The Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Water Park

We may be a fair ol’ distance from the sea here in Chiang Mai but a shortage of aquatic leisure pursuits in and around the city there most certainly ain't! If you're not enjoying a refreshing dip in the luxurious pool of one of our Stay in Chiang Mai Holiday Rentals, tubing down the Mae Ping River with the Chiang Mai Beach Club, cooling down under any of the impressive cascade waterfalls within the Doi Inthanon National Park or embracing the Thai New Year getting soaked to the skin during the Songkran Water Festival, get ready for a splash-packed, fun-filled and family-friendly day out at the newest must-see Chiang Mai tourist attraction, the Grand Canyon Water Park!

What exactly is the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon?

Though not nearly on the same scale as its American namesake, Chiang Mai’s own Grand Canyon was formed from an abandoned pit excavated in order to extend the runway at Chiang Mai International Airport. Over time, the secluded man-made quarry filled with rain and underground water transforming the area into a series of impossibly deep sparkling cobalt blue lakes ringed dramatically by precipitous red rock cliffs topped with lush vegetation and set amid a picturesque backdrop of the nearby Thanon Thong Chai mountains. Sections of the Grand Canyon have actually been open to visitors for a while but a 33 acre site is now separately fenced off and, unveiled in July last year, exists as the Grand Canyon Water Park.

What is there to do at the Grand Canyon Water Park?

Fast becoming popular with westerners who choose to swim the cool waters, kayak on the tranquil lake surface, laze with a chilled beer on one of the rattan loungers or, for the more energetically inclined, tackle with great gusto and exhilaration the giant inflatable floating obstacle course of bouncy pontoons, chutes and climbing walls. For those of a more tender age, the Grand Canyon Water Park also features a children’s play area with more suitably sized water slides and a ball pool.

What are the opening hours?

The Water Park is available to visit every day from 10AM to 7PM.

How much does it cost?

Tickets are priced at 300 baht per person but are good for the whole day with children under 90cm tall admitted free of charge! A private locker (enough to accommodate a small daysack) in which to store your belongings can be rented for 50 baht together with a refundable key deposit of 100 baht.

What facilities are there on site?

With ample free parking for cars and motorbikes, stop by the souvenir shop to stock up on keepsake Grand Canyon Water Park emblazoned t-shirts and towels, sunscreen, shower gel, swimwear and related gear! Gender-segregated toilets and changing rooms are provided and although visitors aren’t allowed to bring in outside food or drink purchased, the Grand Canyon Café overlooking the lake as well as the open-air Food Centre and adjacent air-conditioned Caramelo coffee shop collectively serve up a hearty selection of reasonably priced refreshments from conventional Thai dishes, sandwiches, salads, hot beverages, Italian sodas and fruit smoothies to eye-catching and mouth-watering Korean bingsu shaved ice desserts!

Is it safe?

Unlike at the adjoining old quarry where accidents and deaths from participants launching themselves with gleeful but reckless abandon from knee-trembling heights into the pools beneath have headlined with alarming regularity, the Grand Canyon Water Park has remained mercifully free of incident since opening. Not surprising, really, given that no less than a dozen professionally certified lifeguards and three supervisors are on duty at all times in addition to the presence of a fully-equipped first aid station. Besides, cliff jumping is strictly prohibited at the Chiang Mai Water Park and life-vests are mandatory to be worn by all visitors whenever in the water.

For thrill-seeking souls wanting to tick off an adrenaline-fuelled or gravity-defying exploit or two from their Chiang Mai bucket list, hasten to the Chiang Mai X-Centre for ATV off-roading, indoor drift karting, xorbing, trail bike riding, paintballing, bungee jumping and other excitingly extreme activities!

Whereabouts is it located & how to get there?

Offering a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Waterpark lies just off Canal Road in the neighbouring district of Hang Dong. Besides the conspicuous signage as you near the venue, the park’s mascot –a jolly-looking giant panda- is on hand to greet your arrival!

Roughly 15km or a short 25 to 30 minute drive south of the intersection of Canal and Suthep Roads, the alternately named Hang Dong Canyon is best reached by independent means; easily arranged, convenient and lightest on the pocket, a 125cc fully automatic scooter can be hired for 24 hours from 99 to 350 baht while a standard gearless push bicycle can be rented for just 40 or 50 baht per day. For those without their own set of wheels, tuk tuk or red songthaew can be chartered for the round trip or else one-way with the return journey courtesy of either a licensed motorcycle taxi or red songthaew which frequent the vicinity of the Grand Canyon Water Park.

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