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Friday, February 23, 2024

How do you tell the difference between a lady and a ladyboy in “The Land of Smiles”


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 As the world’s favourite destination for sex reassignment surgery, Thailand is leading the way in recognizing the complexities of human sexuality. For example, did you know that in Thailand there are eighteen gender identities that are recognized?

Prostitution is tolerated in Thailand, and it is one of the reasons many foreigners travel to Thailand to have sexual encounters with the locals, especially the stunning ladyboys.

The demand for such encounters shows no sign of ceasing, so very few ladyboys end up making a living as prostitutes. Studies show that there can be up to 100,000 ladyboys across the country.

The capital Bangkok is home to one of the largest ladyboy communities in Thailand, and they can often be seen at work or on the city streets.

In the coastal town of Pattaya, Soi 6 is known for its many beer bars staffed by women, while Soi 6/1, a few meters away, is known for its ladyboy bars.

The same is true throughout Pattaya, with certain areas where katoeys as they are known to tend to congregate. What may also be difficult for foreigners to take on board at first is that it is the norm to find a katoey to serve you at a bank or supermarket as Thai companies will employ them.

The ways to spot a ladyboy in Pattaya are a source of great interest to many men as there are few revelations that can be more shocking than discovering that the beautiful woman you are courting is just a dude.

It is often said that Thai ladyboys are even more beautiful than Thai women, but for now, it is easy to make a wrong assessment.

In addition, it may be a relief to know that ladyboys (in Thai: “katoeys”) very rarely want to trap and surprise people. If you’re not interested in what they offer, they almost always leave you alone.

However, it can save you a few lady drinks and a lot of embarrassment if you can tell the difference between those glamorous girls who were born girls and those who aren’t.


  1. Too Tall: The average height for a Thai woman is 157.3 cm, while the average height for a man is 167.5 cm (about four centimetres longer). There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general taller women probably weren’t born as women. Tall people (of whatever nationality) also generally have large hands and feet, (and often something else) which can be another good indicator.
  2. Too Feminine: This may sound a bit ridiculous, but ladyboys in Thailand often look and act more ladylike than the ladies! Everything seems overdone, especially walking where they look like they are on a constant catwalk. Also note the more pronounced swaying of the hips, a more elegant posture (especially sitting), excessive fidgeting and fidgeting with their hair, and excessive use of makeup.
  3. The Voice: The melodious croon of “welcome” can be heard in beer bars in Bangkok and Pattaya, but there is a noticeable difference in pitch. Even with training, a ladyboy’s voice is clearly deeper than a woman’s. As with walking on my second tip, ladyboys will often try to exaggerate femininity, which comes across as a sort of nasal-sounding.
  4. Overacting: (and overreacting): Ladyboys don’t just exaggerate their femininity; they exaggerate everything! Every word and action is overly flamboyant. This makes them stand out from the crowd, as Thai culture is such that women (even those who work in beer bars and go-go) tend to be quite reserved. This comes with a dark side as katoeys in Pattaya are also known for overreacting to insults no matter how kindly intended. Fights involving ladyboys are often very short, surprisingly violent, you best get away with it.

  1. The Dress Code: A colourful feather and glitter look is a deadly surprise that she’s a cabaret dancer and therefore definitely a katoey, but such outfits aren’t all that common on Walking Street and Soi Cowboy. A more visible example of the “too feminine” trait, ladyboys tend to dress more revealingly than women.

  1. The Physical Features: There are certain physical features of the male body that are hard to hide. Men have wider shoulders, narrower hips, thicker veins closer to the skin’s surface, straighter wrists, square chin, wider jaws, and of course Adam’s apple.

While it’s a good guideline to look at, most are relative and difficult to measure accurately and you can occasionally find women with some of these traits. Even Adam’s apple (which no woman has) is not a complete certainty, as surgical procedures are now available to reduce its size and prominence.

  1. The Final Check: Most of the above signs are extremely subjective and none of them is guaranteed giveaways. There are some ladyboys who, by all external perceptions, are completely feminine, just as there are some women who exhibit the physical and behavioural characteristics we have listed.

Kindly ask to see her ID. All Thais are required by law to carry it with them and this will show the gender they were born with.

Finally, at the end of the day, everyone in Thailand accepts ladyboys.

In Bangkok and certainly in several major theatres in Pattaya, there are very professional Broadway-style cabaret shows with the full cast of Ladyboys in the lead role.

So, if you’re curious, buy your ticket and enjoy the show. (some may be closed due to the current pandemic)

Many of them are incredibly talented and after that, in addition to their salary, you can have your picture taken with a beautiful katoey.

BUT…..don’t forget to tip her if you want to get home safe and sound.

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