Despite being an exceptional tourist destination with plenty of outdoor activities, there are perhaps surprisingly not very many things to do indoors in Phuket when the weather is bad and it pours with rain, an event which occurs all too frequently especially between May and October. Besides shopping and hopping from one bar to another, one leisurely past time that many people enjoy is a trip to the cinema, and Phuket now boasts three decent and modern multiplex cinemas that show the very latest movies. The cinemas include SF Cinema City in JungCeylon mall in Patong Beach, the SFX Coliseum in Central Festival in Phuket Town, and the Coliseum Paradise Multiplex which is also in Phuket Town.
Cinemas in Thailand tend to be very modern with the latest visual equipment and sound systems, normally just as good as those in western countries. The prices for regular seats are substantially lower compared with most of Europe, and there are usually a few rows at the back that have luxury or VIP seats, which are considerably more expensive but enable you to cuddle up to your other half.
All the cinemas in Phuket show the latest Hollywood movies, normally with an English soundtrack and Thai subtitles, or sometimes dubbed into Thai with English subtitles, as well as various non-Thai Asian movies which are usually dubbed into Thai. Most of the home grown Thai films (there is a well established movie industry here) do contain English subtitles too, so you can still enjoy those cheesy Thai horror movies and ‘comedies’ (Thai sense of humour sometimes borders on slapstick).
One consideration is that unless you enjoy being frozen solid, it’s strongly advisable to wear warm clothes inside the theatre as the air-conditioning inexplicably tends to be set to sub zero temperatures. It’s no fun spending two or three hours in icy cold conditions!
One interesting and slightly unusual practice of note, is that before every movie starts the Thai national anthem is played which accompanies a short film portraying Thailand and the present King (Rama IX). Everybody is expected to stand during this, including foreigners, and it’s quite a touching experience particularly the first time you observe it. This act illustrates just how much respect and admiration Thais have for the monarchy.
Here is a short rundown on the three cinemas around Phuket.
SF Cinema City
The SF Cinema City in JungCeylon mall is the newest cinema in Phuket with five big screens. On Wednesdays you can watch a movie in the regular seats for only 80 baht; at other times it costs around 120 baht on weekdays and slightly more at the weekends, but the most expensive sofa seats can more quite pricey. Since there are so many westerners and holidaymakers in Patong, this cinema is usually quite busy as it’s very conveniently located for the majority of tourists. At Cinema City it’s rare to find a film without an English soundtrack or at least subtitles, and all the Hollywood movies are shown in English too.
Address: Floor 3, JungCeylon, 181 Rat-U-Thit Road, Patong Beach
Tel: +66 (0) 76 600 559
SFX Coliseum Cinema
This impressive seven screen cinema is located on the third floor of the Central Festival mall, and so is quite centrally located and easy to reach. It’s a very modern, upmarket cinema with great facilities and an excellent sound system. They play western movies with English soundtracks, and include subtitles on most of the Thai films so it’s unlikely you’d have to sit through a Thai-only movie here. Prices are between 100 and 120 baht depending on the day of the week. For those that want to splash out and treat themselves or make a good impression on a girlfriend, there is also a separate VIP first class auditorium that costs upwards of 500 baht but includes pre-movie snacks, a reclining armchair and even a blanket to keep you warm, as well as free popcorn and soft drinks.
Address: Floor 3, Central Festival, Bypass Road
Tel: +66 (0) 76 209 000
Coliseum Paradise Multiplex
The Paradise is the older of the cinemas located in Phuket Town at Robinson’s and Ocean Plaza. They cater to a mainly Thai audience and therefore tend to play fewer movies that include English soundtracks. The ticket prices start at around 90 baht and they are normally the cheapest of the cinemas in Phuket.
Address: Tilok-U-Thit 1 Road, Phuket Town
Tel: +66 (0) 76 220 175