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[Offbeat]: Playa Maya Water Park

Day-tripping at Happy Valley's water park down in Songjiang. POV Go-Pro videos, stories, and a full review inside. Big fun.
2014-08-13 19:09:42
Playa Maya is a modern water park with Chinese and Mayan characteristics, located at Happy Valley in Shanghai's southwest suburbs. They have a dozen full-sized water slides, a lame "wave" pool filled with a sub-district worth of people and a student rock band playing on the edge, slides for kids, cute stone sculptures of dragons and worms, some Filipinos dressed as Mayans (really???), a giant Mayan god who dumps water on everyone, "scuba diving" in what looks like a dirty fishtank with some Mayan relics, manmade bat caves and showers shaped like giant Sprite fountain dispensers, and acres of high quality stone flooring.

Big fun to be had at Playa Maya. A fine day trip. Here's the best rides.

Lil' Yellow/Blue Slides Near Mayan Water Dump God

Not the biggest/most impressive slides, just straight up classic chute action. Plus, the lines here are ten times shorter than the bigger rides. No one on this at night.

Magic Carpet Ride

Slip into some elbow pads, grab a magic carpet, fly down a tunnel, then exit onto a slide run. Yes. This one looks like Life Savers candy.

Mayan Water Dump God

So everyone sits down in front of this huge, elaborate structure of pipes, water cannons, slides, and rain and prays to this Mayan Water Dump God until he spews about 1000 liters of water on everyone and people scream. Never gets old.

Orange Trumpet Pengyou's when our camera died. Supposedly this is the biggest "trumpet slide" in Asia. After waiting for about an hour, you get into a tube with some strangers, fly down some chutes, then enter the trumpet, sometimes approaching 90 degrees of vertical wall. Pretty cool, though not worth the hour wait.

Affable Blue Python

Long lines for this one, but it's the longest slide in the park, clocking in at one minute. Big drops, dark passages, lots of screams. Worth the wait.

Probably skip the lazy river. And the two-person raft rides, unless you're with someone you wanna touch but have not yet touched.

But what about safety, you ask? For whatever reason, a lot of Mainland Chinese people cannot swim. At Playa Maya, this truth extends to some of the lifeguards, whose tans, fit legs, and LIFEGUARD T-shirts might lead you to believe otherwise. I asked one if she was a real lifeguard. She laughed. "No, no. We're just university students." The water is shallow though, so if you're watching your children — like you should — there's not much danger here. The water itself is clean. I went three days ago and still no signs of infection.

As for the rides themselves, they're designed by Canadian company WhiteWater, who seem legit. We even saw one of their engineers on site doing tests and scribbling down data in a notebook. And we thought that was just some middle-aged white predator with sunglasses hanging out in the bushes!

But… I didn't see anyone who looked like a medical professional, but we did find a first-aid kitting sitting on a Mao-era wheelchair folded up in a bush. Not reassuring.

Also, none of the staff looked the least bit fierce, so if some major shit went down I would not count on them saving the day. The one exception was a kung-fu uncle holding down the locker room disinfecting pool armed with a broom. He was definitely not to be fucked with.

Our advice – just remember the safety song of Playa Maya.

Please read the play before you play information,
Make your own take good slip mat. mat. right don't sweep the floor.
Slide in the correct posture, handrail.
After the deposit slip mat, please back to the place.

Overall I would totally go back. They close for the season on August 31 so make haste. Full listing here.


For some other articles on amusement parks, check out our feature on Playa Maya's dryer brother Happy Valley right here, and for a more local experience, Jinjiang Action Park right here.