Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Kinsana Garden Theatre: Mandalay Hill Resort

Set amid the swaying palm trees and lush tropical gardens of Myanmar's Mandalay Hill Resort, guests can dine under the stars and enjoy traditional Burmese music and dance at the spectacular outdoor Kinsana Garden Theatre, as well as enjoying a sensational alfresco barbecue buffet with everything from grilled Irrawaddy river prawns and satays to Burmese salads, creamy curries, fresh fruits and traditional Burmese sweets such as coconut Shwe Gye and Mon Lon Ye Paw. In the high season, reservations are essential for this cultural and culinary event, but amazingly we were only one of two couples in the audience to applaud the performers and indulge in the show stopping array of Burmese delicacies. Serenaded by a small four-piece orchestra and showcasing the dance, music and costumes from assorted Burmese dynasties from medieval Bagan through to the 14th-century Pinya and Inwa dynasties, 16th-century Tango and Nyaungyan and ending with the 18th-century Kongbaung dynasty, the show featured dramatic, folk, village, and nat dances, each wonderfully distinct, exquisitely performed and beautiful to behold.

Surrounded by a pond, fountain and palm trees, the Kinsana Garden Theatre is spectacular at night with views of illuminated temples in the adjacent hills

An outdoor bar with thatched roof and carved facade serves guests wine and cocktails during the evening

Amazingly, we had the place to ourselves aside from two lovely recently widowed ladies from Australia, who were equally astounded by our private fête and feast

The beautiful Kinsana Theatre stage with 'flaming fingers' pediment

We started with two glasses of French wine for unfortunately unlike great Thai wines, 
Burmese viniculture has a long way to go yet

A large urn with flower petals floating on water, with the curry and Burmese stir fry vegetable stations in the background 

A sumptuous array of salads and appetizers including prawn spring rolls, 
crisp tempura, tea leaf salad and warm Burmese soups and fresh baked breads

The Grill Station with a selection of fresh fish, seafood and vegetables including Irrawaddy River Prawns, Squid, Courgettes, Plantain, Corn, and Chicken, Pork or Beef Satays each displayed in hollowed out pumpkins

Enormous Grilled Irrawaddy River Prawns, Squid and Local Fresh Water Fish

The Burmese Stir Fry Station with a selection of fresh greens from bok choy, spinach, cabbage, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots to daikon, slivered ginger, mushrooms, peppers and broccoli

The Burmese chef created a mélange of vegetables for us both to share

After a traditional Burmese puppetry show which started the evening, dancers performed in beautiful traditional costumes serenaded by a small orchestra behind an illuminated screen 

Reflections of the dancers and theatre pavilion in the pond add to the magical ambiance

The costumes and dance reflect different eras of Burmese art and culture

Closeup of the dancer

Similar to Thai dance, there is an emphasis on expressive hand movements and gestures

Close up of one of the dancers

A dancer with the musicians below with one player on a Khalu Shehnai, a tribal wind instrument

A closeup of the dancer 

The Burmese Candle Dance is based on the old tradition of Myanmar's paying respect to the Lord Buddha, and hails from the Pyu dynasty and Kone Baung dynasties

A palm tree and lantern lined footpath leads from the Kinsana Garden Theatre to the pool and garden entrance to the hotel

The illuminated pool at night changes colours by LED, from blue to purple to magenta...

A swim up bar in the that's decadent!