Three waterparks stand out in the Chiang Mai vicinity. The most famous one is maybe the most unexpected one in a sense. The backpacker favourite Grand Canyon in Nam Phrae, Hang Dong that developed into a real multi-play area with a zipline, shooting range and both a waterpark zone for adults and one for kids. Then you have a very cheap option and one that is a more classic Western type.
Here are the three parks:
The Grand Canyon in Name Phrae Hang Dong has three parts.
The fairly new waterpark is quite impressive with all food stalls and arrangements for kids of different ages. The gap between the kid zone and the more advanced play area is an issue for some parents. That the kid area is not challenging enough but the deepwater area is too challenging.
There is a quite interesting history about the area. The first reservoir was created unintentionally. It is a soil excavation site. Soil from this land was dug up to build real estate development projects in Chiang Mai. This turned it into a man-made canyon with a total area of 48,000m² and finally, into a reservoir.
Erosion gradually carved away at the rugged walls and people in search of spectacular places with panorama began calling it the “Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai”. The first deepwater area was the (in)famous popular backpacker place depending on how you see it.
Now it has been developed into different sections and the actual waterpark is a favourite spot among Chiang Mai families.
There are lifeguards around and you need to wear a life jacket. Many inflatable installations are available.
Enjoy some wakeboarding. Plenty of activities, well managed but still informal.
Check out the website here.
Location of Grand Canyon water park on Google Maps here.
Then the high profiled Tube Trek in Sankampaeng with some astonishing slide rides. It is currently the largest waterpark in Northern Thailand. When this is written they are just about to open again in July 2021, but currently only for weekends. We have been there once, and the rides, the slides are outstanding compared to the other places mentioned here. But also more expensive. More effects, more attractions but also quite hot everywhere in the area. So maybe better to arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. Or, just prepare good sunblock.
This is a more Western concept, wristband, lockers, no food from the outside and all that. There can be some events here and concerts. In non-pandemic times, you will see that this is an outing that will easily cost a bit with meals and everything. But for sure your kids will enjoy it. But still a once in while attraction.
Anyhow keep track of their Facebook page for events and price updates. As well as opening times.
Grand Canyon is averagely priced and The Sun is cheap. In both places, you could easily enjoy a nice day out with the family. Kids can swim, you can eat. Not quite as pretentious as Tube Trek. But again, if you are in it for the rides of the slides first and foremost. Then it’s Tube Trek.
Location on Google maps here.
The Sun just 40 minutes South of Chiang Mai just off-road 11 and a short drive on 2001 is mainly for the smaller ones. It is not too big. Easy to overview, but the surrounding shophouses area is run down and the same goes for the Tivoli area. Once you walked through this you will be rewarded with a nice waterpark though.
During Covid 19 in June they have been running promotions with an entrance fee of only 40 baht on weekdays, and 100 baht on weekends. When we parked a lady came running directly to make sure to us that we were in the right place and that we didn’t leave.
We arranged a playdate here with friends and it was a success. We were only 20 people there. Water is clean, you can rent floaties outside and there are two stalls selling beers, soft drinks, ice cream and easy dishes. Of course, there is papaya salad. No one minded if you brought some of your snacks and food in when we were there. But of course, it might change in the future.
Note that the slides are built in concrete and that they are fast and the water is shallow. This is mostly for younger kids. It is not comparable to a real waterpark, it is better than a pool but not as impressive as Tube Trek. The feeling here is a bit reversed. You come here with low expectations and get positively surprised while it is easy to have too high expectations on Tube Trek.
Location on Google Maps here.
If you rather prefer waterfalls. Try the sticky waterfall in Mae Taeng, or the Mae Sa waterfall in Mae Rim.
Just looking to cool down in a nice natural atmosphere, try the Obkhan national park with a sand stretch and a river.