5 Best Ladyboy Cabaret Shows in Thailand
Thailand’s Ladyboy cabaret shows have grown to become one of the highlights the country’s huge tourist industry. The big Ladyboy cabaret stars are poster pin-ups and you’ll see them on billboards and TV shows across the country.
If you haven’t been to one of the big Ladyboy cabaret shows before then you can be forgiven for assuming they are all amateurish performances housed in small smoky rooms or on stages at the back of noisy beer bars. The big cabaret shows in Thailand are now extremely professional performances, set in huge purpose built theatres with some seating well-over 1000 spectators and hosting 2 or 3 performances per night.
The shows themselves are pretty impressive too, with some having over 100 stage performers and multiple costume changes, not to mention multi-national performances aiming to please a huge international audience of Russian, Chinese, Korean, and European guests. While some may not see lip-syncing as a talent, these cabaret shows are about much more than that, and the spectacle of it all is something which you are sure to be impressed by (not to mention the many stunningly beautiful Ladyboys you’ll witness performing).
Here is the God’s of Thailand guide to the 5 Best Cabaret Shows in Thailand:
Simon Cabaret is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Phuket, and it has been so for at least 2 decades (that’s very impressive considering Phuket is Thailand’s most popular international holiday resort). You’ll see banners and posters feature the Simon Cabaret Ladyboys as soon as you enter the airport, and then on numerous billboards on the way to your hotel, these Ladyboys are definitely among the stars of the island.
The show itself is very grand and a little over-the-top, but that’s how most Ladyboy cabarets are. The songs and performances are more classical (as in classic pop from around the world with a sprinkling of traditional Thai), while the Ladyboy performers are incredible attractive and highly professional. There are 3 performances per night, each one of 70 minutes.
Moulin Rouge Cabaret (formerly Christy’s)
Despite its size, the resort of Chaweng on Koh Samui island has always been home to a handful of Ladyboy cabaret shows. While none of them are as large or grand as the big shows of Bangkok and Pattaya, Chaweng has some very fun and playful ladyboy shows to choose from.
In my opinion the pick of the bunch is Moulin Rouge (formerly known as Christy’s). Set in a small yet comfy theatre, the show hosts about 20 Ladyboys who take several fun opportunities to interact with the audience (something you don’t get with the bigger shows). There are 3 performances per night, however, each is a little different, with the earlier shows aimed more at family audiences and the later 11pm show being far more raunchy and risqué. Entry is free but you’ll be expected to buy at least one drink, with the drinks starting at 220 baht.
Bangkok has no shortage of Ladyboy Cabaret shows but perhaps the best (or my current favorite at least) is Calypso cabaret. The great thing about this show is that you can plan a whole afternoon and evening around Calypso, due to its location at the cool Asiatique, an outdoor riverside mall with lots of awesome boutique shopping, trendy restaurants, and chilled bars.
Set in a purpose built theatre, Calypso is an all-action stage show, with lots of extravagant costumes and explosive laser lights, and the performances are all very diva like. The show also lends itself well to western audiences with lots of classic songs and icons covered, from Madonna, to Marilyn Monroe, to Michael Jackson.
Pattaya has several Ladyboy cabaret shows, and you’d expect nothing less from a city with the highest percentage of Ladyboys in its population, however Alcazar is one of the oldest, biggest, and best.
First opening in November 1981, Alcazar is very much a Ladyboy show of grand proportions, set in a massive 1,200-seat purpose built auditorium, with a cast of over 400 Ladyboy and males dancers, this is one of the top cabaret shows in the world, let alone in Thailand.
As you’d expect for a show of this scale, it’s all extremely professional and extremely well choreographed and rehearsed. The show itself is also very well paced with a good mix of slow songs, drama, and comedy. One highlight of an evening at Alcazar will be getting to meet the stunning Ladyboy performers after the show, as they linger by the entrance willing to take photos with their new fans (though they will expect a small tip).
Despite the size and success of Alcazar, its nearby neighbor, Tiffany Show, is still the undisputed king (or queen) of Ladyboy cabaret shows, and its reputation is global. Tiffany not only hosts the national Ladyboy beauty contest (Miss Tiffany – which is annually one of the most popular live national TV events), but also hosts one of the largest international transsexual beauty contests (Miss Tiffany International).
The show itself is the oldest of its kind and one of the biggest tourist draws in Thailand. The show attracts a huge number of international tourists, some of whom will come to Pattaya just to see the show.
Just to think, Tiffany Show actually began life way back in 1974 on a small pier stage in a non-descript beer bar, at what is now Walking Street, with the then show performed by a cast of just three Ladyboys. In stark contrast to those humble beginnings, today’s show is performed in the glamorous 1000-seat purpose built Tiffany Theatre (often to a sell-out audience), with a crew of over 100 professional dancers and performers. Forget what you thought you knew about Ladyboy cabaret or Thai shows, experience Tiffany show and you are sure to be well impressed.
The Playhouse is something of a journeyman in terms of cabaret shows, having had periods in Phuket and Chiang Mai, but it is now back in Bangkok at the Asia Hotel theatre. Some may find it a little cheesy but this is very much a fun, family orientated cabaret show with lots of classic western pop acts and songs.
It’s hard not to be impressed by Pattaya’s huge new Colosseum threatre and show. Whether it will prove to be as successful as Alcazar or Tiffany only time will tell. Many other cabaret shows have come and gone over the years, but this project has obviously come together with no expense spared. It has a huge stage, 1000 seat capacity, including lots of lavish VIP seating, and an impressive cast of beautiful ladyboys who seem to be very professional. Colosseum could well be stealing its way into future lists of Thailand’s best cabaret shows.
Posted on Gods of Thailand October 3, 2014 in