When Jared’s parents and brother visited us in Chiang Mai, we decided to splurge and visit the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. Tickets for our family of 5 (kids were half price and toddler was free) were 1560 Baht ($54 USD). Not the cheapest adventure in Thailand!
We arrived to a large spread of seating on the ground around a central stage (some seats were available with chair seating, but this must be by special request). We had assigned seats, which turned out to be directly in front of the stage—score!
We all waited patiently as the servers brought around a huge banquet of food for us all to share.
The food was decent. Rice, pork, chicken, limited veggies. Nothing spectacular, but we all had more than enough basic Thai to eat!
Soon, the cultural performance began—about an hour of dancing on the center stage, accompanied by live Thai music.
Gotta love the long fingernails!
There were times when members of the audience were invited to participate. Grandma and Ella and Maiya were brave enough to join in!
Even 2 1/2 year old Ethan stayed plenty entertained!
There were various different types of dance. This one was the chicken (or rooster?) dance!
There was also the guy that balanced a ridiculous amount of swords on his body. I can find at least 10 in this picture…can you?
A “dragon” came around asking for tip money (you had to insert it into his mouth).
Our 7, 5 and 2 1/2 year old loved the dancing and didn’t complain or ask for it to end. They were also satisfied with the food choices.
After the main performance, everyone had eaten their fill and the entire crowd departed. Most people there were Thai, and we didn’t catch the announcements. We thought it was the end, but then a staff member informed us that everyone had moved to another arena to watch additional performances. We found a little covered area where they continued to do dances more of a tribal nature.
This particular dance (below) was done with baskets of rice.
These children played an amazing jump-rope-like game that involved moving bamboo sticks that the kids had to jump in and out of in rhythm. It looked like a fun challenge, and the kids were having fun!
The star of the show was a little toddler who obviously came to work with his parents. He danced around and joined in the tribal dances. Adorable!
Overall, it was a wonderful night. It may not have been “cheap” (by Thai standards), but it was well-worth it for a great night of cultural entertainment. I didn’t feel that it was overly-dramatic or over the top tourist entertainment, either. It was beautiful, featured live musicians playing Thai music, and had wonderful performers and servers. I would definitely attend again! Read the reviews, yourself, and call to make your reservation!