Like many of the Muay Thai bloggers, I get a good deal of emails asking for advice on Muay Thai gyms in Thailand. “Can you recommend the best Muay Thai camp in Bangkok?” “Have you trained at xxxx gym before?” “What’s the best gym in Chiang Mai for beginners?” “Why is there so much hate for xxxxx camp in Phuket?” And I should direct you to Muay Thai Pros where Stephen has written what I find to be a detailed but also brutally honest article on finding the best Muay Thai gym in Thailand. And because it’s so good, I would like to reiterate for my readers, some of the critical points made in the article that you need to pay attention to.
There Is No Such Thing As “The Best”
Firstly, there is no “Best Muay Thai Gym in Thailand”. No one camp can attest to being the best. As is said for relationships, there is no such thing as the perfect lover, only whether you are perfect for each other. Some enjoy the beach & social scene of Phuket; there are some wants a getaway by training in rural Isaan; many also favor the balance of training with the best in Bangkok while remaining in touch with city comforts; and basically, everyone just wants different things. What was an amazing experience for me can turn out to be a nightmare for others, due to differing expectations. Rather, look for one that fits your level and will help in achieving what you hope to accomplish with the training.
The Truth About Forums
A lot of reviews on forums like reddit and sherdog, is sorely outdated. Things tend to change, and really quickly in Thailand, so, much of the information may not be representative of the current situation. A gym can go downhill over a span of time, or even the other way due to the high trainer turnover rate in some gyms. While a lot of active forum users are a helpful bunch, marketers are rife on forums. And the latter can be really good at promoting their gyms. Not taking credit away from all of these gyms, but just saying that it’s actually quite pervasive. As are trolls. If you want to read honest unbiased opinions, you need to be a bit more discerning.
The Trouble With Pre-Booking
If you intend to train for an extended period lasting weeks or even months, pre-booking can be a disastrous move. Doing a drop-in session or book for 1 day to get a feel of a few gyms and trainers before committing to a long term stay, can potentially save you from financial heartache due to non-refunding policies. If you are going to train for just a few days, pre-booking may not be a bad idea, especially at small but popular gyms like YOKKAO Training Center Bangkok. Additionally, pre-booking for a session or two can prevent you being stranded with no available training slots on the day when you turn up at the gym during peak season.
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Having said all these, I would even advise you to take my gym reviews with a pinch of salt. One man’s account or experience at one gym, may not be representative of what you will experience. We all have different expectations, preferences, objectives, and level of Muay Thai skills. Plan, but don’t stress yourself over it. Find a few reputable gyms, and drop in to train for a couple of days before committing longer. There are tonnes of great gyms in Thailand. You’ll do just fine.
If you do have any great gym recommendation, leave a comment or drop me a mail. I would be happy to train there and share the experience with everyone.