Living in the UK we’re heavily influenced by the television shows broadcast on our TVs, most of which are from Western perspective, but if you’ve ever spent time in hotel rooms around the world, you’ll know that tastes differ from country to country – and Thailand is a perfect example of that!
Where we know all the goings on in Coronation Street, what’s happening in numerous versions of CSI/SVU/and even M*A*S*H, and we’re up to date with a hundred or so reality TV shows, life in Thailand’s TV land is quite different.
Television started broadcasting in June 1955, with colour telecasts introduced in 1969, and there are six free to air television stations, but the most popular shows among the 66 million or so population are their soap operas.
1. Soap Operas
As in all countries, soap operas reflect aspects of life, and in Thailand these are shown every night on prime time TV, with many channels airing three soaps simultaneously using the most popular stars to gain the biggest viewer numbers.
At the time of writing the top rated show in Thailand was Saneha Sanya Khaen, a soap opera loosely translated as Bittersweet Promise Of Revenge – and from what I could see it followed the format of most Thai soaps: baddies try to stop boy and girl getting together, a lot of melodrama ensues, boy and girl marry and live happily ever after!
But with over 10 million people watching, it’s obviously a formula that works.
2. Thai Boxing
Perhaps not surprisingly, Thai Boxing or Muay Thai is very popular on the box – and as a live sporting spectacular.
Muay Thai gained international popularity this century thanks to an increased interest in martial arts, but in Thailand, the top professionals are like superstars and sitting down to watch a match with the family is a bit like us watching an international football match for all the fervour it creates.
3. Mini Series
Similar to the soaps, these weekly TV shows are often full of high drama with lots of action, and according to ACNielsen’s viewer monitoring numbers, Sin 5 Khon Kla Tha Atham is the one to watch at the moment.
A ZealMilitary team consists of the best five people who get together to complete secret missions is enough of a description to get me interested too!
4. The News
Also ranking high across most of the channels was State of Emergency, described as a current affairs government announcement, this is shown regularly throughout the night, and is ranked in the top 10 of most channels.
Khao Park Kam Chuang TI 2 is the main news that rates well too – as do most of the news programmes broadcast.
5. Killer Karaoke Thailand
I can see why Killer Karaoke Thailand is in the top ten too. The premise has contestants singing a popular song while random things are done to them to test their fears, put them in harm’s way, and cause them great discomfort – much to the live audience’s delight.
If you’ve never seen this before, check out this great example here:
Obviously to really enjoy these it helps to have a smattering of the local lingo, and we can help with that at a course near you– we can’t help it if you get hooked on Killer Karaoke though!