Why do ladyboys get famous in Thailand

BILD report from Thailand's red light district | "Ladyboys are like heroin to me"

Bangkok (Thailand) - When it gets dark in Patong on the island of Phuket, more and more of the idiosyncratic "ladies" appear. They are not women. They are not men. They are ladyboys - the "third gender". The Thai call them Kathoey (hermaphrodite).

Why are they selling their bodies? And what do tourists expect from sex with them?

BILD enters the world of ladyboys.

Cream (22) is one of Patong's ladyboys. Men look around for her. She has an engaging smile and a very feminine figure. What some tourists finally realize with amazement or realize only late through alcohol consumption: Cream was born a man.

Cream (22) dreams of a complete sex change

It is not known exactly how many ladyboys there are, how many of them have normal jobs, work in shops, offices or cookshops. The estimates vary widely - from officially 10,000 to 1.3 million.

The fact is: Many of the ladyboys from Phuket work in the red light district.

It is the same with Cream, which sells her body for 2000 baht (equivalent to 50 euros). For comparison: a factory worker in Thailand earns around 10,000 baht (250 euros) a month.

“When I was 13 years old, I knew I was a girl,” she says. “At first I didn't tell my family anything. But after two years my father found out. "

She has been taking hormones since she was 16. “When I have enough money together, I have a full operation. The breasts cost a good 60,000 baht (1,500 euros), the vagina 200,000 baht (5,000 euros). "

Niklaus (38) went to the room with a ladyboy

When Niklaus (38) from Austria traveled to Thailand for the first time in 2010, he was still amazed at the striking number of pretty women. “I was traveling with a good friend for three and a half weeks. During a pub crawl we got into conversation with two women, flirted, had fun and handed out drinks to the women, ”he says.

But when the sociable evening in the hotel room was supposed to become more, the shock came: "Suddenly I noticed that there was something that didn't belong with a woman," he says.

“It was a huge shock for me, I questioned my sexuality for a short time. We then broke up on good terms and even went to eat together the next day. "

On the dating app “Tinder”, he states, ladyboys are mostly the “more beautiful” women. "Almost every second person is a ladyboy - you can see how many customers are looking for that," says Niklaus.

This year Niklaus was in Patong with his new girlfriend from Austria. "It's like carrying sand to the beach."

Reiner (67) becomes weak with Fany (25)

Reiner Kruse (67) from North Rhine-Westphalia is in Thailand for the third time - he has a certain admiration for the beauty of the ladyboys and can be photographed with Fany (25).

"Sometimes the ladyboys look damn good," he says. When he passed a couple of them, he first thought they were women. "Only when they started to speak did I realize they are guys!"

He prefers real women, but when he stands next to Fany, he touches her.

Fany is from near Bangkok and now works on the streets of Patong. She has had a full operation and regularly injects Botox into her face. “I don't know how much it all cost - but everything turned out perfect! I am very happy to finally be able to be a whole woman! "

She thinks Reiner is nice, but she is only partially enthusiastic about Germans in general. “They are stingy,” she says. “They only want to give me 500 to 600 Baht (12 to 15 euros) for my services, but I need 3000 Bath (75 euros). Chinese and Arabs pay better. "

Peter (70) from Hamburg:

"Many come especially because of the ladyboys"

Peter (70) comes from Hamburg and grew up in St. Pauli. He has lived in Patong for 16 years in a one-room rented apartment (300 euros per month). “I knew the world and thought this was the most beautiful place,” he says.

“Many here dress up as women, so many fall for it. If they notice, it will only be at the last second. But there are also many customers who come here especially for the ladyboys. "

He is sure that something like this would not happen to him, he knows the tranny scene from Hamburg, Talstrasse, Schmuckstrasse: "I can see it in my hands, feet and larynx."

The beautiful Ticha (28) dreams of the next operation

Ticha (28) stands at night on the infamous Bangla Road, which is lined with red light bars. After 6 p.m. there are no more cars and the road becomes a line.

“I was born a ladyboy,” she says. "When I go to the room with customers and they see that I still have something down there, they are sometimes angry, but mostly I can make them happy. In three months I will have an operation made for a vagina. Then I no longer have the problem. "

Maybe Jamal (27) from Regensburg almost fell for her. “Yesterday I was still on the scooter through Bangla Road, there was the most beautiful woman I have seen in three days. She asked if she should get on my scooter, ”he says.

At the last moment an American warned him: “'Careful, this is a ladyboy! I took her to the hotel yesterday and then she unpacked her penis. ‘" Otherwise, Jamal is very happy in Thailand. "You can really buy love here."

Ladyboys in Bangkok

Ladyboys also work as prostitutes in Thailand's capital Bangkok. Kimina (27) stands on the street near Nana Plaza, which, according to the neon sign at the entrance, is “the world's largest playground for adults”.

Her face has something hard and doll-like about it, and you can tell from her fragile voice that it wasn't easy for her in life.

Kimina used to be a family man, she has a son. Her boyfriend, a Norwegian, doesn't want her to have genital surgery. Then he could take a real wife right away, he says. "I take 2,000 to 3,000 baht (50 to 75 euros) for everything," she says.

For Tom (60) the ladyboys are like heroin

A few meters further on we meet the Australian Tom (60), who is strolling along the food stalls. He used to be married to a woman and have children. He's still somewhat interested in women, but ladyboys have been his thing for 30 years.

Tom: “They have femininity, they have masculinity, they have their own gender. It's a bit like heroin. Generally they are very entertaining, playful, sexy. You enjoy sex. They are almost always happy and many are intellectual. "

The boundaries are blurred at Nana Plaza

Ex-IBM engineer Gerhard (78) from Lower Saxony wears sneakers, thinning white hair and rimless glasses. We get to know him in the go-go dance shop “Mercury”, where he watches the goings-on.

“I'm looking at this, at my age there isn't much going on anymore. Pure interest. I take medication against the enlargement of my prostate, it works like a castration, because everything relaxes down there. Only Heineken works for me, ”he says.

Then he looks at the twelve or so ladyboys, all perfectly formed. They loll around the bars and squint at customers. “It's sexy!” He says. Only in the Dominican Republic is it even more blatant.

“The Americans fly over there for a weekend and take two women to their room at once,” he says. But when it comes to ladyboys, there is no other country that is as extreme as Thailand.

Technician Michael (52), beard, bald head, from Baden-Württemberg has already gone one step further: “I've already made out with a ladyboy, that was unusual. I'm straight, but that's totally different. It feels like a woman with a penis. I could never do anything with men, but that's a completely different matter. "

BILD reporter in the "Chilli Bar"

Bella (23) from Bangkok, who has undergone a complete operation, works in another ladyboy bar on Nana Plaza, the “Chili Bar”.

"I enjoy sex with my new gender," says Bella and takes a selfie with the BILD reporter.

There aren't many customers here at a late hour. Just a strong American looking for a ladyboy. The other lady's boys are having fun, dancing with their "boss", an old ladyboy called "Mama Sae".

In a bar right next door, the "Straps", everyone is so perfectly operated that most tourists do not notice that there are no born women dancing on the table in front of them.

In front of the Nana Plaza we meet the Cologne workers Andy and Nicki (both 27). They are still lightly bruised from the last night of partying and laugh their heads off when we ask about ladyboys.

Niki: “A friend of ours went with a ladyboy yesterday, even though he knew one hundred percent that this was a man. It didn't matter to him. But often you really don't see it, they have been operated on so well that you don't even notice, you really fall for it. "

Andy also doesn't really know whether he ended up in bed with a real or re-operated woman. “I think it was 70 percent woman,” he says.

Ann (25) is standing in a dark side street of Bangkok's famous backpacker street Kao San Road. She came from northern, poorer Chiang Mai to make money.

Seen soberly, Ann still looks very manly with her powerful jaw. As every night, there is an alcohol party on Kao San. She hopes that a drunk tourist will still end up in her arms and that she can earn a few baht.

Hard work in the food stall

Many ladyboys have normal jobs. Jenny (39) sells women's clothing in a cheap shopping mall.

She works every day from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m., makes an average of 10,000 baht (250 euros) a month. She wears pink sneakers, tight jeans, gold jewelry, plait and a ladies handbag.

Orant (38) works from morning to night in a food stall in the city center. She's the first to come, the last to go.

For 40 baht (one euro) she roasts pork, chicken, beef and squid with rice. It's hard work in the haze of frying fat. She does not sell her body, the wages are low. That's why she has no money for operations. Her only jewelry is a headband with a bow and the pink chef's coat.