The Bangkok Traditional Puppet Show at Aksra Theatre is one of Bangkok’s must-see attractions. Taking place on an elaborate stage, folk tales are told through the classic art of puppetry. Rather than being hidden away, the puppeteers are very much part of the show. Three puppeteers control the legs, arms and head of each puppet. Dressed in black, they blend into the background while the colorful puppets come to life. Both the puppets and puppeteers dance along with the live orchestra, featuring a combination of Thai and European instruments.
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As the curtains opens, the audience is amazed by the grand set design; a magnificent display of beauty and skilled craftsmanship, transporting you to a different world. As the show begins, the puppeteers dance on the stage in couples or groups of three, manipulating beautiful puppets to life. Just under a metre in height, the puppets are dressed in stunning classical costumes. Some represent human characters, while others are mythical creatures from Thai folk tales.
Together with stage technique and classical dance, the elaborate scenes tell stories taken from the Ramakien epic, Thai folk dances and Japanese song. Each performance comes with a different set design. Some feature only live actors, like the ‘cock fight dance’ – a particular crowd pleaser. Beautifully choreographed, dancers dressed in colorful garb representing roosters perform this old-time traditional Thai sport which is now banned.
A second performance demonstrates a traditional Thai martial arts scene. While two performers fight with swords at one end of the stage, another two get engaged in traditional stick-fighting at the other end. The show also includes a Japanese puppet performance, cute puppets dressed in kimonos with umbrellas ‘dancing’ to a classical Japanese Jo-Jo-Sang song. The show ends with a mix of musical and dance performances from the central and northeast regions of Thailand. With a temple fair theme as background, the finale is sure to lift the spirits and provides a fantastic ending to a rich and entertaining presentation of one of Thailand’s most revered art forms.
The Aksra Theatre
Playing host to this amazing puppet show is a medium-sized theatre with 600 seats. The Aksra Theatre is lavishly decorated in an over-the-top theme inspired by traditional Thai art and craftsmanship. Outside, a pair of giant mythical creatures from Ramakien hold a long golden arch welcoming guests.
The Hall of Fame is a palatial-like foyer area with imposing, 14-metre high ceilings, elaborate puppet displays and sandstone sculptures of characters from Thai folk tales.
Traditional paintings and wooden carvings adorn the walls and the ceiling of the theatre. The ceiling represents the seven stages of heaven, and the walls are covered with guilded carvings of dancing angels. Aksra Theatre uses advanced audiovisual technologically, making it ideal to host spectacular performances and events.
Restaurant, Bar and Shop
Outside the theatre in the King Power Complex, an international buffet is available at Ramayana Restaurant with seating for up to 500 guests. Spanning the entire length of the inner wall is a mural depicting the great epic, Ramayana. It is open daily from 11:00 until 14:30, and for dinner from 17:00 until 21:30. Scene Bar is a relaxing venue with a long balcony. Enjoy a snack and a drink before or after the show. Scene Shop offers a variety of souvenirs including puppets, T-shirts, CDs, handicrafts, silverware, and more. Scene Bar and Scene Shop are open daily from 11:00 till 21:00.
Located in the King Power Complex, a luxury duty-free shopping mall on Soi Rangnam, a complimentary shuttle bus service is available to nearby Victory Monument Skytrain station.
- Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00, showtime: 19:30 (Mon-Wed) and 18:30 (Thur-Sun)
- Location: King Power Duty Free Complex, Soi Rang Nam, near Victory Monument
- BTS: Victory Monument, Phyathai
- Tel: +66 (0)2 677 8888 ext. 5602, 5609, 5623