After spending your days on the beach, why not go out to watch fighters gracefully kick the crap out of each other at Ko Samui’s muay Thai stadiums? If you like what you see, you could even settle into a training centre to learn this ancient Thai martial art for yourself as Samui boasts several muay Thai options for both spectators and fighters.
Samui’s muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) scene revolves around two commercial stadiums in Chaweng: Petch Buncha Stadium near Laem Din Market, and the newer Chaweng Stadium in the Soi Green Mango area. Hyped up by pick-up trucks that drive around with loud speakers blasting event info, several fights kick off at 21:00 on Friday nights and occasionally other evenings, with tickets starting at 600 baht. A couple of smaller stadiums are found down in Lamai as well. We’ve only been to Chaweng Stadium, which looks more like a nightclub than a boxing stadium but still makes for a rousing night of entertainment.
Thailand’s national sport, muay Thai is vicious yet elegant and exciting to watch. Before each fight, contestants perform wai kru, a dancing ceremony to honour their trainers, accompanied by the twang of a live traditional Thai band. The music continues during the fights, ebbing and flowing to follow the movements of the fighters. The atmosphere is intense, with the scent of beer mixing with Tiger Balm as Thai and foreign fans cheer on Thai and foreign fighters.
Each fight consists of five three-minute rounds, with a two-minute rest between them, unless one of the fighters gets knocked out before the end. Fights held earlier in the evening feature younger fighters trying to make a name for themselves, with the star fighters emerging later for the main events. Both men and women typically fight on any given evening.
Several muay Thai training centres are also available on Samui, each with rooms where students can settle in for extended periods of instruction. These draw some rather famous fighters, both traditional Western boxers and mixed martial artists who come to add to their repertoires. The intensive fitness routines have a reputation for sculpting muscles, burning body fat and strengthening both mind and body. Novices and professionals attend training camps together so you may end up sparring with an Ultimate Fighting Champion.
Muay Thai training centres offer various packages and will tailor programmes to suit your needs. Group sessions include skipping, floor exercises, stretching and sparring, and usually last two hours. A typical day would include a morning training session, followed by relaxation on the beach or a bit of exploring and possibly another evening training session for those taking it more seriously.
Some of Samui’s muay Thai training options are listed below. You’ll also find several training centres on Ko Pha Ngan.
Jun Muay Thai www.junmuaythai.com
Lamai Muay Thai Camp T: (087) 082 6970 www.lamaimuaythaicamp.com
Superpro Samui T: (077) 414 393 superprosamui.com
By Rosanne Turner
Last updated on 23rd September, 2016.