Carnival Magic theme park opens in Phuket on September 20

Phuket FantaSea celebrates its 24th year milestone with the opening of a brand new 40-acre theme park right next door

When was the last time you visited Phuket FantaSea? For those of us who've been living in Thailand for decades, it may have been once or twice but probably not recently. And for others, maybe never. Phuket FantaSea opened as a "cultural theme park" in 1998, which means that it is seeing its 24th anniversary this year. Coming out of the pandemic, which was no doubt devastating for Phuket's tourism-based economy, Phuket's most famous manmade attraction has decided to go all-out with a comeback, opening a brand new, 100-rai (40 acres) theme park right next door called Carnival Magic.

An evening attraction same as FantaSea, Carnival Magic's most impressive feature is its appearance. The theme park has innately adopted the vibrant and topsy-turvy aesthetic of Western carnivals and circuses in its design, but look closer and notice elements of Thainess seeping throughout, whether it's a recurring elephant character or more subtle motifs like Thai textile or architectural patterns. What cannot be undersold, however, is the park's illumination. One of its most significant attractions is its Kingdom of Lights zone, which alone features more than 40 million multi-colored LEDs outlining palatial and other mesmerizing structures. Do we even have to remind you to get your cameras and backup chargers ready?

For those skeptical that a family theme park like Carnival Magic would truly serve all demographics, as a skeptic myself and someone who got the opportunity to visit the park pre-public opening, I can report that there really is something for everyone within its immaculately planned grounds.

Children and the young-at-hearts will no doubt enjoy kiddy rides such as the classic merry-go-round and the spinning tuk-tuks—a localized version of teacups—as well as carnival games where there are prizes to be won. The park also, of course, is in no shortage of photo-ops. The photoshoot-obsessed can even rent elaborate, bedazzled costumes to up their Carnival Magic Instagram game. Some of the must-see landmarks include the world's largest popcorn machine and the world's largest paper mache sculpture, which is of an elephant. 

Those who aren't into fun and games but live to shop can head straight to the retail zones for anything from elephant plushies to high jewelry. As for those who want to be wowed by Vegas-level shows, Carnival Magic has its record-breaking entertainment. 

Head to the River Palace Paradium, a massive indoor parade stadium, at 8:30pm to catch the epic River Carnival Parade show. The River Palace Paradium has earned Carnival Magic two of its nine total World Guinness Records: the world's tallest proscenium arch in a theater and the world's longest single-chassis parade float. If you don't care too much for arbitrary accolades, just sit back and take in the extravaganza organically. The 50-minute show, featuring original scores and elaborate costumes, is so extra and captivating and stays wonderfully true to the park operators' vision of being a world-class yet unmistakably Thai cultural attraction. 

Open from 5:30pm until 11:30pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, it's easy to fill up that six-hour window with all the sights, activities, and walking, so don't forget to wear your comfy shoes. 

Carnival Magic opens to the public today, September 20, 2022, at Kamala, Phuket. Admission tickets start at 2,600 baht and can be purchased at the park or reserved at or at 076-385-555. Transportation to the park can also be arranged, as well as special services for those with disabilities.

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