Photo: No Lanna-style airbags here.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

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A series of flooded quarries in Hang Dong district is the setting of one of Chiang Mai’s newer and more unusual attractions.

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Calling this a “canyon” is rather misleading. Don’t expect the picturesque landscapes of Pai Canyon or even Chiang Mai’s Ob Khan or Ob Luang National Parks; these are sheer-sided, water-filled, laterite pits divided into concessions and offering a variety of water-based activities. (They were originally quarries for the raw material needed to extend the runway of nearby Chiang Mai airport.)

A traditional Lanna-style waterpark in a quarry. Photo taken in or around Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

A traditional Lanna-style waterpark in a quarry. Photo: Mark Ord

The largest quarry is home to the Grand Canyon Water Park, an elaborate complex with coffee shop, restaurant and snack stalls surrounding a rectangular pit filled with what we can best describe as an inflatable obstacle course. We confess it was pouring down when we visited so we didn’t see it in its full glory but we imagine you leap from platform to platform, slide down slides, jump on a giant plastic duck or huge floating polar bear before ending up falling head first into the water as per one of those TV game shows. There’s also a miniature shallow version for kids and an even shallower one for toddlers. Plastic kayaks and boats are also on hand (for hire) for the more sedate.

Yes it is super tacky, but it is quite well organised with free lifejackets, lockers available, swimming costumes for rent and lifeguards on duty.

Canyon pandas. Photo taken in or around Chiang Mai Grand Canyon, Chiang Mai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Canyon pandas. Photo: Mark Ord

Next door, in a connected quarry, you’ll find the Hang Dong Grand Canyon. This is a smaller operation, lacking the inflatable obstacle course but specialising in cliff-jumping along with a zip-line. Cliffs are around 8 to 10 metres high depending on jumping point and water levels, if that takes your fancy. People have died jumping these cliffs, so know your limits and do take care.

It’s hardly scenic but on a hot day in April with bored kids to keep happy it could be a crowd pleaser and as tickets allow unlimited time ,a not too pricey ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
If you’re travelling under your own steam then it’s a straightforward drive along the canal road from the junction with Suthep Rd until you see the signs on your right after 12 km or so. The entrance is another kilometre off the main road.

If you’re travelling by public transport then TaxiTawai, who organise minibuses to Hang Dong and Ban Tawai, also stop here on their way to and from Tha Pae Gate. Times vary according to how busy it is but either water park ticket office will let you know and sell you a 150 baht each way ticket. Private songthaew hire would be around 700 baht return.

Location map for Chiang Mai Grand Canyon

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Mai.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Mai.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chiang Mai.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Mai, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
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 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Mai? Please read this.
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