Stuck for something to do in the evening on Phuket? If you want to be entertained in Phuket for an evening there are several shows on offer both family orientated and more adult orientated.
Phuket Fantasea is an old favourite and never disappoints, Siam Niramit is a more recent arrival to Phuket and proving very popular. The Thai lady boy (katoey) shows have become so famous that you could almost call them cultural shows. You will be amazed, amused and sometimes bemused.
The old favourite. Located near Kamala beach this light and sound extravaganza has been running for years and has won numerous tourism awards. It’s well worth a visit and is suitable for all the family. You can go see the show only or have a very nice seafood buffet meal there before hand. Prices start at 2000 baht.
Before the show starts there is plenty to keep you entertained such as:
The Palace of The Elephants. A Sukhothai era stone temple with elephants to feed and photo.
The Tiger Jungle Adventure. Have your photo taken with a tiger cub.
The Similan Entertainment Centre. Undersea fun and games for the kids. Dress up in traditional Thai costume.
The Carnival Village. Handicraft street of souvenir stalls designed as a journey through Thailand’s past.
The Fantasea show itself, which starts around 9.00pm, is quite hard to explain. Think lights, lasers, noise, flashes, bangs, acrobats, dancers and assorted animals running wind on stage. It’s all a bit mad. There might be a plot but I’m not sure what it is and it doesn’t really matter. It’s fantasy and magic blended with Thai culture.
Siam Niramit Phuket
An alternative to Phuket Fantasea is the Siam Niramit. New to Phuket in 2012, Siam Niramit has been running successfully in Bangkok for 7 years. Located on the bypass road in central Phuket and open 6 days per week (they close on Tuesdays) the format is similar to Phuket Fantasea with a spectacular show starting at 8.30pm proceeded by dinner and a walk round their recreation of a traditional Thai village, complete with a floating market and demonstrations of Thai arts and crafts.
The show itself is huge, one of the largest stage productions in the world with over 100 performers and 500 costumes. The theatre seats 1740 people. It is billed as a journey into the enchanted Kingdom of Siam and includes 3 acts.
Journey back into History: The Ancient Kingdom of Lanna (North Thailand), Traders from Overseas (the South Seas), Heritage of the Khmer Civilization (North East, Issan) and the Mighty Capital of Ayutthaya (The Central Plains).
Journey Beyond Imagination: The three central realms of traditional Thai belief; Fiery Hell, Mystical Himapaan Forest and Blissful Heaven.
Journey Through Joyous Festivals: Witness some of the most important Thai festivals both local and regional, where Buddhist people make merit. One of the most important festivals is Loy Kratong, celebrated on the full moon of the 12th lunar month.
Each act of the 70 minute show is very well choreographed with intricate props, special effects and some real “wow” moments. Actors and animals do not confine themselves to the stage but also appear all around the theatre making you feel like you are involved in the performance.
Phuket Fantasea or Siam Niramit?
Siam Niramit is the better of the two shows if you are interested in Thai history and culture but in truth they are both excellent shows. Siam Niramit is easier to get to for those staying in the south of Phuket.
There are now three big ladyboy cabaret shows in Phuket. The original is Simon Cabaret located just outside Patong beach. There is a new Simon Star Cabaret on the northern outskirts of Phuket Town. There is also Aphrodite Cabaret which is in central Phuket close to Central Festival and opposite the big Tesco Lotus. Which one you choose to see will probably depend on where you are staying in Phuket. If you are staying in Kata, Karon or Patong beaches then go to Simon Cabaret, if you are staying in north Phuket then Aphrodite or Simon Star are closer.
If you like to see trans gender men dressed as women singing “I am what I am” and “it’s raining men” then these shows are a blast. The costumes are fabulous and the production values are high. Some of the lady boys are incredibly feminine, others less so. There is usually a chubby camp one thrown in for a laugh.
Whatever type of music you are into you won’t be disappointed, they tick all boxes for all nationalities. There are plenty of opportunities to have your photo taken with the performers.
Another option for watching lady boys in Phuket is just to stroll down Bangla Road in Patong Beach. In the early evening from about 8pm Katoeys in full cabaret attire stand outside soi Crocodile (commonly referred to as Soi Katoey) having photos taken and inviting you to their cabaret show at the end of the soi (lane).
Later in the evening at about 10.00pm the cabaret frocks are replaced by rather more skimpy clothes as the “girls” dance on the podiums in between the beer bars. This is not a venue recommended for all the family but soi Crocodile is always full of punters having fun and saying to each other “is that really a man.” If you want to take photos or squeeze a silicone boob you should be ready to tip the performers.