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Lakhon: Thai Classical Dramatic Theater


Thai classical performing arts can be divided into four main categories: Ram, Rabam, Khon, and Lakhon. Ram refers to a specific form of solo or duet dances. Rabam encompasses a diverse range of dances. Khon is a form of masked dance theatre that portrays the story of Ramakien. Lakhon, or Thai Classical Dramatic Theatre, refers to the different forms performances that portray narrative stories. The story of Lakhon can reveal much about Thai history and culture.


From detailed choreography and soothing vocals to stunning costumes and carefully written scripts,  the elements of Lakhon captivates both sight and spirit of all who behold the art form.


What is Lakhon?

Terms similar to “lakhon” are found in many Southeast Asian cultures, each varying in spelling and slightly different in meaning. In Java, for example, the term ‘lakon’ refers to the plot of a story, while in Cambodia, ‘lakhon/ lakhol’ refers to theatrical drama. In Bali, the term “legong” refers to a type of dance with refined and intricate gestures. All of these terms point to a commonality involving performance art.


In Thailand, “Lakhon” refers to the many types of classical dramatic theatre that depict narrative stories. This is in contrast with Ram and Rabam, which refer to dances with no storyline. Unlike modern theatre forms, which rely on realistic acting and dialogues, most forms of Lakhon rely heavily on dance and music to convey the story. Thus, choreography in Lakhon must be painstakingly executed to deliver the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions. This has led many to describe Lakhon as “dance dramas”. However, there are also forms of Lakhon that do not rely heavily on choreography, such as Lakhon Phud (Speaking Lakhon). Other important aspects of Lakhon include acting, costumes, stage design, script, as well as spiritual rituals.


The plot of Lakhon is based on a broad range of stories, including folk tales and Jataka stories, such as Phra Suthon, Sangthong (The Prince of the Golden Conch Shell), and Khawi, as well as stories originating from other parts of the world, such as Inao (Panji Tales) from Java, and Unnarut (Aniruddha) from India. This is in contrast to another popular Thai theatrical form, Khon (Thai Masked Dance Drama), whose plot is based solely on the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Hindu epic Ramayana.


Lakhon Chatri (Cr. Chula)


History of Lakhon

Sukhothai Era

The journey of Lakhon can be traced back to the ancient Kingdom of Sukhothai (1249-1438). During this period, cultural influences from India ran deep across Southeast Asia. Indian literary works and religious beliefs influenced many aspects of Thai culture, including folk dances. The ritual dance of Brahmanism, for example, is believed to have inspired dramatic performances in religious ceremonies during this era. In fact, dances were common features during festivities. This is evident by the inscriptions of King Ram Khamhaeng the Great, which mention dances performed during Kathina festival.


Ayutthaya Era

During the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767), there are many forms of dance, theater, and folk play. These entertainments were collectively known as “Mahorasop”, a term referring to plays or performances that were regulated by the authority. It was during this era that dance dramas became categorized into different forms of Lakhon, including Lakhon Chatri, Lakhon Nok (performed outside the palace), and Lakhon Nai (performed within the palace). Lakhon became widely popular, with set rules and regulations being laid for each theatre type and choreography being developed into standard patterns.


Mahorasop during Ayutthaya period (Cr. silpa-mag)


Early Rattanakosin Era

The early Rattanakosin period (1782-1851) was a flourishing age of literature, poetry, fine arts, and performance arts. King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I), who reigned from 1782-1809, was committed to preserving the arts of Thailand. The king contributed to the establishment of a Khon theater in the royal palace as well as the production of the Tamra Phap Ram (The Book of Thai dances), which documents various dance forms in detailed illustrations. The book became a foundation text for future students of Thai performance art.


King Rama I was succeeded by his son, King Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai’s (Rama II), whose reign (1809-1824) was known as the golden age of Thai literature. As a prolific playwright and poet, King Rama II greatly contributed to the revision, restoration, and refinement of multiple poetic pieces that were used as Khon and Lakhon scripts, including Ramakien, Inao, and Sungthong, among others. Many of these works would later be regarded as masterpieces of Thai literature.


Inao (Cr. silpa-mag)


Westernization Period

During the mid-Rattanakosin period (1851-1925), Thailand underwent the process of Westernization. Western theatrical elements made their way into the Thai performance art scene, making Thai dance, theatre, and music more diverse and popular. As such, the development of Lakhon was heavily influenced by Western ideals of theatre.


King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who reigned from 1853-1910, and his courtiers played an important role in creating new forms of theatres for both private and public entertainment. These included Lakhon Dukdamban, Lakhon Sepha, and Lakhon Phanthang. The creations could be seen as a response to the new lifestyle and the changing tastes of audiences. These modern Lakhons were inspired by Western opera while still retaining elements of traditional Thai theatre. For instance, Lakhon Dukdamban still adheres to traditional verse narrative, but it might incorporate elements of realism from Western theaters, such as the use of scene design and realistic costumes. Adaptations of Western plays were also grew in popularity.


Lakhon Dukdamban (Cr. baanjomyut)


Golden Age of Theater          

King Vajiravudh (Rama VI), who reigned from 1910-1925, was a truly passionate dramatist. His reign was regarded as the Golden Age of Theater, with more rising forms of theaters in the court and the public. His great contribution to preserving theatrical art was the establishment of the Royal Entertainment Department responsible for all traditional performance activities under his close supervision. The department went on to establish the first official traditional performing art school: Rongrien Pran Luang. There was also a school for his scouts to learn music and drama with a built-in theater.



Thai musicians at the Royal Entertainment Department

during Rama VI reign (Cr. กรมศิลปากร)


The king was a gifted writer. He wrote more than hundreds of plays and translated countless literary works from other languages, including William Shakespeare’s English plays and Émilie Fabre’s French plays. When translating Shakespeare’s blank verse, the king localized it into the form of Thai octameter poem, while adding puns without making the meaning any different from the original work. Such was the literary mastery of King Rama VI.


Many of his works were featured in Lakhon Phud, a popular form of theater that is characterized by its exclusive use of dialogues, with no dance or singing interspersed. Lakhon Phud originated during the previous reign of his father, King Chulalongkor, but was later popularized with more diverse plays through Rama VI’s contribution.


Studies from the Journal of Humanities by Surapone Virulrak suggest that dramatic literature in each era reflects not only the differences in the monarch’s taste but also the policies and values he wants to promote. Rama VI’s translated works reflected his promotion of the English language and foreign cultures. The works also promoted patriotic sentiments. Huajai Nak Rob (A Warrior’s Heart), for example, was a play performed to promote the chivalric role of soldiers, encouraging the Thai people to protect their country.


Revival Age of Thai Classical Theater

Performing arts had always been under the royal patronage, however, they were passed into the hands of the civilian government when the country underwent threats from the Second World War. In response to the economic recession in the early 90s and the emergence of movies as a new source of entertainment, traditional performance arts of the royal court was financially limited and eventually declined in popularity.


King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), whose reign lasted from 1946-2016, and Queen Sirikit recognized the importance of preserving Thailand’s national heritages and began to revive disappearing traditional performing arts, including supporting and honoring skilled artists. The King himself had been close to the tradition since his childhood and had performed Khon at the royal palace school on several occasions. The King also wrote the novel Phra Mahachanok, which was based on the Buddhist story of Mahajanaka. The story was later adapted into a Lakhon script by National Artist Seri Wangnaitham. Throughout King Bhumibol’s reign, traditional theaters made a comeback, incorporating modern innovations such as scene design, lighting, audio, and computer-controlled systems.


Phra Mahachanok by King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Cr. komchadluek)


In 1985, the government declared 24th of February of every year  as the National Artist Day to commemorate the birthday of King Rama II who was an important patron of the arts, as well as honor artists who have made great contributions to fields. These include artists from the realm of performance arts such as Khon and Lakhon.


Types of Lakhon

There are types of Lakhon, which can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Lakhon Ram (ละครรำ), or “Dance Dramas”, focusses on telling the story through dance movements accompanied by vocal and instrumental music. Choreography is used to portray characters’ emotions and thoughts.
  2. Lakhon Rong (ละครร้อง), or “Musical Dramas”, focuses on using singing to tell the story.
  3. Lakhon Phud (ละครพูด), or “Spoken Drama”, focuses using spoken dialogue with true-to-life acting that allows audiences to connect with the characters.


Now, let us examine each type of Lakhon.


Lakhon Chatri (ละครชาตรี)

Some sources say that the term “chatri” is derived from the Sanskrit word “kshatriya”, referring to the aristocratic warrior caste in Hinduism, as the genre often portray stories of kings. Others believe that the genre could have been inspired by a group of roaming performers in India known as Yatra or Yatri. One of the most popular plays for the group is Gita Govinda, a story of Lord Vishnu’s incarnation form that consists of only of three characters.


Lakhon Chatri is considered to be the oldest folk-style of Thai classical dance-drama. Originally, Lakhon Chatri is mainly played by three characters, Phra (Hero), Nang (Heroine), and a Talok (Comic), all of whom are played by men. The costumes used in the show were simple; characters were usually shirtless aside from the main protagonist (usually a royal prince) who would be wearing a Sanap Phlao (traditional half-calf trousers), ornaments, and a crown. The traditional makeup was made from turmeric, creating yellowish skin on each character. Lakhon Chatri later went through multiple changes throughout its long history. Today, women are allowed to participate in the play, while costume styles became fancier. Lakhon Chatri dance and costume was famously featured in the music video of Michael Jackson’s Black Or White.


Ram Sat Chatri prelude dance of Lakhon Chatri


Popular stories portrayed in Lakhon Chatri are centered around the stories of kings, including the love story of Phra Suthon – Manora. Traditionally, the physical setup of a Lakhon Chatri theatre consists of four pillars located in accordance with a square and a sacred pillar, known as the Mahachai pillar, in the middle of the stage. Originally, the consistency pillar was made of Cassia wood as it was associated with Vishvakarma, the Hindu god of fine arts and Vishnu’s assistance. The pillar serves a spiritual function, warding off evil and blessing actors with a smooth performance. It can also be a place where the characters rest their weapons during the performance. Today, Lakhon Chatri stage setup varies, with some troupes adhering to traditional format while others prefer simple


The general mood of Lakhon Chatri is entertaining. It features verse narratives, singing, and colloquial dialogues that performers sometimes would improvise during the show. Lakhon Chatri often follows traditional sequences that start with a ceremonial performance to pay homage to the teachers and deities. The performers sing and dance on the left direction of the stage while reciting incantations to ward off the evil spirits. A special dance known as Ram Sat Chatri is performed as a part of this procedure. After the ceremonial performance is conducted, the actors began their narrative play. The whole performance is accompanied by music from a special type of ensemble known as Piphat Chatri. The show concludes with a ceremony to bid farewell to the stage.


Lakhon Nai (ละครใน)

Lakhon Nai is a dance-drama traditionally performed exclusively within the royal court by an all-female cast. Only the king himself, his guests, and members of the court would be allowed to watch the performance. The journey of Lakhon Nai can be traced back to the ancient Ayutthaya period, where it is believed that Lakhon Nai flourished at its peak.


The characteristics of Lakhon Nai lay in the extremely refined elements that can be seen through the costumes and dancing styles, all adhering to Thai traditional aesthetic principles. The maidens are often dressed in elaborate costumes with glittering headdresses, all of which are crafted with impressive details befitting of the royal court. The performers are taught in classical dance movements, which are specific to this theatre and can take years to master. The movements showcase flexibility, nimbleness, and refined grace, almost as if the dancers are floating. The male characters (performed by the maidens) are expected to tone down the masculine movements to keep the refined feminine characteristic of Lakhon Nai. Additionally, the musical instruments featured in the play will also be softer and gentler to suit the vocal accompaniments of female singers. The plots of Lakhon Nai are derived from three main stories: Ramakien, Unnarut, and Inao. The story and dialogues of characters are narrated in verse form through offstage singers.


Lakhon Nai performance depicting an episode from Inao (อิเหนา)


Lakhon Nai was very popular during the early periods of Rattanakosin. During the reign of Rama III, who reigned from 1824-1851, Lakhon Nai was no longer exclusive within the royal palace. In modern days, it can be performed by any gender.


Lakhon Nok (ละครนอก)

In contrast to Lakhon Nai, Lakhon Nok is a folk-style dance-drama performed by commoners. The term “nok” means “outside”, referring to how the theatre is played outside of the palace. Lakhon Nok is inspired by folk plays that are later developed into a proper story and are believed to have been adapted from Lakhon Chatri, but with a differing style of performing patterns and techniques.  In earlier times, Lakhon Nok was usually played by an all-men cast. The performers must be skilled in dance and sharp enough to carry out call-and-response dialogue during the show, often relying heavily on improvisations.


Lakhon Nok depicting an episode from the tale of Krai Thong (ไกรทอง)


Lakhon Nok portrays stories through a fast paced manner, not sticking to hyper-fixated patterns or rules like other traditional theaters. This theatre does not heavily prioritize refined movements like Lakhon Nai. Instead, Lakhon Nok blends together the elements of dance, dialogue, realistic acting, singing, comedy, and improvisation. Dialogues in Lakhon Nok uses colloquial language that suits the taste of audiences who were mostly commoners. This has earned this theater the moniker “Lakhon Talad”, meaning “Lakhon of the Market”, with the marketplace being a common place of gathering for commoners.


The costumes featured in Lakhon Nok range from simple clothing for the characters who play the roles of commoners, to fancier Yuen Kreung (partnered garments that imitate the costumes of Lakhon Nai and clothing of royalty) for high-ranking characters. Various Lakhon Nok plots are based on Buddhist Jataka stories and folkloric tales, often featuring fairy-tale elements, such as ogres, mermaids, and spirits.  It can feature any story except Ramakien, Unnarut, and Inao, which are reserved for royal dance-dramas. Examples of popular plays for Lakhon Nok are Phra Lor and Phra Aphai Mani.


Lakhon Dukdamban (ละครดึกดำบรรพ์)

Having its first debut during the reign of King Rama V, Lakhon Dukdamban was inspired by the Western-style Opera. The name “dukdamban” was derived from the name of the famous theater Rong Lakhon Dukdamban, which was built by the aristocrat Chao Phraya Thewetwongwiwat. The show, however, still keeps its traditional elements of Thai classical theater such as verse narrative. A female-only crew will be eligible for the play following strict selection criteria. For example, the cast should have clear articulation and be skilled in both singing and dancing, particularly for the main lead. These styles and techniques of the script and the performance were developed by Prince Narisara Nuwattiwong, brother of King Rama V.


The costumes used for Lakhon Dukdamban are refined, similar to Lakhon Nai, except for some plays whose plot requires different kinds of costumes. The scripts are derived from chronicles and stories such as Sangthong, Khawi, Inao, Ramakien, Unnarut, Maneepichai, and works of Rama VI including the Thai version of the Indian story Shakuntala.


Lakhon Dukdamban depicting an episode from the play Kawee (คาวี)


What differentiates Lakhon Dukdamban from the previous traditional dance-drama is its realism. There is no narrator who describe movements and the inner thoughts of the characters like in traditional Lakhon forms. Thus, performers must sing and carry out the dialogues by themselves, conveying all necessary emotions and body language. These dialogues are poetic and contain rhyming verses. They are often performed in a call-and-response style.


The stage of Lakhon Dukdamban also incorporates scene design, lighting, and a sound system. The musical accompaniment comes from a style of ensemble that is created specifically for this theatre: Wong Piphat Dukdamban. This ensemble omits high-pitch instruments and focuses on producing soft tunes, as to not overpower the performers’ singing voice.


Lakhon Phanthang (ละครพันทาง)

Another response to the age of rapid modernization was the emergence of Lakhon Phanthang. The term “phantang”, meaning “thousand ways”, refers to the diverse origins of the dances and stories of this theatre. Lakhon Phanthang often features stories that are adapted from Lakhon Nok, folklores from neighboring countries, and newly written plays.


Lakhon Phanthang’s characteristics lie in the integration of other ethnic dances and stories into Thai theater. This was the idea of the aristocrat Chao Phraya Mahintarasak-Thamrong who was inspired by legends and chronicles across Asia. Initially, this hybrid form of dance theater was not yet known to be categorized under any type of Lakhon until it was later made known officially as Lakhon Phanthang” by Prince Narathip Praphanphong. New performing styles and proper techniques which differ in relations to each scene based on the location where the story took place were developed, including the combination of Thai classical and dances from other cultures. The shows are characterized by the interpretation of foreign cultures through the perspective of Thais. The singing styles are not fixed but interspersed. Some conversational dialogue could be used in some scenes to guide the audience.


Lakhon Phanthang depicting an episode from the Chinese epic Journey to the West


Lakhon Phanthang costumes are based on the background of each story. For example, if the show is based on stories of the Mon people, the characters would be wearing Mon costumes. The musical ensemble may also feature a musical instrument that represents or comes from the culture referred to in the play. Lakhon Phanthang is performed on a stage and the scene design changes throughout the performance like Lakhon Dukdamban.


Lakhon Sepha (ละครเสภา)

Lakhon Sepha is a combination of Lakhon and Khub Sepha (Thai Ballad Recital).  The term “khub”, roughly meaning “to sing” or “to recite”, is used to for many vocal or melodic storytelling performances across Tai-Lao speaking cultures, including Khub Lue of the Lue people, Khub Sor of the Northern Thai people, and Khub Thum of the Lao people.  The origin of the term “sepha”, on the other hand, remains ambiguous today. It is believed that the practice of Khub Sepha came from the oral traditions of storytelling that have been passed down from generation to generation. The key instrument of Sepha is the sound of wooden rhythm clappers, known as Krub, that are used during the recitation.


Lakhon Sepha depicting an episode from the epic Khun Chang Khun Phaen (ขุนช้างขุนแผน)


Some studies suggest that Lakhon Sepha was developed during the reign of King Rama V, as many elements of the genre are similar to Lakhon Nok, including music instruments, and costumes arranged along the storyline. An example of a Thai folktale with Sepha recitation is Khun Chang Khun Phaen, which is known for its beautiful, rhyming verses.


Lakhon Rong (ละครร้อง)

Rong” in Thai means to “sing.” Inspired by the style of Western opera, Lakhon Rong is similar to a musical play in which most of the words are sung. Two types of Lakhon Rong emerged during the mid-Rattanakosin period:

  • Lakhon Rong Salab Phud (ละครร้องสลับพูด) consists of both singing and spoken dialogue. Lakhon Rong Salab Phud was first introduced to Siam when a group of Malay troupes performed Bangsawan (traditional Malay opera) for King Rama V. When Malay Opera became more popular in Bangkok, Prince Narathip Praphanphong, a son to King Rama IV who had long been passionate in performing arts, restored the theatric style and introduced it to his new theater. The play is also known for their other names as “Lakhon Luang Narumit” and “Lakhon Pridalai,” which was a reference to the classical Pridalai theater built by the prince himself.

The performance has a greater focus on singing while the spoken dialogue may accompany some scenes. Traditionally, the cast should be all females except for the comic which will be played by a male actor. The music is performed by either Wong Piphat Mainuam or Wong Mahori. The Thai adaptation of Madame Butterfly called Sao Khreua Fah was a very popular play for Lakhon Rong Salab Phud.

  • Lakhon Rong Luan Luan (ละครร้องล้วน ) is another form of theater that was inspired by the Operatic Libretto and adapted to suit the taste of Thai people. Unlike the former genre, Lakhon Rong Luan Luan mainly consists of singing, with only a few melodic narration lines and Phleng Na Phat (similar to incident music) to accompany the mood of the characters on the stage. Both men and women can participate in the play. The theatrical production is realistic with the use of scene design correlating to the plot and theater innovations such as lighting and sound system


Lakhon Rong performance of Sao Khreua Fah (สาวเครือฟ้า)


Lakhon Phud (ละครพูด)

Lakhon Phud is a genre of spoken drama that began during the reign of King Rama V. The play is run by spoken dialogues, with the music of Wong Piphat Mainuam ensemble only performed at the end of a scene. The performers should have clear articulation to carry out the lines naturally. Aside from the dialogues, the performers use facial expressions and mannerisms to emphasize the realistic displays of emotions. The scene design and costumes of characters should stick to the fashion of the period portrayed in the play.


Lakhon Phub performance of Hen Kae Look (เห็นแก่ลูก), a play by King Vajiravudh


Ther are three types of Lakhon Phud, each differing in delivery styles. They include:

  • Lakhon Phud Luan Luan (ละครพูดล้วน ๆ) is a spoken drama that employs Roy Kaew (prose) script. The characters portrayed will use dialogue and gestures to express themselves, while costumes depend on the settings and background story of each play. Originally, the play was exclusive to a male cast, but, over time, it changes to a true-to-type cast.
  • Lakhon Phud Roy Krong (ละครพูดร้อยกรอง) is a spoken drama whose script is in Roy Krong (poetic verse) format which contains rhyming verses and techniques such as tone marks. The performers should also have clear articulation to carry out the verses naturally, and beautifully. For Lakhon Phud Roy Krong, the cast can be both men and women if they are suitable for the roles.
  • Lakhon Phud Salab Lam (ละครพูดสลับลำ) is a drama that combines spoken dialogue interspersed with incidental music that might appear in some scenes. “Lam” stands for “lamnam”, meaning “music” in Thai.


Lakon Sangkheet (ละครสังคีต)

With his fondness for dramatic literature and theater in general, King Vajiravudh was passionate about multiple theater-making projects, including the making of Lakhon Sangkheet. Lakhon Sangkheet refers to a type of theater that focuses both on spoken dialogue and singing. These are the two important components, and neither can be omitted.


Lakhon Sangkeet features both female and male cast, including the comical supporting role. Most importantly, the costumes portrayed should reflect the status of the characters. The key characteristic of Lakhon Sangkeet’s performance is the pure and beautiful vocals of the performers that go along with the rhyming spoken dialogue.


Lakhon Sangkheet from the play Hong Thong (หงส์ทอง)


Spiritual Connection

Thai performing arts are deeply rooted in the spiritual practices of the Thai people. Disciplines of performing arts, such as dance and music, are considered sacred. Students of performing arts not only study their craft but also form spiritual connection to their teachers. For the Thai people, “teachers” can range from living instructors, to deceased instructors, to progenitors of the arts, to patron deities. Thus, the practices of Thai performing arts involve many spiritual rituals and ceremonies.


In the realm of Lakhon, there are two crucial ceremonies that have been practiced for generations: the Khrob Khru and Wai Khru ceremonies. These two rites are conducted to form and reinforce the spiritual connection between teachers and students.


Khrob Khru (ครอบครู) Ceremony

The Khrob Khru ceremony is a sacred initiation ceremony. It is performed when a student submit himself/herself under the tutelage of an instructor. The instructor who performs the ceremony must not only be a senior practitioner of Lakhon but must also be well-respected by the people. The typical Khrob Khru ceremony for Lakhon involves the instructor placing dramatic headdresses upon the head of the students as a sign of acceptance and blessing. The ceremony is performed again when the student is ready to move on to learn higher, more sacred forms of dance.


Wai Khru (ไหว้ครู) Ceremony

The Wai Khru ceremony is a sacred rite in which the students and practitioners of Lakhon show deep gratitude and respect towards their teachers. It is a ceremony that honors the teachers who have passed down their knowledge to younger generations and guided them throughout the training process. The ceremony involves dance, music, prayers, offerings, and purification. The ceremony is usually performed once a year.


Wai Khru ceremony (Cr. MGR Online)


To understand why teachers are held in such high regards, we must examine the Thai concept of what a teacher should be. The Thai word for teachers is “khru”: a term originating from Pali/Sanskrit that connotes knowledge, heaviness, and leadership. Thus, “khru” signifies someone who is respected, blessed with knowledge, and bears a heavy responsibility.  If the parents are said to be the giver of one’s life, teachers can be seen as givers of the knowledge and skills an individual uses to sustain his/her life. The role of the teacher is that of compassion: conveying knowledge, skills, and morality to students. In return, role of the student is that of respect: honoring the teacher and using the acquired knowledge for good.


Reflections of Thai Characteristics

Lakhon can reveal much about the characteristics of the Thai people. In terms of aesthetics and artistry, Lakhon’s focus on grace and beauty reflect the concepts of “La-Iad” (detailedness) and “On-Choi” (gracefulness) that are present in all forms of Thai art. These ideas demonstrate the skills and insight of Thai artists, who approach artistic beauty with a focus on refined details and elegance. In Lakhon, “La-Iad” and “On-Choi” are represented through complex dance movements, vocal and musical techniques, as well as the costumes of props of performances.


While modernization has shaped new forms of entertainment, Lakhon has survived through ups and downs. Moreover, the changes brought on by time are embraced into the ever-growing art of Lakhon. This can be seen in the introduction of Western dramatic elements in the past and the development of modern theatrics in the present time. Such changes are made possible sue to the characteristic of openness found in Thai people.


At the heart of Lakhon’s artistic beauty and history, lies the essential spiritual gratitude for those who come before and hand down knowledge and wisdom to the next generations. This gratitude is expressed through Wai Khru and Khrop Khru rituals, showcasing the value of respect inherent in Thai culture that makes Lakhon a legacy of pride for all Thai people.


The story of “Lakhon” is an elegant example of classical Thai culture and heritage. The beauty of Lakhon reflects the artistic finesse of the Thai people, while its spiritual elements reflect the values of compassion and respect. Throughout its history, Lakhon continues to evolve and grow with an open-minded attitude and without losing its original core. Join us in exploring more stories of Thailand and the Thai people, as we take you on a journey to discover Thainess.



Author: Pranaiya Panthanuwong

Editor: Tayud Mongkolrat

13 November 2023