Siam Niramit, Phuket…Liz Gets Cultural

Me and the other half are a bit of a lazy pair when it comes to holidays. We always seem to find a really good hotel and never stray too far away from it (apart from to eat and drink). We’re definitely not day trippers, choosing instead to chill by the pool all day topping up the tans, with the occasional stroll to the beach. In fact we really are pretty crap tourists.

I’d already decided before we went this time, that we would venture out a couple of times to ‘see the sights’. As it was the other half’s birthday smack bang in the middle of our trip, we talked ourselves into going to see a show, rather than the usual meal and drink as way of birthday celebrations.

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Siam Niramit was our destination for the occasion. Following in the success of it’s sister show in Bangkok, the Siam Niramit Phuket is a cultural extravaganza set on the outskirts of Phuket Town. I was a bit dubious and didn’t really know what to expect but was impressed from the moment we arrived (or at least I was once I’d walked past the obligatory souvenir shops).

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Past the shops is a wide open area where we were greeted by a stunning backdrop of a huge Naga (a mythical serpent) in a pond bathed in coloured lights and surrounded by fountains. Elephants (which we posed with and fed) were strutting their stuff in front of the dragon and actors wearing the most amazing costumes were dotted around greeting the visitors and guiding us into the Thai Village.

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As you walk into the Thai Village, there are some old style fairground type sideshow stalls – such as throw a ball at the cans, knock em down and win a teddy. Paul chose to try and win me one by throwing a ball at a poor little defenceless Thai girl to knock her in the water. Needless to say, I never got my teddy…he needs to practice with his aim me thinks!!

The Thai Village is quite small so doesn’t take too long to walk around. There are demonstrations of handicrafts, preparation of food, typical old style Thai houses and a lake with a man on a boat (depicting a floating market I think). We got to feed a couple of goats and sit on a water buffalo…yippeee!! Oh and I got to wear a lampshade!!

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From here, we headed for the restaurant (which was enormous and had soooo much choice). We just had enough time to feed our faces and for Paul to be serenaded and be presented with a birthday cake (nice touch) before we took seats outside to watch the elephant show, Thai dancers and Muay Thai martial art demonstration. Fab photo op!!

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The main attraction, THE SHOW, started in the theatre at 8.30, so we headed there. You cannot take cameras inside which disappointed me BIG style. Cameras have to be deposited (they almost had to wrench my precious cameras from me!!!) – you do get a receipt before you enter to collect your camera after the show. I was distraught!

The spectacular stage production features stunning scenery, more than 500 extravagant costumes, state-of-the-art special effects and a cast of 150 performers who wow you with their depictions of Thailand’s spiritual, artistic traditions and cultural heritage. The show runs without an interval and is divided into three acts, all equally visually stunning, my favourite being Act 2 which presents how the Thai’s conceive the concept of Heaven and Hell. Despite the diverse cultures and livelihood, Thai people are all bound by a common belief in the religious principle of the Law of Karma. The good deeds or bad deeds in this world will result in merit or suffering in the next life. Heaven is beautiful and serene and has divas and angels flying (literally) around the enormous stage while Hell is dark and scary with alcoholics being forced to drink from a cauldron of boiling water, liars have their tongues torn out and adulterers (naughty) have to climb spiky, thorny trees (just desserts!!)

I have pinched some photos from t’internet but they really don’t do justice to how stunning the whole presentation is:

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The whole show lasts about 90 minutes and had me (and the entire audience) spellbound by its beauty.

Maybe I need to become more of a tourist in future….

 

Till my next Thailand post…Liz x

 

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