Dropzone review: Thai Sky Adventures, Pattaya

Dropzone review of Thai Sky Adventures (210 jumps at point of writing). This review is for fun/sports jumpers not tandems.

Probably not the easiest dropzone (DZ) to review since I consider this my home DZ. Thai Sky Adventures (TSA) is kind of a tandem factory, but being the only full-time DZ in Southeast Asia, you will still find students and fun jumpers here at all times (especially on long weekends).

[Update Sep 2017: Freefall Thailand in Rayong (c.85km drive from Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport / 170km from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport) starts operating Oct 2017 (note: 500-jump minimum fun jumpers).]

H8ers gonna h8, but there are loads all day from 0830h until 4-5pm, and it’s less than an hour’s drive from Bangkok. Also, USD1 beers, so who’s complaining?!

*** DANGER: Beer fines strictly enforced at this dropzone 🙂 ***

Where the beer is always cold ❤

Location / Getting to TSA:
TSA is in Si Racha township, a c.70km drive from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, mainly on highways. You can either drive yourself or take a taxi (c.THB1,000 per way). Self-driving is easier than it sounds as it is one road (Bangkok-Chonburi motorway no. 7) for 95% of the distance, and key road signage is in English (just follow road signs to Chonburi and exit to Si Racha at route marker 93.5km). There are many local and international car rental agencies at the airport. Parking at the DZ is free.

It is better to have your own wheels if you intend to stay a few days as there are no food and amenities within walking distance of the DZ in the evenings (DZ is 5km from main road, and nearest town is 10km drive). If you do not drive, you could use the grab app / take a taxi from the airport, but taxis to get around Si Racha need to be booked in advance as there are none to flag down (this is not Bangkok or Pattaya).

Process/pricing (sports jumpers)
TSA is a USPA dropzone. If it is your first time here, do allow at least 30min for waivers and checking of gear / logbook etc. by the Chief Instructor (Jukka). It costs THB1100/950 per jump to 13000’/9000′ (THB1000/850 if you buy a transferable 50-pack) and equipment rental is THB800 per jump, including pack job. Rental canopies range from 135-260 sqf, but containers are quite long so may not be suitable for petite girls. There is a 2.5% credit card surcharge for all credit card payments.

Not just a tandem factory?

Manifesting- not electronic so a bit “quirky”. After you are cleared to jump by the Chief Instructor, purchase your jump tickets from the DZ office. Go to the manifest room and write your name on the left side of the whiteboard (blue ink for licensed skydivers and red ink for students), and attach your paper ticket. Indicate any groups or preferences next to your name e.g. if you only want to go on a full altitude (13000′) load. Your name should eventually appear on the board.

“Electronic” manifest

Plane
Pilatus Porter, max 7 pax per load, no seat belts. Exit is on the right side of the plane. Full altitude is 13k, and limited to 4 time slots per day: 0900h-1000h / 1100h-1200h / 1300h-1400h / 1500h-1600h. Usually max. 3 full altitude loads within the hour because the plane takes about 15min to get to 13k. All other loads at 9k.

[Tip: Fun jumpers usually opt for the full altitude loads as you get double the freefall time for only THB150 more. Also you only get to do solos on 9k loads as there will be 2 pairs of tandems+TI with videographer, leaving only one slot available for fun jumpers.]


The porter (7 pax)

Landing zone (LZ)
Runway orientation is 60-240 and jump run is parallel to runway. LZ is huge (soccer field sized), especially considering there are max. 7 canopies. Not many viable alternates if you land off though. D-license/high performance landing area is close to the start of the runway and the rest of us plebes land on the main grass/sand area. There will be a van pickup once all jumpers on the load have landed.

[Tip: When the LZ gets muddy, the only reliably-dry landing area is the sandy strip right down the middle – see photo below!]

Grass + sand landing area

Facilities
There is an on-site motel with swimming pool (for motel guests only), two eateries (o/w one is air-conditioned), rigging loft, sheltered packing area, free wifi (unstable, slow), dirty toilets (try not to use after 1pm…..). Two air-conditioned chillout rooms- one for tandems and one for fun jumpers. There is an army of packers and pack jobs are THB200 each, payable in cash only.

Aircon chillout room


Dirt dive area


Sheltered packing area (non-aircon)


Non-aircon eatery (Thai food)

Accommodation
As mentioned there is on-site accommodation at TSA (THB1000-1200 per room per night), but you will have to drive or motorbike out for food and amenities at night when the DZ is closed. There are several motel style accommodation options c.10km drive from the DZ, close to food and amenities. See list of nearby hotels here. If you do not drive, your best option is to stay in Pattaya (c.40km away) and take the minibus transport with the tandems.

DZ motel

My experience
It’s difficult to be objective about a DZ where you did your very first jump! It does feel like family here and everyone is very welcoming, but to be fair it’s cos I visit regularly and a stranger may not have the same experience. However having jumped at 3 other dropzones now (see my reviews below, I have surprisingly come to appreciate TSA more 🙂 Well, except for the annoying altitude restrictions.

Additional tips:
– Do NOT fly into Don Muang airport. This doubles your driving time to TSA.
– If coming from other parts of Thailand, you can also fly into Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport. However, do note that car rental agencies at U-Tapao are not open 24 hours (so may not be suitable for late arrivals).
– Buying a 50-pack (can be shared with others) will save you THB100 per jump ticket.
– Si Racha is a small town- Cash is king. Nearest money changer is at J-Park.
– Pack jobs cash only.

Conclusion:
Some hate it some love it. It’s still the most accessible full-time DZ in Southeast Asia, for now.

Date of activity: Oct 2014 – present
Location: Si Racha, Chonburi, Thailand (70km South of Bangkok airport)
Operator: Thai Sky Adventures (closed: Tuesdays)
Rate: THB950/1100 for one jump ticket to 9,000/13,000 feet. Equipment rental is THB800 per jump including pack job.
Booking (for fun jumpers): Just turn up
Accommodation I used: See list of hotels under “Accommodation” section above

See also my experience at other DZs:

 

 

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3 responses to “Dropzone review: Thai Sky Adventures, Pattaya

  1. Pingback: Dropzone review: Skydive Dubai | Beyond Banality·

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