Thailand, the land of smiles, also home white-sand shores lined with coconut palms and bathing backpackers. The country has long been a favorite of holidaymakers and travelers, but Thailand has more to offer than palm trees and Pad Thai.
Muay Thai is Thailand’s national sport, and there are hundreds of training camps dotted around the country. Professional Muay Thai fighters have grueling training regimes and give their lives to the sport, much like Buddhist monks. But whether you’re living abroad or visiting for a few weeks, there are plenty of gyms for you to try your hand at the coveted martial art in however suits you.
Depending on your budget, experience level, and where you’re based, there will be a training camp tailored to your needs. We’re here to take a closer look at the best Muay Thai gyms in Thailand for foreigners from the isolated northern countryside to the party islands in the south. Muay Thai is a great way to keep fit and build strength, and where better than its birthplace to learn about the ancient martial art? Let’s get into it.
Punch It Muay Thai Gym, Koh Samui
Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s biggest and most touristy islands, is saturated with Muay Thai gyms and training camps, but Punch It is one of the best. Punch It benefits from state-of-the-art facilities and some of the country’s top trainers, ideally suited to beginners and intermediate fighters.
Punch It’s intensive training camp-style courses are tailored for backpackers and holidaymakers, with weekly and monthly options including board and airport transfers. The flashpacker accommodation, complete with dorms rooms and a swimming pool, is perfect for visitors looking to tone up and develop their Muay Thai skills, all while meeting like-minded foreigners and staying on the backpacker trail.
One week at Punch It in Koh Samui costs $231 and includes airport pick-up, twice-daily training sessions, gear hire, accommodation, and gym usage. The price for one month works out as excellent value for money at just $744.
Punch It is for you if you’re dedicated to learning a new skill and want the proper Muay Thai experience, all while keeping one foot in the traveler scene. With Koh Samui’s tropical beaches and vibrant nightlife on your doorstep, you can have it all if you train at Punch It.
Sitjemam Muay Thai, Pai
Sitjemam is our favorite training camp for budget Muay Thai courses. This gym has a friendly atmosphere, laidback vibe, and charismatic owner, Ms. Mam, who will help you settle in.
Pai is a true backpacker haven in the north of Thailand with stunning rustic scenery and great connections to the cultural hub of Chiang Mai. Training in Pai promises northern Thailand’s signature lower costs, stunning countryside locations, and fellow bohemian travelers to get along with.
The training style at Sitjemam is specially tailored to those who have never tried Muay Thai before, so there is low pressure and low expectations. Sitjemam provides weekly packages from just $145, including two daily training sessions, training gear, accommodation, and even food. A month at the camp with all the same benefits included costs just $450, making it the best value gym on this list.
Por Silaphai Gym, Chiang Mai
Just a few hours from the charming village of Pai is Por Silaphai Gym in the thriving city of Chiang Mai. Located in the appropriately named “Hai Ya” sub-district, Por Silaphai is close to Chiang Mai airport, Night Walking Street, and the Old Cultural Center.
With daily classes, workshops, and camp-style training, this is another excellent value gym to check out if you’re in Northern Thailand. Por Silaphai is great for beginners and making new friends in a fun atmosphere, no matter your training level. Training in Chiang Mai means you can indulge in all the restaurants, activities, festivals, and cultural sites while improving your Muay Thai.
The price for one week is $157, and this includes two daily training sessions, gear, and dorm-style lodgings, with a month at Por Silaphai coming in at just under $400.
Attachai Muay Thai Gym, Bangkok
Attachai is one of the most coveted Muay Thai gyms on this list. Bangkok is the best place to train Muay Thai in the country. Despite being close to the vibrant attractions and nightlife that this city offers, Attachai offers a genuine camp-style approach to training, removed from the distractions of backpacker life.
This real Muay Thai gym in the heart of the city is where legends have trained and fought. Attachai offers fighters of all experience levels the chance to learn authentic Muay Thai techniques and discipline from some of the country’s best trainers. At Attachai, you’ll even have the opportunity to be taught by three-time Muay Thai World Champion Attachai Fairtex, renowned for his fearlessness and elegance in the ring.
Fairtax has earned his nickname as “The Left Hand From God” for good reason and will share his secrets with foreign visitors for $225 a week, or $920 per month. This price includes two daily Muay Thai sessions, meals, and accommodation. Attachai is great for more experienced fighters looking to take their training to the next level.
Battle Conquer, Phetchabun
Where Muay Thai meets Crossfit, Battle Conquer is the whole package if you’re looking to knock yourself into shape and work up a sweat daily on your trip to Thailand. Petchabun is another spot in Northern Thailand, but this grueling gym is better suited to committed athletes than buzzing backpackers.
Get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the world of traditional Thai fighting and modern mixed-martial-arts fitness. Battle Conquer is nestled away from it all, deep in the northern Thai countryside surrounded by farmland, lakes, and hills.
The camp is excellent for detoxing, losing weight, making permanent changes to your lifestyle, and sharpening your Muay Thai skills. The gym is more expensive than others on this list, but for $380 a week, or $1,587 a month, visitors get daily Muay Thai and Crossfit sessions, accommodation, three meals a day, bike hire, excursions, and more. There’s even the option to sign up for a ‘raw fest,’ a raw vegetable and fruit diet designed to cleanse the colon.
One Blue Sports Club, Koh Phangan
The mantra of One Blue Sports Club is “You don’t have to be a fighter to train like one,” and this is echoed throughout their tailored programs and drop-in workshops. One Blue Sports Club is another excellent budget option for Muay Thai enthusiasts of all abilities.
The fighting style is old-school and authentic, and any of the group classes that travelers can join daily promise to break a sweat with ‘Rocky-style, high-energy training. They offer all first classes for just 150 THB or $4, perfect for beginners and 20 percent off your first week. One Blue Sports Club also provides training camp-style arrangements for just $133 a week and $465 a month. This includes twice-daily Muay Thai sessions, lodgings, and all your equipment.
The club hosts regular fighting championships at the Muay Thai gym for competitors from all over Thailand to come and jump in the ring. You can develop strength while polishing your Muay Thai techniques at One Blue, with all the golden bohemian appeal of Koh Phangan’s beaches right on your doorstep. Why not celebrate the end of your training camp with a Full Moon Party to blow off some steam? If that’s not what you’ve been doing already.
Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket
This guide wouldn’t be complete without Tiger Muay Thai making it onto the list. The world-renowned Muay Thai & MMA training camp is the number one spot for foreigners looking to take their Muay Thai training to a professional level.
The camp has courses for all experience levels located in the center of Thailand’s biggest island, Phuket. Tiger is a great place for beginners to get a taste of authentic Muay Thai and the actual grueling training regimes behind this and other fighting styles. But Tiger Muay Thai has also become a destination gym for professional fighters and elite athletes. Among their clientele are several Thai world champions and foreign UFC champions, both male and female.
Among their vast array of classes, Tiger Muay Thai offers MMA, BJJ, strength and conditioning, beach boot camps, and even yoga. Yet, if you’re visiting Tiger, trying one of their Muay Thai classes is a must. Revel in the pride of saying you’ve trained on the same ground as some of the world’s most elite fighters.
One week of all-inclusive training classes costs 5,000 THB, or just under $150. While their all-inclusive packages with accommodation included start at 41,000 TBT a month, or $1,200, and can cost as much as 219,000 THB, which is almost $6,500 if you want access to all classes, deluxe accommodation, meals, and 50 private Muay Thai sessions for the month.
Where is the best place to train Muay Thai in Thailand?
The best place to train Muay Thai in Thailand is Bangkok. It’s the capital city but also the heart and soul of Muay Thai, home to the most famous arenas and training gyms in the country. You’ll find leading gyms where you can train among world champion fighters and spectate elite-level Muay Thai events that take place daily.
There are over 60,000 full-time Muay Thai fighters in Thailand alone, and most fights occur in the capital or nearby towns. The Lumpini Stadium hosts regular and spectacular fighting displays with lively crowds of tourists and locals alike. Still, no matter where you go in Thailand, you won’t struggle to see fights advertised on flyers, in bars, or on trucks in a bid to draw tourists in. Attending an authentic Muay Thai is one of the best ways to find out about your local gyms.
How much does it cost to train Muay Thai in Thailand?
Muay Thai training classes can start from as little as $3 for an hour or two-hour-long sessions but average at $10-20 per class. Depending on where you train, this typically works out as $60 to $100 per week or $200 to $300 a month. Yet, the most popular way to train Muay Thai is tramping camp-style, which mimics the traditional regimes of professional fighters, where they eat, sleep and breathe Muay Thai every day.
In Thailand, there are a number of leading Muay Thai camps where foreigners can train daily with experienced coaches and even former world champions, for around $400 a week on average and $1000 a month. This price usually includes equipment, accommodation and sometimes even food. Training camp-style is the best way to fully immerse yourself in Muay Thai and get an authentic taste for how the professionals give their lives to the sport from a very young age.
What is Muay Thai training like?
Most Muay Thai bootcamps or regular training regimes consist of twice-daily sessions that last for around two hours each. It’s not uncommon for sessions to start very early in the morning, sometimes at the break of dawn, to avoid peak sunshine hours. Likewise, your second session will likely be in the afternoon when the weather is cooler, and the sun is lower.
Lots of Muay Thai training consists of morning runs, and you could have a strict tailored diet, depending on the camp you choose. The sessions include intense cardio-style training, using lots of power and mental stamina. You’ll build up a sweat in every training session, and it’s not uncommon for beginners to be nauseous and even throw up after their first session when your body enters the fight or flight adrenaline mode of cardio.
Muay Thai is not for the fainthearted and familiarity with cardio, and martial arts training is preferred. Still, you can jump into most Muay Thai courses with no experience and at any fitness level. Muay Thai training will whip you into shape, improve your overall fitness and strength, give you invaluable fighting skills and reward your mind, body, and soul.