May 19 2011
I believe it’s safe to say that Bangkok comes with a bit of a reputation. You tell someone you live in Bangkok and their immediate follow-up questions involve ping pong shows, ladyboys and the red light district. The truth of the matter is these after-dark attractions do not factor into my daily life here — nor the lives of many other foreigners. So, in an effort to have a taste of the stereotype, I headed to Calypso Cabaret to spend an evening sipping bad cocktails at one of the infamous ladyboy shows.
Calypso lived up to its hype and what ensued was an absolute hoot. The one-hour show, in the basement of the Asia Hotel, was packed and far less dodgy than I had anticipated. As the website promised there were feathers and long legs galore as well as a whole lot of lip-syncing featuring everything from Broadway standards to Korean pop.
Calypso also happens to come with some history. Running since 1988, it is somewhat of an establishment on the Bangkok ladyboy scene. What’s refreshing about this show, and other similar cabarets, is that you get a taste of the famed Thailand after dark without the seediness of nearby Nana or the depressing side of Patpong. I would even venture to say that Calypso is somewhat family friendly. All the performers stay relatively clothed and I kid you not there was a baby in the audience.
The performances range from hilarious to ho-hum, but the over-the-top evening never takes itself too seriously.
After the show stick around to take photos with the performers, although do be prepared for them to look better than you. Reservations recommended.
Basement of the Asia Hotel, 296 Phayathai Road (Ratchathewi BTS)
T: (02) 653 3960
Twice nightly at 20:15, 21:45
Adult 1,200 baht, child 600 baht (or discounted price adult 900 baht, child 600 baht if you book online at least three days ahead)
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