Enjoy The Show in Thailand
For visitors form around the world, Thailand is known as a natural and cultural gem. The Kingdom's beaches are among the most beautiful in the world and the legendary Thai hospitality has international visitors flocking to its shores year after year.
Unlike some other popular tourist spots, however, Thailand is far more than just a beach destination. The Kingdom's proud traditions and colourful cultural symbols are as much of a draw for tourists as its soft sands and azure seas, and most visitors to the Kingdom combine visits to the country's famed temples and craft markets with some downtime by the sea.
Bangkok is Thailand's cultural capital, with monuments to the country's fascinating history and modern day success peppered throughout the city. Highlights on a city tour include the majestic Grand Palace, the atmospheric temple of the Dawn and the serene marvel that is the Reclining Buddha. Even on the islands of Phuket, glittering temples and huge statues of the Lord Buddha offer a spectacular glimpse into the country's enduring spiritual traditions, while the street stalls and craft shops offer plenty of choices for those that want to take a memento of Thailand's exoticism home.
Those who prefer a slightly more dynamic snapshot of Thailand's rich culture and heritage, whether past or present, can reserve a seat at one to the many cultural shows on offer around the country. These performances are often extravagant affairs with a cast of hundreds, dressed in impeccable costumes and performing everything from delicate dance to acrobatics and comedy routines. The country's famous professional ladyboy cabarets offer a more contemporary spectacle, equally enthralling and often comparable in terms of extravagance and showmanship to the famed theatrical performances in places like Las Vegas and Havana, Cuba.
The most famous cultural performance in Thailand is Siam Niramit, which is performed on an enormous stage with advanced special effects and over 150 actors dressing up in some 500 costumes through the show. Siam Niramit’s world-class extravaganza is known as "A Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Thailand" and over the years has become one of the Top 10 things to do for visitors in Thailand. The stage for this inspiring art and cultural performance is now listed in the Guinness World Records with enhanced special effects and advanced technology incorporated throughout to produce a realistic, enthralling experience for all ages.
In Act I, the performance traces Thailand's history in its 4 main regions: The North, The Northeast (Isaan), The Central Plains and The Souther Seas. Act II is a performance based look at the three central beliefs that form the foundation of Thai spiritual belief systems: Fiery Hell, The Mythical Forest and Blissful heaven. Act III takes the audience on a journey through Thailands many festivals, with re-enactments of rituals and dances that are still central to celebrations such as 'Loy Krathong', the Festival of Light and "Songkran", the Thai New Year Water Festival.
The spectacle of Siam Niramit can be enjoyed in Bangkok and Phuket, and continues to receive rave reviews and awards for its unique combination of dance, play, circus, opera genres.
Thai Village Show
For a more theme park feel that will appeal to families, but also including traditional performances, the Thai Village Show at Rose Garden Riverside n Bangkok makes for an enchanting day out. The main auditorium represents a typical village, with the central clay area as the village square and the stage is built around a traditional Thai house design that used to be the symbol of the countryside.
A number of performances showcase Thailand's traditions and customs, with dances and demonstrations the Kingdom's various regions. The performances follow a typical day that starts at dawn with morning household rituals and concludes with typical evening celebrations.
Dances included in the Thai Village Show include The Nagee Saran or Water Spirit Dance, the joyful Harvest Dance, the "Glong Sabutchai" or Victory drum performance, sword fighting and pole fighting simulations and a choreographed Thai Boxing contest.
For a more contemporary twist on Thai culture, Phuket Fantasea is an award-winning show on Thailand's most visited holiday island that adds a new dimension to themed entertainment.
The Las Vegas styled production blends the richness of Thai culture with magical illusions and special effects, as well as gravity defying aerial ballet, acrobatics and stunts. The show begins with a caravan elephants marching through the audience, followed by performers dressed in colourful Thai costumes. This sets the stage for actors, dancers and acrobats to perform a series of crowd thrilling scenes that swiftly switch between history, fantasy and comedy, building up to a grand finale that brings the entire cast of humans and animals to the stage in a uniquely extravagant theatrical experience.
The main stage, which seats 3,000 people is surrounded by replica temples, monuments and scenes from Thai life, with food stalls and a handful of games and rides for the children to enjoy. An optional Thai buffet dinner can be included in the ticket price, served in an enormous hall and children under four are admitted free of charge.
Lady boy Cabaret
Also on Phuket, with more modest but equally entertaining equivalents in places like Koh Samui and Pattaya, professional Lady Boy cabaret show offers lovers of performance art a distinctly non-sleazy spectacle. Full of originality and fun, show's such as Simon Cabaret have become one of the region's most popular choices for entertainment drawing thousands of appreciative fans from around the world every night, and even being invited to tour the world's major cities.
The performance covers the full range of musical theatre styles, with extravagant costumes, over the top make-up and glittering set designs take the audience from Brazil to China and back to Thailand in a series of themed showcases featuring both classical and modern dance and song. The "ladies" in the chorus line are in most cases totally true to their on stage gender, and the individual diva performances are as engaging and polished as any performed by a music hall legend. At speciality shows like Starz Cabaret on Koh Samui, even contemporary starlets grace the stage with surprisingly accurate lip-synced impersonations of everyone from Madonna and Lady Gaga to Tina Turner and Marylyn Monroe.
Not to be dismissed as a transexual side-show, these these gender defying performances actually come from a deep musical and stage traditon in Thailand. There are seedy equivalents, but those that stick with the big name shows can look forward to a glittering evening of fun filled entertainment and top class acts.
For a more gentle and sedate cultural experiences, Thailand's many hotels and resorts also offer regular performances for their guests, often as dinner shows and featuring more traditional Thai dance and music. These, combined with a visit to one of the more theatrical productions, mean there is ample opportunity to enjoy a range of enthralling live entertainment on a holiday in the Land of Smiles.