One of the most spectacular cultural shows in Bangkok is undoubtedly at Siam Niramit: Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam. So many people had been talking about it on the Paknam Web Forums that I thought that I should make an effort to go and see it for myself. It is a big show in every sense. Even the stage is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. There are over 150 performers and more than 500 different costumes.
Everything is on a grand scale and there is even an elephant that walks through the auditorium past your seats. The price of 1,500 baht has always put me off but I can now say that this is a performance of world standard and you would be a fool to miss it during a visit to Bangkok.
The show itself doesn’t start until 8 p.m. but it is advisable to go early as there are plenty of other things that you can do while waiting. There is an optional buffet for 350 baht which has mixed reviews about value for money. But, if you book through a travel agent you should get both the performance and the buffet together with hotel transfers for only 1,500 baht. So, that is a bit like getting the food for free.
Siam Niramit opens as early as 5.30 p.m. which is the time we turned up. It was a bit early but there is quite a lot to see in the 10 acre grounds. In the courtyard, some of the performers are there so that you can have your picture taken with them.
In another area they have a Thai Village where you can see traditional houses from the four regions of Thailand. You can visit each house where you can see demonstrations of traditional arts, crafts and Thai food. There is even a canal where you can enjoy a boat ride.
These are some of the performers wearing hilltribe clothes. At other houses you can see people wearing the clothes for that region. Everyone is very friendly and keen for you to take their picture.
Back in the courtyard, some of the tourists were taking elephant rides or were paying to be picked up in the trunk of the elephant. You can also feed the elephants sugar cane.
There are also a number of performances going on in the courtyard which are all worth watching. So, don’t go into the auditorium too early or turn up here too late. However, once you are ready to watch the main show, you need to be aware that you are not allowed to take cameras or any recording devices into the auditorium. They have secure lockers to keep these safe.
The main show itself lasts for 80 minutes and is split into three acts. “Journey Back into History” where you see the magnificent civilisations of the north, south, Isaan and the Central Plains. Act Two is “Journey Beyond Imagination: The Three Worlds: Hell, Himapaan Forest and Heaven”. Here you will see what happens to you if you lie to your parents or cheat on your lover.
The final act is “Journey Through Joyous Festivals”. Here you will witness some of the major festivals and events such as a Buddhist ordination, Songkran and Loy Krathong. In you are sitting in an aisle seat you might be asked to float a krathong on the canal on the stage.
The production value of the show was really good and we had an enjoyable evening out. It rivals anything put on in Western countries. The price may seem a little high for a country like Thailand, but I think you will find it value for money. Most people go here on group tours as they seem to have good prices available. If you want to go by yourself you can catch the underground MRT train to the Thailand Cultural Center where they have free shuttle buses.
Many thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) for arranging this trip for us.