The Playhouse Theatres in Bangkok, Thailand are home to some of the most modern, contemporary and traditional show-stopping productions in South East Asia. Possibly the whole world. And it's not surprising when you consider the diverse mixture of performances that are hosted here year in and year out. You really need to check it out for yourself. You're going to be amazed.
Not only are there breathtaking theatre performances in Bangkok, there is classical music concerts, jazz concerts, rock concerts, (local and international) Thai traditional, contemporary and modern dance incorporating all the latest trends such as hip-hop.
And it doesn't end there either. There are also some spectacular circus shows, puppet shows and juggling shows. There are photography, film and fashion exhibitions, as well as some truly exciting cabaret. Thai people love to entertain and be entertained.
English writer, Samual Johnson once said that if a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. While that may have been true in Samual's time, it certainly cannot be said about the sheer excitement that awaits you in Bangkok today. (Depending on your point of view) However, I stand to correction. I have visited both of these cities. Been there, done that and bought all the T-shirts.
I wonder if that statement still has any validity in this modern age. What was it, when it was said that if you are tired of London. Was it about the people. Was it about places of interest. Was it about the underground? Surely it could not have been about the playhouse theatres.
While the theatre in London is truly spectacular and should not be missed, I personally believe Bangkok has a lot to offer. The theatre here is phenomenal.
Below is a list of the most important art playhouse theatres in and around Bangkok. I'll try to give you directions to each and every one. Failing that, I will at least tell you how to get to them, most of which are easily accessible using either the river boat express service, the taxi or a Tuk-Tuk. Visit the Cultural Festival Guide to see the type of performances taking place here.
The Patravadi Theatre is synonymous with traditional Thai performing arts, but also embraces many international elements. It is situated in one of the most charming settings in Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, across from the Royal Palace. It is also located adjacent to the royal temple Wat Rakang which is idyllically set amidst a lively Thai neighbourhood of narrow alleyways fully loaded with local vendors and food stalls.
The theatre is idyllically positioned in a tranquil garden setting from where you can enjoy a meal in the open-air restaurant while watching local shows taking place in the garden theatre. There are two studio theatres, a souvenir shop, a gallery and a number of fully serviced rooms and apartments on the grounds.
To get there, take the Sky Train to Taksin Station and depart at Exit 1 gate. Then take the Chao Praya Express Boat from Taksin Pier to Wang Lang Pier. From there, you turn left into Soi Wanglang. You'll see a small supermarket on the corner. Patravadi Theatre is about a 600-metre walk from there. The address is - 69/1 Soi Wat Rakhang, Arun Amarin Road, Siriraj, Bangkok.
Should you have time during the day, why not explore the immediate vicinity bordering Patravadi Theatre. The royal ground at Sanam Luang is close by. If you are lucky, you might even come across the annual kite flying festival or if real good fortune will have it, stumble upon the Amulet Market nearby.
Other places of interest include Wat Mahathat where meditation classes are held and the National Museum, where a magnificent range of arts and crafts from every period of Thai history are displayed. Go out there and have fun.
The Aksra Theatre is located at the King Power Complex in Bangkok on 8/1 Rangnam Road, Thanon-Phayathai, Ratchathewi. It has to be one of the best playhouse theatres in the city. The horseshoe design comfortably seats 600 people and its unique interior is a fusion of Thai architecture and Baroque art.
The shows presented here are mostly traditional Chinese, Korean and Thai dance and classical music, Thai folk dance and music and a number of astounding puppet shows. However, the theatre is also host to the annual Miss Thailand beauty pageant and live music concerts as diverse from that of rock to jazz.
Getting there is easy. Simply take the Sky Train to the Victory Monument Station. Once there, take a short walk away from the monument on Phaya Thai Road, then turn left onto Rangnam Road. Better still, take the taxi. At the bottom of this page, you will find a map giving you directions to the Aksra theatre.
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is a contemporary art museum, located in the centre of downtown Bangkok on 939 Rama1 Road, Wangmai, Pathumwan. Its landmark is that of an enormous seated white statue of what appears to be a type of space-woman. The centre's interior has modern design features with a spectacular circular centre space as the main entry hall.
To get there take the Sky Train to the National Stadium Station. The 3rd-floor entrance is connected to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. And opposite this centre is the famous MBK Shopping Mall and the Siam Discovery Centres.
Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts is a 300 seat black-box theatre located in downtown Bangkok at Chulalongkorn University on Phaya Thai Road. It is close to Siam Square, a popular hangout for teenagers, the MBK Centre and the National Stadium. It is also adjacent to the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, the most prestigious and private sports club here.
Getting there is easy as it is accessible by both the Sky Train or the Bangkok Metro. You could also travel there by bus, a taxi or a Tuk Tuk. Below is a map giving you directions to the theatre or should I rather say - Chulalongkorn University.
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