The beautifully designed Palace of the Elephants Theatre at Phuket FantaSea
Claimed to be the "Ultimate Nighttime Cultural Theme Park", Phuket FantaSea is Thailand's first cultural theme park located close to Kamala Beach on Phuket island. Focusing on a motley mix of "Myth, Mystery and Magic", Phuket FantaSea blends Thailand's exotic heritage with a carnivalesque Mardi Gras like feel that is more Vegas than Vegas itself.
Occupying a sprawling 140 acres (or approximately 57 hectares), it features the "Fantasy of a Kingdom" show in the 3,000 seat "Palace of the Elephants" theatre, a huge cavernous 4,000 seat restaurant (Golden Kinnaree Buffet Resataurant), a Tiger Jungle Adventure, the Similan Entertainment Centre featuring carnival games, and a Carnival Village offering lots of specialty retail outlets.
Built at a cost of about US$100 billion (3,500 million Baht), the nocturnal attraction is staffed by a heavily costumed cast of street entertainers, dancers, greeters, retail assistants, waiters and waitresses, and theatre performers. With a nightly fireworks extravaganza (Iyara Spectacular), elephant riding, carp feeding, animatronics, themed restaurants, carnival games, live bands, parades and more, the island-based theme park appears to be all out to dazzle. You can also shop till you drop at more than 15 shops offering leathers, crystal, soft toys, clothes, stationery, bags, and other consumer goods.
Join us on a tour of Thailand's largest nighttime attraction and judge for yourself if Phuket FantaSea is truly what it claims to be.
The fun begins at the entrance with Siamese mermaids beckoning you with their charms.
Everything is larger than life here - even the real life koi in their feeding frenzy.
Costumed cast members guide you in your journey through the theme park.
Doesn't this remind you of Disney theme parks?
Almost every shop front offered photo opportunities, providing a mix of mysticism with the macabre.
Believe it or not, famous Siamese twins Chang and Eng are now theme park characters!
Yes, nothing is too colourful or luminous here.
One of the centrepieces in the park, the Golden Kinnaree Buffet restaurant is a sight to behold.
Doesn't the cavernous dining hall remind you of heaven, with its clouds and angelic beings?
Yes, gold is the auspicious and aesthetic colour of choice here. Now if only I can have some...
The Similan Entertainment Centre was decked in gaudy, psychedelic, glowing colours. Again, I thought this seem to replicate the Little Mermaid exhibit in Disneyland...
Ethan had some fun with the carnival games, like fishing for that elusive red fish with a magnetic pole.
With some assistance from the assistant, he managed to pop in some balls here too.
Going on an elephant ride is also par for the course, with a souvenir photo to seal in the mammalian memories.
The crown jewel of the cultural theme park is the Elephant Palace theatre, decked with beautifully carved elephants and Siamese palatial architecture. The show itself was more Moscow Circus with acrobats and animals than Cirque du Soleil - I lost the plot after 10 minutes into the 90 minute show!
Ethan brought home two soft toys from his wins - a fitting end to a fabulous night.