Open your eyes to the dream world of Phuket FantaSea

By Jan Schauseil

Thailand’s Best Attraction Award 2006

Thailand is a magical kingdom full of colour, timeless tradition and exotic culture, but unfortunately the beaches on Phuket aren’t necessarily the best places to experience it. In the south, it’s all about sun, sand and partying. Luckily, if Phuket is your only stop, there’s one place where you can get a taste of Thailand’s rich heritage and have a lot of fun while at the same time - Phuket FantaSea, awarded Thailand’s ‘Best Tourist Attraction Award’ 2006.

The Phuket FantaSea theme park showcases the beauty and charms of Thailand with the help of a little high-tech magic. This 140-acre entertainment complex located near the water at Kamala Village is packed to the gills with things to see and do, from a Las-Vegas-style show that will leave your jaw hanging, to a unique shopping experience in a recreated Thai village. FantaSea isn’t just a place for kids. The special effects in the shows use the latest technology to create a truly amazing visual experience that will also suitably impress adults.

Unlike most theme parks, FantaSea only puts on one show a day. The gates open at 17:30 every day except Thursdays, giving visitors time to look around the grounds before the buffet dinner is served. The Golden Kinnaree Restaurant floats majestically in the middle of a blue lake under the Golden Pavilion. Up to 4,000 guests can dine like kings on traditional Thai cuisine and popular international dishes prepared by top chefs from 18:00 until 21:00.

After you’ve been fed and watered, head over to Festival Village, an enchanting collection of various forms of Thai architecture. Shopping is the main activity here, as each different building focuses on a different Thai product including locally-made delicacies such as Thai silk, leather, handicrafts, jewellery, souvenirs and lots more. Send the kids over to the village’s Hanuman’s Lair where they can play games and get entertained by the friendly staff while you browse elsewhere.

The big show starts at 21:00, but don’t be late! Gates open to the main attraction at 20:30, so get here early and grab a good seat. The Palace of the Elephants is the setting for this visual extravaganza. This state-of-the-art theatre can seat 3,000 spectators amid its Sukhothai-era stone palace recreation. A creative melange of elephant sculptures dot the arena, lending a distinctively Thai atmosphere to the theatre.

The Fantasy of a Kingdom culture show is nothing short of an over-the-top bombardment of Thai-flavoured eye candy. International experts and local designers were brought together to create a performance that rivals most shows in legendary Las Vegas. Nine stunning themes are incorporated into the main event, weaving Thai culture, acrobatics, aerial stunts, incredible four-dimensional illusions, indoor pyrotechnics and elephants into one of the most unique displays in the country.

The main show lasts 1 hour, 15 minutes however the FantaSea complex stays open until 23:30 so guests can check out the unique shopping environment at the Festival Village, play a few more games at Hanuman’s Lair or just wander around the expansive grounds after the main performance. You will likely need a few moments to consider whether what you just watched was real or fantasy. The Kamala Beer garden may help to put things back in perspective but either way you’ll walk out of Phuket’s FantaSea with a lasting memory.

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