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Out on the Town
Muay Thai Boxing
Discover the classic Thai martial art of Muay Thai, once a guarded secret of the Buddhist monasteries and royal courts. The sport, famous the world over, is as much combat as self-defense, recreation and discipline. The two opponents begin a warm-up ritual called a ‘ram muay’ to the beat of a traditional Thai orchestra. Their graceful movements are valuable for stretching, yet they also display the fighter’s strength and flexibility to their opponent and the cheering crowds. With a typical match lasting 5 rounds, the winner is the fighter who can most effectively use his elbows, knees, feet and fists. The more experienced fighter can often complete a knock-out against his opponent, through either a kick or knee to the head. Catch a glimpse of a real match – complete with blood, sweat and tears – at the official Muay Thai venue, Phuket Boxing Stadium (Every Friday, about 8pm; Phuket Road, Phuket Town, Amphoe Muang; Tel: 07 634 5578) For the more faint of heart, a tamer version that lacks some of the bravado is held nightly in Patong (Bangla Road) and at Kata Beach.
(Nightly, 7:30 and 9:30 pm; 8 Sirirach Rd., Patong Beach, Tel: 07 6342 0115)
It’s showtime at the cabaret, an array of truly unique entertainment found only in Thailand! There’s more leg and bravado than the classic Broadway kick lines. Bright lights, talented singers and dancers put on a riot of a show. The unique aspect of the show is that the show is performed by troupes of beautiful, show-stopping, make-up clad, crossing-dressing men! The show offers fantastic diversion and entertainment, but also delves into a unique aspect of Thai culture. These “ladyboys,” as they have come to be known, are more visible and widely accepted in Thai culture than other societies, with quite a few famous “ladyboy” models, singers and movie stars. While Simon Cabaret is the most famous show in Phuket, Ladyboys delight audiences all across Thailand, from participating in village beauty contests to beachside impromptu shows.
(99 Kamala Beach. Kathu, Tel: 076 385 000, 076 385 111)
You could visit temples and decipher wall paintings all day, or visit Phuket Fantasea, a one-stop, all-out venue that recreates centuries of Thai history and culture. A grand ampitheatre, clad in Sukhothai-era architecture, hosts ‘Myths, Mysteries and Magic’. The show starts from ancient Thai legend and then transports visitors through a journey in time, from the days of sumptuously-clad kings and princesses to formidable mythological creatures. The vivid nightly shows combine traditional fireworks, lights, acrobats, songs and dance. The site’s Carnival Village, while admittedly a bit touristy, hosts carnivals, games and shopping.