One of the best things about travel is to experience the way other cultures do things. More often than not, I am impressed and sometimes downright ashamed we are so far behind. Other times, I gain a deeper appreciation for the good old USA.
Today I experienced First Class Movie Cinema in Chiang Mai, Thailand and I am here to tell you, we are getting screwed in America!
I started off by going to the very fancy Maya shopping mall in Chiang Mai.
This is a 6 story luxury affair with just about anything you could wish for. They have an entire 4th floor dedicated to food. Everything looked amazing! We worked our way to the SFX Cinema on the 6th floor and noticed there was a regular theater on the left and to the right, there was what they called “First Class Cinema”. Since everything is cheaper here and we were curious, I figured we would check out the First Class Cinema. The following is my experience and just like Thai massage that made me never think of getting another massage anywhere in the world again, this may have ruined me for other theaters.
You start off with your own desk with zero lines that is manned by a few lovely Thai ladies dressed to the max.
They were very friendly and spoke good English. We were informed it was 400 Baht ($12) instead of the 120 Baht ($3.75) the regular theater charges. For this entry you get a few things. They take your popcorn and drink order when you pay. They give you a choice of 4 kinds of popcorn. You can choose between caramel, salt, BBQ or cheese. I selected cheese and my buddy picked BBQ. You are then walked over to a VIP lounge to wait for the show.
Once seated, a lovely young lady came over with welcome drinks. There was wifi and some TVs on.
We sat and enjoyed our drinks and a little before showtime, our hostess came over and walked us into the private theater. There were about 16 seats total in this theater. You could pick between large electronic recliners or love-seats with built in recliners. We chose the single recliners. They were brand new and each had a clean blanket folded up neatly awaiting us.
I decided to use the restroom before the movie started and was walked to the VIP restrooms. These were some of the cleanest and fanciest bathrooms I have ever seen. The toilets had fully automated bidets on them. Wash and dry your tush when you’re done!
By the time I got back to my chair, the popcorn and soda were there waiting for me. The soda served in a real glass and the popcorn in what appeared to be a nice handcrafted basket.
We settled in to enjoy the movie which was shown in Sony Digital Surround Sound in 4K. About a third of the way through my movie, I of course had pigged out and ate all the popcorn. Like magic, a woman popped up out of nowhere and asked if I would like more. I said yes and changed to caramel to try a sweeter flavor. She was back in a jiffy and I noticed why I didn’t see her the first time. She actually crawled on her knees to get to me so that she would be sure to not distract from the show! Wow!
With fresh popcorn and soda in front of me, I enjoyed the rest of the movie. Nobody talking, since there was almost nobody but us in there and awesome that I didn’t have to get up and miss anything to reload my refreshments. Once the movie was done, we walked out and were greeted by multiple staff members who did the traditional Thai bow and said thank you. Start to finish an incredible experience! We will be sure to return for BladeRunner 2049 when it comes out in a few days.
Not only does this type of thing not really exist where I am from, I couldn’t imagine what they would charge if they did offer it. Another win for Thailand!