The Siam Niramit Show in Phuket
The Siam Niramit Phuket cultural show opened in December 2011, located just outside Phuket Town, and not too far from our house. I must have driven past it 200 times and thought "we should try it one day". but we generally tend to avoid the most obvious tourist attractions and find our own favourite things to do and places to visit in Phuket, so Siam Niramit went un-visited until now! I figured the show would be similar to Phuket Fantasea which opened about 15 years ago ... we finally visited in 2011! Siam Niramit I knew was a successful show in Bangkok and the company decided to open in Phuket too, obviously creating direct competition for Fantasea. I can anticipate people asking me "which one should I see?" - I think my answer is "both"! Phuket has a lot to do in the day time, but good quality evening entertainment is hard to find. Personally I can skip the ladyboy shows, but Fantasea and now Siam Niramit - this is top class entertainment and certainly worth doing. Well, it took only 2 years for us to visit Siam Niramit. And I think we'll go again as it's just a 10 minute drive from our house and our kids loved it (so did my wife and I, but you know amazing things are even more amazing for kids!).
And next time we will go earlier to have more time to look around the grounds. We got there at about 6:30pm, but the place opens at 5:30pm. As it turned out, at least another half hour would have been useful. We were still looking around the 'Thai Village' when staff came to find us and shepherd us off for dinner. Now we know the place, we can see more next time ... Next time! When we arrived, we could pose with some of the show's characters outside ...
Just inside the entrance is a selection of souvenir shops - first thing to see when you arrive, and last thing you see when you're heading home. Well, sure we bought a bunch of stuff for the kids :) Little souvenir items started at just 30 Baht, but there's also an antique shop with some very nice items that might catch someone's eye.
Past the shops is a wide open area featuring a giant Naga (a mythical serpent) in a pond. The way to the main stage is to the right and the 'Thai Village' is on the left. And there were elephants! Of course I bought some bananas for 30 Baht a bunch for the kids to feed the cute little ellies who (I think) would be part of the show later.
(above) My boy and the elephant :)
At the entrance to the Thai Village are some sideshow stalls of the "olde style" which is very popular at local fairs in Thailand - things like "throw a ball at the cans and win a teddy if you knock them all over" or "throw a ball to try and knock the ladyboy in the water". My boy tried both .. needs to improve his aim!
The Thai Village is bigger than I thought, so we do have to go again! There are demonstrations of handicraft making, preparation of local snacks, typical old style houses, and more. The kids took a ride on a boat (20 Baht each), and fed a buffalo which would also be part of the show later. And then we had to dash off for the buffet dinner. Maybe next time we can skip dinner, tasty though it was, and have more time to enjoy things outside - we had to miss the Muay Thai demonstration, and my son wanted to see that (but he was hungry too, so we could not watch it all!). Yeh, so what I am saying is, you need to come twice :)
(above) Feeding a buffalo
(above) Muay Thai at Siam Niramit
(above) A little boat ride for the kids
(above) Posing with the Muay Thai fighter, but we did not see them fight, we had to dash off for the buffet dinner. Only just got a table, the restaurant was already all but full. We were in the VIP restaurant, as we'd been invited for a "press" evening along with local newsies like the team from The Phuket News and I saw a Thai couple I know who both work in the media. Speeches were being given as we found a seat and I was happy to find some cold beer available :) The food was good, some really tasty fish dishes, in fact way too many different options to try them all! My daughter tried Khao Soi for the first time, I stuffed myself with chicken and cashew nuts. There were curries and mussels and salads and fruits and all kind of things. At this point, I should say - get there as early as you can, see the Thai Village and then spend as much time as you can at the buffet. The buffet is optional, so if you skip that you have more time to enjoy entertainment outdoors. I read that while people eat there is also dancing and a "war elephant" display outside...
And then time for the SHOW! It's a walk of a couple of hundred meters to the theater. You cannot take cameras inside. Cameras can be deposited and you get a receipt before you enter. The pictures below are provided by Siam Niramit Phuket. The show has many scenes taking you through some of the history of Siam (the country was only called Thailand after 1939) starting with the ancient kingdoms of the north, then the south (Phuket!) where you see Chinese traders coming to trade with and marry the locals. There's a Khmer scene and then the old capital Ayutthaya. The scenes are impressive, with a huge stage and many performers / dancers and some animals too. Scene changes are cleverly done, performers are not only on stage, but appear around the theater, even overhead.
(above) The South .. my area! A Chinese Junk arrives to trade with the local people.
(above) Ayutthaya. Lots of fighting!
(above) Hell (Buddhist version) ... there's a temple in Phang Nga Town called Wat Tham Tapan which has some rather scary images of hell. Certainly not where you want to end up. So be good for goodness sake.
(above) Heaven - only nice things. Can I have a few beers in heaven?
(above) The mythical land of Himapan, a place where strange creatures dwell. It's in Buddhism and Hinduism.
As you might be able to see .. the stage show is pretty spectacular at times, my son was sitting next to me and was continually pointing and saying "Dad, look at that!" and "I can see the wires" ;) At one point during the show, I think a big set change was needed, so there was a little musical comedy involving a group of players with bamboo rattles that all played different notes. An audience member was chosen to join them .. my daughter :) She enjoyed that ... was a bit stage shocked afterwards "I've never been on a stage with so many people watching before!" and people were commenting when we left the theater "that's the girl who was on stage!". My girl :) But I don't have any photos as cameras are not allowed :(
Another view of Siam Niramit .. the team from The Phuket News made a little video on the same night ...
We had a great evening! The show was great, the kids loved everything, I can certainly recommend it. The Siam Niramit show is open every evening except Tuesday. More information on the Siam Niramit Website. Many thanks to Siam Niramit for inviting us!
You can book for the Siam Niramit Show with my friends at Easy Day Thailand - and they can help with other trips, tours and days out too.
Update 2014 - we went again on January 12th! My wife's parents were visiting so we went with them and everyone enjoyed the show :)
Siam Niramit Phuket - Location Map
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