Every year, millions of visitors flock to Thailand for the beaches, the food, and the party scene. But a small percentage of these visitors go to Thailand as part of their quest for the ultimate “Muay Thai” experience.
Muay Thai, an extreme martial art that involves stand-up striking and clinching techniques, is a physically and mentally demanding sport that dates back to ancient times. It developed a worldwide following in the early 20th century. Non-Thai practitioners of muay thai are often called “nak muay farang.”
Several training camps offer workshops to aspiring Muay Thai fighters from all over the world.
The Kiat Yongyut Gym/Top Rated Gym is a Bangkok Muay Thai training center that has produced several top-notch fighters over the years, notably Nong Bee, a three-time Lumpinee and World Muaythai Council (WMC) champion. A typical morning session at Kiat Yongyut consists of a 12 kilometer training run, seven practice rounds on the pads, and 50 minutes of clinching. Afternoons are dedicated to sparring. Petaek Kiatyongyut, a Thailand national title holder, is one of the trainers at this facility.
Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket is one of the largest Muay Thai training camps in Thailand. Open to all aspiring fighters, this facility offers classes in four skill levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and fighter, as well as children’s classes. The training camp offers all-inclusive training packages including accommodations and food. Lamsongkram Chuwattana, a two-time WBC Word Middleweight Muay Thai champion, is one of the trainers here.
MMT Tours, a travel company that specializes in Muay Thai fight culture, provides visitors with guided tours and the opportunity to visit and train at six training camps in one week. The concept is to immerse aspiring fighters in the culture and history of Muay Thai, as well as provide them with a taste of what it’s like to train professionally for the sport. The tour also includes ringside tickets to fights and Tuff Thailand training gear as souvenirs.
It should be noted that while larger training camps often have better facilities and equipment, smaller facilties are also a good choice for those who wish to form lasting friendships with their trainers and fellow fighters.
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand, so it’s only natural that foreign fighters prefer to train there for authenticity’s sake and for the privilege of training alongside some of the country’s best fighters.