If you’re stopping in Bangkok for a while then you might be looking for some fun ways to while away the time. Bangkok is a great place to take a break and schedule some downtime on the round the world trail and is also an ideal spot for digital nomads and lifestyle designers who want to work on their projects, while enjoying all Thailand has to offer.
But as the saying goes, all work and no play, makes Jack/Jane a dull boy/girl, so this post should give you some inspiration and pointers on how you can enjoy your time here in the best ways possible. If golf and Thai boxing aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of fun activities to do in and around the City of Angels.
Bangkok Water Sport Options
If you love the open water and getting wet and wild, inland Bangkok might not seem the obvious choice for taking up this type of activity but this isn’t the case. In Thailand, having fun, or sanuk as the locals call it is a top priority and for this reason there are plenty of ways to blow off steam in the Thai capital with a fair few water based activities amongst them. Here are some of our favourites and the best places to indulge in them.
Wakeboarding in Bangkok
There are a couple of wakeboarding parks in Bangkok so if you’ve yet to try this fun water sport then this is the opportunity you have been waiting for! If you are unfamiliar with wakeboarding, it is the practice of being pulled long on a rope or cable, while standing on something that resembles a snowboard, while gliding across the water.
The cable or rope can either be attached to a boat like water-skiing or, as is the case with the Bangkok wake parks, pulled along by an aerial cable pulley system. Ramps and jumps are added to the course to allow you to grab some air and perform impressive aerial stunts and manoeuvres. If you still aren’t clear on exactly what it entails, check out this video:
Its all pretty crazy stuff and it seems to be popular here in Thailand hence the presence of two separate wake parks in Bangkok. Here is some info on the places you can go wakeboarding in Bangkok:
This is the older of the two wake parks in Bangkok and its set on a lake, or freshwater pond, with a mechanised cable circuit to pull you around. Its about 45 minutes in a taxi from central Bangkok but it feels like a world away. Sitting around the lake is relaxing enough and the place makes for a great day out when combined with a spot of wake or kneeboarding.
Even if your not planning on taking to the water here, and just coming with friends who are, its a nice way to spend a day and the onsite restaurant serves up fresh Thai food at street food prices, as well as beers and soft drinks.
Once you’ve paid your 300 baht for a two hour session or 500 baht for all day entrance, you can then use the basic wakeboards and knee boards here as well as the life jackets and helmets as part of the entrance fee.
If you fancy using more professional gear you can hire that for about 200 baht a day, but for beginners, the basic equipment is fine considering you will spend most of your time swimming back to the pier rather than skimming across the water! That is because wakeboarding is hard! To take to the water you must stand on the wooden pier with your feet strapped into the board, holding the cable, waiting for it to catch the hook on the overhead pulley system and yank you off dry land, onto the water.
This is as far as most people get on their first time at the park but don’t give up and you will eventually workout how to take to the water like a duck and head off around the circuit. That is at least until you reach the first 90 degree corner and end up faceplanting the water. Thankfully the water here is warm so the swim back to shore isn’t too much of a pain, provided you keep out of the path of oncoming boarders.
Its best to visit Lake Taco during the week or as soon as it opens on the weekend, as it does get pretty crowded here. If you are not very good, you will spend most of your time queuing up, getting yanked into the water, swimming to shore and then joining the queue again. Once you can master the launch, you can spend as long as you like going around the circuit, or attempt a few of the ramps and practice swimming back to shore with a wakeboard attached to your feet.
To get to the lake your best bet is to catch a taxi or take the BTS to Udomsuk and take a shorter taxi ride from there. It can be hard to find Lake Taco the first time as you are looking for a small sign of a water skier on the road which will indicate the turn. If you miss it, it means doing a u-turn on the high way for another attempt, much like wakeboarding itself.
To get to Lake Taco:
Club Taco is located at 175/1, km 13 Bangna-Trad Road, Moo 12, Bangplee-Yai. The easiest way to get there is by driving down the Bangna-Trad Highway (direction Chonburi). After passing the exit to the new Airport, you continue about 2 km and take the next U-Turn. After passing Panasonic and the Green Valley Golf Course, you will see a large pile of shipping containers on the left side. After passing the containers and a fly-over, turn left at the next soi. Make sure you don’t miss this small soi, otherwise you will regret it…. around 200 m inside the soi you will see a small entrance gate to soi on the right, marked with the a water ski sign. From there just follow directions to the lake.
If the taxi driver has no clue where you are, try calling the guys at the Lake on 02 316 7809 or 02 316 7810 for directions.
Opening hours: 10am to 6pm on weekends and 12pm to 6pm on weekdays.
Visit the website for more information: http://www.tacolake.com/
Thai Wake Park
The Thai Wake Park is a more upmarket affair than the rustic Lake Taco. The jumps and ramps are bigger here and the riders are brasher. For spectators this makes Thai Wake Park a better proposition but for beginner riders who are taking their first tentative steps into the sport, it can be an intimidating experience. However, if you ignore the big jumps and pro-wake boarders, you can still have a great day out here, getting wet and learning a new skill in Bangkok.
Whereas Lake Taco uses a four cornered pulley system, the Thai Wake Park has five corners making the turns less harsh and more forgiving for beginners, this is great if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend swimming back to shore. They’ve also installed an island in the middle of the lake to try and eliminate some of the choppy water conditions that can occur on a busy day. They’’ll even come and pick you up when you get to shore, rather than making you do the walk of shame back to the pier, saving you time and energy.
To be honest, Thai Lake Park is the more polished of the two options in Bangkok and for this you must pay the price. A two hour ticket is 850 baht with an all day pass costing 1,250 baht making it more than twice the price of Lake Taco. When you add in equipment rental which could come to an extra 500 baht, its not a cheap day out.
How to get to Thai Wake Park: like Lake Taco, this park is about 45 minutes from the centre of Bangkok in a taxi. There is a printable map on their website which should make it easy enough for the taxi driver to find the place. The park is located on the connecting roads between Rangsit-Nakorn Nayok Road and Lamlukka Road which can be reached by using the Ramintra – LumLukka Expressway.
If the journey starts going wrong, give the park a call on 02 904 7722 to get back on track.
For more info check the website at http://www.thaiwakepark.com/
Other Wake Parks Near Bangkok
Lakeland Water Cable Ski: about two hours from Bangkok in Pattaya, this lake offers cable water skiing as well as wakeboarding so makes a great day out for riders of all persuasions. You can find out more on this website.
Wake Boarding Thailand: this opportunity to try out wake boarding and water skiing is in Hua Hin, about two and a half hours drive from Bangkok. Here you can experience boat pulled boarding rather than the mechanical cable type that is found in Bangkok, offering a different experience to more proficient riders.
Yachting & Sailing
If you want to try your hand at this graceful water based activity, one which is often the preserve of the rich and famous, then just a two hour driving from Bangkok, to sunny Pattaya, is the Royal Varuna Yacht Club. Situated in a secluded cove between Pattaya and Jomtien beaches, presumably to keep the riff raff out, this club offers sailing lessons to those of all abilities on a range of vessels.
They also run trips to the nearby islands and its a great way to get out of Sin City if you happen to be staying here for any amount of time. You can even choose to stay onsite in the basic accommodation.
If you want to give sailing a go or just come and see some impressive yachts then a trip to the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya is well worth a visit.
Swimming with Sharks
Despite Bangkok being inland, this is the city where you can pretty do anything you can think of, providing you have the money, and swimming with sharks is no exception! The Dive with Sharks programme on offer the Siam Ocean World Aquarium at the Paragon shopping mall in central Bangkok is a great way to make this dream of yours come true, or just kill a few hours in the city if you’ve run out of things to do.
The experience is run by Planet Scuba and although I’ve not done it personally, I know people who have and it comes highly recommend it. The aquarium is world class and was designed by an Australian outfit so there is no need to worry about cramped tanks and poor animal welfare you find at other animal attractions in Thailand
If you want to cool down in the water in Bangkok without too much physical exertion and less of the sportyness of the above activities, some of the city’s waterparks might be more up your street. Here are a couple of suggestions for those who would rather ride slides than swim with sharks:
- Fantasia Lagoon: located on the roof of The Mall Bang Khae, this waterpark has everything you need for a great day out for kids and adults alike. Be prepared to be the only farang here and don’t forget a bathing cap, its the rules! You can even do a bit of shopping in the mall underneath when you are done.
- Siam Park City: this amusement park has lots of rides and all the fun of the fair including a massive water park. Its seen better days but for those with time on their hands and low expectations, it makes an interesting day out.
As you can see there are lots of great things to do in Bangkok for those with the time and a bit of spare cash. Taking advantage of the relatively low cost of living and the extra mile your money from back home can take you in Thailand is a great way to try some new sports, experiences or hobbies you might not get the opportunity to enjoy back home.