Koh Samui Cabaret
Anywhere else in the world, the word 'cabaret' would evoke images of piano lounges, tuxedos and expensive cocktails. But in Thailand, this word has a very specific meaning. In Thailand, 'cabaret' is the exclusive realm of the nation's 'third sex' - the enigmatic katoey or 'ladyboy'.
The acceptance of these transgendered performers goes back more than 100 years, when, it is said, King Rama IV found himself amused and entertained by such dancers, thus bestowing the Royal seal of approval on the future of the nation's katoeys.
Today, such transsexuals are commonly accepted by Thai society, and appear in all walks of life from teaching to boxing. However, it is generally felt that ladyboys excel at creative activities, such as design, acting, fashion, performing and/or dancing. And that's why, in Thailand, 'cabaret' means a dance extravaganza performed entirely by ladyboys.
Taken to the highest degree of the art, Thailand has produced ladyboy dance troupes that have toured America and taken Las Vegas by storm. Here on Koh Samui, there are several venues where you can see ladyboy cabaret shows.
Christy's Cabaret, Chaweng
The longest-running show on the island. Starting from scratch in a tiny run-down bar in 1995, Christy's is now Koh Samui's leading cabaret show. The dancers are glamorous and some of the extravagant costumes have cost thousands of dollars to make. Located in a side-street near Starbucks, nightly shows begin at 9.30 pm.
Star Cabaret, Chaweng
This show is unique in that it breaks away from the traditional format of this type of show. There is still the glamour and the extravagance, but there is a much more Western influence, with a stand-up compere who ad-libs with the audience and involves them with the show. Situated near Tops Supermarket and the Centara Grand Hotel, the show starts at 9:00 pm. Highly entertaining.
Situated in Soi Colibri, a little south of Centara Grand, this is a bar and restaurant and massage parlour with a strong gay following. There is a show each night at 10:00 pm, but this is smaller and less spectacular than the others.
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