There are a lot of Muay Thai destinations around the world. But anybody who is serious about their training, cannot neglect Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. It is Muay Thai Mecca. Every year thousands of Nak Muay wannabes and enthusiastic amateurs from across the globe, make the pilgrimage to the temple of their sport. Bangkok is the city of Muay Thai dreams, where legends rise and the elite clash for the stadium champion belts of Rajadamnern and Lumpini.
Bangkok’s reputation as a jump point for Southeast Asian backpacking, as well as being a sleazy sin city, is well deserved yet, an unforgettable destination in itself. It has amazing gyms for fighters, beginners and everyone between. Abundant, delicious food fills every street at all times of the day. Its otherworldly temples and palaces are spell-bindingly beautiful. Adventures can be found down every alleyway, making Bangkok the ultimate maximum city.
Bangkok will spoil you when it comes to gyms. From older places like Sasiprapa, Keatkhamtorn, Sor Vorapin, Kaewsamrit, Jittigym and 13 Coins, to recent startups like Banchamek, Khongsittha and Sitsongpeenong, the city has what you’re looking for. Yokkao’s PK Saenchai Muay Thai Gym is a state-of-the-art, clean, modern gym that will impress a lot of people. Others will prefer the spit and sawdust of Meenayothin known for its large stable of fighters.
I recommend that you decide on your goals before deciding on your gym. Next time I visit Bangkok, I want to work on my clinch, so there’s one obvious choice – F.A Group, where clinching makes up the first hour of each training session.
If you’re not staying and eating at the gym, then the city has more than enough food to keep you going. Stands selling chicken rice (khao men gai), dumpling noodle soup (gyo nam), spicy fried noodles (pad kee mao), spicy papaya salad (som tam) and other assorted delectables can be found on every corner. Rice is your friend when you’re training. A simple fried rice (khao pad), will taste like the food of the gods despite the exhaust fumes of passing cars. Who needs energy drinks when you can get hold of the strong and sweet Thai iced coffee (ka fe yen) from the coffee cart?
For shoppers, the MBK Centre and Chatuchak Market are not to be missed! You will end up with a whole new wardrobe and enough trinkets to fill your home. Talaad Phra Chan (the Amulet Market) sells magical protection and is an amazing experience. A more permanent amulet is a Sak Yant tattoo. There are several Sak Yant masters, but a trip to Wat Bangphra lures many seekers. The temples in Bangkok are glorious. From the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Po to the tiled prang of Wat Arun, you could spend months visiting them all.
Simply put, Bangkok is a place for people who want to train hard, immerse themselves in Thai culture, eat great food and have a fantastic time. If you love a big crazy city, it doesn’t get bigger or crazier than Bangkok.