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Getting Rubbed The Wrong Way By A Ladyboy In Thailand

by Meg · 17 comments

Bangkok is famous for two things:

Ladyboys and cheap messages.

…It may actually be famous for more things, but I don’t want to bore you with the details.

Unbeknownst to me, I would experience BOTH of these Bangkok treats during our 4-day stay in the city.  And in my situation, these two things did not go well together.

Going into our trip to Bangkok, Tony and I were pumped for the $4 hour-long foot massages that we have heard so much about from other backpackers during our travels.

On our first day in Bangkok, we decided to skip the sites and temples around the city and headed right to Khaosan Road for massages and fresh fruit shakes.

Khaosan Road Bangkok

Our first experience was so wonderful that on day #2 we did the same exact thing again…. Annnd again on day #3.

It should have ended there, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get enough and decided to hit up the massage shop one last time on day #4.

Biggest mistake ever.

Tony and I sat down in the massage chairs and over walks two attendants.  One looked as legit as they come. She was a cute little Thai lady, but with a sturdy upper body…. Just how I like my massage therapists!

Buuut then we had the other attendant. An obese ladyboy who grew breasts the old fashioned way: with floppy man boobs. As a cherry on top, she was wearing a fluorescent tee reading “Black Bitches Rock”…. Clearly, she was confused about more than just her gender.

The chubby ladyboy took one look at Tony’s hairy legs (that would be the Italian in him) and started giggling and making gagging noises to the other attendant.  She made it pretty clear that she was NOT getting within two feet of my poor husband’s furry stems.

Great. That meant Tony was getting the super professional foot massage while I was going to have to make do with the B-team. Tony doesn’t even really like massages… this seemed so unfair!

I accepted defeat and tried to be optimistic… who knows, maybe this incredibly rude and childish ladyboy has some epic massage skills?!?


After lotion was applied to my feet and legs, my unprofessional massage therapist got on her cell phone and couldn’t care less about the patron in front of her (me).  Instead of working out the kinks in my feet and legs, my chatty ladyboy was smushing her cellphone between her cheek and shoulder and was lightly gliding her fingers across my skin while she chatted away.

The pressure was so light that it actually tickled.  To be polite, I put on my best game face, held in my laughter, and tried not squirm about in my chair… This was pure torture.

I was 10 minutes into my “massage” when I looked over and saw Tony in his chair smiling with pure ecstasy over his amazing massage.

After seeing this, I had enough.

I began angrily staring down the ladyboy and waited patiently for her to make eye contact with me so she could see my displeasure.  Five minutes later, she meets my death eyes.

Note to self: Do not piss off a transitioning ladyboy pumped with hormones.

She instantly glares back at me and aggressively switches off her phone.  She then grits her teeth and begins to dig her chunky knuckles into my flesh, bones, tendons…. anything that will cause me excruciating pain – All while never breaking eye contact.

As much as I love rough massages, this was not what I had in mind.  She was mad and she was going to make me pay.

On the brink of tears, I hid my head in the magazine I was reading so she couldn’t see my pain… I was NOT going to let her get the best of me (this was my hard-headed stubbornness in all its glory)!

Ten minutes into our war, I could see the sweat beading off her forehead and her hand strength on my feet and legs begin to weaken.  A feeling of relief washed over me when I realized that I had just won the battle.

That’s right BEOTCH.

Unfortunately, I was not all that good of concealing my victory high.  A devilish smile accidentally grazed over my face right as she was about to throw in the towel.


With a finishing blow, the 200+ pound ladyboy got up, stood over me, placed her palms on my stretched-out kneecaps, and put all of her weight onto me.  In the 10 seconds that she hovered over my kneecaps, I was in absolute agony and silently praying that my knees wouldn’t break.

I may have won the battle, but my legs and feet may have thought otherwise.  After all was said and done, I looked down and was covered in bumps and bruises.  As I surveyed the damage, Tony waltzed over with a huge grin on his face looking like he was on cloud nine.

Tony: “That was absolutely AMMMAAAAZING” he sighed.  “How was your massage sweetheart?”

Me: Death eyes.

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Marco Fiori December 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I shouldn’t laugh, but that’s one of the funniest stories I’ve read in a long while. Poor you!

Meg December 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

haha glad you found it funny Marco. It was one of those “not funny at the time” situations but pretty laughable once the bruising went away

Alex December 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Sounds like a problem with the masseuse, not the fact that she was a ladyboy.
If you never want to have a bad massage experience, go to a temple instead of one in a tourist area. The people take their job a lot more seriously.

Meg December 17, 2012 at 12:38 am

yes exactly. Great tip… We hope to visit Bangkok again and will certainly visit the temples for a good massage!

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) December 17, 2012 at 5:11 am

Despite having spent 4+ months in Asia, I still haven’t had a massage yet! This post makes me a little less desperate to experience one, but I suppose so long as I stay away from petulant ladyboys I’ll be alright?

Meg December 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm

You have to try one! I honestly only had on bad experience, but all the rest were pretty darn good… and you can’t beat a $4 massage… especially with a fruit smoothie in hand!

Stephanie - The Travel Chica December 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

The title of this post is scary.

Meg December 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm

haha it was Tonys idea!

Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home January 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Very well described. I feel like I was with you witnessing the massage :)

Meg January 6, 2013 at 11:03 pm

haha thanks Izy!

Ian Roberts July 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Never , ever , ever cheese off a Thai ladyboy – they are some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Looks like you got off lightly. Thanks for the great article.

Meg July 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

haha so true! Thanks for commenting!

Douglas October 27, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I appreciate the humor and candor of your website, especially some of the great travel advice, but the transphobic jokes are off-putting. Surely there was a more tasteful way to describe your poor massage than pointing out the fact it was done by a trans person? LGBT people all over the world face enough discrimination as it is, especially in certain regions as opposed to others. Thailand’s particular cultural manifestations of sexual orientation and gender identity are not wholly accepted by Thai society- often these people are marginalized and considered deviant, hence the low-wage jobs working as massage “therapists”. I don’t mean to be a sore thumb- I’ve had a few awful massages in Thailand as well! – but travel is supposed to make us embrace our differences rather than create more conflict, right? :) Cheers.

Meg November 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hi Douglas,

Thank you very much for your note and I appreciate your thoughts and honesty. I agree that travel allows us embrace our differences and I’m a big supporter of the LGBT community – I apologize for any offense caused and will be more sensitive with the topic in the future. Thanks again!

– Meg

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