Where else to experience Muay Thai than in the heart of its homeland? Here is a list of places to catch the sport in action and where to find Muay Thai gyms.
Want to catch the martial art in action, or learn from the Thais themselves? Here's our guide to the revered sport in its homeland.
Muay Thai has been widely practised across the globe, whether it be for fitness or to master the Thai ways of fighting. If you are a fan, do catch some live action whilst in the city. Traditionally, Muay Thai fights last about 25 minutes, with 2-minute breaks between each 3-minute round that happens 5 times. In stadiums, there are usually 7-9 match-ups, starting with the youngest fighters. It is worth arriving early to watch the build-up of anticipation for the night. You may find yourself not amongst pure enthusiasts but punters who use moolah to increase the excitement. Here are a few venues where you can join in the atmosphere.
Rajadamnern Stadium (Ratchadamnoen Stadium)
This venue is accessible and touted as one of the two most important sport arenas in Bangkok. Because of its location, it hosts the best fights in the country. Shows are held on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 to 6:30pm onwards till about 10.00pm. You can’t bring your own grub and drinks in, but there will be some on sale inside. It costs about 2000THB for ringside seats and 1500THB for second-class seats. Club class tickets are at 1800THB and it isn’t worth taking anything less because you might end up with an obstructed view and find yourself staring at ceiling lights. If you are a Muay Thai fighter yourself, you will have a 2-year pass and you can watch fights for free.
This used to be the number one spot to catch the best fights, but it has moved to near the Don Muang airport, and it has hence been extricated from that status. Who would battle a rush hour traffic to the outskirts of town to catch a fight? Unfortunately, very few would. There still are some good fights worth the journey, especially if you are in tune with the scene. Shows here are held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You pay 2000THB for a ringside seat, but as with Rajademnern, discounts are offered to people with training in affiliated gyms.
Channel 7 Stadium
If you want to watch an authentic fight for free, you can pop over to this one. However, because it is free, expect to be packed inside like sardines and be uncomfortable. Its proximity to Chatuchak Weekend market means that tourists can hop over after some shopping. The action is, however, relatively top-notched and shows are broadcasted on national TV every Sunday. Shows start at 2.15pm but it pays to come early for better seats. If you want to avoid being surrounded by tourists, come after 3.00pm. You can bring your own drinks and snacks in!
MX Muay Xtreme
This weekly show is also broadcasted on TV and this is situated at the GMM Grammy Studio in Sukhumvit. The younger generation prefers to come here for their thirst of violence and there really has been a high knock-out rate due to the use of lighter gloves. They feature more lower-tiered fighters here but most come from top gyms in Thailand. This show goes on every Friday night at 8.45pm and you can bring your own snacks and drinks. This venue is also free for everyone to watch Muay Thai!
Source: MX Muay Xtreme
LEARNING THE ART
We’ve picked some schools you can scoot over to whether you are there for a crash course or if its part of your main travel itinerary.
Elite Fight Club
They have a course called Muaythai Expat for foreigners who are interested in the art or want to keep fit. The training includes runs at 7.00am in the morning and drills in the evening, rounding up with technique programmes. You can drop in for just a day or sign up for a monthly package. If you are intending to carve out a career as a fighter, they also have a serious programme available. Beginners can join a group class in the evenings for a fee starting from 400THB.
Address: The Waterford Diamond Tower, 10th floor Soi Sukhumvit 30/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok Thailand 10110
Contact: +66 2 661 3546
Website: Elite Fight Club
Yokkao Training Center
This center has an Open Drop-in class that allows you to train alongside other fighters. A session costs 500THB. If you are a fan, you might recognize Saenchai, who gives private lessons there. Heading there after work might be a good idea if you take up the Muay Thai Camp 20 Pass that gives you unlimited access for over 60 days, with 20 training sessions.
Address: No: 190-190/1 Soi Sukhumvit 16, Klongtoei, Klongtoei, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Contact: +66 2 708 1767
Website: Yokkao Training Center
Khongsittha Muay Thai
If you are in Bangkok solely for Muay Thai, this is the gym to be at. They offer accommodation and make sure that you live and breathe Muay Thai. Don’t worry, you aren’t expected to live like a soldier – you will have a resort-like environment and ‘boutique’ rooms. Not in the mood for anything serious? You can practice Muay Thai to keep fit and look cool. They also have daily and weekly classes.
Source: Khongsittha Muay Thai
Address: 23 Sukhonthasawat Road Ladphrao, Bangkok 10230 Thailand
Contact: +66 2 932 9911
Website: Khongsittha Muay Thai