Jul 12 2011
Recently a friend asked if I wanted to go watch Sunday afternoon muay Thai in a TV studio. I had visions of what that might mean, but none of them actually mirrored the words, “Sunday afternoon Muay Thai in a TV studio.” The event in fact proved to be exactly what she had described.
Full disclosure: I am not a Thai boxing expert. I don’t know the names of moves, I don’t know the names of fighters, I don’t actually really even know what’s going on, but I do know that the muay Thai scene at Channel 7 studio on Sunday afternoons is contagiously exciting and a very authentic Bangkok experience.
Upon first arriving at the studio it really seems like nothing fight-esque could be going on. But once you wander around the back of the building there is a whole scene of fighters getting suited up and whole other group of fighters getting post-fight injuries treated. The fun really begins when you walk through the studio door and into a massive television studio (look up and all the set lights are hanging from the ceiling) that has been transformed into a bursting-at-the-seams muay Thai venue.
The stands are packed, mostly with Thai men, shouting out bets to bookies who are scattered around the crowd. Right in the centre of the madness is the ring where all the fighting-type things ensue: punches are thrown, blood is shed, men hop around in small shorts. I promise you, even if you don’t know what’s going on it is nearly impossible not to get swept up in the fervour. When the crowd all simultaneously gasps and shouts, which happens rather frequently, you will find yourself gasping and shouting; or at least I did.
If you don’t mind standing, you can experience all this rough-n-tumble magic for free. For those wanting a seat, VIP seats (term used loosely, it’s really a plastic chair) are for sale for 300 baht. The stadium is just across the street from Chatuchak market, making shopping and muay Thai a very easy (if odd) double-header. The fights are exciting but perhaps even more interesting are the crowds. And since my fight-viewing day I’ve begun to notice that Sunday afternoons all over Bangkok, men are watching on TV the same Muay Thai fights that are happening in this very stadium.
The stadium is in Channel 7 TV studio behind the old Northern Bus Terminal across Phahonyothin road from Chatuchak market. Take the BTS to Mo Chit, exit across the street from the market and walk in the direction of Ratchadaphisek Road. You will turn right at the first road after the old bus terminal, the stadium is located on soi Ruamsirimitr. It is hard to find so ask around for “Chang 7″ as the stadium is known. Fights occur every Sunday starting at 13:45 and the third Wednesday of every month starting at 12:00.
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