Besides the frequent and well publicised contests held in the two main boxing stadiums in Patong Beach (which are mainly aimed at tourists), Phuket is becoming a popular destination for anybody that wants to train and become skilled in Muay Thai. Part of the allure for some people may be that there is no better place than Thailand to learn the country’s national sport, while for others it’s simply a great way to get fit and try a new and challenging experience.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn the art of Muay Thai in Phuket, you couldn’t choose a better location considering the infrastructure, nightlife, tourist attractions and amenities, besides the sheer choice of training facilities on the island. There are nearly a dozen Muay Thai gyms and camps in Phuket, which tend to be spread out and based in quiet locations, particularly around Rawai and Nai Harn. One advantage of being further away from the hustle and bustle is that Muay Thai students can concentrate on honing their skills without too many immediate distractions, and take advantage of slightly cheaper accommodation.
All the training camps offer daily, weekly, and monthly classes (or even longer), and it’s also possible to customise the training regime to suit your own needs with one-on-one sessions. Most beginners choose to join a group class (with a small teacher to student ratio so they get the attention needed) with daily training over a period of a couple of weeks, where they’ll learn not only the various Muay Thai moves and techniques, but also focus on improving general fitness and body conditioning.
The emphasis in Phuket is on training and fighting just like a Thai, a unique experience which is hard to replicate at a Muay Thai gym back in one’s home country. Contrary to what some people might expect, it’s perfectly acceptable to have female fighters in Thailand, and they can be some of the most enthralling fighters to watch in a contest.
It’s possible to progress from a complete novice to a moderately skilled Muay Thai fighter in a couple of weeks of intensive training, and many students choose to participate in an organised (and even televised) fight with similarly skilled opponents from other gyms. There is sometimes intense competition and rivalry between Phuket’s Muay Thai camps to be the best, and many of them have resident Thai fighters that are ex-champions or up and coming stars, partially funded by the fees that visiting trainees pay to the gyms. So you might take some solace from the fact that by learning Muay Thai you’re probably helping a local Thai pay for his training and earn some decent money for fights, too.
Most Muay Thai camps in Phuket nowadays tend to be modern, well run and have decent and up to date training equipment. The majority provide simple and inexpensive accommodation and have extensive onsite facilities such as a restaurant and bar, a sports shop, sauna, spa and swimming pool, and free Internet access. This means that all the essentials are available at the camp, so you don’t even have to venture further afield except for the occasional wild night on the town.
Almost all the camps charge fairly identical prices, with average rates for a month of training (two sessions per day) without accommodation of between 8,000 and 10,000 baht, but it largely depends on the time of year and the venue in question. It’s possible to organise your own accommodation nearby but the camps usually have very attractive prices and specially discounted rates, besides being on the same premises or very close to the facilities. Daily group training prices are typically around 500 baht, which includes two sessions during the day and time to rest in between. For a single or half day session, you can expect to pay around 300-350 baht.
Muay Thai Gyms in Phuket
Here is some information on the various Muay Thai gyms that can be found throughout Phuket. There isn’t much distinction between a gym and training camp, except that the camps have accommodation and perhaps a few more entertainment options (for example pool tables, TV’s and a bar). Most of the long term training programmes mandate two sessions per day and Sundays are normally treated as a full rest day.
The gyms below are considered foreign-friendly and especially geared up for tourists; most have very good English language skills and decent facilities. When choosing a Muay Thai camp it’s important to find one that is used to dealing with westerners and are able to communicate the techniques and methods clearly. Elsewhere in Thailand, there are some mainly Thai oriented camps that don’t cater well to foreigners, but at such places you won’t learn as quickly and they probably don’t speak very much English – not the ideal situation in which to learn this sport.
Please note that all prices mentioned herein are accurate as of October 2011. For the very latest prices and details of any special offers that might be available, check the camps’ respective websites for the most up to date and accurate information.
Dragon Muay Thai
Dragon is one of the smaller camps in a rural location near Chalong with onsite accommodation provided in the Outback Bungalows. The gym is owned and run by Thai management, with limited group sizes and daily Muay Thai training sessions (three and a half hours in the morning and three hours each afternoon) as well as overall body conditioning. Inside the camp is a boxing ring and all the necessary workout equipment such as punch bags and fitness machines. A second camp is currently in the works.
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 2500 baht / 8000 baht.
Three months costs 22000 baht.
Address: 10/14 Moo 5, Soi Ta-Chiat, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 283 611
Naiharn Boxing Club
This is a small club located in the south of Phuket in Nai Harn village. Naiharn Boxing Club prides itself on manageable class sizes with a maximum of 15 students assigned to 4 or 5 professional trainers. The gym contains a boxing ring, 9 training bags, an uppercut and speedball station, one fastball station, and additional fitness and cardio equipment. They have 4 resident in-house fighters that train and represent the club in weekly matches. Besides Muay Thai, Judo classes are held twice weekly. Additional facilities include onsite accommodation, a restaurant and sports bar that has various games and entertainment.
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 2500 baht / 8000 baht.
Address: 90/6 Nai Harn Beach Road, Moo 1, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0) 76 85 787 7435
Patong Boxing Gym (PBG)
PBG is one of the few gyms that specialises mainly in individual on-on-one sessions rather than group training. For personalised courses they represent quite good value for money as each student gets the attention and commitment required to improve their skills. The premises are just outside Patong Beach, but still within easy reach. One of the highlights is the high standard of accommodation which is provided in partnership with the Secret Cliff resort. The rooms are of high quality and available at competitive rates as a complete package with the courses. Training takes place every hour from Mondays to Saturdays in two periods between 8am and 12pm, and 3pm to 7pm. Additional facilities include a pro boxing shop that sells all latest gear, an infinity pool, a Jacuzzi, and a steam room.
Price (day / week / month): 800 baht / 3000 baht / 10000 baht.
Includes pool and sauna use.
Address: 707 Patak Road, Karon Cliff
Tel: +66 (0) 81 758 9290
Phuket Muay Thai Camp and Gym
Set in a private and secluded 3 acre property, Phuket Muay Thai Camp has convenient accommodation options with apartments and deluxe villas so you can enjoy training in a sightly more luxurious atmosphere. The gym has two 6×6 boxing rings, 9 heavy bags, 3 long bags, 2 speedballs, uppercut and abs stations, as well as a complete gym with a full range of weight training and fitness machines. To help you wind down and relax there is also a herbal sauna and Jacuzzi. Muay Thai kit can be bought at the store which has shorts, gloves, shirts, books, and umpteen accessories. Like most camps, the sessions are held twice a day, in this case between 7 and 11 in the morning, and from 3 to 7 in the afternoon (Sundays are always a rest day).
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 2500 baht / 9000 baht.
The price includes sauna and whirlpool use.
Address: 82/5 Moo 4, Patak Road, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0) 76 284 200
Phuket Top Team
Phuket Top Team are quite exceptional because they teach not only Muay Thai but multi-disciplined MMA (mixed martial arts) including submission grappling, western boxing, vale tudo (a sort of anything-goes combat sport that originated in Brazil), wrestling, sambo (a Russian fighting style), and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). It’s a fairly new gym with modern facilities, and a wide choice of on- and offsite accommodation is available. The experienced trainers are both western and Thai.
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 2600 baht / 9500 baht.
Three months costs 24500 baht.
Address: Soi Ta-Chiat, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 367 567
Sinbi Muay Thai
Sinbi is based near the beautiful Nai Harn Beach which is surely one of the nicest on Phuket’s west coast, and indeed some of the training and runs take place down by the sea. The gym is owned and managed by Sinbi Taewoong who is a well known Muay Thai fighter (having won an impressive 223 of 239 bouts). The gym also promotes its fighters in Patong especially at Bangla stadium, as well as at other venues in southern Thailand. They have an impressive record of wins in Phuket (many are shown on their website). A range of accommodation is also available.
Price (day / week / month): 600 baht / 3000 baht / 10000 baht.
Three months costs 27000 baht.
Address: 100/15 Moo 7, Sai Yuan Road, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0) 83 391 5535
Suwit Muay Thai Training Camp
Suwit boasts more than 20 years of experience training Muay Thai students, both foreigners and Thai. There is a small stadium next door to the gym where regular fights are held (free tickets to watch the fights are given to Suwit students). Training takes place for a few hours in the mornings and afternoons, and inexpensive accommodation is available. Like most of the gyms, the training includes a varied programme such as running, shadow boxing, bag work, pad work, clinching and sparring, as well as all-round fitness.
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 3000 baht / 9000 baht.
Address: 15 Moo 1, Chao Fa Road, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 374 313
Rawai Muay Thai
One of the best known and most competitive Muay Thai camps in Phuket, Rawai is a Thai owned gym that has an extensive training and fitness programme which includes fight training, fitness, yoga, detox and diet programmes, as well as Muay Boran (a more classical version of Muay Thai) and Krabi Krabong (Thai sword fighting). All levels of ability from beginner to expert are catered for, and they are particularly well known for training female Muay Thai fighters (typically about 25% of their students are women). Rawai is one of the larger venues with an average of 30 to 40 students living and training at the camp. Additional facilities include a shop and various accommodation options such as shared bungalows with fans or air-con, or more luxurious deluxe bungalows.
Price (day / week / month): 500 baht / 3000 baht / 10000 baht.
Address: 43/42 Moo 7, Soi Sai Yuan, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0) 81 476 9377
Tiger Muay Thai
Set in several acres of land and surrounded by tropical forest, Tiger Muay Thai is one of the largest and most well known in Phuket. The camp seems to be quite highly rated and has an unprecedented 8 Muay Thai rings, an MMA cage, a weightlifting facility and around 30 professional trainers with a guest to trainer ratio of just 3:1, so the class sizes never become too large. The training consists of 2 sessions per day including Muay Thai, MMA, fighting technique classes and boxing, a running programme, weightlifting, and daily diet classes with nutritionists, as well as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Yoga and Krabi Krabong. Private one-on-one classes can be arranged at a slightly higher cost, and special combined packages such as VIP or deluxe training which includes an element of personal training.
With a wide selection of accommodation to suit all pockets (such as budget rooms, bungalows, family bungalows and shared dorm rooms), as well as a grill and health food restaurant, the facilities are top notch. There’s masses more information available on their website.
Price (day / week / month): 550 baht / 3000 baht / 10000 baht.
Address: 7/6 Moo 5, Soi Ta-Chiat, Chalong
Tel: +66 (0) 76 367 071