Photo: Bright lights, big city.

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Sunday Muay Thai at Channel 7 Studio

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When a friend asked if we wanted to go watch Sunday afternoon muay Thai in a TV studio, we 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.

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Full disclosure: We are not Thai boxing experts. We don’t know the names of moves, we don’t know the names of fighters, we don’t actually really even know what’s going on, but we do know that the muay Thai scene at Channel 7 Studio on Sunday afternoons is contagiously exciting and a very authentic Bangkok experience.

Note the lights. A TV studio giveaway.

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's a whole scene of fighters getting suited up and a 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.

Through this door is where the magic happens.

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. We 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 too.

The faces of die-hard fans.

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 our fight-viewing day we’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.

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