How to Choose the Perfect Thailand Training Camp

3 Key Factors To Choosing The Best Gym


One of the most common questions asked by those traveling to Thailand for the first time is, “What gym should I go to?”

The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Our first piece of advice would be to do your research before presenting this question. You will be investing your money and vacation time. You may even sacrifice your job (a choice commonly made by those traveling to Thailand).

(Throughout this piece you will recognize the term “Baht” the Thai form of currency. At the time that this article is written the exchange rate is 34 Baht to 1 USD. For example, the average range of training costs in Thailand is between 10,000 – 15,000 Baht per month 295 – 440 USD. These prices range and may be much higher or lower based on the location, level of training, and inclusiveness.)

Keeping your sacrifices in mind, do you truly want your final decision to be based on someone else’s opinion? There are several key points to research that will ultimately help you choose your dream location, a gym that will suit all of your needs and leave you fulfilled at the end of your journey. But, don’t be worried! We are here to guide you through the process!

#1. Trainers and a Gym Culture 

The vibes and energy have to match. It is common to go after a gym that holds trainers of a legendary status and name. Most gyms in Thailand hold credentialed coaching and champion trainers, so what do we look for to distinguish amongst the endless list of camps?

The answer that we will constantly revert to is. . . YOU. What kind of trainer do you tend to vibe with? Do you click with a playful or completely serious coaching style? Perhaps you require a trainer who constantly instructs? Maybe you just need someone who consistently cares for your well being, who will serve as your mentor.

We suggest going to a prospective camp’s page to read the biographies of the trainers. You can get a basic idea and feeling about the gym based on the trainer’s credentials and history. Most gyms are taking to social media to expand their following. A great way to see the coaching style at each location is to watch the training videos, and browse through the photos of their social media channels. Is it common to see joy and laughter? or is the gym’s vibe a bit more intense and serious? Perhaps it is a mixture of the two that you seek.

Once again, you are the only one who can choose what is best for you, the facility’s appeal will be purely based on your personality.

#2. Fight Opportunities

My first adventure to Thailand was rather sporadic, I made my decision right before the end of the summer, knowing that I would miss the first week of my college classes. I was ready to fight for the experience. The reason for why you are fighting will play a factor in determining your home gym.

Are you fighting for the “experience of competing in Thailand”?

As I explained above, my first trip’s goal was to simply to train and to have the experience of a fight in Thailand. The level at which I competed, how much I was paid, and how much recognition I received from it held little, to no difference.

Since I had very little time to make my decision and the magnitude of the fight made no difference, the islands were a straightforward decision. Live and train in paradise with the opportunity to fight almost any week that I want. (Being a fighter of a lighter weight class does ensure more fight opportunities on the islands such as Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi)

12509877_10153867601964464_6311399191729101607_nAre you fighting for recognition and to build your credentials as a fighter?

This was my main reason for switching camps the last time around. International recognition comes from televised shows such as the main three you will recognize foreigners competing on; Maxx Muay Thai (Pattaya), Super Muay Thai (Bangkok), and Thai Fight (Traveling Venues). All shows hold a strong social media presence which is increasingly more important in self marketing. All shows are broadcasted on national Thai television networks and all have official weigh ins.

The stadiums in Bangkok and multiple other venues also hold opportunity for foreigners at a high level with a chance at recognition within the Thai Muay Thai scene.

Some camps, such as Sitsongpeenong, Tiger Muay Thai, Khongsittha, Sitmonchai, and a list of others hold international fight opportunities in China, Japan, Australia and other countries abroad due to their networking connections. Be honest with yourself and know your level, contact the prospective gym to ask about the shows they normally compete on.

Are you fighting to earn enough money to stay and live in Thailand?

Although difficult to live comfortably on a fight purse alone unless you are a very high level fighter, fighting in Thailand to sustain a living is a possibility. How much you earn per fight, and the living costs in that area are commonly consistent with one another. For example, although a purse may be low in the rural areas of the Isaan province (As low as 500-1500 Baht), so is the cost of living (2,500 Baht – 75 USD per month of rent).

Bangkok begins to be much more appealing when you begin to reach a high level. It is a combination of areas of low cost, authentic, hard Muay Thai training, and fight opportunities that later offer recognition and a decent reward for your efforts. Areas such as Pattaya, Surat Thani, and others do offer higher winnings despite low fight purses based on side bets formed between local gyms.

Quoted and highlighted: With an unlimited amount of camps and variety of regions to travel through and explore, this piece serves as a basic blueprint. All information contained within this article is in its most condensed form to aid you in choosing the perfect camp, for a more in depth look check out (Sean’s Book and Link).

#3. Region, Environment, and Pricing

The region, environment, and pricing is listed last for a reason. Your priorities should be a bit more apparent by the time you reach this section. Once here, asking yourself these questions and researching what you can afford, significantly narrows down your final choices. There’s hundreds of gyms in Thailand, in different areas; all of which differ in style, opportunity and training costs.

So, are you looking to grind it out in the city of Bangkok with the world famous “Bangkok Style of Training”? The training costs in Bangkok will vary from as low as 6,000 Baht a month and up to 36,000 at all inclusive gyms.


13891862_1054441611259419_5441256034695837871_nThe pros of training in Bangkok are easily apparent. The world famous Bangkok style of training is serious, it comes with little distractions in most areas, you gain the opportunity to experience the Thai culture whilst still having access to malls and getaways on your Sunday off. The training is authentic and raw, the fights happen at its highest level in Thailand’s most prestigious stadiums.

Gym’s such as Khongsittha Muay Thai and others begin to implement the hardcore Bangkok training style with modern day science based strength, conditioning, and recovery regimens to take all guess work out of your regimen.

The cons of training in Bangkok may be the traffic and travel times you are bound to encounter if you plan to travel within or outside of the city. Attention could be given to the Thai fighters in priority, meaning little to no attention, but that is very gym dependent. Language may become a barrier in many parts of Bangkok, however, getting by is rarely an issue.

Do you want to push yourself, but still have the opportunity to relax nearby a beach?

Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Krabi

The pros of training on the islands are rather straightforward. Training quality is a hit or miss, you will come across commercial gyms, but you will also find serious training if looking deeply enough. The legend Namsaknoi recently opened up a gym in the paradise island of Koh Phangan and Phuket holds a concentrated area of competitive gyms in the southern part of Thailand.

Many of these gyms have trainers who speak decent English, the facilities are equipped well, and traveling to fights in other areas of Thailand is still a possibility. The trainers tend to be open minded and conditioned to dealing with our way of thinking, implementing strength and conditioning into the regimen and adapting quickly to the students.

The cons of training on the islands become the amount of endless distractions. Constant parties, bars, and entertainment are directed at the westerners. The fights within these specific areas are, at times, mismatched when it comes to weight and experience; the reason being, many fighters train here for a short period of time and the weigh ins are rarely officiated. 

Muay Thai in its raw form.

Isaan Province (photo Issan province map)

The pros of training in Isaan are similar to Bangkok, but come at a much lower cost in terms of. . . basically everything. Isaan is a rural province in the Northeastern area of Thailand that has bred some of the hardest working and physically built fighters known to date. (Buakaw Banamchek photo. Understanding of the culture and basic Thai language becomes a must as foreigners become a rare sight.

The cons of training in Isaan, which some often deem attractive, would be the high chance of having to “rough it”, to blend in with the culture and to fight purely for the challenge and experience of doing it in its most raw form.

The countryside training and Thailand’s culture.


Chiang Mai

A big pro for training in Chiang Mai is that it is much less touristy than the islands, but more so than Isaan for example. The tourists that come around these parts are often known to be more laid back, looking to enjoy the Thai countryside, or to settle down long-term.

The pricing and living costs are somewhere in the middle of the regions listed above, you can expect to pay anywhere from 4,000-7,500 for a decent living accommodation and 6,000-10,000 baht for a month of training.

The only cons of training in Chiang Mai would be the lack of access to beaches and the need to travel to compete in top level stadiums, but only if that is on your priority list.

Conclusive Statement

This is your journey. It will be exciting, fulfilling, and life-changing regardless of the region you choose to travel to. The important part is that you make it happen. By reading through this article, certain statements and pieces of information might have appealed to you more than others, your answer lies somewhere between those lines.

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