Entertainment In Thailand



Entertainment In Thailand

Posted By : chauthihoaithuong/ 5 0

Modern Thailand may have adopted many foreign pursuits, from Hollywood movies to karaoke, but traditional entertainments still flourish. Although the graceful movements of classical khon dance-dramas survive mainly as tourist shows, the grassroots following of such typically Thai obsessions as muay thai boxing remains as strong as ever. High-spirited sanuk (fun) is an all-embracing activity, even on the most serious of occasions such as religious festivals. Indulging in the local passions is essential to understanding life in Thailand, whether it be a song-filled night out at a bar or folk music club, a colorful temple fair, a classical concert, a takraw game, or watching the latest Thai movie.

Information Sources

Details of the major events and festivals throughout Thailand are provided in a booklet available from TAT offices. Monthly magazines Bangkok 101 and Big Chilli are good sources of information on events, venues, and new restaurants in Bangkok. It is also worthwhile consulting the English-language newspapers, the Bangkok Post and the Nation, and the many free tourist magazines. Good hotels should also be able to provide information

Booking Tickets

Major hotels and travel agencies can book tickets for cultural shows and sports events. Alternatively, you can buy tickets direct from venues or, for major events, from Thai TicketMajor counters at Central Department Store . To book by phone call 0-2262-3456, or visit www.thaiticketmajor.com.

Traditional Theater and Dance

Watching the stylized royal all male masked dance khon is like seeing the murals of Wat Phra Kaeo come to life. Sadly, popular interest in the mostly Ramakien[1]based dance-dramas is waning, and performances of khon, and of the equally elaborate but less formal lakhon, are becoming increasingly rare. In even greater danger of extinction are the hoon lek marionette shows .

The most atmospheric place to watch traditional dance is at Sanam Luang on the evening of royal ceremonies such as the king’s birthday or a funeral. At such times dozens of stages provide entertainment long into the night. Complete perfor mances can last days, so abridged scenes are chosen for shows at the National Theater (indoors on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month; outdoors every Saturday and Sunday from December to May) and the hi-tech Royal Chalermkrung Theater in Bangkok and at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center.

Countless tourist dinner shows in the major cities and resorts offer bills of dances from all over the country. Chiang Mai’s famous khantoke dinners , including dancing, can be experienced at the Khantoke Palace and Khum Kaew Khantoke Palace. Reliable venues in Bangkok include the Sampran Riverside and Silom Village, while the Oriental’s Sala Rim Nam restaurant presents authentic khon. Lakhon can also be witnessed at Bangkok’s Lak Muang shrine near Sanam Luang, and the Erawan Shrine. Traditional Thai puppetry can be seen at the Aksra Theatre.

The most widespread dance[1]drama is likay, a regular feature of temple fairs, festivals, and TV. Its bawdy, slapstick, and satirical elements have allowed it to retain a popular contemporary following. The ancient equivalent from the South of Thailand is manora. Still widespread in Malaysia and Indonesia, nang talung shadow puppet shows survive only in the Deep South at Phatthalung and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Performances of nang talung at local festivals can run all night, but an hour or two is usually enough for most tourists. Even rarer are performances of nang yai, in which enormous, flat leather puppets are manipulated by a team of puppeteers

Concerts, Exhibitions, and Modern Theater

Thailand’s major concert and exhibition halls are located in Bangkok. The state-of-the-art Thailand Cultural Center has excellent performance facilities and attracts popular international names. The German Goethe-Institut and the Alliance Française host first rate exhibitions and concerts. Top stars frequently perform in the ballrooms of luxury hotels such as the Dusit Thani.

Bangkok Playhouse often stages plays in English and it also houses the Art Corner gallery, though H Gallery is the best place to go and see contemporary Thai art. The Bangkok Art & Culture Center also holds fascinating exhibitions, and stages concerts, performances, lectures, and film screenings.


Thais are avid movie-goers. Bangkok now has a number of huge multiplexes, but there are still 2,000 mobile units in the country that offer impromptu open-air screenings in villages.

The film industry in Thailand has a long, erratic history. Despite socially aware classics like Luk Isan (1978), it has mostly produced formulaic melodramas, comedies, and violent action films. Hong Kong action movies have long been popular, but, since the early 1990s, Hollywood movies have dominated the Thai market. However, Thai cinema has been enjoying a ren aissance and it is now regarded as one of the most creative in Southeast Asia. The capital also hosts the increasingly prestigious annual Bangkok International Film Festival.

Some of the theaters in Bangkok (such as The Lido and Siam Cinema), Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Hat Yai show movies with their original soundtracks

Discos, Bars, Comedy, Music, and Folk Clubs

Challenged by international rock and sugary Thai pop, folk music has retained its popularity. It can be heard on the radio and TV, in bars, at festivals, and impromptu gatherings, particularly outside the capital, although concerts are rarely publicized in English. It is also played in the unsalubrious cafés staging talok (comedy), which do not welcome tourists.

The main styles include the exuberant, rhythmic rum wong, which is often accompanied by a jocular dance; look thung (“country music”), combining big band music, costumed dance troupes, and singing; and the schmaltzy, ballad based look kroong. Favored by bus and taxi drivers, the faster North eastern mo’lam sound is distinguished by khaen pipes and rap-like vocals. The Khmer-style kantrum music of the southern region of the Northeast can be heard in Surin’s Petchkasem Hotel on weekends. The plaintive, radical phleng phua chiwit (“songs for life”) emerged during the student protests of the 1970s and has a few dedicated spots, such as Raintree, in Bangkok.

Emerging rock bands often play at Flann O’Brien’s Irish Pub, while hotels host classier venues: Spasso (Grand Hyatt Erawan), Angelini (Shangri-La), and the Oriental’s Lord Jim’s and jazzy Bamboo Bar.

Friends sharing food and whisky while listening to live music is the nightlife formula throughout Thailand, although karaoke, discos, and themed bars are gaining ground. In Bangkok, fashionable districts come and go at great speed. A long-term live-music favorite is Brown Sugar Jazz Boutique, which features some of the city’s top perform ers, mainly jazz. The gay night scene takes place on Silom Soi’s 2 and 4, with Soi 2 starting later and going longer and wilder. Saxophone Pub is a long[1]standing favorite for live jazz and blues. In Chiang Mai, The Riverside leads a string of venues beside the Ping River. Discos can be found throughout all of the major resorts in Thailand. The many large Bangkok nightclubs include the ever[1]popular Narz Club. The flesh-trade districts – such as Patpong (see p120), Nana Entertainment Plaza (Sukhumvit Soi 3), and Soi Cowboy (off Soi Asoke) in Bangkok, plus Pattaya and Patong in Phuket – are notorious for their bizarre gynecological “entertainments.” Rip-offs are common, although the King’s Group’s bars are among the most “reputable.” One of Thailand’s most infamous and popular attractions on stage and TV is its cross dressing katoeys, or “ladyboys.” Tourists flock to their sanitized transvestite shows at Calypso Cabaret in Bangkok, Chiang Mai Cabaret in Chiang Mai, Simon Cabaret in Patong, and Alcazar in Pattaya, which boasts the best performers.

Temple Fairs and Festivals

The Thai calendar is packed with national holidays and local festivals (see pp50–55). These festivals may be religious or in honor of a local hero, to promote seasonal produce, or dedicated to other activities like boat racing and kite flying.

As well as often hosting other events, most wats stage temple fairs. But apart from scheduled major fairs such as the Golden Mount Temple Fair in Bangkok at Loy Krathong (see p54), it’s usually a matter of chance whether you encounter one. The sideshows are often as entertaining as the ceremonies with vendors selling food and trinkets, colorful characters like the cross-dressing katoeys, folk music such as likay and lam wong, beauty contests, and who-can-eat-the-hottest[1]som-tam competitions. Other activities might include cock fighting or Siamese fighting fish contests.

Staged spectaculars aimed at tourists include the sound and-light, fireworks, and other festivities at the Sukhothai ruins during Loy Krathong in November and during the Khwae River Bridge Week at Kanchanaburi

Muay Thai and Krabi-Krabong

Thai kick boxing, muay thai, is a national passion . Most provinces have a boxing arena, but the nation’s top two venues are in the capital. Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium has bouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; and boxing can be seen at Lumphini Stadium on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

If you are interested in learning, rather than simply watching, the skills involved in muay thai, then contact the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation, who should be able to recommend suitable gyms and instructors.

Another revered, long established Thai martial art is krabi-krabong, named “sword-staff” after some of the hand weaponry used. The techniques are taught to ancient standards, although skill and stamina rather than injuries inflicted are now the measures of an accomplished fighter. Demonstrations are often included in tourist cultural shows


The acrobatic Southeast Asian sport of takraw is played by young males at seemingly any clear patch of ground in Thailand. The idea is to keep a woven rattan ball in the air using any part of your body except your hands. The players’ extraordinary agility, balletic leaps, and speed of reactions are a revelation to visitors reared on more ponderous sports.

There are elaborate versions emphasizing individual skill, but the classic original style has a team trying to get the ball into a basketball-like net more times in a set period than their rivals. Despite the competitive version, sepak takraw, which resembles volleyball, now being incorporated into the Asian Games, professional games are played surprisingly rarely.

Soccer, Rugby, and Snooker

Thais have developed a feverish enthusiasm for soccer. Major foreign teams often visit Thailand for both official and “friendly” matches. Rugby has also sparked remarkable interest, with established clubs competing in a league and the Hong Kong Sevens. Games are mostly held in Bangkok at the Pathumwan Stadium, Hua Mark Stadiums, Army Stadium, and Royal Bangkok Sports Club. Thailand is the most successful non-Anglophone country to adopt snooker, which has become hugely popular. Its dangerous association with underground gambling makes it hard for players to emulate champions like James Wattana, though there are some safe clubs around. Thailand hosts world ranking tournaments in March and September

0 / 5

Your page rank:

Leave your comment