3

Island Muay Thai – Koh Tao

The gym is located just off Sairee beach, which is the main party beach on the island. Everyone there is friendly and sessions usually start with a light jog which the locals like to do before the actual sessions. There is a lot of emphasis on clinching after the actual pad work and it’s nice to always have one of the trainers, when they aren’t busy, to shout tips and techniques when your in the middle of wrestling someone.
The training camp itself is the only one on the island and so whenever there’s a fight they quickly turn it into a nice stadium and blast some pop/techno between the rounds. It is a nice atmosphere and essentially a practical place, if you want to get your first few fights in as the opponents they bring to the fights aren’t seasonal fighters, so it makes a fairly even challenge.

Here’s some words from Ali Behnamnia that’s been a regular there on his one month stop during his round the world trip.
Island Muay Thai is the perfect way to stay fit whilst you’re on Koh Tao.
Read more…

 
5

True Bee Gym – Pai

Our time in Pai was very limited as there was so much to do and see. It’s a very nice, nature-oriented but also super chilled out and artsy town.
Unfortunately we didn’t quite have time to try out True Bee Gym, but we did make some time to find it… but it was definitely one of the hardest gyms I have tried to find, there’s an old washed-out bill board which is the only advert in the town and if you squint your eyes in the sunny sky you probably miss it. Their website isn’t that informative and the few signs along the dirt path do lead you in the right direction across the river, it’s just finding these signs that’s key. We just had to ask the villagers.
The gym feels far from everything else and has very nice hilly views, its a quiet place along the river and seems like it’d be a good place where you could really focus on your training. You can tell the rain got the best of the actual muay thai ring, but it still seems functional and evident that it gets a lot of use. Even though the place was very open, you can really smell the sweat off the pads and gloves.
The trainer who lives there comes out to greet you immediately and asks if you’d like to train, and inform you of the times. Besides other types of physical things like trekking and white water rafting, Pai is a very chilled vibe and definitely offers a good atmosphere to do intense training.

 
2

Lanna Muay Thai – Chiang Mai

I was pretty impressed with this camp as they have a lot of equipment (definitely enough heavy bags & training gloves) and definitely push you to your limits, be prepared to go straight into clinching one your first day!
When we arrived, people just looked at us and no one approached us initially. But that’s probably a one off thing.
Right as the training starts you can see that people are serious and mean business in this gym. Everyone is motivated and go about their business straight from the get-go. From all the young ones to the elders to the women. Everyone is treated equally regardless of ability, so if you’re new to it, a lot will be learned the tough way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Depends on your pace.
Some of the trainers at Lanna Muay Thai have trained other people in gyms abroad (i.e. New York) and speak near-perfect English.
Unfortunately the gym didn’t have any fans and is pretty closed up with the roof spanning the whole camp. It gets really hot in there sometimes when no wind blows and even then, if it’s not hard enough, you won’t get that cooled off.
There are huge mirrors like a proper boxing gym and the instructor to student ratio is really high, you won’t feel left out for too long. Someone is always on your case.

 
2

Chay Yai Gym – Chiang-Mai

This gym was easily found as Tha Pae Stadium is related to it and they usually have fighters from the gym featured in one of the bouts they have. You can simply turn up any time during the day to tell the person in charge there that you would like to train. They’ll make you come around an hour before the time of training and pick you up in a little truck so that you and other Muay Thai trainees can head to Chay Yai Gym together.
I noticed that this gym is very accessible, because of the pick up they provide and therefore there were many tourists that go there for single sessions or for a few times in their stay in Chiang-Mai. Having said that though; it’s definitely not a walk in the park and at times feels like a boot-camp when it comes to conditioning and core exercises. They involve everyone, from new to regulars in a sort of circuit training way.
A lot of emphasis was put on stretching and keeping the body flexible. But the exercises that stood out the most and was the hardest for the newcomers were the abs conditioning.

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