As with all sexual preferences, Thai ladyboys aren't everyone's "cup of tea." While some guys might swear they've had the hottest sex ever in Pattaya with a ladyboy, others might have been robbed by a gang of katoeys on Beach Road, or simply despise them as a matter of principle.
Ladyboys (or katoeys as the local she-males and transvestites are called in Thai) are a common feature of everyday life all across Thailand. Due to the tolerant nature of Buddhist culture, ladyboys - as well as gays or people with a bisexual orientation - are more visible and accepted in Thai society than transvestites or transsexuals in most Western countries.
While the katoey phenomenon isn't restricted to urban areas and you can come across ladyboys in every small village in the countryside, tourist places like Pattaya or Bangkok - worldwide (in)famous for their "naughty" nightlife and sex industry - certainly attract an unusually large number of Thailand's unique "women of the second category". On this page we'll tell you all you need to know about Pattaya's notorious ladyboys (LB's).
Thai ladyboys are famous for their sexy looks and their potential to offer you a sexual experience of a "different" and slightly sleazier kind. Born as true men, some say, katoeys know best how to satisfy a man using all parts (and holes!) of their bodies. Because of their sexual condition, many ladyboys are also said to be ready for sexual experiments that a standard Thai bar girl may find disgusting and object to, e.g., anal/oral sex, and other less ordinary sex practices. Many ladyboys also have massive (silicone) breasts, a sexual stimulus most ordinarily-equipped Thai girls can't offer.
Just as many Thai women who have come to work as prostitutes in Pattaya, many Thai ladyboys work as freelance prostitutes on Pattaya Beach Road or Walking Street. Others have "regular" jobs in beer bars or GoGo bars where they often mix with the "real" girls, sometimes making it difficult for punters to decide if that half-naked, big-busted hottie is Pattaya's latest candidate for the "Miss Thailand" contest or just a convincingly made-up "bloke with boobs"?
Those ladyboys who don't work as prostitutes (often to re-pay costly sex reassignments) usually work in traditionally feminine occupations such as hairstylists in beauty salons, shop vendors or waitresses - while more talented katoeys may seek a job as a show dancer in one of Pattaya's world-famous transvestite cabaret theatres - Alcazar and Tiffany. Of course, many ladyboys with "proper" jobs may still freelance as part-time hookers along Pattaya Beach Road or in Walking Street's notorious ladyboy pick-up joints to earn a few extra Baht on the nightshift ...
In other words, you could bump into a ladyboy at the next best 7-eleven store, as well as as come across a stunning tall "bar girl" (just with a suspiciously dark voice and an Adam's Apple) in any bar or nightclub in town. On top of that, there are special entertainment and nightlife areas (Soi 6, Walking Street, or Pattaya Beach Road after sunset) where - although they aren't specifically designated to katoeys - ladyboys can be found in abundance.
Depending on your sexual flavour, it is important to know, however, that not all Thai ladyboys are equally equipped physically. So before you take the next best katoey back to your room, there are a few details you should know ...
What is a Katoey? Transvestites, She-Males & Post-OP Ladyboys
So what precisely is a katoey or ladyboy and, most importantly, how can you tell a ladyboy from a "real" girl? Sometimes this challenge isn't so easy for Pattaya newbies ...
To start with: There are three types of ladyboys representing three different stages of gender change: (1) transvestites, (2) "she-males" (i.e. "chicks with dicks" but silicone breasts), and (3) "post-OP ladyboys" who have undergone full sex reassignment and have a "hand-made" vagina instead of a penis.
(1) The first type are transvestites, i.e. physically normally developed men who simply dress and make up as women. While even those ladyboys - most of whom undergo a hormone replacement therapy but can't afford to pay for a costly breast implantation or complete sex reassignment - may still look extremely attractive in their fancy dresses and evening gowns, they are still 100% men physically, with only very small or no boobs at all.
The other two categories of Thai ladyboys have, at least partly, undergone plastic surgery and represent different stages of sex reassignment.
(2) Probably the most common type of a Thai ladyboy is best described as a she-male. That is a katoey who has had his secondary sex characteristics modified and, thanks to plastic surgery, often has unusually big and perfectly-shaped breasts (while Asian girls in general normally have small breasts). Whereas big boobs probably turn most "normal" men on, please remember that these seemingly perfect "women" still have a little (or not so little?) penis swinging between their thighs. In other words, they're "chicks with dicks"! Most ladyboy lovers, however, will likely concede that exactly these exotic cross-gender creatures, combining the physical attractions of both sexes, provide the typical katoey experience they are looking for.
(3) A third category of ladyboys are such who have undergone the full sex reassignment procedure and have also had their primary sex characteristics altered. After their penises, via plastic surgery, have been transformed into vaginas, ladyboys on this stage of sex change are physically complete women - except for the fact that they were born as men. Also referred to as "Post-OP ladyboys".
Thailand has gained a reputation for medical tourism and cheap yet quality plastic surgery or sex reassignment. For Thai standards, however, a complete sex change is still extremely expensive; so most ladyboys in Pattaya are either simply transvestites (men dressed and made-up as girls) undergoing a hormone replacement therapy, or "transsexuals" who have had breasts created by plastic surgery. For most ladyboys in Pattaya, the final step is simply too expensive; and many LB lovers reportedly seem to prefer pre-OP ladyboys anyway because they like to be on the receiving end!
Tip: If you want to check whether a ladyboy's boobs are "real" or if the bra has just been stuffed with textiles, don't be shy and grab for them. "Chicks with dicks" are probably the least shy ladyboys species there is; proud of their silicone breasts, they're usually happy to let you touch their boobies, or even show you their newly acquired assets, before making your choice.
Most ladyboys will be honest and let you know whether they still have a penis or not (which, by the way, can be hidden away quite easily, so that "chicks with dicks" can wear sexy tight skirts and jeans without revealing their sexual identity. If that's the case, they should readily offer you oral sex or a session "up the ass", and sometimes you might not even notice that you're actually dealing with a ladyboy? On the other hand, those few ladyboys who have undergone a full sex change, might also still be too shy to display their new man-made vagina and rather go for oral and anal satisfaction as well.)
How to Spot a Ladyboy as Pattaya Newbie?
While most Pattaya residents and "old hands" have likely developed an ability to recognize ladyboys even from the distance, Pattaya "newbies" are often at risk of making surprising and possibly undesired (?) sexual encounters.
In fact, there seems to be no shortage of guys who think they've picked up the most gorgeous Thai girl, just to find out that their oh-so-sexy "chick" actually comes with a dick. So if you should be a first-time visitor, intelligibly blinded by the omnipresent sight of female (or not so female?) beauty in Pattaya, here are a few basic guidelines on how to spot a ladyboy and tell a katoey from a "regular" Pattaya bar girl.
Thai ladyboys are probably the most attractive "women" you will come across in Thailand. Tall as supermodels and with perfectly-shaped silicone boobs, they're often more beautiful than the "real thing". What most ladyboys have in common, however, is an unusually girlish behaviour and exaggarated sexy walk. Whereas some Pattaya bar girls walk like real yokels, most katoeys overdo the sexy walk on their high heels and walk like divas on a cat walk or a red carpet. Their often slutty dress style (short skirts, high heels, lots of lipstick and heavy make up) is another hint at a ladyboy.
In addition, while most ladies in Pattaya - including professionals who have entered the sex trade - are usually rather shy and reserved when it comes to making contacts with strangers, a typical Thai ladyboy is anything but shy.
In fact, Pattaya ladyboys - especially those who work as prostitutes - are extremely straight-forward and often pushy when it comes to chatting with strangers on the street and making unambiguous sexual advances. To give an example, if you're walking along Pattaya Beach Road in the early morning hours and suddenly face a sluttily dressed and tall creature with massive tits and on high heels, who instantly offers you a blow-job, possibly right on the beach, then chances that you're facing a ladyboy are 99% - no matter how sexy and feminine this exotic beauty may look. (Most ladyboys also have a reputation for being more open-minded when it comes to "unusual" sex practices, e.g. sex in public places, anal sex etc.)
Aside from being taller, more "girlish" and usually less shy than your average Thai bar girl, ladyboys can also easily be recognized by a deep masculine voice, the large size of their feet and hands, shoulders wider than their hips and, in many cases, an Adam's Apple (although nowadays even an Adam's Apple can be easily removed by cosmetic surgery). To sum up how to spot a Thai ladyboy:
- deep masculine voice
- tall; big (silicone) boobs; little arse
- wide shoulders; big feet and hands; Adams's Apple
- girlish behaviour, over-exaggerated body movements and sexy walk
- generally attractive and sexy; heavy make-up, slutty dress
- less shy with sometimes "pushy" behaviour
Pattaya Ladyboy Bars, Areas & Meeting Points
Alcazar & Tiffany Ladyboy Cabaret Theatres
Pattaya's two most famous ladyboy shows can be enjoyed at Alcazar and Tiffany Cabaret - both located on the northern section of Pattaya 2nd Road (not far from the Central Festival Center and Big C). Both are neither GoGo bars nor ladyboy pick-up joints; but if you fancy professional Las Vegas-style cabaret shows performed by female impersonation artists, then you surely should not miss these two places.
Tiffany and Alcazar have been in business for more than 20 years and are renowned across the world for their fantastic, professional ladyboy shows. Regular televised beauty pageants are additional attractions for visitors. The entry fee for both cabaret shows is around 500 Baht, with shows starting at about 18h, 19.30h and 21h every evening. For more details, picture galleries or online reservation, you can visit Tiffany's website at www.tiffany-show.co.th (English).
A new place in town for transvestite cabaret shows (opened only in 2013) is the Colosseum Show on Thepprasit Road in South Pattaya.
From late evening till early morning, Pattaya's world-famous Walking Street is arguably the best place to meet ladyboys in Pattaya. While some of the younger ladyboys who teeter up and down Walking Street on their high heels may be absolute stunners and, at least from the distance, look like the most gorgeous "ladies" you've ever seen, others just look like aged Asian drag queens. Most LBs in the Walking Street area work as freelance prostitutes and chat tourists up at the the roadside or hang out at Pattaya's most notorious ladyboy meeting points:
To start with the "bad" news: Jenny Star Bar, formerly Pattaya's most famous ladyboy pick-up joint and located just below Marine Disco in the centre of Walking Street, has unfortunately shut up shop in early 2013 to give place for the reorientation of Marine Disco. Linda Bar, about 50 meters up from where Jenny Star Bar used to be and on the same side as Marine Disco, is still operating though. An equally old institution in Pattaya's ladyboy scene, it unfortunately also shows on the quality of the "girls" how old-established this little bar is. Hot Tuna bar reportedly has "some of the best looking ladyboys in Pattaya" but, according to this review, "they charge accordingly". Marine Disco, though not a designated ladyboy venue, is a popular late-night pick-up joint for ladyboy lovers on Walking Street.
As pointed out above, however, most ladyboys you will meet in the Walking Street area are not regularly employed (so no "bar fines" to take one out of the bar) but just come in for a drink and then walk up and down Walking Street again, mostly in the area in front of Marine Disco. Many rent rooms in nearby apartments that they might offer to use for a short-time session.
If you are still too shy to enter ladyboy bars immediately, just walk around the area for a while or have a drink in one of the nearby straight bars (e.g. Lucky Star bar or those below Marine Disco) and watch Pattaya's ladyboy scene from a "safe" distance. Eventually you may get chatted up anyway by a "lady" with unusually big boobs and a suspiciously dark voice ...
Soi 6/Soi Yodsak
Soi 6 (aka Soi Yodsak) is a side-street between Pattaya Beach Road and Second Road in North Pattaya, lined by 50 or so "short-time" bars. Most Soi 6 bars get going at around 13h and close at around 1h. Most venues here cater to straight customers; however, more and more places these days also employ katoeys. While many bars feature a (for Pattaya newbies often opaque) mix of "real" girls and ladyboys, some bars are 100% dedicated to ladyboys now.
As the name says, short-time bars provide short-time sexual services, usually for up to one hour. Typical short-time bars are indoor bars with dark glass fronts, often tell-tale names, and always a handful of ladies in sexy dresses hanging about outside, trying to drag customers in. While the "regular" bar business takes place on the ground floor - including many girls to choose from - the upper floors provide basic guest rooms (shower and toilet often not in the rooms) where you can enjoy yourself discretely in the company of the lady(boy) of your choice. In that respect, short-time bars can be compared with intimate small brothels, and ladies/ladyboys working here also seem to be less shy and more "tame to the hand" than those in conventional bars. Most girls, and especially ladyboys who work here, won't mind either if you "paw" them in the usually dark-lit bars, and some might even provide you with a hand- or blow-job in the discrete sofa corners which are typical for the interior of Soi 6 venues. Bar fines are usually 300 Baht and typically include the room rental fee for one hour. Most ladyboys on Soi 6 will expect 700-1,000 Baht for sexual services.
While more and more bars on Soi 6 seem to employ a couple of ladyboys these days (e.g. Good Fellas near 2nd Road) the following places are among Pattaya's most popular ladyboy bars: So What Bar - Popular LB short-time bar, on the left-hand side when coming from 2nd Road. Hi Boss Bar, roughly in the centre of Soi 6, is a lounge-type set up with couches, a dancing pole and hi-backed chairs situated around a long bar. As most places on Soi 6, Hi Boss Bar opens at around 2pm early afternoon and closes at 1am, after which time the ladyboys usually hang about outside their venue or walk up and down Pattaya beach road in front of Soi 6. Pook Ladyboy Bar - run by the same owners as its sister bar on Soi Buakhao - is also strictly dedicated to chrome pole-dancing ladyboys. Pook's is a big open bar with dancing stages on the first floor, open from 13h to 2am. Upon entering Pook's, a ladyboy-crazy English mate of mine once proclaimed: "This must be the best bar in town!" While this is obviously a matter of taste ... please visit their website for more info or to view photo galleries of their sexy staff.
Pattaya Beach Road
Pattaya Beach Road promenade at night, especially in the areas of Soi Yamato, Soi Post Office and Pattayaland, is a popular meeting point for Pattaya beach hookers and local ladyboys. They usually hang around in little groups and twitter unambigious pick-up lines to chat passers-by up. Apart from Walking Street and Soi 6, this is your safest bet on where to meet Pattaya ladyboys. Many guesthouses in the area (Soi Yamato) provide cheap short-time rooms for a quick session of ladyboy sex.
On the downside, Pattaya's dimly-lit Beach Road promenade is also the area where most katoey-related crimes are reported: bag snatch cases, robberies, fights with aggressive ladyboys etc. At least once a week, a local newspaper will feature a story on a (usually drunk) tourist who got robbed or attacked by a bunch of ladyboys, beach hookers or teenage gangs on Pattaya's dimly-lit beach promenade. While touting for sexual services in public places is against Thai law (and authorities are well aware of the situation) police raids usually just result in charging the culprits a few hundred Baht. Therefore, you're advised to be careful when strolling along Pattaya Beach Road in the early morning hours, especially after you've had a few drinks, and keep an eye on your beach beauty's long-fingered hands to make sure that one isn't grabbing for your wallet, gold necklace etc. while the other one is rubbing your dick.
If a situation gets out of control (e.g, if you've turned down an unambiguous offer and offended a ladyboy's pride) it's safer to leave the area quickly. Do not get into trouble and possibly end up confronted with a bunch of violent katoeys - possibly under the influence of yaba (methamphetamine) - beating you up with their fists and high heels.
Obviously you won't be required to pay a "bar fine" when picking up freelance ladyboy hookers on Beach Road. Prices for sexual services, however, don't vary significantly from what you would have to pay for "regular" bar girls: 500 Baht or so for a short-time session, and around 1,000 Baht for "long time" (all night). Also please note: When you pick up freelance prostitutes of whatever sex and take them back to your room, you might well save a couple of 100-Baht notes on bar fines. If you end up in trouble, however (e.g. you get robbed during your sleep, possibly after having been drugged) your chance to find the same lady(boy) again is nearly as low as zero!
Other Ladyboy Venues & Locations
A couple of bars and A-GoGo's in the Soi VC/Sunee Plaza - one of Pattaya's notorious gay areas which frequently makes the headlines with underage boys - also employ ladyboys, e.g. Famous Bar on Soi VC. Some LBs here are reportedly very young though, so you better check their ID cards before taking these fresh-from-the-village LB's back to your room. Pook Bar on Soi Buakhao, operated by the same owners as Pook Ladyboy Bar, was a few years ago also converted into what has become one of Pattaya's most popular ladyboy bars now. The ground-floor outside bar also features dancing poles for their sexy "chicks with dicks". Lots of ladyboys (95%) plus a few girls. A couple of new ladyboy bars can be found not far from Pook Bar on Soi Buakhao. La Bamba Bar and Stringfellows AGogo on Soi 13/1 (aka Soi Yamato, north of the Royal Garden Plaza shopping mall) are two popular ladyboy bars in an otherwise "straight area". A new and also increasingly popular ladyboy bar is Sensations Bar in Action Street off Soi Buakhao (you can find a couple of sexy clips of Sensations Bar at this YouTube channel!) Though not actually a ladyboy bar, TJ's Bar on Soi Wongamat in Naklua also seems to employ mostly katoeys these days. Pattaya Obesessions on Pattayaland Soi 2 (next to the Penthouse Hotel) is a ladyboy nightclub and GoGo bar featuring sexy Thai she-male dancers and professional ladyboy shows.
As soon as the sun sets, a growing number of ladyboy freelancers can also be found along Jomtien Beach Road, mostly in the areas in front of Soi 5 or Soi 7. As with ladyboys on Pattaya Beach Road, however, there's no guarantee for your safety, even when you're just chatting.
Safety Tips for Ladyboy Lovers: Crime, HIV/Aids etc.
Unless you fancy an HIV-test back home, it should be self-evident to use a condom when having sex with a Pattaya ladyboy, especially if you're engaging in anal sex or two-way blow jobs. Even though the risk of an HIV infection may not be as high as often reported in the media (unfortunately, no official statistics are available for Pattaya specifically) sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are "quite common" in Pattaya. It does not have to be Aids or Hepatitis, a nasty genital fungal or Chlamydia infection, Gonorrhea or genital herpes, can be transmitted very easily (e.g. Gonorrhea can also be transmitted through oral sex!) and will definitely spoil your holidays for at least one week.
If you read the local Pattaya newspapers frequently, then you've probably also come across crime story headlines such as the following: "Tourist robbed by ladyboy gang on Pattaya Beach"; "Foreigner drugged and robbed by ladyboy"; "Katoey snatches bag off foreign tourist" etc. Well, you get the picture.
The truth is: Pattaya's katoeys are involved in hundreds of crime stories every year, with most crimes happening along the ladyboy freelance areas on Pattaya Beach Road, usually well past midnight. Other tourists may get robbed during their sleep after a short-time session with a ladyboy hooker from Beach Road, possibly after their drinks have been spiked, and wake up only to find their wallets emptied, their mobile phones, gold necklaces etc. gone. Given the ratio between bar girls/female sex workers and ladyboys in Pattaya (approximately 10:1) it is an undeniable fact that ladyboys are involved in an disproportionally large number of crimes, especially theft and robbery.
What's the reason for this high rate of criminals among ladyboys? Buddha knows. Probably their hormone treatments have an irritating effect on their generally pleasant personalities and support extremely pushy to aggressive behaviour. Also, as sexy and feminine as they may appear, don't forget that it's still a man's brain in their beautiful heads - and men's muscles in their arms! - regardless of how "girlie" they may feel or look. Widespread drug use certainly is another important factor.
Another reason may be their inveterate shortage of money. Most katoeys in Pattaya probably still find it hard to find a regular employment in a conventional bar, with the vast majority of night spots catering to 100% straight visitors only. Ladyboy prostitution, on the other hand, is still a grey zone somehow. While some ladyboy stunners may be real big cash earners (with regular "donations" from a handful of foreign boyfriends abroad) the vast majority of ladyboys is probably ever-struggling for money to pay for either their drug consumption, sexy dresses, lipsticks and cosmetics or, last but not least, a new pair of breasts or a vagina.
There are no safety tips specific to Pattaya's ladyboys - same rules apply as when dealing with "ordinary" bar girls. Treat them correctly, pay what you've agreed to pay, take care of your belongings and restrict yourself to a short-time session when picking up ladyboy prostitutes from Beach Road or similar non-bar fine protected areas. As most ladyboys in Pattaya work as freelance prostitutes and are not "registered" anywhere, your chances of finding the same ladyboy again are naturally very low if you should end up in trouble. Even safer: Only take ladyboys back to your room who are regularly employed in bars where they have copies of their ID cards; i.e. no freelancers!
As anywhere else in Pattaya, chances you end up in problems are the highest when you've had a few drinks too much and lost control of the situation, e.g. if you fall asleep after (or during) sex, in which case you shouldn't be surprised if you wake up without your mobile phone, wallet, or other valuables. In any case, if you really need to have a drink with your ladyboy in your room, be it before or after having sex, do make sure (s)he's got no chance to spike your drink!
Last but not least: Avoid violent confrontations with ladyboys! As feminine as they may appear, physically katoeys are still boys who know not only how to defend themselves but also how to attack effectively, possibly with the help of some high heels knocked over your head. As other disadvantaged groups, ladyboys in Pattaya are fairly well organized and usually hang out in groups. So if you end up in trouble with one ladyboy, you should always be prepared for a whole bunch of big katoeys waiting just around the corner, ready to help their "sister."
Finally, please bear in mind that not all ladyboys you come across in Pattaya are prostitutes. If you aren't really sure, treat them with the given respect before insulting him/her. Take care & good luck, sexy man!