Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Ladyboy Shows in Koh Samui

One of the most fascinating parts of Thai culture for the foreigner remains the phenomenon of the ‘ladyboy’. Although, most other countries where gay people are not persecuted have their own transsexual scene, it seems no other country has such a flamboyant and visible transsexual culture as Thailand. In Thai they have a cover-all phrase ‘katoey’ to refer to gays, lesbians, transsexuals and transvestites. The phrase seems imprecise not from lack of interest to distinguish but because there is a deep-seated acceptance of the third sex in Thailand. All those who are neither straight men nor women are in one way or another ‘katoey’. One of the oldest running jokes in Thailand remains the situation where an unsuspecting foreign man sleeps with a ladyboy mistakenly thinking it was a woman. The movie Hangover 3 re-ran this joke, and it never appears to go stale. If such gags tickle your fancy it might be worth your while checking out of one of the ladyboy cabarets in Koh Samui. If you watch the audience you are more than likely to spot a drunken young Westerner who is lapping up the attention of a ladyboy. It seems unlikely the young man is gay but it seems likely he is about to have a ‘gay’ experience. Women on holiday are often drawn to the ladyboy cabarets. They invariably mention how wonderful the performers’ costumes are, and how beautiful the ladyboys look. There seems an element of voyeurism and rivalry in the way foreign women relish a ladyboy show. There are 3 main ladyboy shows in Koh Samui.

Starz Cabaret

This place is on the Chaweng Beach Road. There is a cover charge to enter and drinks cost slightly more than in a normal bar. There are performances at 8pm and 10pm every evening except Sunday. It is a popular show with an element of interaction: the ‘girls’ will tease each other, and sometimes they find a willing member of the audience to take the piss out of. It is all good-humoured fun of the gay variety.

Christy’s Cabaret

This ladyboy show is in central Chaweng on the beach road. The main show is at 10pm but the club opens at 8pm. There is an entry fee. For this fee you get ‘girls’ in glamorous and outrageous costumes singing along to gay anthems. As with all the ladyboy shows in Thailand, the performers and their entourage mingle with the audience and are happy to lavish attention on drunk, young and handsome men.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is the only free ladyboy cabaret in Koh Samui. They make up the short-fall in revenue by increasing the price of the drinks. The shows are at 8pm, 9.30pm and 11pm. The nightclub is on the Chaweng Beach Road close to the burger king. The show is big and spectacular and features musical and burlesque elements and extravagant costumes. If you just want to have a look at what all the fuss is about Moulin Rouge is the place to go. Be sure to buy at least 1 drink or you will attract unwanted attention. A ladyboy cabaret is one of those must-do things when visiting the South of Thailand, like going to the Full Moon Party. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether they want to fall in line with received wisdom.

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