Bangkok is, without a doubt, one of my favourite South East Asia countries to date. The culture is rich, the people are friendly, the food is divine, and the shopping can make even the most controlled window shopper go ballistic.
Although I have been to Bangkok numerous times prior, I must admit that I have never been to any of the shows there. It was therefore somewhat exciting when we decided to do something a tad more cultural one night besides the usual body massage and alcohol binging activities one normally indulges in whilst in Bangkok.
There were two main Thai Traditional Cultural Show options available for us – Ruen Thep Silom Village located at Silom Road, or Sala Rim Naam Mandarin Oriental Bangkok located in Oriental Avenue just along the Chao Phraya River. Both shows come with dinner but we decided on the latter, mainly because of the ambiance and wonderful experience we were told it would give. The price was 4 times more compared to Silom Village but to be fair, this was Mandarin Oriental we are talking about.
Expectations and excitement began to build when we were informed of the dress code – ladies are requested to wear elegant attire and proper footwear; gentlemen a smart shirt, long trousers, and closed shoes for the dinner. Eye brows raised; definitely sounded posh and fancy. We got ready, arrived at the hotel entrance well ahead of the 7.30pm stated arrival time, and were then, interestingly enough, ushered to a dock at the back of the hotel. We soon found out that the dinner and show is not held in the hotel itself, but rather in a stand-alone richly decorate pavilion built in the traditional Northern Thai style across the river. A free boat ride along Chao Phraya; no complaints from me there!
View of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok from the Ferry
Mandarin Oriental Ferry Interior
Upon arrival we were cordially ushered to one of the low teak tables at the back of the restaurant. It was not directly in front of the stage but since we reserved rather late and they had other reservations prior, that was the best they could accommodate us for.
Sala Rim Naam Seating Arrangements
Traditional Musical Instruments That Will be Used During the Show
Dinner was a predetermined fine-dining menu concoction of Thai delights. Our waiter was cautious enough to ask if there were any allergies or food constraints that he should be aware of, and promptly suggested alternative dish options that could be done as a substitute.
Substitute Starter – Watermelons, Tofu Cakes, and Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Substitute Starter – Pomelo Salad and Fried Tofu
Baked Sea Bass and Herbs
Substitute Dish – Green Curry Vegetables
Stir Fried Vegetables
Clear Tom Yum Soup
Dessert – Thai Red Ruby, Coconut Ice Cream, and Fruits
Local Thai Sweets
The dance show started promptly at 8.15pm, and the narrative of the story in each scene is explained in a little booklet placed on every seat upon arrival so that guests would be able to read in advance and appreciate the significance of each dance.
Narrative of Thailand’s Ancient History
Dancers Lining to Take a Bow at the End of the Show
After the show, the dancers moved freely from table to table to allow guests to take pictures with them as a keepsake of their experience.
Sample of How the Dancers Will Pose if a Guest Wants to Take Pictures with Them
It really depends on what you are willing to pay for, I guess. For me, the food was lovely but not really gastronomically top notch. Then again, I did have to change the menu to suit my food constraints so I may not be 100% accurate in that sense. The dancers in their elaborate costumes were enlightening, and the ambiance was definitely a treat. Seating arrangements were spacious with no one sharing any of the tables, thus it did not feel claustrophobic. I noticed some of the guests did no adhere thoroughly to the dress code but they were prim and proper and cautious of their social etiquette. If you are on a business trip and would like to impress a client, or you just feel like dining like royalty; this is definitely the place to go to. Just ensure you MAKE RESERVATIONS WAY AHEAD OF TIME to ensure you get the best view in the house and the best bang for your buck.
3000THB (approximately RM345 / USD84) per pax. If price is a concern, Silom Village’s Personal Banquet Dinner & Show goes for 750THB (approximately RM86 / USD21) and their Seafood Banquet Dinner & Show goes for 1000THB (RM115 / USD28) per pax. The experience, ambiance, and service may of course differ.
Approximately 3 hours (7.30pm – 10.30pm)
For more information:
Sala Rim Naam
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
48, Oriental Avenue,
Reservations: +66 (2) 659 9000