Muay Thai training in Thailand: what to expect and how much does it cost
I went for a Muay Thai training in Thailand this summer to level up my game. I didn't know what to expect and I couldn'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 to make your life a bit easier once you're there.
Training in Thailand may be physically demanding for you for two different reasons:
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 open air gym in Bangkok takes as much effort as two hours of training in Europe. On the bright side, once you arrive in Europe/US you will feel like a superman for a week or so. That's how long it takes to readjust to a temperate climat conditions.
Reason number two: you train with the best. 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. Some of the best Thai boxers in the world often visit Thailand for this purpose.
That said after you adjust to the new weather conditions you will soon start making a great progress. What is fascinating is that native Thai instructors teach Muay Thai in a quite different manner than European trainers does. They pay attention to a certain technical aspects of your training and some flaws that may be easily overlooked in Europe will be picked up by a Thai couch (a Khru). And since there is so many gyms in Bangkok and around the city you can always find one that meets your specific needs and you can also get a personal trainer for a fair price.
Speaking of which, Muay Thai training in Thailand is not very expensive. For example: single training session in Fighting Spirit gym has costed me around 300 baht, which is roughly £6 or 8 and a half dollars. I've also bought myself a really cool LLumpinee Muay Thai shorts there :-). But that's just one of a multiple gyms in Bangkok and most of them are good with a helpful staff that will put you on the right track with your training. You can find there all the necessary equipment for training and a helpful instructors that can refine your skills no matter what your level is.
Apart from regular gyms, you can also train in one of the camps. They are located outside of Bangkok and typically provide everything you need to focus just on training.
For the price of around 15000 (£295/$420) baht a month you can have full-time training plus accommodation and meals. Some of the gyms, like Master Toddy's, will even provide you with a one-year student visa if you book a training with them. This is really useful if you don't want to do an expensive and time-consuming visa runs.
There are plenty of training opportunities in Thailand, but that's not all the city has to offer. One of the great things is that you can relax and relief your sore muscles after the heavy day of training with a proper Thai massage.
For those who are planning to come to Thailand but are not convinced yet - life is not very expensive there either:
the food from shops and Thai 'fast food' from street stands is very cheap. And more healthy on top of that since most of the 'fast food' in Thailand is based on rice and veggies. In Bangkok, there are plenty of convenience stores like 7 Eleven that are open 24/7. Restaurants are more expensive but they serve a delicious traditional food in big portions. Some of them are open till late night so you can have a proper meal at 3 AM in the morning. I especially liked Lao cuisine - sweet and spicy chicken tastes great. I would also highly recommend sticky rice and mango and Thai coconut ice cream.
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 kilometres ride are 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 swimming with sharks is far safer than taking a tuc tuc in Bangkok in rush hours :-]
the 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 MRT station
Clubbing and pubbing 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 night clubs like The Levels or Insanity are more expensive than the rest - but hey, you are going there for a Muay Thai training, am I right?
*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.