Show Me How to Burlesque at the Chiang Mai Cabaret

Chiang Mai Cabaret Dancers

I had a new friend that I was showing around Chiang Mai, and we visited cafes, boutique shops, and lots and lots of temples. When the evening rolled around, she suggested for us to go and see the Cabaret show at the Night Bazaar. I said sure, why not! I hadn’t been to the Night Bazaar or even heard of the Chiang Mai Cabaret show before. What I didn’t know is that the Chiang Mai Cabaret is performed entirely by Ladyboys. If you are looking for a hugely entertaining and fun night out, the Ladyboy Cabaret is a must do when visiting Chiang Mai.Chiang Mai Cabaret wall mural

What are Ladyboys? Ladyboys or Kathoey refer to ‘someone of a third gender’ meaning transgender women or effeminate gay men. In Southeast Asia and especially in Thailand, Ladyboys are very common and accepted as part of normal society. You can find them working in beauty salons and counters, fashion, movies, models, and in the cabaret shows. Whenever the discussion of Ladyboys came up or if we were in proximity to one, I, to this day, remain clueless in spotting them. Some of these ‘ladies’ are spectacularly beautiful, and it boggles my mind that they were not born as a woman.

Cabaret Ladyboys

Located back in the Anusarn Market in the Night Bazaar, you can find it by spotting the Ladyboys decked out in feathers, sequins, high heels, and revealing outfits. Go ahead and chat and take photos with them, but make sure you tip them. I would recommend showing up no later than 20 minutes before the show begins to purchase your ticket for the 9:30 p.m. show and get seats. The venue is small and does fill up quickly. Tickets are 350 THB and includes one drink, which you are highly suggested to tip the ‘waitress’ when it is brought to your table. Don’t be surprised if the show doesn’t start on time; the ‘ladies’ tend to be fashionably late. If you are with a group that has guys in it, you might want to choose a seat toward the front for some extra special attention from the performers.Cabaret dancersCabaret lipsyncCabaret performersSolo Cabaret lipsync performance The show lasts a couple of hours with a happy hour break halfway through the performance. You can also take photos and videos, so choose your seats for the best views. The performers do come out and interact with the audience frequently. And one lucky guy might get picked to go up on stage for one song. Highly entertaining for everyone!Cabaret Rihanna performer

There are some solo performances along with the group dance routines. The extraordinary one that I witnessed was one performer that came out and started the song all decked out in cabaret get up and ended the song looking like a normal boy. Very well done. Here is a video of one of their other performances – Lady Marmalade.

Chiang Mai Cabaret is no doubt one of the most popular shows in Chiang Mai and even one of the best ladyboy cabarets in Thailand. For a first-time visitor, this should definitely be on your list for a hilarious night out with friends and family.Chiang Mai Cabaret performers

Plus, a huge thank you to Jimena Lopez for a great weekend. It was really lovely to have met you and hang out with you all over Chiang Mai. Can’t wait to meet up in our travels in the future.Jimena Lopez and Heather at Wat Chedi Luang

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Further Reading

If you would like to see more of my nomad travels, check out my post on my first month of traveling full-time: One Month of Nomad Travel. If you are coming to Thailand for a visit, check out these posts:

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