A Night With the Kathoey- The Aphrodite Cabaret

Despite all the news in America about Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn, Thai men have been becoming ladies so long that it has become common place. They are known as Kathoey in Thai, or lady boys in English.

A visit to Thailand is not complete (okay, maybe it is, but still…) without a night at a Lady boy cabaret. So I roped my mom into going with me to The Aphrodite Cabaret which is nearer to our house than the other option in Phuket, Simon Cabaret.

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It was a spur of the moment decision to go, but I was able to get VIP seats (800 baht per person or $24 usd) easily by calling the number on their website.  We chose the 7:30pm show and were able to pay on arrival.

A little side note here…during my phone call, I was informed that it is called the Aphrodite (pronounced afro-dite) show.

It was apparent upon our arrival that not many show-goers drive their own car to the show. We were eclipsed in our Toyota sedan by tour bus after tour bus after tour bus… well, you get the idea. For those that have never seen a Thai tour bus, essentially what it is is a one-and-a-half decker bus, that is usually brightly painted and driven like they are the size of a Mini-Cooper. They can be dangerous to be in and also to drive around.

Tour_bus_in_Thailand
A Thai Tour bus

I maneuvered through the buses and was shown a parking spot near the front by a helpful parking attendant.

Mom and I entered the building and waited in line to pay for our will call tickets. The lady I spoke to on the phone came and collected our money and gave us two tickets for a free beer or cola and sent us with tickets in hand to wait for the show.

We had arrived about 20 minutes early for the show and had just enough time to sit while I enjoyed 2 beers and my mom enjoyed water (thanks Mom!).

Me and my two Chang beers.
Me and my two Chang beers.

What I noticed while we waited was that every single person that was there to see the show was either Chinese or Korean. My mom and I were the only western foreigners in the whole place! We definitely stuck out in the crowd, but it sure made it a lot easier not to lose each other as we were pushed and prodded into the auditorium like cattle when it was show time.

When we made it to our “VIP” seats which were row W, I realized that every seat pretty much above F were pretty far away from the stage. So if you go, make sure to specify a row you would like to be in (nothing above F if you want to see anything clearly).

That stage is FAAAARRRR away!
That stage is FAAAARRRR away!

There were no cameras or phones allowed out during the show and anyone caught trying to take pictures would be fined 40 baht (a little over $1 US). I quickly took a picture of the “no pictures” sign and tucked my phone away for the duration of the show.

The show was okay…. again, from our high vantage point it was difficult to see the show clearly so it may be better the closer that you sit.

The costumes were amazing and detailed (that I could tell even from far away). The dancing was lackluster and the lip-syncing was humorous. Overall, everyone on stage looked like they were a bit bored with being there.

There were a couple of songs in English, but most were in other languages (mostly Chinese as far as I could tell) which was not a big deal at all.

The costumes really won the show over for me. I wish I could have been closer to really see them in all their glory (have I beaten the “bad seat” dead horse enough??).

At the end of the hour long show, everyone (about 580 people) was funneled through one set of double doors to the front of the building and given an opportunity to pay 40 baht for a picture with one of the “girls”.

The lady boys all lined up for pictures :)
The lady boys all lined up for pictures 🙂

My mom and I both took our chance and paid to take a photo with one of the actors.It was really awkward! And it shows in my picture that I felt that way.  I have decided that because I believe in the honesty of this blog, I need to share what turned out to be the worst photo of me ever. It truly was and I think it’s hilarious!

I actually paid a little over a US dollar for this picture! Yikes!
I actually paid a little over a US dollar for this picture! Yikes!

Overall, I think it was a fun night and that if we had had better seats, the show would have been totally worth the money. So go and try it, but make sure to get rows A-F!

*Disclaimer-Aphrodite Cabaret did not ask for a review or give me any kickbacks for reviewing them… all these opinions (and unfortunate picture poses) are my own. *


Now it’s your turn! Would you go see a kathoey (ladyboy) cabaret show? Would you have taken the awkward photo at the end? Leave a comment and join in the conversation!

 

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