weekends. It was busy when I went on a week night around 6pm.

Overall it does feel like a small theme park with a certain sense of escapism when the city (and one of its busiest road) is just outside! There are a few rides and attractions making it a good 2-hour visit. Among them Stars of Dino, an outdoor walk among animatronics with lots of photo ops, 4D Deep World, a basic 4D immersive tunnel with good preshow but very average media, and The Extinction Live Show, featuring a variety of live acts including dinosaur-costumed performers and acrobats.

This is another example that dinosaurs work! They are big crowd pullers; kids and adults equally fall for them. Also, they offer great opportunities for theming – in this case: jeeps, volcano, rockwork, containers, etc – and educational content.

At a reported cost of 500million baht i.e. US$14million (which I would think is a bit inflated for marketing purposes), this attraction doesn’t come cheap for visitors: adults 600 baht (US$17) and children 400 baht (US$11.2). But surprisingly it’s not just for ‘hi so’ people from Bangkok’s Thonglor or Ekamai areas but for all sorts of people judging from the crowd on the day I went. This probably shows the strong need for family entertainment (and not just for kids) in this city of more than 10million population.