A new water park, the Vana Nava Hua Hin, gets flowing in time for tourism season
Get ready to take the plunge as Asia’s first water jungle, the Vana Nava Hua Hin, turns on the tap next week. Home to 19 water rides, the amusement park is aiming to become one of the leading attractions the popular resort town.
“Vana Nava has the largest, longest and most thrilling rides in Thailand. It should also be considered as the safest water park, as we have 160 lifeguards and a general manager with more than 27 years of experience in water and amusement operations,” says Proudputh Liptapanlop, managing director of Proud Real Estate. “It’s also the most high-tech, with RFID [radio-frequency identification] wristbands distributed to all visitors. And it’s eco-friendly, with 200,000 plants and trees, a top-quality water management system and the highest water quality.”
“Our goal here at Vana Nava is to run a very safe and fine park and we stress operational standards in everything we do. I am bringing to the park my past experience and operational excellence in all those areas,” adds general manager Mike R Fijas.
“As chairman of the Safety Committee for the World Waterpark Association, I’m bringing a high set of standards that are recognised worldwide to Vana Nava. We’re safe because of the standards we utilise in our everyday operations. That’s why we use Ellis and Associates as the certifying body for our lifeguards. They are the No 1 recognised agency for certification of lifeguards in the world and they are here to work with us and provide the highest standards of safety we can,” Fijas continues.
Built at a cost or more than B1 billion, Vana Nava Hua Hin has transformed 20 rai of land into a tropical jungle, with an Adventure Zone and a Wet Zone. The Adventure attractions include a 13.4-metre-high rope course, a 13-metre climbing wall and double-flow attraction, the Chang Surf Zone.
“We have rope course harnesses to guarantee safety and our team will guide visitors both on the walls and on body boards and surf boards,” says Proudputh.
After pausing at the gate to scan our wristband, we step into the Wet Zone.
“The RFID technology tells us when you check in and check out of the water park. This modern system links with our database and helps to prevent theft should you lose the wristband,” says Natha Jamasevi, the water park’s revenue director.
The nearest attraction to the gate is the Slide Jungle Zone by True Move H featuring the Free Fall, at 18-metres-high, the tallest slide in Thailand and with a stomach-bouncing 80-degree drop at a speed of 50 kilometres per hour.
“It’s an almost 90-degree ride down and takes just five seconds,” says Nontanun “Kacha AF8” Anchuleepradit, after having a go on the Free Fall. “It gives you a tremendous rush.
Next to it is the Aqualoop, the only vertical looping slide in Thailand, which carries speeds of up to 60km.
“It’s exciting and scary at the same time,” laughs Wongsapat “Zo AF9” Tangniyom after trying out the Aqualoop. “You don’t know when it will open and when it does, it’s so fast.”
Visitors will also enjoy stopping off at the green photo kiosks manned by Canon. Here, you can scan your wristband and photos of you having fun on the rides will appear on the screen. You can share them on Facebook – the True Wi-Fi signal is strong – or ask for a print at the Canon counter.
Our next stop is the Aqua Course, an exhilarating course of ropes and challenging obstacles, combined with water guns. Adjacent is the Rain Fortress by Muang Thai Assurance that guarantees a soaking thanks to the 2,000 litres of water in a giant bucket.
In need of something with less of an adrenaline rush, we cross the bridge to the Lazy River, a winding waterway where you can bob along in a tube and take in the cave and waterfall. The lampposts are especially attractive and take their inspiration from the bamboo fish traps of olden days.
The Wave Pool and Coconut Beach, Thailand’s first artificial beach with real sand, are also in this area of the park as is the Fisherman’s Tavern where adults can enjoy a drink and Fisherman’s Cafe, which sells a variety of food,
“We don’t allow alcohol in other parts of the water jungle and we only use paper containers and plastic utensils,” Natha says.
Lunch over, Proudputh encourages us to have a go on the Boomerango, at 179 metres, the longest slide in Thailand. It shoots you up and down the wall at up to 45 kph before splashing down into a pool. The braver among us also try the Abyss, which offers four or five near-vertical spins before plummeting into a huge funnel at a terrifying speed.
Other slides include the Inner-Tube with dramatic twists and turns and drops at speed, the Rattler, the Super Bowl and the Master Blaster that soars uphill at speeds of up 45 kph.