Anyone who has visited Thailand will know the beauty of Thai women. In their twenties, they are amazing. In their thirties, they look more mature, but still most of them are very attractive.

The women who work in the ubiquitous bars and massage parlors of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket are mostly former housewives, believe it or not, married but separated, with two children left in their village with their mothers. Most are from Isaan, the northeast corner of Thailand, which has a great deal of poverty. Some are from other parts of the country, especially Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and very few are from Bangkok or central Thailand.

But about 1 in 100 is not a woman at all, but a “ladyboy”, or katoey in Thai. Very often, they appear more feminine than real women. I have seen many farang ogle and lust for a very sexy woman, not realizing that “she” is a “he”.

Like women, most ladyboys are from Isaan. I have spoken with some individually and asked them when they first knew they wanted to be women. They all said they met at a young age, around 5 or 6 years old. They said they liked feminine manners, they didn’t like rough sports, they liked art and music.

Katoeys are an accepted part of Thai culture, considered a third sex in Thailand. Several are movie stars and television announcers. One is a national kick-boxing champion. You will find ladyboys everywhere, working as waiters, shop assistants, hairdressers, messengers, etc.

In North America and Europe, a sex change operation (also called gender reassignment) is considered a big problem, requiring many months of psychological counseling before the operation to make sure the person is committed to the change.

In Thailand, a sex change operation is quite common. There are several clinics and hospitals that do it, and the cost is a fraction of what the western charge would be, typically between $ 5,000 and $ 7,000. However, for a poor person in Isaan, $ 5,000 is a lot of money. money.

There are three main areas in Bangkok where ladyboys are present in large numbers: Nana Entertainment Plaza (at Sukhumvit Soi 4), Patpong Road (at Silom) and Soi Cowboy (near the intersection of Sukhumvit Road and Asoke Road, which has both Stations. Metro BTS SkyTrain and MRT).

At Nana, most ladyboys are “pre-op”, which means they still have a penis. In Patpong and Soi Cowboy, most are “postoperative,” meaning they have undergone surgery to create a vagina. The operation consists of cutting a section of the intestine, which will become the vagina. The penis is opened and inserted into the intestinal tube; Usually part of the scrotal sac is used to increase the length of the new vagina. The tip of the penis becomes the new clitoris and is usually still tender after the procedure is complete and everything has healed. The ladyboys I spoke to said they could still orgasm, but they didn’t ejaculate.

Scar tissue is visible if the postoperative ladyboy keeps her public hair, but if she shaves, it is difficult to distinguish an artificially created vagina from the real one.

However, this is not usually the end of the story in sex reassignment. The male body is typically larger than the female, even in Thailand, where many people appear to be 80% the size of Westerners. The ladyboy has to take hormones for a couple of years before the operation; These hormones help your breasts grow and reduce the growth of facial and body hair. Thai men don’t usually have a lot of body hair, compared to Western men, but they do; hormones or other treatment is needed to reduce or eliminate it. However, hormones have the side effect of reducing the ability to ejaculate.

Males usually have a protruding Adam’s apple, so it’s another operation – a surgeon can shave it to reduce or remove the lump. And many have electrolysis to remove body hair, especially in the armpits.

If you visit Nana Entertainment Plaza after 7pm (which is when it opens), you will find several hair salon establishments located on the decks that run along three sides of the structure. Those at the front serve the girls at the bar; those in the back cater to ladyboys. You can see some of the ladyboys preening and putting on makeup.

Some of the bars are exclusively ladyboys. If you walk into one of those bars, you will find that most of the ladyboys are more than acceptable and some are strikingly beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ugly ladyboy.

When it comes to relationships, ladyboys are like Thai women. They want a long-term relationship and they will do everything they can to make the relationship work. Many speak some English, but you really need a product like Speak Easy Thai to help you learn some basic Thai vocabulary. If you can communicate better, you have a much better chance of having a long-lasting relationship.

A part of Bangkok nightlife that no visitor should miss, the ladyboy cabaret shows are professionally performed, with spectacular productions (lots of feathers and glitter, great music, and some comedy too). You can see them at Calypso Cabaret (Asia Hotel, Ratchathewi SkyTrain Station), Golden Dome Cabaret (15 minute walk from Sutthisan Subway Station), and Mambo Cabaret at the Old Washington Theater between Sukhumvit Soi 22 and 24.

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