Ladyboys (or katoey in Thai) are ubiquitous in Thailand, especially in tourist neighborhoods. They are also well-known for their doting and attention towards tourists.
As the world becomes more open-minded, kathoeys are now enjoying opportunities far beyond low-level Pattaya showgirl gigs and unattainable “Tiffany-level” beauty queen status. As such, it can be hard to tell them apart from real women.
1. Look at their body
Many people think that it is easy to tell if someone is a ladyboy in Thailand but the truth is a bit more complicated. While it is fairly easy to spot a thai ladyboy in a crowd, it is much harder when it comes to one-on-one interactions.
The first thing to look for is their voice. Ladyboys often have deep voices and speak at a higher pitch than females do. They also tend to use makeup that makes them sound more feminine, such as dark eyeshadow and bright red lipstick.
Another sign is their shoulders, which are generally wider and squarer than female shoulders. Finally, their hips are usually narrower than those of women.
2. Look at their eyes
As Thailand is a country that recognizes the third gender, it’s no surprise to find many ladyboys all over the place. You can see them at shopping malls, flea markets and even bars, especially in tourist neighborhoods.
One of the easiest ways to spot a ladyboy is by looking at their eyes. They tend to have bigger eyes than men, and they may also wear more makeup. Their eyebrows are often thick and well-groomed.
Another telltale sign of a kathoey is their broad shoulders. Male shoulders are much wider than female ones, so if you notice someone with wide shoulders that slope forward, this is a good indicator that they used to be a man. Their hips are also usually more rounded than those of women, making them easier to spot.
3. Look at their hair
Ladyboys (Kathoey or bakla) generally have long, straight hair that’s parted on the middle and is often swept back. They also tend to wear a lot of makeup and have a feminine demeanor.
They’re usually taller than Thai girls, so it’s easy to spot them. They have narrow shoulders and broad hips, which gives them an hourglass shape. They may have a smaller waist than Thai women and are more likely to have big feet. If you’re unsure, ask to see their ID card. Most transgender people are open about their transition and will happily show you the gender that’s written on it. This is also a good way to find out whether they’re post-op or pre-op. If they are, that’s a good sign that they haven’t had any surgical procedures.
4. Look at their feet
It’s also worth noting that ladyboys tend to wear a lot of makeup. They may use dark eyeshadow and bright red lipstick, which creates a look similar to traditional drag queen makeup. They also wear high heels and dresses, which can be an easy way to identify them.
They also walk differently from women, as they usually slouch or keep their heads down when walking. They also exaggerate their chest size and show off cleavage.
Another thing to note is that their voice is deeper and masculine, unlike a woman’s. Lastly, they might have an accent when they speak English. They can also be a little rough in handling objects or talking. They may even have a slight smell of urine. It’s best to ask if they are a transgender person politely before taking them to your room for a night of fun.
5. Look at their hands
Obviously, when in Thailand, it’s important to always wear a condom. And that’s no different when dealing with ladyboys in the country. Whether in red-light districts or at one of the many Thai massage parlors that employ them, remember to respect them as a third gender and not treat them like women.
Among the easiest ways to tell is by her hands, which tend to be larger and more masculine than female hands. Her fingers are also generally longer, and her palms are thicker. Her wrists are more rounded as well.
Her voice is another way to recognize a ladyboy. Her voice is deeper and her tone is higher than a normal male’s. She might even try to sound feminine at times. Ask her, politely, “Kun been katoey mai?” (Are you a ladyboy?) to confirm her status.
6. Look at their jaws
A telltale sign that a kathoey used to be a man is their broad shoulders that slope forward instead of back like women’s. Another hint is their eyebrows, which are usually well-groomed and filled in with makeup.
Ladyboys are the crown jewels of Thailand’s tourism industry, and they love putting on a show for their audience. However, it’s important to remember that they’re not just a spectacle – they’re real people who want to find love. The next time you see a beautiful ladyboy in the mall or on the street, don’t be afraid to approach them. Just be respectful and ask about their situation. They’ll appreciate it. And they might even teach you a thing or two about gender fluidity.
7. Look at their arms
Generally, ladyboys tend to overdo the classic ideals of femininity. This can include wearing flamboyant clothing or showing too much cleavage. They may also speak in a feminine voice, even though their natural voices can sound deeper.
If you want to be sure, try shaking their hands. Women’s hands are smooth, and men’s hands have rough skin. A man’s ring finger is longer than his index finger, which is another clue.
If you’re still unsure, you can ask her if she is a kathoey (ladyboy). Most kathoeys are open about their gender identity, and will happily let you know if they’ve undergone genital reassignment surgery. If they have, you can then take her to your room and enjoy a night of fun. This is especially true in Bangkok, where many kathoeys work in bars and massage parlors.