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My List of Muay Thai Gyms I Recommend in Thailand


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SANTAI OR HONGTHONG? - Chiang Mai
Hello everyone!
I’m Priscilla, an Italian k-1 fighter (still at regional level at the moment, even though the fighting season is not done yet). I’ve been thinking about Thailand a lot in last months and made many resources. Santai Muaythai and Hongthong Muaythai came up to me as the two best gyms in Chiang Mai, in which I could find what I’m looking for. 
I want to improve my skills so much (and learn Muay Thai skills too) and to fight (if the teacher thinks I’mma be ready), due to covid here in Italy there are not too many chances. 
I’ve just read Sylvie’s opinions, which were so helpful (thank you champ).
But is there anyone who have trained at both gyms? 
Which one do you think could fit better for a girl fighter? Which do you think is the best, considering gym and accommodation facilities (I can’t find many pictures of the JR guest house, the Santai’s accommodation), “community” and trainings? 
Thanks:)

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Following Sylvie's recent post on Facebook, encouraging people to share their experience with Muay Thai gyms in Thailand, here is our experience. This spans from September 2021 to May 2022. September 2021 was when the lock-down slowly eased in Thailand and gyms started reopening – so we had good luck with the timing. We mainly trained in Bangkok and Pattaya.

I had been watching Sylvie's videos and reading her and Kevin's articles for a couple of years, so having this information and knowledge was very helpful, knowing where to start and what to expect.

While I had been doing western Boxing and some Kickboxing in the past, we only started with Muay Thai in Thailand. We are in our mid-30s & mid-40s, and train as a hobby, once daily, about 3 – 5 days a week. As it turned out, we either were in „group classes“ with few or no other students, or we chose to do private sessions (if not too expensive). So we always had a kind of „individual experience“ and often had laid-back classes, without 5 – 7 mile runs, „300 knees on the bags“ etc.

 

Gyms in Bangkok

Jaroonsak Muay Thai Gym – this is where we started our Muay Thai Journey and we continued to come here while we stayed in Bangkok. The gym is located in a neighborhood in western Bangkok, easily reachable by MRT or BTS trains. Training is Monday to Saturday from 5.00pm onwards.

We found this family gym to be perfect for us. We got solid tuition and Kru Jaroonsak is a dedicated teacher who ensures a safe and fun experience. Over time, the pad-sessions slowly turned into „light-sparring“ rounds, which we enjoyed tremendously. A lot of locals train here, as well as some regular „farangs“. We recommend this gym highly, for the no-frills, authentic experience.

 

Muay Thai Academy MTA – this gym was fairly close to our apartment, and it's easily reachable from any central area of Bangkok. The trainers and fighters here are all high-level and you can book private sessions here for a very good price. Current fighters include Fani Peloumpi and Mariana Scombatti, both quite well known.

We did a few private sessions with a Thai Kru, which we enjoyed. We later trained with Fani Peloumpi who is calm, friendly and has a pleasantly structured approach to training. She taught us new, useful techniques, gave us tips for sparring and adjusted her teaching to our level so that we got a lot out of it. Fani lives and breathes Muay Thai, and is a dedicated, patient and very knowledgeable trainer. We also watched her fight at Lumpini Stadium.

 

Luktupfah Gym – this gym is a bit outside of the center of Bangkok, but – you can rent a room in their gym, which is what we did. We stayed 5 days in total. This is quite a unique gym, because you can also learn Muay Thai Boran & Krabi Krabong here, in addition to the two daily regular Muay Thai sessions. The curriculum is very well structured, and because of the Muay Boran knowledge at this gym, students will be exposed and learn techniques that go beyond „stadium muay thai“ techniques. We only watched the Muay Boran lessons, and we were fascinated by the awesome techniques, wishing we could have stayed longer to also learn them.

The gym also certifies Muay Thai teachers, foreign and local. We saw some very famous former Muay Thai fighters come to this gym to get acquainted with the curriculum and get certified as teachers, which will allow them to teach abroad etc. Master Woody, his team and his trainers are caring, professional and the training was excellent.

 

Chatchai Sasakul Boxing Gym – because Western Boxing was my main sport, I was especially keen to visit this gym and had watched Sylvie's videos with Chatchai many times over. The gym is located north of Bangkok, about 35 minutes away from the center, but getting there by taxi is no problem and affordable. The package includes accommodation which is about 3 minutes away from the gym by foot. The gym is also next to a huge food market, so every day after training we would go there for delicious food and juices. The accommodation is great and spacious, and the whole set-up (gym, food, accommodation) made it very easy for us.

In the gym, there are several current and former regional Boxing champions as well as world champions, either training for their next fights, or working as trainers. We mainly trained with Kompayak Por Pramuk (former WBA interim flyweight champion and former WBC light flyweight champion). He was great, as was his wife, who helped with training on a few days – she is such an amazing pad-holder – here is a video of them together: https://web.facebook.com/sasakulboxinggym/videos/508005613187338

In the mornings, you can run with the professional fighters and then do a conditioning session. In the afternoons, the focus is on technique and pad-work. It's great to train amongst such high level fighters, and had we been more advanced, I'm sure that we could have sparred with them as well. My private session with Chatchai was very good, and he has a very good eye and throughout our stay, he corrected us whenever he was nearby and saw us do something wrong. Again, this is a very friendly place, that easily integrates visiting students. But it is of course mainly a fighter's gym, that seeks to create world champions in boxing.

From my limited understanding, Sasakul gym is also very closely linked with Petchyindee Academy, so during our stay, the Petchyindee/Sasakul fighter „Kumandoi“ (current Rajadamern champion) was preparing for a fight in Japan. So, on top of all the awesome western boxing fighters, we also watched a top Muay Thai fighter prepare and do round after round of sparring with different opponents.

 

Gym in Buriram

Yodwicha Gym – as with all gyms, we contacted them via Facebook, which is almost always the best way to get in touch with them. We thought that the gym was in Bangkok, not knowing that just a few weeks earlier they had relocated to Buriram, which is in the east of the country. We communicated with Yodwicha's wife who was very responsive and nice. So we decided to go there, despite the distance.

Yodwicha picked us up from the train station and we drove south to the location, which is about 30 minutes away from Buriram city. It is very, very remote. But – we loved it. We had escaped the noise and pollution of Bangkok and lived among farmers, with not a care in the world. They had a lady who cooked for us daily (vegetarian even!), and this was by far the best, tastiest and healthiest food we have had in Thailand. On the weekend we also visited a famous Khmer temple together, which was a lot of fun.

The training! Two sessions per day. Yodwicha focused on the basics with us. Balance, good basic strikes and good conditioning is what makes a successful fighter, and this is what he wanted us to understand and emulate. Before us, a young and more advanced, amateur fighter from Sweden had been at the gym, preparing to go professional. We believe that with Yodwicha's tuition, those looking to fight and get to the next level in their Muay Thai will get fantastic training! Yodwicha's wife is also very well connected, so if students want to fight, I think that they would be able to help with that.

The accommodation is comfortable but basic, so don't expect any luxury here. We initially wanted to stay for a week, but did extend our stay. For us it was more than just a training camp, but a totally new experience of life in rural Thailand, with very hospitable and warm hosts.

 

Gyms in Pattaya

(there really are a lot of great gyms here, so a) we could not visit all of them and b) we had to limit ourselves to just a few of those that we visited. In addition, there are big gyms like Fairtex and Venum Training Camp, but these did not attract us at all. If you are into BJJ, I believe that „Sudsakorn Muay Thai Gym“ has twice daily BJJ sessions with a very good teacher)

 

Petchrungruang - Sylvie helped us set up private sessions with Yodkhunpon Sittraiphum, the „Elbow Hunter“, which took place at this gym. We often trained in the mornings, during which the regular classes took place - these also looked very good, with great pad-work, clinching and a relaxed but serious atmosphere.

Training with Yodkhunpon is really unique. He is very friendly, and a dedicated teacher. He will explain and practise a technique as many times as it takes until we finally „click“. To our delight, not once has he held pads for us, but instead everything is practised in a sparring sort-of-way. I really like this because it makes me stay focused and sharp. He will not mollycoddle us, and go „hard, but not too hard“, also with my wife, who appreciates this. Of course, this is not full-on sparring, and he takes very good care not to over-challenge his students. But, this type of training, is as close to „real fighting“ as possible, which we find awesome.

We also do a lot of clinching, which does not come naturally to us, but Yodkhunpon is always patient and will find many different ways to teach us, until we finally „get it“. He never "watches the clock" and makes every session memorable.

 

Rusich Club Pattaya – Sylvie did a „tour of the gym“ video, otherwise we would not have known of this gym. We have been a number of times now and we like it a lot. On the one hand, there are „self defence / jiu jitsu“ classes for children and adults, as well as Muay Thai & Boxing training by Yodsanan Sidyodthong and his trainers. We visited mostly to the morning classes, and trained with the two excellent Muay Thai teachers, Kru Manop and Kru Den. Kru Manop is a „teep specialist“ whose many different teep variations will stop and frustrate any incoming opponent.

We mainly trained with Kru Den whom we can recommend to anyone, young or old, beginner or pro fighter. He is probably in his early 30s, has had about 250 fights, and even one MMA fight in Russia. He moves as light-footed as if he were on springs, and can evade shots like „Lerdsila“. But, unlike some very highly skilled young(er) trainers, he is not a show-off, nor „uninterested“ - instead he will enthusiastically share all his techniques with students. He is extremely well rounded, and although he says he barely ever clinches in his fights, he showed us many great techniques, trips, sweeps etc.

My wife noticed that some Thai trainers can be a bit uncomfortable with/unwilling to clinch and/or spar with female students – this is not the case with Kru Den who has no problem with this. He is a very dedicated and encouraging teacher, who will go above and beyond "what is expected".

The gym is brand new, has lots of indoor space (and a huge ring), as well as an outside ring. The price for training is also very competitive.

 

Other notable mentions

Baan Rambaa – very good, training. Rambaa is super nice, funny, a great character. He takes good care of his customers and his co-trainer, Kru Beer(?) is also very good. The gym has a great atmosphere, and the children who train there also also very sweet and funny to watch. We were not the only foreigner who trained there. Definitely worth going there!

Eagle Gym Pattaya – another gym we would not have known about, without Sylvie's videos (thanks again!). We find that Western Boxing is less taxing on the body than Muay Thai, and unless you do sparring, you also get fewer bruises etc. Plus, boxing is fun. And this gym is great. „Den“ is a former 2 times WBC champion. still in perfect shape. Everyone is very welcoming, the padwork at this gym is awesome and great fun. His co-trainer Sam (Samson?) is also great, he is very motivating and will adapt to your level. His padwork is demanding, fun and always fresh. We always look forward to going to this gym for a class. You can also train Muay Thai there, everyone is catered for.

Yoga Pattaya“ (near Jomtien Beach) - no Muay Thai here. We wanted to include this Studio and especially the „stretching classes“, which offer a different kind of workout, which may help the Muay Thai training and general fitness. Although not heavy on the cardio, these are quite demanding classes - you sweat and ache quite a bit in these classes. The instructor „Sofiya“ takes good care to prevent injuries, and is therefore quite strict, but in an amusing way.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Do you have any recommendations for femeu style gyms like the old Jockygym that I can go to and fight for (big emphasis on training fighters, preferably Thai heavy). There are lots of khao and clinch heavy gyms but I am a fan of the old style (Pudpadnoi, Samart, Oley, Somrak) and preserving my neurons.

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On 6/21/2022 at 8:56 AM, femeu said:

Do you have any recommendations for femeu style gyms like the old Jockygym

It seems unrealistic to look for gyms like there were 30 years ago, and Jocky was pretty unique even in its day.

Most likely it would be best to just find someone you would like to train with or under, and take privates from them. Samart has his own gym in Bangkok (in the north of it) and I believe he teaches privates there: https://web.facebook.com/samartpayakaroongym

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Hi I wasn't quite sure where to post this but I thought this was the best place.

I'm 18 and currently saving up to spend as long as possible in Thailand. last year I spent six weeks at Sinbi Muay Thai in Phuket and was super lucky to meet Sylvie and Kevin, watch her fight and have my first two fights. Ever since I got back from Thailand I've felt completely out of place but i know next time i go i want to spend a lot longer and fight/learn as much as possible. Even fighting here just isn't the same, some shows wont event let you seal the ring or do your ram Muay.

I wish I knew more last time, Phuket was probably the wrong place to go but at least i know that now. I don't particularly care for the beaches and bars, I just want to train and fight. I have to say i loved sinbi it was amazing, all the trainers were great, everyone there was super friendly and it was super inspiring to meet Judy and Dani the two westerners fighting out of Sinbi. But, it's mainly a commercial gym and i know i probably could have gotten more out of my trip if i had gone somewhere cheaper with less farangs for a longer time.

I am still young and naïve and probably could do with being at a friendlier gym with a little more instruction. I was looking at Rambaa m16 gym but i don't know much Thai, ive been told that Pattaya is more suited to "farang kee nok" and i want to train Thai not mma. I was also looking at the 6 month multi entry visa but don't want to limit myself to 6months if i can afford longer.

So really I'm looking for a gym where I can get good quality/cheaper training and accommodation (with a good friendly atmosphere) and will have the opportunity to fight frequently? As you can tell im super confused and could really do with some advice so any would be very much appreciated.

 

Cheers, Sam

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So really I'm looking for a gym where I can get good quality/cheaper training and accommodation (with a good friendly atmosphere) and will have the opportunity to fight frequently?

Right now I think the difficult is, in this equation, "fight frequently" (which may depend on your size too). It may be that Chiang Mai (and Phuket) are the most likely places. Hongthong is very popular in Chaingmai. Kru Thailand's gym is more "authentic" in terms of it being more of a kaimuay. Kru Manop's gym will give you personal attention. And maybe the new Manasak gym would be eager to devote attention to a new longer timer? I would suggest going to all the gyms you have in mind before settling onto one. Feel the vibe. Not every gym is right for every person. @samelsby

 

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Does anyone have any experience of the muay thai gym Kongtoranee has in Pattaya? 

@iiaks we contacted them on FB a bit back, and they did not speak English. Didn't get the feeling that they were very active (COVID wiped out a lot of smaller gyms in Pattaya). Kongtoranee himself though is at his brother Samart's gym in Bangkok.

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Recent review of Kem's Muay Thai Gym in Khao Yai Tiang: 

"The training is mind blowing. All three Krus are different but they’re not jusy chasing your endorphin high for you by letting you smash pads and feel the rush. There is so much technique work. I haven’t spent much time in classes in other gyms just mainly one on

Ones as I’ve torn my ACL and didn’t fancy big classes injured but we are just a handful here so I know if he’s not training me Kem is watching me all the time. And so hands on in terms of the accommodation and other care eg he’s driving a student to Cambodia today for a visa run. Such lovely people. I’m humbled. And I can hear the call to prayer which is important to me. Thanks again for the recco."

Naadia

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Hi everyone

We are going on a training/vacation this July. We are going to Krabi (Ao Nang) the first 2 weeks because we havent been there before and my wife wants a beach, .... Im there with 3 of my student for Muay Thai.

In Krabi i dont know anything about what gyms are good and which one we should stay away from. So any advice would be helpfull.

We are not looking for the most beautifull/commercial gyms. We all have a lot of expirience in Muaythai so we are looking for good training.

Thanks for the help.

VG

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  • 3 months later...

Hi

I’ve read through the threads about Chang Mai gyms and still am unsure where to go. I’m a 6’3 middleweight/super welterweight and will be looking to compete for my stay in Chang Mai. I do have two gyms in mind manops gym and Thailand pinsinchais gym but I’m unsure if my weight and size should matter in making a decision. 
 

I also have a second question. I’ve recently been told that dieselnoi is in bangkok at the moment. Do yous know what gym he is operating out of there ? 
 

thank you 🙏 

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On 12/14/2023 at 3:33 PM, Seanor said:

I also have a second question. I’ve recently been told that dieselnoi is in bangkok at the moment. Do yous know what gym he is operating out of there ? 

I've heard he hangs out at a small gym (not as a kru or anything) that's near Samart's, at least a few months ago. I'm not really sure. He's a very itinerant person. He's not really "at" gyms, at least for long. 

Probably the best bet in Chiang Mai would be Hongthong, just because of the number of large Westerners that often train there (speaking only of reputation, we haven't been there for years).

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    • Just very briefly I want to take up one of the most interesting aspects of the fighting art of Thailand's traditional Muay Thai, an aspect that really cues for me how I watch fights and weigh the skills of fighters. Managing distance. Many people watch "strikes" and look for "points", but there is an under-fabric to strikes, a kind of landscape of them, no less than how a topography will influence how a battle is fought between armies. Even the most practiced strikes rise and fall to opportunity, and in Muay Thai a significant determination of opportunity is distance. Above is a quick edit of Sylvie's last fight up in Buriram, bringing out all the significant moments of engagement, telling the story in about a minute. (The full fight should be up in a few weeks with Sylvie's commentary, as usual.) I'm going to start with Entertainment Muay Thai as presenting an negative can often be the best way to bring out a positive. 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