What you see above is a rare quiet moment during the otherwise wildly flamboyant, heavily sequined, and totally touristy spectacle known as the Chiang Mai Cabaret Show. The starring kathoey, or ladyboys, work hard for the money, dancing up a storm and lip-syncing sorta-kinda-almost on point. Shows happen nightly at 9:30 p.m., so book online or go around 8 p.m. to purchase tickets and claim the best seats. (It goes without saying that the closer you sit to the stage, the more likely you are to find a glitter-splashed kathoey gyrating in your lap.) The ticket price has gone up in recent years but remains affordable: 350 baht or about $10.53 USD, drink included. Bring some 20s for tips; the beauties circulate among the crowd after the show, preening and peacocking for the cameras.
If you plan to eat beforehand, skip the drecky tourist food in the night bazaar at Anusarn Market and go to Sababa Israeli instead, just around the corner at Sridonchai and Chang Klan. Ezra the owner treats everyone like a long-lost cousin, and the hot housemade pita and spicy Yemeni bean soup are knock-you-to-your-knees delicious.
Chang Khlan, Chiang Mai, Thailand; +66-085-249-9204, +66-082-899-8231.