Traditional Thai Dancing Performance Art


As a country with a unique history and culture, Thailand has its own unique art. Among them, the traditional Thai dancing performing arts has always attracted all kinds of tourists due to its diverse categories. An essential part of sightseeing in Thailand is watching traditional Thai dancing.

There are several forms of traditional Thai dancing, roughly divided into two main categories: classical dance and folk dance. There are six different forms of Thai dance: Khon, Lakhon, Fawn, Li-Khe, Ram Wong, and Nang Thalung.



Traditional Thai dancing is a combination of graceful body movements in addition to exquisite costumes and music. The history of traditional Thai dance culture has a long history. It was deeply influenced by Indian culture in the early stage. It was not until the time of Rama II that it gradually evolved into a dance with strong national characteristics. Until the 20th Century Thai Classical Dance was only permitted to be performed in the Royal Court but now thankfully it is open to everyone.

Classical dance is the essence of Thai dance art. It has a history of more than 300 years. It originated from the religious dance of “Kadakali” in southern India and was influenced by Chinese shadow play. Thai folk dances are closely related to the lives of Thai people. The stories told are often about the daily lives of rural people with stories that relate to rice planting, harvesting and religious rituals.


Traditional Thai dancing


One of the best-known classical dance drama versions is Khon, which is performed with masked dancers and a narrator. It has a history of more than 400 years and evolved from the ritual and dance of the Hindu temple. Each dance step in a Khon has a specific meaning and enhances its expression through specific music, footwork, marching and smiles. Khon is a treasure and national quintessence of Thai culture and represents the top level of dance programs

The actors on the stage are wearing masks and can't talk, so the choir sitting with woodwinds, cymbals and drums and describes the plot by singing and reading. The most special part of the whole drama is that all male dancers wear different masks and different costumes to show their identity. Kohn is still considered one of the most important performance art forms in Thailand, and the choreography is inspired by the epic Thai tale of The Ramakien.



Lakhon is less formal than Khon and the dancers do not wear masks. Clothing and stage sets are usually much more luxurious than other forms of Thai dance. The elaborate costumes and golden hats of the stupa are inspired by the costumes of Ayutthaya. Dancers are mostly elegant women that perform together as a unity rather than playing a personal role in a performance.

Lakhon features a wider range of stories than Khon, including the Ramakien, the Jataka and folk stories. Lakhon falls into two categories: Lakhon Nai and Lakhon Nok. Lakhon Nai is the most classic form represented by the court dancers in the royal palace. Lakhon Nok is a more popular form, usually associated with religious celebrations.



Fawn or Fon is a part of folk dance combined by the folk music of the region. Fawn stemmed from the northern region of Thailand. Fawn can be split into 5 types: Leb (Fingernails Dance), Marn Gumm Ber (Butterfly Dance), Marn Mong Kol (Happy Dance), Tian (Candle Dance), Ngiew (Scarf Dance). This is the most popular dance performed by tourists, as it is more like a small show than an opera-style event.



Lik-he is the most popular traditional folk dance, especially in villages throughout Thailand. The dance incorporates many different elements, from elaborate costumes to hilarious humor and sexual innuendo. Actors and actresses usually improvise while performing tasks, but always perform in accordance with the script that tells the story of love.


Ram Wong

Ram wong is a type of partner dance in a circle. Ram wong is a Thai folk dance which was developed from Ramthone a popular seasonal entertainment of a certain region. Men and women dance together in a circle, moving their hands and feet slowly and gracefully. The legs must move in time of the rhythm, and in the opposite direction of the partner. Ram Wong is a social form of dance that require men and women participate in the same circle


Nang Thalung

Nang Thalung is an ancient form of traditional shadow puppetry and it is a special form of Thai dance. The puppets are made from water buffalo or cow hides. This form of shadow puppetry first appeared in southern Thailand in the 17th century, and is still popular today. In addition to famed folk tales and classic plays such as Ramayana, this form of shadow puppet theater has also been influenced by modern literature and TV, and new plays grounded on events in modern life are performed today as well.


Top Theaters in Bangkok

Siam Niramit

Location: 19 Tiamruammit Road, Huaykwang, Bangkok

Siam Niramit, also known as the Siam Dream Show, is located in the northeast of downtown Bangkok and is the largest stage theater in Thailand. The stage design is innovative, spacious and with flashing lights to create a warm artistic atmosphere in the theatre. In addition, there are traditional Thai dances, elephant performances, folk arts and crafts and Thai snacks. It is the first choice for tourists.


National Theatre

Location: Thanon Somdet Phra Pin Klao,Metropolitan Bangkok Thailand

The National Theatre is a great place to watch Thai classical dances. The interior is decorated in a traditional Thai style, providing a beautiful scene for the performance. Every show time, the actors will present a wonderful performance to the audience with beautiful makeup and gorgeous costumes.


Aksra Theatre

Location: 8/1Rangnam Rd., Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok

The Aksra Theatre is the main performance venue for the Axel puppet show in Thailand. The traditional puppet show in Thailand is full of the exquisite and charming of quaint art. The puppet show inherited by Sakorn Yangkhiawsod, the last puppet show artist in Thailand, has an unparalleled artistic charm and value. When you come to Bangkok, you must not miss this precious traditional art.


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