Broadcaster and Freelance Writer. Follow me on Twitter @TheDickoShow and thedickoshow.com
Published July 22nd 2013
The story of Thailand as told by the Theatre and elephants
Siam Niramit is Thailand's must-see theatrical spectacle. It takes place in Bangkok and Phuket, at each of its purpose-built theatres.
The Bangkok venue boasts a record breaking 2000 seat auditorium; however, the theatrical experience begins at the main entrance.
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by some of the show's performers who present orchids, and introduce you to two stars of the show; elephants. This is a photo opportunity that is too good to miss, as guests are allowed to get up close and personal with these majestic but tame and friendly creatures.
The spectacle continues as the Village of the Four Regions invites you to walk around what would have been typical of a Thai village in the age when the story takes place. The attention to detail is mesmerizing; you really feel immersed in the Thai culture before the show even begins.
Refreshment is provided in the form of a Thai and Western buffet restaurant, boasting a tremendous variety of hot and cold food, some of which is freshly prepared before your eyes by the friendly and helpful staff.
Don't think that dining at the restaurant will distract you from the time, however. At regular intervals leading up to the show, a procession of dancers, musicians and actors rhythmically weave their way through the tables, holding up placards that helpfully explain how much time you have left to guzzle your remaining meal.
For those who just can't wait until showtime, a pre-show is available to watch at the entrance to the main auditorium. The acrobatic skills of the masked dancers depicting warriors of the past will really set the tone for what is to follow. Meanwhile, the elephant riders continue to meet and greet. There is just so much to take in before the show even begins, it's almost as if you're in the show yourself.
The story of Siam Niramit is the story of how Thailand came to be, both culturally and spitirually.
Act 1 tells the story of the ancient kingdoms and civilisations that governed Siam (as it was known then), as well as the arrival of overseas traders who brought with them a wealth of experience and influence, enriching the culture of ancient Thailand. Act 2 teaches us of the law of Karma that still runs deep in Thai society, as we are taken on a journey deep into fiery hell, which culminates in the blissful heavens above. Act 3 highlights the principle of merit-making to allow oneself to go to heaven, through a riotous festival of colour, light and sound.
Each scene within each act boasts a unique fusion of costumes, song, dance and special effects that take us to a multitude of worlds, and yet the story blends together seamlessly. Thanks to cutting-edge special effects technology and award-winning production, the story is utterly immersive; it is impossible to take your eyes away from the stage from fear you might miss something. There is one exception, however; the elephants make a wondrous return and parade through the seating area accompanied by dancers.
Not surprisingly, Siam Niramit is not without its awards and accolades. Amongst its many awards over the years, it has received a Guinness World Record for its gigantic stage, a Thailand Tourism Award for Excellence, the Prime Minister's Award for Arts and it has only recently won the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013.
Siam Niramit in Bangkok takes place daily at 8pm, doors open at 5.30pm. The show is 80 minutes long without intermission and a shuttle service is available.