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Thai Ladyboys

By Paul Aslett on September 26, 2014 in Living In Thailand

Thai Ladyboy’s – Whats It All About

Thai ladyboys or “Katoey’s” as they are referred to locally are a prominent feature of modern day Thai society, particularly in Bangkok and Pattaya. When you first arrive and see so many ladyboy’s and overtly gay men, you can’t help but be a little fascinated as to “why Thailand and not other countries”.

It isn’t that Thailand has a gender issue, it is more likely that westerners that want to be ladyboy’s feel too oppressed to do so, and that gay men are made to feel out of place when they display feminine tendencies. Food for thought and I have no doubt there is some truth in this. I would, however, like to see a detailed gene study.

Thai Ladyboys – Katoey Thai ladyboys

It is worth pointing out that Thai ladyboys aren’t just gay men dressed as women; they aren’t transvestites as we might brand such behavior in one’s home country. It runs deeper than that. In fact, in Thailand you have 5 categories of gender to consider. They are as follows…

  • Straight men/women
  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Tom boy – This is a Girl that wants to be a boy, technically in mind is a boy, and is often seen with a very attractive straight female. Has become quite fashionable in Thailand for a young woman to have a Tom boy in tow.
  • Ladyboy – This is a Man that is essentially a Woman but with the wrong bits and, over time, depending on his/her financial situation, will gravitate further towards being a woman with the help of surgery.

Ladyboy’s aren’t all amazingly attractive “almost” women either. No, far from it. Usually, the wealthier the family the more “woman like” a Ladyboy will look, because surgery and hormone medication is relatively expensive. However, it is the case that many Thai men are born with very effeminate mannerisms, soft features and a slight build. So should such a man decide to grow long hair and put on make-up, a new visitor to Thailand could well be fooled.

Thai Ladyboys – Thai Society

Sadly, many Ladyboy’s find it hard to get on in society, especially if they are from humble beginnings. Thailand may seem liberal on the surface, but as with most public social commentary in Thai society, discrimination happens quietly, manifesting itself in stares, employment discrimination and such. Everyone seems to enjoy the exuberance of a Thai ladyboys friend – but many families wouldn’t be too pleased if their son married a Ladyboy.

In some cases, the lure of fast money to aid gender development, and perhaps a troubled upbringing plagued with parental and societal rejection, means a lot of Ladyboy’s end up as prostitutes, fulfilling a seemingly popular Western male fantasy. A walk down the infamous Walking Street in Pattaya or Soi Nana in Bangkok on any day of the week confirms this statement.

How To Spot A Thai Ladyboy – Have A Trained Eye

Having been in Thailand for some time, I have developed an efficiently trained eye when it comes to spotting Ladyboy’s. It is no secret that some Ladyboy’s can rival the looks of the most attractive of women, but, if you know what you are looking for, things soon don’t seem to quite add up. So, to give those of you planning on visiting Thailand a little help, and to assist the beer goggled Farang (expat), I have developed an eight point check to make sure you don’t end up with an unwanted surprise:


The average Thai man is taller than the average Thai woman, so when you see an abnormally tall, long limbed Thai woman in a bar or disco, think twice.

Adams Apple

Obvious I know, and so do they, which is why many Ladyboy’s have an operation to shave it down, which makes this check-point somewhat unreliable.

Big Feet

Thai women in general have fairly small feet. ladyboy’s, more often than not, have bigger feet than the average Thai woman. If the feet are small, then look out for striking veins and manly toes.

Jaw Line

This can be subject to reshaping, but surgery is expensive and not all Thai ladyboy’s have advanced to this stage. If it looks a little chiseled, think twice.


This is a big give away A woman’s forearm is far more elegant than a man’s forearm. Look for veins and or a muscular formation on the inside of the forearm. Thai women usually lack muscular formation in their arms.

Big Hands

Male hands are impossible to change. It is true some Thai ladyboy’s have small hands, but in my experience the big hands and long fingers are a dead giveaway.

Broad Shoulders

Nine times out of ten a man has broader shoulders than a woman, especially in Thailand where women are very slight in built. A surprisingly tall lady with broad shoulders is almost certain to be a Thai ladyboys.

Deep Voice

This may seem like an obvious male characteristic, but with the additional barrier of an accent this is not always the easiest aspect to spot. Some regional Thai accents are also quite harsh in tone, therefore unless a voice is obviously deep, it may not always give the game away.

Useful Links

Top 10 Pattaya Ladyboy’s

Find a Ladyboy In Thailand

Dating a Ladyboy Health Risk ?

Dating Thais 3 Unique Cultural Aspects  – Thai Girlfriend ?

Various Aspects of Thai Girls & Dating them ?