BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - In April, the heat starts to get serious. Temperatures rise to 40 degrees Celsius and beyond, and drains people of all their energy. Some are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the country's best beaches, others cycle to the nearby waterfalls and cascades to take a break from the heat. But for those who are stuck in the urban jungle, you can make a trip out to the nearest waterpark.
This week, we look at the seven best waterparks at which to chill.
SCENICAL WORLD KHAO YAI, NAKHON RATCHASIMA
Tucked away in Pak Chong district, a popular destination with Bangkok's get-out-of-towners, Scenical World Khao Yai is a new kid on the block. A heady combination of amusement park, shopping mall and hotel, it's also home to Splash World, where you can experience the water in a variety of playful and adventurous ways. In pride of place is the Splash Coaster where you sweep down, twist, turn and climb on a thrilling run of 180 metres. The brave can get their adrenaline kicks by whizzing along the circular slide at high speed before plunging into the Space Bowl.
Open daily, 9am to 6pm
Adult 890 Baht (S$34.20), children and seniors 680 Baht
Call (02) 661 2999 or visit www.ScenicalWorld.com
CARTOON NETWORK AMAZONE, PATTAYA
Leave it up to the kids and they'll probably choose to spend every single day of the long school holidays at Cartoon Network Amazone in Pattaya. Here, at the world's first Cartoon Network theme park, the young and not-so-young can have fun with much-loved characters such as Ben Ten and the Powerpuff girls. The most popular rides include the Omniverse, which is as high as an eight-storey building and home to six of the fastest and steepest water roller coasters, and the gravity-defying Goop Loop roller coaster where you clamber into an enclosed capsule to drop into a 12-metre free-fall that generates maximum G-force. The XLR8TOR is the park’s tallest and steepest ride, drawing its inspiration from Ben Ten's lightning-quick reflexes and ability to reach speeds in excess of 480kph.
Open daily, 10am to 6pm
A Day Pass for Thai residents and expats holding work permits is 1,290 Baht for adults and 990 Baht for children and the elderly. Non-Thai residents pay 1,590 Baht (adults) and 1,290 Baht (children/seniors)
Visit www.CartoonNetworkAmazone. com
SIAM PARK CITY, BANGKOK
Billed as the "Beach of Bangkok", Siam Park City is Bangkok's very first waterpark and was built almost 40 years ago. Michael Jackson came to Siam Park to enjoy the water during his 1993 Dangerous World Tour, and the waterpark is still worth a day trip especially during the hot season. As well as the slide - which in 1970 held the world's record for the highest at 75 feet - there is an inland sandy beach and a sea with giant waves right in downtown Bangkok.
Open daily, 10am to 6pm
Adults US$30 (S$40.40), Children $25, free admission for children under 100 cm (rides not included)
VANA NAVA HUA HIN WATER JUNGLE, PRACHUAB KIRI KHAN
Thailand's best waterpark is located in Hua Hin - the country's leading beach holiday destination.
Vana Nava is built to mimic a tropical lagoon with palm trees and rock pools spread over 3.2 acres. As well as Boomerango, Thailand's longest water slide, this waterpark also has the Abass - the largest ride of its kind, which soars to a height of 28 metres then keeps your spinning at 45kph before plummeting and splashing down into a pool.
Open daily, 10am to 6pm
Adults 1,000 Baht, children and seniors 600 Baht
Call (032) 909 606 or visit www.VanaNavaHuaHin.com
FLOW HOUSE, BANGKOK
A different style of waterpark from the usual slides and rides, Flow House targets the urban dude and wannabe surfer. With artificial waves and water runners, the fun is real as thrill seekers dare to ride the waves and spin their boards. It's a place to see and be seen and occasionally transforms into a party scene with DJs where a dude can roam around and show off his tattoos. Make sure you book in advance if you want to ride the waves as the surf house is always packed.
Open 1.30 to 9pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
750 Baht an hour
SANTORINI WATER FANTASY, PHETCHABURI
Inspired by the blue-and-white tones of Santorini Island in the Aegean Sea, this water park is an excellent choice if you want to avoid the queues at Vana Nava. The Vulcan's Kamikaze ride from 18 metres might sound scary but it's addictive. For a bigger adrenaline rush, try the park's signature Ares's King Cobra slide that keeps you running over 78 metres from the tail to the head of the snake-like ride.
Open 10am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Adults 900 Baht, children 350 Baht, disabled showing card 500 Baht
SPLASH DOWN, PATTAYA
While many amusement parks lay the claim for the "biggest, longest, fastest" accolade, Splash Down takes the form of a lake filled with inflatables designed to hurl thrill seekers into the sky and, of course, into the water. These include the Big Blob, where you jump and see how far you can fly and Big Red Balls that demand you bounce your way across eight, big balls without falling into the pool. Designed for adult and teenagers, this isn't a place for the little ones.
Open daily, 9am to 6pm.
650 Baht for Thais and expats with work permit, 1,200 Baht for foreigners