Chiang Mai’s Unsavoury Cabaret

Thailand is famous for it’s “lady-boys”. (I seriously hate that word especially when people are fighting for transgender rights back home.) And Chiang Mai is famous for it’s cabaret.  It’s not something I have been keen to see, but when a friend came to town I decided to join her for a show.

I haven’t been interested in the cabaret for the same reason I’m not interested in strippers.  I don’t support anyone shaking their scantily clad  bodies for money.  Man or women.  It would be different if the draw was their talent and the performance.  I can appreciate the dancers and singers of the Moulin Rouge or the Tropicana.  But the draw at the Chiang Mai Cabaret is their gender, and that saddens my soul.

Even more depressing was that some of them weren’t particularly good dancers and many of their costumes didn’t fit.  The stage was anything but spectacular, and the audience was the worst kind – already drunk, with a free beer in hand.

Despite my personal feelings , the audience loved it.

The show started with a self-proclaimed beauty queen greeting the audience and kissing every male guest.  The Thais are so friendly!  Then various musical numbers featuring colorful costumes, some dance steps, and a lot of lip-syncing.  There were feathered showgirls, nearly-naked dancers, and even a Rhianna impersonator.  There were a lot of sequins, even more makeup, some g-strings, and a nip-slip if you were paying attention.

The crowd particularly liked the audience participation.  Some gentlemen got lap dances, others got kisses and the lucky ones (?) got entire make-out sessions.  Burned into my cerebrum is the long string of saliva that kept a performer and her prey connected for far too long.


In the end, if you think you’d like the show, you probably will.  But for me, I won’t visit the Tiger Temple because it perpetuates the market of abused tigers, and I won’t visit the cabaret again because it supports a sleazy industry.


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