Santorini Park and Camel Republic

Santorini Park was the reason which brought me to Hua Hin. Ever since I stumbled upon the famous Santorini wallpaper (which I had it as my desktop background for a while), I know that it was a place that I would want to visit some day. Sadly, the plans for Greece ain’t close to realization and visiting this replica park would be the closest I can ever get to the white and blue paradise.

Santorini Park is located in Cha-am, a 20 minutes drive from Hua Hin. There isn’t much to do in Cha-am, thus most people recommend to stay in Hua Hin and visit Cha-am as a day trip. As mentioned in the earlier post, I decided to hire a driver for 6 hours in order to minimize the surprises (exorbitant transportation fees). We paid 1,800B for 6 hours of chauffeuring service.

As we visited on a weekday (even though it was a Friday), the park was pretty empty, at least for the first hour when we were there.

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We purchase an entrance ticket for 150B and it comes with a free ticket to Camel Republic, which has to be used within the same day. Off we go~~ to the park of blue & white.

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When you enter, you will see rows of shops with brands like Timberland, Converse and several souvenir shops. At every corner and turn, they try to dress up the area so that everywhere can be a photo opportunity for camwhorers. We didn’t spend too much time here as I’d rather take photos without humans. It’s faster and much simpler.

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They even take the trouble to have some human figurines to liven up the atmosphere. With good lighting for my photos, it comes with a high price of heat and sweat. There were several options for food as well but I don’t reckon that it will taste good.

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There were many trees and plants within the park which brightens up the place. However, not all plants are real.. there were several potted plants with cloth leaves :p

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Some places were still under renovation. For such restricted areas, the walls look a lot whiter than the public areas.

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Sadly, the maintenance was a bit of an issue for a park so new. I took this photo at the rare level 2 balcony (not all balconies are accessible) and you can see the wood cracking. This means that the wood they use are not of superior quality. It’s a pity.

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Another downside is that the equipment (probably for cleaning) is not kept properly during their opening hours. Look at the black stains (probably caused by the rusting of the bell) and that abandoned trolley.. eeerk. spoiling the photo.

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Can’t stand these abandoned equipment too. It wipes out the beauty of the photo.

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There are two parts to the park, one is the “free to visit and photograph” places which is technically the “public” area. The other part is the paid rides/attractions. Each ride or attraction (Haunted House/Trick Eye Museum) were separately ticketed and they were either empty or non-functioning while we were there. Here’s a Beautiful (but empty) two-tiered carousel.

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Ferris Wheel – one of the main icons of the park – was not functioning when we first arrived. Later on when we walked back, there were people on the ferris wheel but there was definitely less than 5 seats occupied. I would have sat it if it was more crowded.. but the entire atmosphere was missing from the park (the irony).

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Really loved the clouds at that timing. If you are wondering, there are 24 units for this Ferris Wheel. For prices, you can refer to their website: http://www.santoriniparkchaam.com/

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Swing ride (similar to the one that I’ve sat in Jenkinsons”). If you look carefully, the decor and prints are somewhat similar to the carousel. Probably bought them from the same supplier.

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Haunted House – looks pretty small.

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Alternatively, you can post with mr vampire.

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There was a snow playground, “Alive” illusion museum, a haunted house and a large public space which could possibly be a mega event venue.

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Very trendy “playground” which I doubt anyone would enter during the noon sun. It was hot, hot and nothing but hot T_TIMG_3150

Very beautiful sky.IMG_3161

We took a breather in the ice cream shop as the sun was pretty unbearable. Prices were expensive against the quality but the air con made up for everything.

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We left after spending about 2 hours in this park. Did not pay extra for any fringe activities. Honestly speaking, with such a business model, I don’t know how they can be sustainable in the long run unless the labour cost in Thailand is very cheap.. Well, in time to come, it is highly likely that they will increase the entrance ticket in order to survive.

Ending off with this photo (taken at the entrance). This thing is exactly the same as the one in Greece. Somehow wish they can spend more effort on maintenance. The black stains look very distracting.

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Conclusion: worth ONE visit and that’s it. Maybe if you’re traveling with kids and willing to pay more for all the fringe activities, it could be worth visiting. Otherwise, this is a place only worthwhile for photo taking and I don’t see another reason to return.

Although there’s a shuttle bus from Santorini Park to the Camel Republic, we didn’t have to wait for their bus as we have our chauffeur on standby! As we bought a data card (which comes with 100B of calling/texting) if I’m not wrong, we were able to take our time and call the driver once we are done. Otherwise, we would have to fix a timing with the driver on a meeting location and be constrained by the arranged time.

Well, A-star service for the driver once again. His car appeared within 30 seconds of my phone call! He did not drive off to another place to skive or relax; he was on standby mode at the carpark waiting for our call. wow.

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Camel Republic is another themed attraction, just a short 5 minutes drive away. In this attraction, it features (a little more thrilling) rides and animals – including camels (duh!). You could interact and feed the animals. It is somewhat like a mini zoo.IMG_4042

An example of a more thrilling ride. I guess it is somewhat thrill factor 6/10.IMG_4045 IMG_4048

I’ve been wanting to see a alpaca in real life and I was really excited to chance upon one at Camel Republic. There were two alpacas in the exhibit – one white and the other was brown. No idea on their gender – forgot to check =p

We paid 40B for a few pieces of carrots and to enter their territory to feed them. My friend said it was the best 40B spent as we took quite a lot of photos. There was no time limit or whatsoever and we had the whole place to ourselves as there was almost no other people in this park. IMG_4053 IMG_4071 IMG_4087

There were flamingos too~ I guess this animal interaction thing attracts young children more than young adults =pIMG_4096

There were a couple of places purposely done up for photo spots, but definitely not as many as Santorini Park. IMG_4098

 

Well, since this place was free I guess there was no harm visiting.. Anyway, if we did not visit this place, we were thinking of heading to the Swiss Sheep Farm (another attraction in the area) which also has animals and photo taking opportunities. I guess Camel Republic is built as a direct competition against Swiss Sheep Farm =p

Go back to my 6 hours Hired Driver Tour Itinerary.

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