Shows in Phuket
Phuket has a good range of shows to help fill your evenings with entertainment. The spectacular Fantasea show regularly wins the award for best tourist attraction in Thailand and is a must-see. There are also ladyboy shows a magic show or the dramatic stunt show. There should be something for most tastes so check out the following:
This is a highly professional and polished operation. More than just a show - it is a small entertainment park covering 140 acres in Kamala. They hold the show in a state of the art theatre seating up to 3000 people. It is a mixture of traditional Thai entertainments and modern effects. It includes Thai dancing, shadow puppets, battle scenes, acrobatics, magic show, elephants, tigers and more. The only real complaint about the show is that at 1 hour and 15 minutes it is over too quickly.
The park contains entertainments, games, shops and handicrafts. Entrance to the park and the show is 1,500 baht. For an extra 500 baht, you get entrance to the restaurant which has an excellent buffet of Thai and international food.
Fantasea is open daily except Thursday. The park opens at 17:30, buffet starts at 18:00 and the show starts at 21:00. You can buy tickets from our tour partners at Easy Day Thailand and they will arrange transport from your hotel to the show. Alternatively, you can make your own way and buy tickets at the gate. The park is on the main road at the north end of Kamala - you cannot miss it.
Fully Insured - Tourism Authority of Thailand Licence 31/00838
The Siam Niramit Show has been much admired in Bangkok for many years. In December 2011 they opened a version of the show in Phuket. The show is truly a visual feast of Thai arts and culture. It is a series of sets representing different periods and locations from Thai history or culture. On each set the performers wear costumes and dance out routines representative of that period.
The sets are wonderful and are backed up by impressive special effects. It is very much a visual show. There is no dialogue or comedy and only a brief introductory commentary. The show is all about giving the audience a rich visual experience and some people may find it heavy going. Still we are sure most people will thoroughly enjoy it and the 1 hour and 15 minutes will fly by.
There is a good buffet dinner available before the show for an extra charge. The park also has a few souvenir shops and a small 'Thai village' to pass the time before the show starts. The Thai village includes a mini paddy field, floating market and examples of rural Thai homes.
Siam Niramit is on Bypass Road and is open everyday except Tuesdays. Ticket prices range from 1,300-baht to 2,500-baht. The buffet dinner is 350-baht. The buffet starts from 6:00pm and the show starts at 8:30pm.
Fantasea or Siam Niramit?
Siam Niramit clearly has similarities with Fantasea which means that for many people they will be in direct competition with each other. While some people will go to see both shows there will be many that only want to make time for one. If that is the case, which one should you choose? Well Fantasea is certainly more fun and would be the choice if you have children. It is more established, has a better entertainment park outside and generally remains a top night's entertainment. Siam Niramit is a bit more serious and substantial. It is an impressive visual feast and will appeal more to those who enjoy spectacle.
This show is not as slick as Fantasea but it is still well done. It is a ladyboy show - that is transvestites or katoeys as they are known in Thailand. The performers dress in spectacular costumes and mime to a range of classic female songs. While some ham it up like pantomime dames, others are utterly feminine and make totally convincing and beautiful women. The sets are good and there is an excellent sound system. It is a good piece of light entertainment.
Simon Cabaret is at the south end of Patong on the road to Karon. The show takes place twice daily at 19:30 and 21:30. Tickets cost 500 - 600 baht and you can buy them at tour shops or at the ticket office.
Aphrodite Cabaret Show
This new ladyboy show opened in October 2011. It is located in an impressive venue on Bypass Road opposite the Tesco Lotus. The venue is impressive but it already has a chequered history as two previous shows here have failed within a year. First there was a variety show that seemed like an ideal addition to Phuket's entertainment options but somehow it just did not get the marketing required to make it work. Then there was a Thai country music show for which this venue was just much too big.
So is there any reason to think that a ladyboy show will succeed in making this venue work where the previous two ventures failed? Well it is all about marketing and the management believe they have the know how to make it work. They clearly have the contacts to make it work because the tour buses are pouring customers through the door every evening. They clearly have agreements with enough tour companies to pretty much ensure they will get plenty of customers through the door.
With three shows a night at 6pm, 7:30pm and 9:00pm they are clearly looking to get maximum use of the venue by getting the tour groups in and out.
The show itself is a grander and more impressive version of what Simon Cabaret does. There are lots of beautiful men in beautiful costumes dancing and lip-synching to classic female songs. The show is so clearly aimed at the tour group market that as well as performing Thai and English songs, they also have Chinese, Russian and Korean numbers. The show runs for just over an hour.
The seating in the venue has been changed to a 900-seat theatre layout. One other definite appeal of this venue is they have resumed brewing their own beer in their own micro-brewery.
Entrance to the show is 800-baht on the door or you can book tickets at local tour agents that will include transport from your hotel. For visitors who are not with a tour group the 9pm show tends to have less tour groups.
Simon Cabaret or Aphrodite?
Rather like the Fantasea and Niramit shows above, you would think that most visitors would only want to see one ladyboy show. So on the face of it Simon Cabaret and Aphrodite Cabaret are directly competing with each other. However there is a difference here. The two ladyboy shows are aiming at different markets. The Aphorodite show is very much aimed at the tour group market and every evening they are bringing in bus loads of Chinese, Koreans and Russians. The Simon Cabaret is much more aimed at independant tourists staying at the popular tourist resorts of Patong, Karon and Kata. So perhaps there is room for two ladyboy shows on the island.
So assuming you want to go to a ladyboy show, which one should you see? Well we have to say the Aphrodite show is a bigger, grander spectacle and generally a much slicker production. In comparison the Simon Cabaret looks rather quaint and quirky but that has a charm of its own. It is a smaller and more intimate venue so you are closer to the performers. It is also much more conveniently located for visitors at the major tourist resorts.
Frankly, take your pick. Slick and grand Aphrodite or quaint and quirky Simon Cabaret. They both have their charms and when it comes down to it, most people just want to see what all the fuss is about ladyboys.
Oh, and just one more thing. Simon are now starting a third ladyboy show called the Simon Star Show at the Thai Cultural Village. Well Phuket may well be able to support two ladyboy shows, but three? We wait and see.
(This show is currently closed indefinitely. We hope they bring it back soon but at the moment it is not clear if they will re-open.)
This new major attraction in Phuket opened in June 2008. We hope it is a success and remains here a long time. The Phuket Stunt Show is an original idea and a great addition to Phuket's entertainment options. It is an action and stunt show featuring performers from Thailand, Europe, North America and Australia.
The show is split into two acts with a 20-minute intermission. The first act features some spectacular high diving, including a vertigo inducing 27-meter high dive. There are also jet-skis, Samoan fire sticks and some mock fighting. They even throw in a bit of comedy. The second act is a pirate show with lots of mock fights and pyrotechnics.
The show is put together by some top stuntmen. The action is well co-ordinated and keeps coming. There are times when you hardly know where to look because there is so much is going on. Each act is about 45-minutes long and the show fairly flies by. Generally, they have everything about right. Perhaps they could do with a little more entertainment outside the arena to make the whole experience feel like a bigger event.
The open-air arena features a water pool and a large stage area where they perform the stunts. The seating is under cover and has sport stadium style plastic seats. The seating is not allocated so you sit where you can. The best view is from the central seats in front of the high-diving area or the right hand seats near the pirate village.
The show starts at 7:30pm every day except Wednesday during the high season. Tickets are 1,200 baht. They currently have a promotion for Thais and Residents of 600 baht but we don't know how long that will last. Probably until they start filling the arena.
The Phuket Stunt Show is in Chalong. From Chalong Circle, take the road to Kata and on the upward slope of Kata Hill is a left hand turn signposted towards the show.
Joe Conrad Magic Theatre
(Joe has done a runner. The show never show really took off and it seems the debts Joe ran up to keep it running were enough to encourage him to get out of the country while the getting was good.)
This is obviously a magic show conveniently located on the 3rd floor of Jung Ceylon in the heart of Patong.
Joe Conrad is an American magician and the show features Las Vegas style illusions set in a 700 seat venue. As you would expect, he has some beautiful assistants and since this is Thailand it also makes sense that his animal tricks involve elephants.
As we have previously alluded to for the Aphrodite show and also for the Stunt Show, it is not easy to make a new show work in Phuket. The Fantasea show is well established and sets a high standard. Other shows have come and gone so it will not be easy for Joe to find a niche for his show but the convenient location in Patong must give it a chance. Best of luck Joe.
They have 2 shows nightly at 6.30 & 8.30 pm. Regular seats are priced at 900 Baht for Adults and 600 Baht for children.