Muay Thai training in Thailand: a list of things that you should know
I went for a Muay Thai training in Thailand to level up my game. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't find many reliable sources of information online. I would like to share a few observations with you about training in the homeland of Muay Thai. I hope this will make your decision of training Muay Thai in Thailand easier.
2 reasons why training in Thailand may be difficult at the beginning:
Reason number one is a tropical weather. It may be your greatest adversary until you get used to it. 37 °C and humid all day long. 32 °C in the night-time. One hour of training in an open-air gym in Bangkok takes as much effort as two hours - if not more than that - of a regular training in Europe.
So don't get discouraged by that - you will only feel weak at the beginning.
On the bright side, once you arrive back to Europe or the US you will feel like a superman for a week or even longer. That's how long it takes to fully readjust to different climat conditions.
Another benefit, at least for me, of a tropical weather was that I became less prone to contusions during heavy sparring sessions.
Reason number two: you will train with the best. Most gyms are run by former pro fighters. You will get a chance to learn from, and spar with, great native Thai fighters. They've got a great stamina and abs made of steel so you really need to push yourself to be up for the task.
You'll get a chance to pick up some skills that you couldn't learn any other way.
Once you adjust to the new weather conditions you will soon start making a great progress. What is fascinating is that local instructors are teaching Muay Thai in a different way than European trainers do.
They pay attention to different technical aspects of your training. Some flaws that might have been overlooked in Europe will be picked quickly by a local Khru.
Muay Thai training in Thailand: how much does it cost?
Training in Thailand is not as expensive as you may think.
A single training session in Fighting Spirit gym has cost me around 300 baht, which was roughly £6 or $8 for an intense 2-hour session.
The gym was run by an American expat living in Bangkok and had all the necessary equipment for training. All of the instructors were local Thai fighters
You can also start training in one of the Muay Thai camps. They are located outside of Bangkok and provide everything you need to focus just on your training.
For the price of around 15000 (£295/$420) baht a month you can get a full-time training plus accommodation and meals.
Some gyms, like Master Toddy's Muay Thai Academy, will even provide you with a one-year student visa when you book a training course with them. This is really useful since you would not have to do an expensive and time-consuming visa runs.
For those who are planning to come to Thailand but are not convinced yet - life is not very expensive there either:
Food in local stores is not very expensive. In Bangkok, there are plenty of convenience stores like 7 Eleven that is open 24/7.
Thai street food is very cheap and tasty. And as long as you'll stick to rice and veggie meals it will be quite healthy. I would also recommend trying sticky rice with mango and coconut ice cream.
Restaurants are more expensive but they serve a delicious traditional food in big portions. I would also recommend Lao cuisine: sweet and spicy chicken tastes great. Some of them are open till late and you can have a proper meal even at 3 AM in the morning. Bangkok literally never sleeps.
Public transport: skytrain, motorcycle taxis, and cabs - not to mention buses which are dirt cheap - is not very expensive. A typical taxi fare for a few miles ride in the city is about 50-100 baht (£1-£2/$1.5/$3).
Tuc tuc rickshaws are more pricey tourist traps and their drivers are reckless. I took it once and I think that full-power sparring with Buakaw is far safer than taking a tuc tuc in Bangkok during rush hours.
Accommodation is pretty cheap too. For the first month of stay, I have rented a room in the hotel with a swimming pool for one month for around £300/$430. You can pay much less of course if you rent a room in a shared house. Just be sure that you find a place which is not too far from Skytrain or an MRT station.
Clubbing may be more pricey: 150-250 baht for a pint (around £3-£5, $4-$7) and around £10/$15 entrance fee depends on the location. Some famous nightclubs like The Levels or Insanity are more expensive than the rest.
Local pubs are cheaper than established brands like Hard Rock Cafe, which is probably the most expensive pub in Bangkok. But hey, you are going there for a Muay Thai training, not drinking, am I right?
*a word of advice: due to tropical weather when you drink alcohol in Thailand always be sure to add a lot of ice or to drink it with the water, cause if you don't the hangover may be severe.