Judging from some media reports, you might be under the impression that there are millions of Phuket ladyboys roaming the streets of the island hunting for prey. OK, there are a few ladyboys, but it’s not quite as drastic as is sometimes made out. That being said, there are lots of ladyboys in Phuket. Some people find it difficult to comprehend, but many Western men come to the island and get a real kick of spending time with the Phuket ladyboys.
There are websites devoted to advising foreigners about the best way to spot ladyboys in Phuket. You’ll see sections of travel websites with articles about how every foreigner in Phuket should watch out for the ladyboys. Phuket does have an abundance of ladyboys, but they aren’t all trawling the streets of Patong.
In Phuket, you will hear the word “katoey” often. It’s used to refer to ladyboys who have had full surgery, ladyboys who have had partial surgery, cross-dressers, gay men who look feminine and gay men in general. That’s a pretty broad spectrum of Phuket ladyboys.
The Phuket ladyboys that most Westerners think of, however, are the men who really do look more like women than most of the women on the island. If you want to see ladyboys in Phuket, take a walk down to Soi Katoey in Patong. You’ll see a group of them gyrating away to music wearing revealing outfits. You can even have your picture taken with the ladyboys if you like.
In Soi Katoey, there are a few ladyboy cabaret shows at places such as Moulin Rouge. You’ll also find a lot of ladyboys around Soi Paradise, which is Phuket’s primary gay hangout.
Many of the Phuket ladyboys you’ll bump into in Patong are sex workers. Some Western men enjoy the nighttime company of ladyboys and they’ll pay for the privilege. If you take a walk along the beach road, you might find yourself accosted by some of Phuket’s more boisterous ladyboys. They often try and grab the arms of passers-by and sometimes they even try and dip into their pockets.
It’s difficult to say what makes Phuket ladyboys so attractive to some foreigners. Perhaps its curiosity or maybe it’s the fact that the ladyboys often look so striking. You also have to take into consideration that people often end up blind drunk in Patong. Some men may not even realise they are going home with one of Phuket’s ladyboys, while others are probably too drunk to care.
Be careful, though, because the ladyboys in Phuket always have lots of friends to call in times of need and if you leave yourself open, you will be taken advantage of. Ladyboys are also known to fly off the handle easily, be it a result of hormones, general personal issues or just dumb foreigners pissing them off.
Remember that Phuket ladyboys are people too. Often they are subjected to verbal and physical torment. Treat them with respect and you’ll most likely be treated the same way.