“ Come experience the multitude of cultural shows and activities featuring the beauty of Thailand. „
My husband and I decided to go to the Fanatasea show while we were staying in Patong. We organised it through a guy who had taken us on a tour of the island. He collect us from our hotel in his mini bus and drove us to the venue, he collected our tickets when we arrived and brought them to us. We paid the extra for the buffett 'banquet' and also for the gold seats - more on that in a bit.
Anyways the enterance to this place is very grand with lots of photo opportunities, but just watch out if you want you picture taken with a staff member in costume they do expect to be paid for this, not sure how much because I wasnt paying anyone for a photo! there is a huge lake area full of koi fish and you can buy some fish food for about 50p to feed them and my goodness its a sight to see the whole area in front of you just fills up with fish its immense!
Once you go through into the main area there are lots of little shops and stalls and games for the kids. They recommend coming an hour before dinner is served to gain the benefits of the fun atmosphere and things to do but honestly I wouldnt recommend this as theres not really that much to do. The games are all carnival style and you buy tickets to be able to play - not that expensive which is good but the only thing you win is cuddly toys - the games are quite easy as well (but thenI suppose they are mostly for kids lol) I think we ended up with 6 cuddly toys of various sizes haha....You can play darts to pop balloons, try and get a high score playing darts...only the dart board is constantly spinning, there grab a duck, knock down the cans, bowl balls into holes, etc so all good family fun.
There are many many shops but they seem to have a lot of the same stuff, lots of elephant ornaments and whatnot but that is to be expected as you are in Thailand afterall! The prices in some of the shops were laughable when you know you can get the stuff on the street for a fraction of the price. There were some prertty cool stalls like the guy who made the sand candles, it was mesmerizing watching him make his creations...you could get charm bracelets, pictures, handmade jewellery and beautiful masks (like what you would wear to a masquerade ball) though again some of the price were extortionate. There are also a few eating places/restaurants in this area so even if you havent gone for the buffett option on your ticket you could still grab a bite to eat (not sure of prices).
There is also a little stage in the middle of all this where a mini show took place at 7.45pm this is defo aimed at the kids as it was some tenny boppers singing and dancing, we watched the first song got bored and dandered off but there was a huge crowd of kids gathered round enjoying the show (even if the singing was in Thai lol)
once you are past the majority of shops, etc there is a HUGE castle type building which is obsiouvly where the main show takes place. In front of this theres a beautful fountain with elephants walking round it in circles and yes you can pay to ride the elephants here, I think it was roughly a tenner to ride the elephant but t his was not person, this was per elephant as you culd fit 2 or 3 people on one depending on the size of the person, we didn't do this but all the kids seemed to enjoy it.
Facing the main building it another huge and elaborate building which turned out to be the dinner hall. It was very OTT with the decorations and everything but it was massive. We had no idea where we were going but thankfully when you arrived at the main games they stick a sticker on your with deat number/table for dinner and also for the show, this was helpful and someone pointed us in the right direction. I have to say this wasnt even organised chaos this was just chaos...no one seems to know how to queue or be patient whatsoever! We managed to find the starters eventually and by the time we got to our table it was cold chicken tepenyaki yuk!! oh another thing only water is free even though we paid extra we still had to buy pepsi!! anyways we left the starters and went to the looooong queue for food, there was a good seletion of Thai and european/western food and we took a little bit of everything. What can I say I was greatly dissappointed....the food was either cold, too fishy or just not nice....the nicest thing I had were the deep friend chicken drumsticks and im not a big fan of chicken drumsticks, I am not a fussy eater - I mean I dont like fish but I still tried the fish dishes and one of them wasnt too bad nice and meaty but the majority of this food was just school canteen style rubbish and didnt do it for us at all, we were still hungry after and dessert left a lot to be desired as well, 'fresh' fruit pieces and lots of little 'cakes' The only thing I found nice here were the mini raspberry swiss rolls but they went in a shot so Inever got any more as they were very slow in replenishing the foodstuff. So basically I would not recommend having your dinner here, have a big cheap feed in Phuket somewhere before coming you won't regret that decision!
After dinner we went over the the main building and had to queue for quite a while until it opened. We went inside and there were various queues again with the usual people trying to bunk their way up to the front but thats the same no matter where you go in the world. Bags are meant to be checked on your way through but there was no security working the booths so everyone went on in....once through you have to despoit you phones/cameras/recording devices as you are not allowed them into the main show (im guessing in case the flash maybe distracts the animals?) This isnt as bad as it sounds and is very organised, you go to a booth hand over your goods and they seal them in a velvet bag and give you a tag corresponsing to the pigeon hole in the wall that they put it in.
We then entered the show room and headed to our seats....wow its massive in this place and as we had paid for gold seats we were right in the middle front section. Finally everyone got settled and the show started and of course there was the most annoying family ever in front of us, don't get me wrong im not against people with kids or anything but who on earth takes a couple of months old baby to a show with loud music, pyrotechnics and whatnot and expects it to sleep? Anyways the woman was constantly rocking in her chair trying to get the baby to sleep and it eventually was sick on her, lovely then the next thing their other child (maybe 5 years old) starting screaming and cryign and covering his ears as he was afraid my goodness they kept takig his hands of his ears and shouting at him and needless to say my husband and myself and the rest of the auidence around them were getting very peeved off and starting complaining etc until the father finally left with the son.....the woman however remained where she was with the constant rocking trying to get her baby to sleep...could she be any more stupid....the rocking got so much I had to push the back of her chair to make her realise its not fun for thepeople behind her and she eventually stopped. Would defo not pay extra for these again ever!
So the show had started and another reason I wouldnt pay extra for the gold seat is because all the elephants and people started comingout from the sides and over at the 'regular seats' we had to crane our necks to see anything boo and when they starting taking people from the auidence for some fun they were of course also taken from seats along the edge, etc so we paid extra for no reason it seems.
The show was a brilliant display of dancing/acting/magic etc and was very well done it was in Thai and in English so everyone could understand though you didnt even need any talking as it was obvious what was happening. There was girly dances, martial art style dances, tribal dances, acrobats, magic acts and everything with pyrotechnics, super loud music, shadow shows, everything you could think of and then there were the fab animals (no only elephants might I add but I wont spoil it). I was worried about coming to this show as I hate the circus because I feel sorry for the poor animals but I have to say these animals were all clean and tidy and well looked after and fed, you could see the love for them from their handlers, especially the elephants everytime they did something the people 'riding' them gave them a hug or petted them them it was lovely :)
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the show, which is suprising as my husband isnt usually one to like to sit through musicals and whatnot but there is so much going on around you that there really is something for the whole family, plus the animals are perfect at what they have been trained to do, anyone who doesnt like it must be looking in the wrong direction lol.
After the show they drop ballons and stuff which is nice and there really is enough for everyone think I eneded up with 3 though I have no idea why I took them just to bring to the hotel with me haha. Anyways we managed to get out before the crowds as our seats were easy enough to leave (back row of front section so we climbed over them hehe) I went and waited at the exit and my husband got our cameras, etc. This took only a few mintes and then we were off and out of there, we walked back past the shops to the enterance where our driver was patiently waiting for us in the exact spot he said he would be and he took us back to our hotel.
This is a great night out for couples or families it doesnt matter what age you are (so long as your not a baby of a few months haha) you will have fun, even the most grumpiest/boring people would enjoy themselves as the Thai people just have a way of making you smile and feel at ease!
I can't provide pictures of the show as your not allowed to take any!
(also on ciao)
If you go to Phuket in Thailand, you can't help having the Fantasea rammed in your face at every possible opportunity. Billboards are there as you pull out of the airport road, and they are liberally sprinkled around the Island - especially if you are staying in or around Patong Beach. You are told that Fantasea is a 3500 million Baht (or something like that) production that will amaze you, dazzle you and generally leave you delirious with ecstasy. Okay, I made that bit up. But it is fair to say that it is very hyped as the 'Number 1 attraction in Phuket'.
I was quite keen to see this show, as you can't help but be made aware of it by the liberal advertisement campaign the owners' have waged against the unsuspecting tourist. It was the second time I had been in Phuket, and I was keen to try other nightlife activities that didn't involve drinking, partying and falling over.
The tourist excursion booth operator (these are everywhere in any tourist area of Thailand) was keen to sell us the 'Dinner and show' package, but my girlfriend was convinced it was too expensive. It was around £40 each for this, but I am sure we paid less than £20 each for just the ticket option. There was a little leeway with the tour booth operator (there always is), but not much as they can't make too much of a profit if something is very popular (this is) and the owners don't need to do special offers or reduce their prices (they don't). We booked for the following evening, and the minibus was only 20 minutes late (pretty good timing actually, considering this was Thailand)!
We were driven along the coastal road up what seemed to be the biggest hill I had yet seen in Phuket. At the top, the driver pulled a right and it was obvious we were there. My first impression was 'Ah, Thailand's' ripped off Disney World'. There were rows and rows of car parking spaces, characters in costumes milling about, meet and greeters examining tickets, and the general bustle and hubbub of a large tourist attraction. We clambered out of the minibus, and headed towards a large fishpond, filled with what looked like salmon to me, but obviously weren't. They weren't Koi Carp, that's for sure, but they all appeared desperate to escape the pool. There was a nice little water feature behind this, and a bridge to my left that went over the water pool.
We crossed the bridge and were greeted by a succession of smiling Thai's welcoming us to the venue. Our tickets were checked again, and then we went through security. It is apparent that this place is heavily influenced by Florida and their various theme parks. The place is awash with colour, there are food stands and gift shops everywhere selling everything from plush toys to diamonds, and all manner of copyright infringing costumed folk are wandering about the place. Of course, my girlfriend wanted to be photographed with every single one of them, and play a few of the games on offer. A perennial favourite in Thailand is the 'throw darts at the balloon' game, which I seem to be eternally terrible at, much to everyone's amusement. I don't know, maybe it's the beer.
If you wander around there is quite a bit to do, but it all seems quite expensive by Thai standards. And a lot of things are aimed with the kids firmly in mind. Which is great for families. Not for me, though. There were a couple of places where performances were due to commence at certain times. One of these was on a semi circular stage with a kind of 'welcome to toy town' theme. At the appointed time troupe of singers came out and did their best 'X - Factor' Thai songs, dancing about furiously and smiling like their lives depended upon it. Great stuff. This was swiftly followed by some traditional Thai dancers doing their forte, which is daintily dancing around to soft music with their fingers arched and arms constantly moving. It was very pleasant, and then X - Factor band came back for a bit of a medley with the Thai Dancers. After about 15 minutes it finished and we all wandered off to look at other parts of the park. We went into a large room with White tigers behind a viewing area. The tigers looked very bored, and refused to cooperate with my attempts at photographing them. There were a few rooms with different themes, such as shifting lights, fire and darkness, and I recall a photograph of me standing on a spiral staircase gurning furiously next to a Tinkerbell - esque fairy. All these asides were carefully placed next to gift shops, as is the norm everywhere. I pity the parents who try to navigate their children through these endless plush toys, flashing head bands and foam swords!
We were there a good 2 hours before the time of the 'show proper'. That would make it around 7-7.30pm. I am told the place opens at 5pm. I would go mad - or poor if I had to stay there that long though! We moved towards the Hall of Elephants (or whatever it was called) and stopped for a sit down on a raised platform and had a nice view of the lit theatre. It was intricately 'carved' with beasts, had faux - ancient pillars and was framed with water fountains. Mood lighting completed the picture. It looked very nice, and was worth a photo or twenty. Below us a couple of elephants were doing a circuit, taking customers on a short but no doubt pocket relieving jaunt. Talking of relieving, I managed to get a video of Dumbo unloading a hefty amount of waste material, before following up with a reservoir of liquid. I'm not sure what was funnier - the shocked look of the two falang on the back of the elephant or the employee who came scurrying out from parts unseen wielding an industrial sized dustpan and brush. Having removed the evidence, I jovially commented to my girlfriend that this chap had a somewhat unique job - faeces removal wallah extraordinaire.
Moments later we were called to enter the 'hall of elephants' by unseen loud speakers. There was a steady procession into the hall and around the corner. Customers were herded towards their allotted entrances and had to shuffle past 'photo opportunities' with the Thai dancers/X - factor wanabees witnessed earlier, tiger cubs, baby elephants and various other situations. All for a hefty premium of course. Next came a bizarre queue whereby I had to hand in my camera and phone and had them replaced by a green token. I was told I would be able to claim them back at the end of the performance, but that photographic equipment was prohibited in the show itself.
We filed into the theatre and took our seats. What followed next was a collection of montages of Thai dancing - both on stage and up and down the aisles, animals running about across the stage and (in some cases) being walked between the aisles, and a LOT of elephants. Now, if you like elephants (I do), this is good. But in Thailand, a lot of attractions you can see with be centred around elephants. Invariably you will at some point feed one, ride one, and slap one on the rump as it wanders up to you at a beer bar at 2 AM. Hmmm, the less said about that the better I feel....Anyway, the point is, elephants are everywhere in Thailand. So after about 5 or six different scenes watching elephants climb on each other, walking over obstacles and lifting people up, I was getting a bit bored. There was a story running throughout the performance about a good guy who wants to marry a village girl, a bad guy who seems to be a Warlord and something about kidnapping, attacking fortresses, pitched battles, tales of revenge and final showdowns. And there is a nice sequence where fluorescent trapeze artists are moving vibrantly in the air, having been lowered from the ceiling. And at some point there are some balloons that come down from the rafters too. Then it's the round of applause and the tedious queue to get my camera and phone back.
All in all, the performance can't have lasted much more than an hour, if that. That didn't bother me too much, but if someone was expecting a Disney - esque Theme Park followed by a barnstorming show they might be a little let down. The parts that are spoken are all in Thai as there are a large number of Thai's who visit it. Obviously the foreign market is sizable, but it is also seasonal, whereas the Thai clientele are year round. In summary it was all nice and pleasant, pretty entertaining and quaint, but a little underwhelming for me. If you like elephants though, you will love it.
I went to the Phuket Fantasea show when I stayed in Phuket on a work trip - in actual fact before I got told we would be going to this show I had never even heard of it and so I didn't really have much of an idea about it but, now that I've been this is my opinion on the place. Also my opinion is based on only the park and show and not on the meal as we didn't arrive until later on and so missed the dining.
What is it?
Phuket Fantasea is a small park that is home to the largest animal show on the island - it is done up with an array of lights to rival Blackpool illuminations and has a variety of other small attractions to keep guests occupied before going in to see the main show. The park also has a dining option where guests can go for a meal before the show.
Upon arriving at the park we noticed the way it was decorated immediately as it's done up with very gaudy lights and is very eye catching. The entrance alone is a tunnel of lights and you can't help be dazzled by all the lights and colours around you. We got through the entrance gates quite quickly and were soon in the main area. Upon entering again you notice how much is going on and the way everywhere is decorated. There are lots of stall selling gifts and games to win goodies like being at an amusement park. To the left hand side of you there is a stage where there were some singers and if I remember rightly were dressed as cavemen and were singing in a comic way and in the way they were dancing. Quite entertaining if you like that kind of thing and I guess the idea is to have things to look at everywhere you go in the park.
To the right was an arcade area with game machines and small kiddie's rides. As you start walking past this area you can see elephants in the distance which I found very exciting as this was a highlight for me! To the right of the elephant area there is a huge 'palace' like building which is where the main show is later on. The building is quite impressive and when I looked at it the first time it make me think of Angkor Wat. Overall the impression I had of the palace from just looking around was very noisy, tacky and fun all in one!
When you reach the area where the elephants are you notice that it is possible to have a ride on them which cost us just over 350 baht's (which is about £5). You can also buy food to give to them which cost about 150 which is about £2. They have 4 fully grown elephants and a few baby elephants in this area. Once all of the 4 bigger ones have riders they send you up the steps to get on, of which they have a seat that can fit two people on. The elephants have their ''mahoot'' sat on the front which is basically their keeper who has trained them since birth - the relationship between mahoot and elephant one is pretty special as they literally have the same one and if a mahoot is to die the elephants are known not to co-operate with anyone else. Anyway, the elephants have a big circular area that walk round which includes going through a bit of the area where some of the other guests are so all your friends and family can see you which is nice as you can get them to take pictures or video it if you have a camcorder.
This is by far the main attraction outside of the show building - most of the other attractions are games and watching little acts going on around the park by staff.
After we had done this we made our way into the huge palace like building. The show is at 9pm and there is one a night. The show is just over an hour long and when we were there they made an announcement about 30 minutes before to tell people to start making their way in as it takes a while to get everyone seated. When you first enter you have to queue up to give in any cameras, phones and camcorders as you are not allowed to take these in to the main theatre. You get a ticket which you have to hand in at the end to get any such items back. You can't really sneak any in either if you don't really like the idea as there is a metal detector to walk through. If you don't like the idea of having to leave valuables like this then I would suggest you don't take any with you into the park at all. There are photo opportunities anyway with the animals that you can buy so it's not like you can't get any photos of your time there!
When you first get through the gates there is separate areas to take you to the different seating sections and there is also an area where there are tiger cubs which you have the chance to get a picture with whilst bottle feeding them. I had mine taken and bought the photo which cost me about £5 so not really that much and it's surreal holding onto such a powerful and dangerous animal that is so tiny at the moment!
The theatre is really quite big which of course it would have to be with big animals involved and all the seats are arranged to be looking down at the stage rather than a level view
After that it's into the show which is a mix of animal acts including lots of elephants and a few other select animals and a few bits of Thai dancing and comedy. The elephants are the main act of the show obviously and they are very well trained especially as some of the ones in it are only baby ones. I can't really put the actual show into words as you'd have to see it to kind of understand it as there are speaking bits in it which are only done in Thai - however the story is easy to follow by the actions and so it doesn't make it any less enjoyable for those who don't speak Thai.There are a lot of sets involved too which are very nicely done and quite impressive in terms of style and colours - a lot of work has obviously gone into the making of the show.
No price wise for the whole package it does depend on whether you book through your hotel or through one of the shops that sell excursions. Prices don't really differ that much and I think on average it's about £25-30 per adult for the whole package - I am not entirely sure of children's prices but, I do believe you may be able to get reduced or free places for the younger ones depending on age and also where you book.
I do believe it is a unique place to go because of the layout and the way the whole park is decorated but, some people find that it may be cruel as obviously lots of animal acts involved and we don't see what goes on behind the scenes to get these animals to perform - however the elephants do tend to do whatever their mahoots ask them to so some would say it's not cruel as they will do it willingly and have grown up doing acts so know no different. I think going once is enough and I don't think I would go again as once you've seen it you wouldn't need to see it again. Of course it really does depend on what your opinion is as when I went I didn't really know much about it or what was there so I had no prior opinion of it and no expectations. I think it is obviously an experience for some to be able to see these animals up close but, if you wanted to do that you could always see them in their natural habitat instead of in a show.