Calypso Cabaret Show – Five Tips for Your Night at the Theater
The Calypso Cabaret Show is a Thai drag theatrical performance presented in Vegas showgirls style mixed with mainstream pop, vintage rock and a tinge of a Broadway musical. It has become one of Thailand’s most popular attractions in the 27 years that it’s been running and has pleased as well as displeased audiences from all over the world. You’ll be intrigued by what people have to say on tripadvisor. Sure, it may not be everyone’s type of entertainment. In my case, once I learned about the show I immediately had it on my “things to do list” in Bangkok. If you’re unsure about seeing it, watch the film Too Wong Foo and if you like it, you’ll surely enjoy the Calypso Cabaret Show.
Thailand is widely known for its transgender culture. In fact, the most prestigious transgender beauty pageant, Miss International Queen has been held in Pattaya, Thailand since 2004. Four Thai candidates have already won the title since then, the most recent Jiratchaya Sirimongkolnawin was crowned in March 2017. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she had succeeded Trixie Maristela from my home country the Philippines.
Because of Thailand’s openness and tolerance of the transgender community, transgender or lady boy artists have made waves in the entertainment industry and you can appreciate the talent of some of their finest lady boy artists in the Calypso Cabaret Show. Below are a few tips to make the most of your evening at the theater.
Buy your ticket from a travel agent
Buying a ticket from a tour agent is cheaper, it saved me 300 Baht. I bought mine from a travel agent in Khaosan for 900 Baht. Whereas, at the theater tickets are sold at 1,200 Baht. But if you buy from a tour agent, you’ll need to do it at least one day in advance. Afterwards, just present your receipt at the Asiatique counter and have your ticket printed out.
The Calypso Theater at Asiatique Riverfront Mall
Go early to get good seats
The Asiatique theatre could accommodate an audience of nearly 500. It’s elevated and there’s a good view of the stage from any angle. But like in any theater front row seats are always the best. I arrived at the ticketing counter at Asiatique an hour before the 9:45 pm show and I was lucky to get a very good seat at the center in Row B. The rows closest to the stage are rows A and B, followed by C and D. The earlier you arrive at the theater the better your chances of getting good seats.
The Asiatique Riverfront Mall
Ride a boat to Asiatique Riverfront
The shows are held at the Calypso Theater at the Asiatique Riverfront Mall. Since the shows are in the evening, it’s a perfect time to commute via the Chao Phraya river and enjoy fascinating night scenes along the river bank. It’s a wonderfully cheap alternative to those expensive dinner cruises which cost around 1,200 Baht. I rode the boat from Phra Athit Pier to Asiatique Riverfront which was the last stop. We traveled for around 11 kilometers and I only paid the fixed fare of 15 Baht. But the last boats arrive around 7:30 pm so you’ll need to be at the closest pier by that time. Also, the boat stops at several piers so it will be a long ride. My trip took around 40 minutes but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Shop, dine and stroll around Asiatique Riverfront Mall
Aside from getting a good seat, arriving early will give you some time to stroll around the mall. Asiatique Riverfront is a popular open air mall that houses hundreds of novelty shops. Walk deeper into the complex and you’d find a haven of food stalls offering a mix of local and western cuisine at reasonable rates. By the riverfront you’ll find Bangkok’s version of the London Eye, hop on it and you can enjoy an aerial view of the city.
The food court is a great place to sample some of Thailand’s delicious cuisine. But I didn’t have enough time to shop since it could take a whole evening to browse through all of the stalls. At the entrance of the mall you’ll immediately see the signage for the Calypso Cabaret show and another interesting theatrical performance the Muay Thai drama/action show.
Pose with the ladies but be ready with your tip
After the show the audience will be invited to pose with the performers. They will be waiting in their sparkling outfits along the corridor where the audience exits toward a hall. It’s a chance to meet and pose with the ladies. Just be aware that every time you pose with a performer, you’re expected to give a tip and some of them will outright ask for it. Yes, the ladies can be very assertive so don’t feel pressured, take your time and choose the performers you want to pose with. You may also want to break bigger bills before going.
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