• Nikki Busuttil

Vana Have Fun in Hua Hin?


Every once in a while, it's good for the soul to act like a child and have some good old-fashioned fun! Theme parks and water parks are a great way to let off steam and play all day. I, recently, had the pleasure of being invited to Vana Nava Water Jungle Park in Hua Hin, Thailand...

Even if you don't have kids yourself, grab a bunch of like-minded friends, who are up for a laugh, or better yet, those you feel could really benefit from some belly laughs and letting their hair down, and make a day of it.

Until my invitation to Vana Nava, I hadn't known this place existed (shame on me!), but I'm truly thrilled to be able to share the love, now I'm better informed! A quick two-and-a-half hour drive from Bangkok, or three-minute drive from the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, this place is well worth a visit. The picture below shows the park's mascots Vana and Nava, an almost mandatory stop for a photo op, just behind the Angel of Wealth statue and spirit house, where locals go to pray.

Exceptionally clean, highly organised and incredibly safety-conscious (lifeguards are literally everywhere), Vana Nava emulates international standards, and it is reassuring to note that the water filtration systems are top-notch (apparently from the UK).

Upon arrival, the fun can begin in the dry area, outside of the ticketed zone. There is a rope course, to warm you up, and a rockclimbing wall, which generally comes at extra cost. I had a quick go, since I love rockclimbing. The degree of difficulty for routes ascends from left to right, so you can be an absolute beginner through to more advanced.

Once you have your tickets (general admission is 1000Baht per adult, 600Baht per child or senior citizen, although VIP treatment is available), grab a map, a locker (100Baht) and a towel (150Baht), then hit the changing rooms. You can literally show up with just your swim gear, as Vana Nava has everything you need! There are restaurants, bars and shops inside too - even if you forget your bikini or boardshorts, the Roxy store can kit you out). Your entry ticket entitles you to a whole day at all of the playful attractions inside the wet area. You get a wristband with a tag that you can load up with money, so you don't need to carry anything with you inside.

Food options include typical fast food joints, snack bars, ice cream vendors and more, as well as fine dining at Treetop Lounge, which is located upstairs next to the VIP rooms available for rent. Treetop Lounge has a la carte options and a set menu, devised by Thailand Iron Chef Chumpol, paired with Monin cocktails.

The water attractions range from small-child-friendly, to heart-stopping thrill slides. With names like Lazy River, Abyss (pictured below), Master Blaster, Aqua Loop and FreeFall, the bigger rides involve lots of stairs, so come filled with energy and tank up on drinking water and snacks, at regular intervals! First in, on the left, is a Flowrider surf machine, which takes up to five people at a time.

Master Blaster has you racing up to 45kmph, FreeFall hits 50kmph and Aqua Loop drops you through a perspex floor and shoots you through looping tunnels up to 60kmph. There is also a large wave pool and plenty of sunloungers with waiter service, for some time-out to relax (see below).

Beach huts and cabanas are also available for hire, if you'd prefer more privacy, in different sizes up to eight people (approx. 600-1000Baht). Guests of the InterContinental have a reserved large cabana, stocked with chilled drinking water, free-of-charge, to store belongings and chill. You can even rent out the park, or specific areas, for parties and events.

The Vana Nava Water Jungle Park is open all year round. The water zone operates from 10am to 6pm, while the adventure zone continues til 9pm. However, in high season, Friday and Saturday nights see these times extended by two hours. For more information, directions, photos and ride descriptions, visit www.vananavahuahin.com, email info@vananava.com, or call +66-32-909-606 (local: 032-909-606).

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© 2019 created and curated by Nikki Busuttil.