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Best Muay Thai Gym for Beginners (Bangkok)

Are you planning a trip to Bangkok? Whether you are hardcore fan or just have a passing interest in Thailand’s national martial arts, fitting some Muay Thai training into your itinerary is a travel highlight not to be missed. If you are looking for a Muay Thai gym that is geared towards a beginner to total newbie like yourself, there are lots of options available.

Bangkok is the sin city of the east: with the wildest nightlife, exotic foods, and amazing sightseeing, the city has it all. But even though it is often associated with all the hedonistic indulgence, Bangkok is also the Mecca for all Muay Thai fans. Here, you can attend world class stadium fights, indulge in glorious Muay Thai gear shopping, and train with legends and some of the best in the sport.


Guide to Choosing a Muay Thai Gym in Bangkok

best muay thai camp for beginners

You can find Muay Thai camps all over Thailand, but Bangkok is where the top level action is at. The capital’s stadiums like Lumpinee and Rajadamnern hold the highest level championship fights. This is where Muay Thai legends of the past, present and future are made. At some point or other, every Muay Thai kid the nation over, hopes to train in Bangkok and make it big in the capital’s fight arenas. Here, you can expect to train with -or be trained by- the very best in Muay Thai.

However, many of the very best camps in the capital are not exactly geared towards beginners but more towards advanced-level and fighters. There is no hand-holding, and demands of the intensive training may be beyond your skills or fitness. Even though many of these same camps are opening up to foreigners and beginners, very little English is spoken by the trainers and the training dished out has yet to be adapted accordingly. The truth is, Phuket is a far better place for beginners to experience and learn the art of Muay Thai much more so than Bangkok is set up at the moment. There are far more options on the popular island, English is more widely spoken at the camps and the training is very much catered for beginner and intermediate-level foreigners. Many people also prefer the idyllic beach setting.

That said, Bangkok has its share of gyms that are great for beginners too. A growing number of modern gyms have been set up in recent years to cater to the expat community and middle-class. You just need to know where to find them and this article is here to direct you to the right ones.

How do you choose an ideal Muay Thai gym?
That depends on what you are looking for. If you want to lose some vacation weight from feasting, or experience what it’s like to train Muay Thai, there are many modern gyms that would fit your needs like a glove. If you want to meet or get a training session with Muay Thai legends, there are also a few gyms where you can fulfill your dreams. In most places, you will find yourself quite welcome regardless of where you fit on the spectrum of needs.

As a beginner, it is important to start off on the right note. If you have absolutely zero experience in Muay Thai or martial arts, it is best to not be over-ambitious and book yourself into a suburban or rural fight camp. Getting acquainted with the sport and building a solid foundation is the most important thing. It is thus best to look for a gym that is designed for this purpose, teaching the basics and correcting your techniques along the way.

Where do you find a Muay Thai gym?
Rather, where do you NOT find a Muay Thai gym? They are practically everywhere! Location, however, does play an important part in your selection. A centrally located gym is a lot more convenient if you intend to carry on with the sightseeing outside of your training hours. A gym that is located near to a skytrain (BTS) or subway (MRT) station will also make commute much more efficient than if you had to travel by taxi through the frustrating gridlock of Bangkok.

On the other hand, if you have plans to spend more than just a few casual days training and getting acquainted with Muay Thai, many gyms offer on-site accommodation and meals. Either way, you can plan to stay on-site if the gym is out of the way, or opt for a hotel-stay for an accessible gym. In short, you are covered whichever way you intend to train.

What else to look out for when choosing a Muay Thai gym?
Facilities and hygiene. Sorry to say, some of the gyms that churn out the best fighters aren’t necessary the most sanitary place to train. Before you hand over the Thai baht, you can ask to be given a quick tour of the gym to get a feel for the cleanliness and the maintenance. Some gyms are also really run down. So unless you want to bring back travel stories of you getting infected during Muay Thai training, you want to exit such sorry state of a gym. As much as possible, avoid pre-paying for your training before arrival. What you see online can sometimes deviate vastly from the truth. So unless you are absolutely convinced that the dilapidated gym you stumbled upon has Bangkok’s best trainers, drop in at the gym before committing. Even better, go for a session and then decide if it’s right.

What are the training costs?
With the abundance of Muay Thai gyms in Bangkok, you can rest assure that training fees are competitive across the board. The costs vary only very slightly from gym to gym and even the very best and well-run gyms charge a very similar and affordable rate. You can pay for a day of training, and if you like it enough, the weekly or even monthly rates are usually more attractive. As a reference, the average going rate in Bangkok for a group training session in a well-maintained gym is 500 baht and duration is usually around 1-2 hours. This fee goes down if you opt for twice-daily training (usually 800 baht for 2 training in a day), and further more the longer you commit yourself.


Best Muay Thai Gyms for Beginners in Bangkok

Below are some of the best Muay Thai gyms that are suitable for beginners. They are mostly run by foreigner owners or enterprising Thais who are well-versed with the needs of tourists, expats and beginners to the sport. The gyms are either located conveniently within walking distance from the skytrain or subway stations, or have on-site accommodation provided.

Elite Fight Club
best muay thai gym for beginners

Highlights: Centralized location in downtown Bangkok, training with famed trainer Ajarn Gae, evening class for beginners
Pricing: 400 baht for group session, 1200 baht for private session with trainer
On-site accommodation: Not available
Location: Situated near Phrom Phong and Thong Lo BTS stations
Website: http://www.elitefightclub.com/bangkok/index.php


Yokkao Training Center
best muay thai gyms for beginners

Highlights: Meeting Saenchai, centralized location in downtown Bangkok
Pricing: 500 baht for group session, 1200-3000 baht for private session with trainers or fighters, 8000 baht for 1hr private session with Saenchai
On-site accommodation: Not available
Location: Situated near Asok BTS station
Website: http://www.yokkao.com/bangkok/


RSM Academy
best muay thai gym for beginners

Highlights: Efficient gym managed by Rajadamnern (stadium) and Singha corporation suitable for expats who want to get fit or beginners who want to learn the sport. Children (5-10 years) class available
Pricing: 499 baht for group session
On-site accommodation: Not available
Location: Several outlets. The most convenient one is at Jasmine City near Asoke BTS station.
Website: http://rsm-academy.com/


Petchyindee Academy

Highlights: Well-run all-in-one training facility with gym, excellent trainers, hotel, sauna and food
Pricing: 350 baht for group session, 700 baht for private session
On-site accommodation: Available
Location: Arun Amarin district across the Chao Praya river from Grand Palace area. Accessible only by taxi/car.
Website: http://www.petchyindeekingdom.com/


Khongsittha Muay Thai
best muay thai gym for beginners

Highlights: Large, clean facility catering to all levels but services a largely beginner-intermediate segment. Welcoming environment and dedicated staff.
Pricing: 450 baht for group session, 1000 baht for private session
On-site accommodation: Available
Location: Lat Phrao district. Accessible only by taxi/car
Website: http://www.kstmuaythai.com/en/homepage/


Where to Stay in Bangkok

If you plan on training for a week or more, it makes sense to stay at the accommodation provided on-site at the gyms (if available). However, if you look through the list, you will find that not all gyms offer accommodation. Additionally, if you are planning just a day or two of training, there is no compelling reason why you would want to stay at the gym. This is when it makes sense to base yourself at a convenient location, with quick access to the BTS skytrain or MRT subway. These city rail transports are the best way to get around and escape Bangkok’s traffic gridlock.

Where is the best place to stay in Bangkok? Read our extensive guide!

Conclusion

If you have intentions to train Muay Thai seriously for a few months in Bangkok, then you definitely want to just do a drop-in session to get a feel of a few gyms and trainers before committing to a long term stay. Even with the recommendations above, deciding on a gym based on what you read online is like buying clothes from an online retailer: you won’t know how well it’s going to fit until you try it in person.

The weather can wear you down, the traffic can drive you nuts, but if you haven’t been to Bangkok before, this could be a great adventure for you. The training will no doubt leave you gasping for air, but the adrenaline and post-workout endorphin rush may just leave you looking forward to your next Muay Thai vacation as soon as it ends. Welcome to Bangkok, you can check-out anytime you like, but you will never leave.

Chok dee!

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