It’s been 18 months since I visited the Chiang Mai Quarry, and a lot has changed. Most notable is the addition of the Chiang Mai Water Park, and the closing down of the high jump I went off of in 2015.
How to Find the Chiang Mai Water Park
The location of the quarry obviously hasn’t changed, but the awareness of it has increased greatly. When I went in 2015, hardly anyone knew about the quarry. Now you can tell nearly any songthaew (local taxi) that you want to go to the Grand Canyon and they’ll take you, but for a pretty steep price as it’s outside of town.
Easier is to either get a tour going there, which you can organize from most of the hostels and guesthouses in town, or rent your own scooter. Take Suthep Road or Huay Kaew Road to the highway running along the canal, and then head south. After about 10 miles, you’ll see a PT gas station on the left. Take the first right across the canal and follow the signs to the Water Park.
Three Locations to Choose From
The one small shack and cafe last year has multiplied. There are now three entrance points. The first is simply called The Canyon Beach. Not much to it, which makes it better if you’re looking for a more private, personal place.
The Chiang Mai Grand Canyon is the original one I went to in 2015, but it’s changed a lot. First of all, they renovated. There’s a professional little stand to sell tickets, a much larger and nicer cafe and paved paths to walk along. They’ve also installed a zip line across the quarry, which they were charging 200 baht for when I arrived. The bamboo rafts were still in the water, and they had built a professional diving platform at the 7.5 meter jump point.
Other additions include nicer and bigger shower facilities, palm trees and small shelters to with tan in or escape from the sun (depending on where you sit). There are several more lifeguards (there was one in 2015).
It is also now mandatory to wear a life vest anytime you are in the water, although you don’t have to jump with it on. The lifeguard will throw it into the water before you and another lifeguard will be in the water waiting.
However, I was disappointed that the high jump location has been shut down with a warning not to enter. There was an accident near the end of 2016, since which safety and security have been increased.
The entrance price is still 50 baht, but you no longer get the free herbal drink. Hours are roughly 8 AM to 6 PM. Absolutely no outside food or drink (including water) is allowed in the park.
The Chiang Mai Water Park
Sometime in the past few months, a new water park was built in the south section of the quarry. When I first arrived back in Chiang Mai in December 2016, friends at the hostel said they had visited but weren’t impressed. It was several months before I finally made it out myself.
While all three parks essentially share the name of the Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, the Chiang Mai Water Park is far more advanced than the other two. At this park you get large bathroom and shower facilities, lockers and several food stalls to choose from, as well as a higher-class restaurant.
This park also has a zip line available, although considerably shorter than the one at the second park, and only in one direction. There is also a diving platform. This one is higher than the other park, almost as high as the original diving point in the other park.
The real attraction is the massive inflatable bouncy…um…thingy in the middle of the water. It’s a little hard to describe, so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.
Entrance to the Chiang Mai Water Park is 300 baht. Opening hours are 8 AM to 7 PM.
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If you’re traveling with more than one person, I’d recommend using Airbnb. Some locations can be fantastic.
Couchsurfing is my favorite way to stay in a city. Chiang Mai can be a little more tricky to find hosts, but not impossible.
You can also find opportunities to volunteer in Chiang Mai via Workaway.