We spent an evening at the most popular Bangkok ladyboy show, the Calypso Cabaret to check out this part of Thai culture. For the princely sum of 900 Baht each (that’s about $27) we were hoping for an Asian version of the Moulin Rouge. Sadly, there’s very little in the way of culture at the show and you’d be far better off heading to Soi Cowboy for a more authentic performance. The food at the venue is average at best and way overpriced by Thai standards. Whilst there’s lots of glitter and flamboyant costumes, the performers lip sync to everything, not always in sync. Even the compère mimes to a theatrical American voice over! To this end, it was somewhat disappointing but the show did give us a great photo opportunity. I guess what really attracted us to the show in the first place was our curiosity. Would we really be unable to tell whether the performers were men or women? Well we’ll let you decide for yourselves!
A Bangkok Cabaret Show In Pictures
If you’re looking for a sanitised introduction to ladyboys, don’t mind out of sync lip syncing and an under-rehearsed performance that a high school drama would put to shame, then the Calypso Cabaret may be what you’re looking for. Not sure we’ll be heading back for a repeat performance though.
If you really do want to head on over to the Calypso Cabaret, it’ss located at 2194 Charoenkrung 72-76 Rd., Prayakrai, Bangkorlaem, Bangkok on the Asiatique Riverfront. You can get there by taxi or tuk tuk, or take the free ferry from the Sathorn Pier at Saphan Taksin BTS Station. If you have a car, parking is free. Showtimes are at 8:15 and 9:45 pm nightly. Ticket costs for the show only, without the dinner buffet, start at 900 baht ($27 USD) for adults.
Get there early for good seats. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your seat and order a drink. Just be warned that if you’re a farang male, you may get taunted or flirted with if you’re sitting in the front row!
Stay for photos. After the show, the performers will come out in their costumes and pose for photos with guests. They’re more than happy to do so and not surprisingly they’ll expect a small payment for the photo opportunity. Graham reckons they should have been paying him!
Check out the rest of the Asiatique complex. The sprawling shopping centre where Calypso is located reminded us of many we’ve seen back home. There’s no shortage of European style pubs and restaurants and dozens of vendors selling souvenirs. Be warned tough, you’ll be paying almost European prices too and is certainly lacking an authentic feel.
If you’re looking for a fantastic experience whilst in Thailand, don’t miss out of a cooking class!