When we think of ladyboys, Thailand is undoubtedly the first country that comes to mind. Many of us conjure up the images of gorgeous stage, marvellous costumes and graceful performance of those beautiful androgynous creatures. As a regional culture in Southeast Asia, there are also many ladyboys in Philippines, but their beautiful Thai ladyboy sister put them to shame. Thailand has a deeply rooted ladyboy culture. Although the Asia people are widely known as conservative spirit, Thai society shows a surprisingly tolerant of them. Thais are mostly Buddhists, a religion that advocates acceptance and tolerance among people. Ladyboys have been widely accepted in Thai society. It's says that even the Thailand's kings once had a ladyboy mistress. Ladyboy is absolutely part of the Thai social landscape for Thailand culture tourism.
Thailand has the highest percentage of transgender people in the world. The population of Thai ladyboy ranges from about 10,000 to 300,000, much higher than the estimated transgender population in any other countries of the world.
Why are there so many kathoey in Thailand? There are a lot reasons. First, Thai people and society circumstance are extremely open, tolerant even sympathetic to kathoey. About 95% of Thais are Hinayana Buddhists. They have a very open and tolerant attitude towards differences between people. That might also the reason why Thailand is a so complex country, well known for both sex industry and Buddhism.
Thai Buddhists believe that being a kathoey is a sin from previous lives, which leads to a conflict between physical and mental gender in this life. Thai people accept and even embrace these conflict. Having kathoey in the family is not a shame. Although discrimination still exists more or less, ladyboys in Thailand can enter most of the women profession.
Second, Thai people are naturally feminine. Compared with westerners, they have much smaller bones, thinner bodies, softer facial features and smoother skin, just like other Asians. These features gives Thai ladyboys an inbuilt advantage over other transgender - less risk of giving himself away when go through their transition, and be "accessible" for the society.
The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism. Buddhist teaching believes in reincarnation. It's said that the environment we live today is a product of the way we lived in previous lives. The circle concept behind kathoey is the result of karma - a person born as kathoey is because of some sexual misconduct in previous lives or they fail to be a responsible role in the reproductive process, such as a man who does not care for his pregnant wife.
The circle of life is always a balance. We owe a debt this life and pay our debts in the next world. Whatever the cause, it is widely believed that no one can evade the consequences of karma. That's to say, everyone has been kathoey in previous lives or will be one again in future circle. So Thai people represent wide tolerance to them, which will also has good rewards back.
Meeting a real Thai ladyboy usually means traveling to Thailand. That is where they are! In Thailand, someone you come across randomly in the street might be a ladyboy. It is almost "easy" to meet ladyboys in that sense. Only question is, you can hardly tell them apart in a crowd. For travelers, the world famous Tiffany show in Pattaya and Miss International Queen (the world's largest and most prestigious pageant) are both good way to see them. There are also special ladyboy parade during Songkran Festival in many region. Imagine how interesting it is to see ladyboys parade, all splendidly dress up and escort some guys like real ladies. Just like Brazilian Carnival! The best cities are Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, which are the favorite gathering places for kathoey, because most of them work in the tourism industry.
When it comes to talking about Thai ladyboys, the first city is Bangkok of course. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a country with the largest ladyboy population in the world. Kathoey in Bangkok have been famous on the media through the entertainment ladyboy cabaret shows. How beautiful they can be? Put simply, their siren-like prettiness had long been much admired by Thai girls. You can watch Miss Tiffany beauty competition on national television or search "Miss Tiffany's Universe Official" on YouTube! Or you can travel to Bangkok and watch a live ladyboy cabaret show in Bangkok!
Bangkok's Calypso Cabaret Show at Asiatique gives you one of the heartfelt welcomes you can get on the land of smiles and does so in many diverse tongues. The theatre is sited close to the town square, with rainbow neon lights making a gesture to the audience. The amphitheater sits 350 in a group of fives at each table, as in any decent live entertainment around the globe. Everything is crimson from the chairs to wallpaper and down to the lighting; they make it feel a little intense sometimes. Tickets come with a free drink (like soft drinks, gin & tonic or beer) and it's also possible to buy a dinner and show package together.
Do you want to watch this fantastic ladyboy cabaret show and learn what goes on behind the scenes? UME Travel will give you a unique access to actually sit down with a Ladyboy, and learn more about the stories and secrets behind the Ladyboy world. After the meeting ends, you can see Calypso Cabaret Show. There will be a really deeper understanding after you know this group before the show.
If you don't have enough time and just want to watch the show, we can also arrange the tickets and private transfer for you. UME Travel service covers all-inclusive Thailand tours, transfer, hotels and tour planning. Feel free to contact our travel experts!
According to popular demand, we list here those safe and interesting ladyboy bars in Bangkok.
Bangkok's ladyboy bars are concentrated in Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Patpong. In general, most of the staff in such bars speak pretty good English and welcome to chatting, which is rarely the case in a normal Go Go bar. If you are curious and want to save effort, we can arrange the transfer between your hotel and the bars at night to safeguard your nightlife adventure.
King's Castle III
Cascade Ladyboy Bar
If there's only one place to see ladyboys in Thailand, go to Pattaya! Pattaya is very well known for its large kathoey community, or 'ladyboys' as the world has come to know them. Ladyboy cabaret shows in Thailand have its beginnings in Pattaya. Tiffany's Show Pattaya is the greatest ladyboy show in Thailand and the actors here got the Miss Tiffany beauty competition champion many times. The main celebration of Songkran Festival in Pattaya also includes a beauty pageants and cultural shows where ladyboys are allowed to join the contest. Pattaya is only 2-hour driving distance from Bangkok, so if you have enough time, get out from Bangkok and head for this beach city! Here, we provide you a complete guide of different ways to meet kathoey in Pattaya. Contact for customization.
Tiffany's Show Pattaya is the original transvestite show in Pattaya, Thailand, and is in its 40th year. Now, Tiffany's Pattaya Show has developed into a spectacular world's top performance that attracts audiences from around the world. Actually, Tiffany's Pattaya Show was named the 4th of the global top 10 best live performances.
It's really an hour feast for the eyes. It just always brings the house down. All laser search lights, colourful costume, modern acoustics gives a whole new visual enjoyment. Tiffany's Show Pattaya performance is a curious mixture of the ancient and modern, Thai and Western styles. The actors are all Thai ladyboys while the show does not restricted itself in Thailand. So travelers often heard the familiar voice of their countries. In Thai kathoey style! Actors sometimes walk off the stage and play a trick with you. Scenes include ladyboy-style Bollywood musical "Indian Raj", traditional Korean song and dance, a tribute to the progress of Chinese dynasties as well as Siam's history. All these are present through beautiful Thai dance, slapstick burlesque and Broadway show tunes.
Pattaya's nightlife is both famous and infamous around the world. It's a thing a tourist must do in Pattaya's night. Just wondering along the Walking Street and drinks a few cups of alcohol, or you can take a foot massage by the street. That's good. If you intend to visit some Pattaya ladyboy here, there would be a little troubles to find a nice ladyboy bar. The size of Pattaya's nightlife places can also be prohibitive. We did a rough calculation. The street alone is a kilometer long from end to end, with a dozen nightclubs in tight rows, over 80 Go Go Bars and countless normal bars. After our examination, there are some good places to go.
Lita Bar in Soi BJ
Sensations Bar in Action Street
Pook Swan House in Soi Buakhao
Stringfellows A Go-Go in Soi Yamato
My Way Beer Bar in Walking Street
Here are just a a rough idea to Pattaya nightlife for those planning their first visit to Walking Street. If you hope to arm you with enough knowledge to ensure that you get the most out of Pattaya after dark, our travel expert can help you. Contact now.
If you want to find a place to watch ladyboy in Phuket, it's worth seeing the ladyboy cabaret shows. There are two main venues in Patong: Simon Cabaret and Bangla Road. Simon Cabaret show is the most famous ladyboy show in Phuket. The next one is a famous bar street in Phuket.
Since 1991 Simon Cabaret Show has been entertaining visitors with its mélange of camp, glitter and cornball and it still is one of the island's biggest draws.
This is not a sex show and the children peppered throughout the audience attest to that fact. You'll have to go to the Paradise Complex in Patong for transgender onstage titillation – no, Simon's dazzling set changes and brilliant colours are entertainment enough and reach out to the multicultural audience of all ages in the cleverest way possible.
Simon Cabaret deserves its high place in Phuket's must-see list. After the 70-minute show the performers pose outside with members of the audience for a fee.
There are a plenty of places to party for Phuket nightlife. While little shows can be watch in ladyboy bars. Please note that most of the clubs simply don't allow ladyboys, so there are no 100% ladyboy only bars in Phuket. However, you can find plenty of ladyboys among the girls in certain bars. Those places have better bar atmosphere rather than a show. There are no admission, and you can watch the ladyboy' performance on the small stage. The price of a drink is similar to that of an ordinary girl's bar. The best place in this category are the followings:
Tiger Night Club
Soi Freedom & Soi Sea Dragon
Patong Beer Bar Complex
A Ladyboy (popularly called Katoey in the Thai language) is a transsexual or a transgender with the most significant number of them residing in tourist districts. Ladyboys are present in most of the taverns here because basically, it's quite more comfortable for women to make more money in these regions. Southeast Asia people are endowed with some very explicit physical structures that make it very easy for them toinconspicuously change their gender inconspicuously. This is the exact reason why recognising a ladyboy can be so challenging on the streets of Thailand, especially if you're a first time visitor in the country. So how do you identify a Katoey when you see one?
Generally, girls have slim shoulders and wide hips, but ladyboys, on the other hand, have broad shoulders and thin hips. Another feature of ladies is their little bent forearms whereas men possess straight forearms. Don't bother to look for their Adam's Apple, because many of them had the bone shaved back through surgical operations. The average height of a Thai lady is 157.3 cm (about 5ft 2in) while that of a Thai man is 167.5 cm (about 4 inches taller).
Majority of (recent) Ladyboys try to talk in a higher pitch to sound so that they can voice sound more feminine. Though, recognizing can take a lot of time before you can perfectly master it. You can only be an expert at this after you might have stayed in Thailand for some months.
When visiting a city (especially in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket), make sure you check its map and at the same time consult with residents before heading out. For instance, Pattaya's Soi 6 area is renowned for having many bars where many (female) prostitutes can be found. Whereby Soi 6/1 which is just a few distances away, is well-known for its ladyboy inns.
As stated earlier, Thais are pretty open-minded people, and there's no shame in disclosing your identity as a ladyboy. Nowadays, some might get angry if you think that they might not be a complete woman but if you ask in a conservative style, everything should be okay.
As good as some of the earlier method may be, none of them is foolproof. They are all biased and might vary from one person to another. The only and best way of identifying a Thailand ladyboy is by requesting for their Identification. These days all Thai ID cards are written in both Thai and English languages. So by asking for their ID (you can pretend to be checking for their age) and boom! You will see Mr. so-so and so; you can easily get your answer.
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