My wife and I met up with local characters.
The elephants were on hand to greet visitors.
I reckon this is one of the best value tours you can make in Phuket. My wife and I booked the Viator version which cost around $A75 each – and that included a 90 minute round trip from the Novotel resort at Patong Beach as well as dinner and the show.
I am an experienced theatre critic, but the scale of the stage show amazed even me.
The stage must have flies ten stories high! The sets were enormous and switched in the blink of an eye with dazzling optical effects and absolutely brilliant flying. There are more than 100 performers all dressed in exotic costumes. It is a real eye feast.
The show ran for just over an hour, with three acts.
Act One showed the four geographical areas and their people: the North, the South Seas, the Northeast (Issan) and the Central Plains. There were scenes here very reminiscent to the South Pacific musical when Anna arrives in Siam. It is frantic with action as the foreign traders made their mark on the country.
Act Two covered the Thai people’s belief in the Law of Karma, in which the good and bad deeds done on Earth will result in merit or suffering in the next life. This was terrific with amazing special effects that took us through Karma’s three realms – Fiery Hell, the Mystical Forest of Himapaan and Blissful Heaven. We watched Devils torturing sinners and angels soaring through the air. It was a truly memorable experience.
In the final act we were taken through the ritual of festivals that Thai Buddhist practice as the stage exploded in colourful celebration in the finale.
The evening, we were told ran for four hours all up and that proved to correct.
It was a fascinating experience despite the weather.
The night we booked, it rained and many of the outdoor attractions were cancelled. There was no live Thai boxing in the outdoor ring, no elephant War Procession. We didn’t see the garland making or the silk weaving, but we did see a boxing display in the theatre complex, which is huge and included many souvenir shops a massive restaurant and the huge theatre.
We did manage to dodge the raindrops and explore the Thai village, which was fascinating and made me want to explore it on a dry day.
We saw the elephants too, indoors and being fed bananas by an adoring public.
We found there was plenty of room in the restaurant, in fact it is probably the biggest eating space I have seen at any theatre. The buffet was adequate without being expansive. It features both Thai and international dishes.
You can try dishes like som tam (spicy papaya salad) or gairng kieow waan (green curry), and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Although beer, wine and spirits are not included in the price they are available, but remember wine is very expensive in Thailand.
We had a couple of hours to fill before the show began, but there was plenty going on to fill in the time – including Thai boxing demonstrations and beautiful Thai dancing.
It was a reat experience and one I would like to repeat on a fine evening.