Water Park Makes Big Splash on Opening Day

Thun Sarchariya had never seen anything like it before. “It’s strange,” the 17-year-old girl said. “But it’s fun!”

The Phnom Penh Water Park, a $2 million complex of slides, sprays, fountains and pools, opened Saturday in Russei Keo district near Pochentong Airport. At $5 per person, the price may be too high for many people, but those who can afford it say it’s worth it.

“In Cambodia, this is the only place that has lots of space for people to play,” Thun Sarchariya said.

Her favorite spot is the two enclosed spiral slides that empty into a shallow pool.

Park manager Ho Kuanlong would not reveal exactly who is behind the new park. It was built by private investors from countries including Cambodia, Taiwan and Thailand, he said in Chinese through an interpreter.

Municipal and tourism authorities said they had no information on the water park.

The investors’ goal, Ho Kuan­long said, was “entertainment and development. At first, we wanted to build a golf course, but the space was too small. We decided there are no places near Phnom Penh for people to swim and play in the water.”

The park’s $2 million price does not include land rental, Ho Kuanlong said. The city’s water supply was inadequate for the park’s needs, so about 4 million liters of water were trucked in and filtered, he added.

On Sunday, a few families had the run of the park. They floated on inner tubes along a current-propelled stream, got splashed in the wave pool, clambered around aquatic jungle gyms and whizzed down the slides.

Asked what was the most fun, Nuon Tokla, 7, wearing inflatable water wings on his small arms, first pointed toward the toadstool-shaped fountain surrounded by steerable water guns.

“That one in the middle,” he said—but then added, pointing wildly all around: “And that one, and that one, and that one—all of it!”

The park can accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 people, Ho Kuan­long said.

Although officials say the park is for all ages, You Hak, 20, wasn’t so sure.

“The water is too shallow,” he said. “They should divide [the park] so that one part is for kids and others are for adults.”

While You Hak enjoyed the slides, he thought they were relatively tame.

“For teen-agers, they like something very scary,” he said.


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