Interview with Bangkok ladyboy Regina

Stefan Arestis

Bangkok is one of our favourite places in Asia.

It's got an excellent gay scene, particularly the gay bars of Silom Soi 4 and the drag queen shows at clubs like DJ Station.

Regina tells us about life for ladyboys in Bangkok

Thailand is of course notorious for its lady boys and on our nights out in Silom we befriended the sexy and glamorous Regina, who told us about her life as a transexual woman and about the ladyboys of Bangkok and why she thinks Thailand is one of the most gay friendly countries for the trans community.

Greetings Regina, please introduce yourself:

Interview with ladyboy Regina life for ladyboys in Bangkok

Hello Nomadic Boys!  I am Regina, 33 years old, originally from Iloilo City in the Philippines.  I am a freelance hairdresser and make up artist and I frequently come to Bangkok for shopping, beauty enhancements or beauty treatments.

Are you ok with us using the word “ladyboy”, or is there a better word you like people to use?

Transsexual or trans-gender are the formal words used, but I prefer ‘shemale' as that is how others generally address us in Asia. ‘Ladyboy' is also fine, that is a word mainly by foreigners to describe ladyboys in Bangkok.

How old were you when you first realised you wanted to be female?

I first started having feminine feelings when I was around 7 years old.

How do people in society perceive you?

Ladyboy Regina interview about shemales in Bangkok and Asia

When I started to express my femininity to my family it was a bit strange for them at first, but the days passed by and they accepted me without any hesitation. However, for people who are not as open minded, they would make comments and negatively judge me.

What operations did you have and were they expensive?

I was 28 when I started and had a rhinoplasty (nose lift), which cost 12,000 bahts (around £235/$380). I've also had operations on my eyelids, which cost 20,000 bahts (around £390/$630) and breast enlargement surgery, which cost 45,000 bahts (around £880/$1,420).

That's it for now. I intend to *keep* everything else as it is (!) and now focus on beauty enhancement.

Interview with ladyboy Regina about how to meet ladyboys in Bangkok
Breast enlargement surgery…”Yes Stefan they're real!”

Is there anywhere particular you recommend going for gender reassignment related operations?

Stefan learning about life for ladyboys in Bangkok
All Regina's attempts to make Stefan into a graceful and beautiful lady boy completely failed 🙁

The best specialist Doctors are based in Bangkok and one in particular I recommend is Dr Theerapong who has a clinic in Rama 2 next to the Central Mall in Bangkok.

What gender do you have on your passport?

In my passport I am male and every time I travel I need to look ‘natural' – ie without make up, no earrings, in order to match my passport photo.

In the Philippines you can change your passport from male to female if you undergo a sex change and with legal process with a lawyer, but I have no plans to do this.

Interview with ladyboy Regina teaching Stefan rules of ladyboy seduction
Regina teaching Stefan the rules of ladyboy seduction in Bangkok

Do shemales / ladyboys face any problems being accepted by society in Thailand? 

Interview with ladyboy Regina about life for ladyboys in Bangkok Silom Soi gay bars
Regina with her Nomadic Boys at Stranger Bar in Silom Soi 4

Not at all. Thailand is the best place for shemales to express ourselves and we're totally accepted by society here.  

Bangkok is a place where trans gender are free to show our personalities because it is accepted here and we are respected. For people like me, Bangkok is a paradise of happiness and enjoyment.

Recently the Bangkok University published guidance for their transgender students to advise them how they can dress and still keep within the official dress code. Some high schools in Thailand have a “third gender” toilet for pupils who do not feel comfortable in either the men's or women's toilets!

Where do you go to meet potential boyfriends or husbands?

Meeting a boyfriend is not easy as most men just want to have sex with me and are not necessarily looking for a serious relationship.

I usually use the dating website I know that the ladyboys and men that go on these websites are more serious and are looking for long-term relationships.

What do you think of the gay scene for ladyboys in Bangkok?

The gay scene in Bangkok is rampant!  

It is open to all and constantly evolving. For bars I recommend the road in Silom called “Silom Soi 4” where there are many bars like Telephone, Balcony and Stranger. The club scene is on the next door road called “Silom Soi 2, where you can see drag queen shows at DJ Station or dance topless in GOD.


The nearest metro station to the Silom gay scene is ‘Silom' and ‘Sala Daeng' is the nearest skytrain station.

If you want a more “local” gay scene, then I recommend the gay pub Ap Arena at Ratchadapisek Soi 8 (nearest metro is exit 2 of the “Thai Cultural Centre”), which is mainly frequented by local gay Thai boys.

Are there any gay friendly hostels and hotels you recommend in Bangkok?

To be honest with you, anywhere in Bangkok is gay friendly! But most gay tourists will want to be based near the gay scene of Silom Soi 4 and Silom Soi 8. There are a few popular gay hotels in the area:

DUSIT THANI HOTEL   Check prices now

  • Located just across Silom Soi 4, this is a good pick.
  • Prices start from $135 / £92 a night.

SOFITEL SO HOTEL   Check prices now

  • Very classy and modern. The best skybar in Bangkok.
  • Prices start from $168 / £115 a night.

TARNTAWAN PLACE   Check prices now

  • Very affordable and gay friendly option, just 5 min walk away to the bars of Silom Soi 4.
  • Prices start from $60 / £40 for a double bed with breakfast.

LUB'D HOSTEL SILOM   Check prices now

  • Perfect for those on a budget.
  • Only a 15 min walk away from Silom Soi 4.
  • Prices start from $15 / £10 for a bed in a mixed dorm.

What sort of jobs do ladyboys in Bangkok do?

Ladyboys in Bangkok have a variety of jobs everywhere in Thailand. I have never experienced or noticed any transgender discrimination here and equal employment rights are given to all ladyboys who are willing to work.

Is there a supportive community or organisation for ladyboys in Bangkok?

Yes, the world famous Tiffany show in Pattaya and Miss International Queen (the world's largest and most prestigious pageant) are both good examples. These sorts of events give importance to and celebrate the talents and skills of ladyboys in the entertainment field.

I entered as Miss Peru a few years ago:

Regina ladyboy of Bangkok Miss Peru finalist
Regina as Miss Peru at the Miss International Queen beauty pageant

And lastly, do you have a boyfriend?

In actual fact I do.

He is a very sexy French hunk called Sebastien, maybe you know him..

…and at this point, a very jealous Stefan quickly terminated the discussion and World War III broke out…

Interview with ladyboy Regina about ladyboys of Bangkok and Thailand
Seb and Regina after many Margaritas

Happy travels are safe travels

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Interview with ladyboy Regina in Bangkok
Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

66 thoughts on “Interview with Bangkok ladyboy Regina”

  1. Heads up. You don’t look for ladyboys in gay bars. In Thailand, you find them in the regular girly bars and in specific ladyboy bars. There are even dedicated post-op bars, most are mixed. In the Phils there are very few LB bars, but there are many where LBs are accepted; they are almost always freelancers. Meeting a LB for a relationship is next to impossible in a bar; you’d do better in a Mall, TBH. In southeast Asia, women are not offended if men signal their interest, thankfully, so just smile and say hello.

    Although LBs consider themselves to be ‘gay’ more or less (bakla, beki, bading etc in the Phils, kathoey in Thailand) ‘gay’ doesn’t mean what you think it does. It means ‘woman inside’. In the Phils these are classed by appearance — ‘longhairs’ eg Regina and ‘shorthairs’. The latter are vaguely masculine looking. But they all see themselves in the same way, as women inside and NOT as men. LB ‘tops’ are pretty rare and usually are professionals, working a certain class of Western male. Most regular girls — almost all in fact — are ‘bottoms’. So if you want to be recipient, you;re probably going to have to pay. ‘Versatile’ shorthairs are not uncommon but in the Phils they’re called ‘bisexuals’, again, not the Western meaning.

    Oh, and ‘ladyboy’ in the Phils means a pre- or non-operative bakla or gay male, whether long or shorthair (lady on the inside, boy on the outside, see?) ‘Transgender’ in the Phils specifically refers to a post-operative transwoman. Calling a ladyboy that will not be taken as a sign of respect, rather of ignorance, and, if you are pursuing an individual, might damage your chances if she still has the JT and you say you’re looking for a ‘transgender’.

  2. Hi!

    I am planning to travel to Thailand (likely Bangkok) for a week in summer. I am a crossdresser and I am looking for a makeup artist and a guide for the trip. Do you have contacts of makeup artists or tour guides that would be interested?


    • We definitely recommend the Dr that Regina mentions in this article. Also head to the awesome Stranger Bar and ask M the host(ess) who’ll have some excellent tips.

  3. Ladyboys from all over the world travel to Thailand for cosmetic surgery. If doctors anywhere know surgery specific to transgenders, it’s in Thailand.

  4. This is amazing! I love it, so interesting to hear from her perspective. Didn’t realise some schools had a third gender toilet, thats really cool, great article 🙂 We shall be sharing.

  5. Super interesting boys! It is great to hear the realities of ladyboys from one. Never thought of the passport issues, but of course if I was a border control agent I would also wonder if it is the same person since she looks a bit different from her photo probably

  6. Loved it! He certainly makes a gorgeous ladyboy, much more attractive than most women I know. (isn’t that always the case) How did I know that Stefan would find his way on the stage with the entertainment? You guys are too fun! 😉

  7. Thanks for sharing. It’s interesting to learn about how other cultures are accepting of transgender people on a level we really aren’t in the US. Hopefully that keeps chaing.

  8. Hey, thanks for sharing this interview, I really enjoyed reading it! Regina has a very interesting story. It’s great that Thailand is so open and accepts all genders equally. I sometimes wish it would be like this in Europe as well, I think some people still have a lot of prejudices.

  9. I think that one of the reasons why Bangkok is so well known for their ladyboys is because of how open minded and welcoming they are to the community. Fascinating interview (interesting part on the passport info!) Just another reason to absolutely LOVE Thailand!

  10. What a fantastic interview and insight into a shemale’s life in Bangkok. I’ve wonderful that Regina feels so accepted and free to live the life she chooses in a welcoming and supportive community. Great work in spreading the love!

  11. What a great interview on something I might never have found on my own. I especially loved learning how open and accepting Thailand is towards all sorts of people. May other countries learn from them. Regina–You are beautiful. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  12. This was such an insightful interview and Regina sounds like the most awesome person to hangout with. Would love to have her join us for girls’ night the next time I’m in Bangkok!

  13. The interview is really interesting – never read a first person piece by someone like Regina before. It sounds like she’s pretty sorted and happy – and certainly in the right place.

  14. Hahaha. And she is Filipino!!! My BFFs in the Philippines (3 of them) are like you guys and I miss them very much. I had so much fun with them every weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon!

  15. Great interview guys (Regina looks like a ton of fun)!
    I’m totally fascinated with the ladyboy/shemale culture of Thailand. I have to admit that most of them make me jealous- they can walk better in heels that I ever will 😉
    Great insight into how open the Thai culture is about trans-gender people. I think the rest of the world could take a whole lot of pointers- especially the idea of the third bathroom.
    PS: If Regina gets Sebastien I call dibs on Stefan!

  16. Hi!

    Me and friend are gonna write a paper on transgender people in Bangkok next spring and would it be posible to get in touch with Regina?
    We are currently studying at the Swedish Red Cross for nursing.
    And we are looking for contacts who could help us with this project.

    Kind regard

    Emma and Emil

    • Hi Delphia, thanks for your comment.

      I asked Regina and she says it was done bt Doctor Theerapong who has a clinic in Rama 2, beside the Central Mall in Bangkok.

      It cost around 12,000-15,000 Bahts.

  17. Thank for share this interview.
    That make me remember good souvenirs party in Bangkok.
    About operation, some ladyboy paid less expensive in the smaller “hospital’. Have a little clinic like that not so fat from Central World (Pratunam).
    You can see a lot of ladyboy waiting for get operation or check a post operation.

    Regina also right, ladyboy can work every where, also at 7/11 😉

  18. Great interview! I can’t say I would have guessed although I have to say that I’m surprised Regina wanted to be referred to as a ‘shemale’! Piers Morgan recently got into loads of trouble while interviewing Janet Mock for referring her incorrectly; I think she would have had a heart attack if he called her a Shemale! It’s funny that there’s never any stories about Gentlemangirls, only Ladyboys…


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