Muay Thai PROS http://muaythaipros.com Real Muay Thai training guides, tips, strategies, Thailand camps, fitness and nutrition advice straight from the PROS Sun, 14 May 2017 03:02:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 7 Tips For Driving a Motorbike in Thailand (and Surviving) http://muaythaipros.com/7-tips-for-driving-a-motorbike-in-thailand-and-surviving/ http://muaythaipros.com/7-tips-for-driving-a-motorbike-in-thailand-and-surviving/#respond Sat, 13 May 2017 10:49:09 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=12584 Thailand is a dangerous place to drive. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the land of smiles and rent motorbikes, without realizing how dangerous the roads are. Thailand has the second-highest amount road accident deaths per 100,000 people in the world. This ranking includes all third world countries, not just Western nations. If you talk […]

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Thailand is a dangerous place to drive.

Every year, thousands of tourists visit the land of smiles and rent motorbikes, without realizing how dangerous the roads are. Thailand has the second-highest amount road accident deaths per 100,000 people in the world. This ranking includes all third world countries, not just Western nations.

If you talk to someone who has lived in Thailand long enough, they will know someone involved in a tragic accident. Everyone knows somebody who has been killed or seriously injured on a motorbike.

Before visiting Thailand, I had never seen a motorcycle accident in person. Sure, I saw the occasional fender bender between cars, or the aftermath of an accident on a highway, but never a motorbike accident.

In the past five years, I have seen the aftermath of dozens of motorbike accidents. No matter how many times I see it, I still get chills when I see someone lying motionless on the ground. Some of the accidents have been extremely gory, but I’ll spare you the details.

Living in Phuket has exposed me to far more accidents than most people will ever see in their entire lives.

Phuket’s special combination of impatient taxi vans, bad foreign drivers, Thai drivers who don’t believe in speed limits, and motorbikes zigzagging through traffic, has resulted in the deadliest roads in all of Thailand.

Fortunately, if you are careful and know how to drive a motorbike in Thailand, you can minimize your risk.

I’ve driven in Thailand for over six years and have only been in one minor accident. That accident happened because someone sprayed me in the face with a water gun during Songkran (on the Thai water festival).

The goal of this article is not to scare you from driving a motorbike in Thailand (although it might), but to make you aware of the dangers you face when you do drive a motorbike on your holiday.

Before I discuss tips for driving a motorbike, it is important to look at why motorbike accidents happen in the first place.

5 Reasons Why Motorbike Accidents Happen

Over the years I’ve met countless tourists and expats people who have been in motorbikes accidents. Just because you are a good driver, doesn’t mean you are immune from the dangers of the road. You can be doing everything right, when suddenly a car cuts in front of your bike and BAM……game over.

Here are a few reasons why people end up in motorbike accidents.

#1. Inexperience – You Don’t Know How to Ride a Motorbike

Getting access to a motorbike in Thailand is easy. You don’t need to know how to drive a motorbike to rent one. Most shops will rent you a motorbike if you have a passport, 200 baht (5 USD) per day, and a small deposit. Shop owners are desperate to rent out their bikes, so they won’t even ask you if you can drive. If you crash the bike, they often make money because they will double the repair costs.

In 2007, when I did a University exchange in Bangkok, a group of 10 of us students rented motorbikes on the island of Koh Samet. Since we were all young kids at the time, nobody would admit that they didn’t know how to drive a motorbike. Out of the 10 of us, three guys crashed their motorbikes. Luckily, Koh Samet is a small island, and you couldn’t go fast, but imagine if we rented bikes in a place like Phuket.

I still remember the scene when we first rented the bikes. One guy jumped on the bike, immediately hit the accelerator, and kept on squeezing it when he panicked. He drove head-on into an oncoming taxi, that had fortunately stopped. His bike was totaled and he drove it for 10 seconds.

If you don’t know how to drive a motorbike, do not learn in a place that has fast-moving cars. Go to some small side roads and stay on those side roads until you are 100% confident in your driving abilities.  New drivers can sometimes squeeze the gas handle when they get nervous, causing them to speed up, instead of slow down.

Applying the brakes is another skill that causes new drivers issues. I know a guy who crashed 4 times because he kept on jamming on the breaks too hard, causing his front tire to skid out when he stopped too fast.

#2. Drinking and Driving – The Biggest Killer

Outside of a lack of experience, drinking and driving is the biggest cause of accidents in Thailand. While drinking and driving is illegal in Thailand, it is common to see locals and foreigners driving their motorbike to the bar and drive home drunk.

While the capital city of Bangkok is the one place that has cheap taxis, most of the cities in Thailand have a tuk-tuks that are controlled by the mafia. This means that they charge high rates (10x more than in Bangkok), which people don’t want to pay. Because of the Tuk Tuk prices, people are willing to risk driving home instead of taking a taxi.

If you ever go out drinking in Thailand and visit a late-night bar at 2 am, you will notice everyone gets pissed drunk and gets on their bikes to drive home. It doesn’t matter that you would probably NEVER drive drunk in your own country, for some reason tourists let loose when they visit Thailand. Maybe it is the sex industry or party life down here, but tourists are much more willing to take personal risks.

While the police do set up road blocks from time to time, it has no effect on the number of drunk drivers on the road. These roadblocks are designed for fining people who don’t have helmets, licenses or updated insurance papers.

For this reason, I recommend avoiding the roads late at night, unless you need to go somewhere.

#3. Poor Road Conditions

Another common cause of motorbike accidents is wet and slippery road conditions. You can drive your motorbike fine, but when you hit a patch of sand on the road, the thin tires have a tendency to lose their grip. This happens when you are going around a bend with a little bit too much speed, and you feel your tires start slipping.

Wet roads are another significant cause of accidents. When it hasn’t rained in a while, the roads become very slippery. You often see motorbikes skidding out as they try to apply their breaks. This is especially true if you are using a motorbike that has tires that are worn out.

I’ve seen multiple accidents in a single day because of slippery wet roads causing people to lose control when they apply the breaks. The more experience you have driving on poor road conditions, the better you will get at dealing with these conditions.

#4. Bad Drivers – Other People on the Road

While the first 3 causes of accidents are the result of driving skills, another big factor is other people on the road. Almost all the near accidents I have been involved in was the result of a car cutting me off. Sometimes cars won’t wait for you to drive by before they turn into your lane, they will just go. This requires you to drive AROUND the car, or break. If you expect the car to stop and let you drive through before turning, you are going to crash.

Cars rule the road in Thailand. If you are driving on a motorbike, you are the last on the pecking order. Expect cars to dominate the road and force you to play by their rules. If you are driving your motorbike and wondering whether that car is going to cut in front of you, expect them to.

Stray Animals

Thailand has millions of stray animals that are wandering the streets. A lot of times these cats and dogs can end up bolting in front of the road when you are driving your motorbike. Most of the time these animals are fast enough to avoid getting hit, but sometimes people react on the bike and crash because of these animals.

When you drive a motorbike, you must drive with the flow of other bikes. If you stay in the flow of traffic, you will usually avoid any problems. However, when you need to get out of the flow and make a turn, that is when you are at risk of danger.

You should also keep in mind that a lot of vehicles will pass people using the oncoming lane. This means if you are casually driving in your lane, you will often have to veer off the road as you see an oncoming car coming right at you. While the cars will flash their high beams to let you know they are coming at you if you don’t move you are going to get hit.

#5. Being Distracted While Driving

While this is impressive, this is also extremely dangerous

If you thought driving a car while texting on your phone is bad, wait till you see people texting with one hand on their motorbikes. I kid you not, I’ve seen some ladies hold a baby on their lap, with a phone on the ear, as they apply gas and drive with one hand.

Tourists are often guilty of driving by a restaurant, or bar and staring at it, as they don’t pay attention to what’s in front of them. This can cause them to collide with vehicles that end up breaking in front of them.

I’ve also noticed that some people driving with audio books or music in their ears. This is another easy way to get distracted and crash. When you are driving, you want to keep your eyes and ears vigilant of what’s going on always.

Whenever you change lanes or move to the center of your lane, you need to do a check and make sure no cars are speeding up behind you. I know someone who was run over by a bus because they changed lanes without looking and the bus ran him over. Always do shoulder checks when you are on your bike.

How to Stay Safe While Driving a Motorbike

Now that we understand why you are likely to crash your motorbike in Thailand, we can talk about some of the ways to prevent crashing. While this list offers suggestions, just like driving back home, you can never guarantee that you won’t crash. These tips will only minimize your chance of crashing.

Tip #1 – Don’t Drive a Motorbike

If you aren’t comfortable driving a motorbike, rent a car or take a taxi. If you crash your motorbike, there is a good chance you will end up in the hospital. If you crash a car, however, you have a much better chance of walking away unscathed from the incident.

Even if you pay a little more for a taxi, trust me, it is worth it. While I will be the first to admit that exploring an island or city on a motorbike is incredibly fun, it is not worth the risks if you don’t know how to drive. If you don’t need to drive a motorbike in Thailand, don’t. That is the easiest solution.

If you must drive, don’t drive in a place like Phuket. Stick to smaller islands that have a laid back atmosphere with slow speeds.

If you drive a motorbike in a place like Koh Yao Noi, with a total island population of a few thousand people, there is really no risk on a motorbike. However, when you drive in a death trap like Phuket, with thousands of fast moving aggressive cars on the road, your chance of injury drastically increases.

Tip #2 – Stay on the Left Shoulder of the Road

When you drive your motorbike, do not drive in the middle of the lane. Cars will drive much faster than you and will zip past you. If you try to occupy the center of the lane, they will tailgate you, sometimes even push you off the road.

When on a motorbike, you have to yield to all of the bigger vehicles on the road. The shoulder of the road is your domain. If you try to take up the middle, you are also more likely to run into an oncoming car that cut across your lane.

The only time you should drive in the middle of the road is on small Sois (side streets) or when you are about to make a right-hand turn. When you turn right, you need to cross the lane to the middle to turn.

Tip #3 – Avoid Driving on Fast Highways

If you can avoid driving with fast moving cars, try to. Obviously, if you are experienced on the motorbike then you can drive anywhere you like, but most people aren’t. Driving on the big highways where cars are ripping 120+ km/h is very dangerous.

As I mentioned before, cars don’t give a damn about motorbikes. If a car kills someone on a motorbike, they must pay their hospital fees, and there is a maximum fee of around $3000 (100k baht) if they are killed. That fine is not enough to make drivers worried enough to slow down.

I’m not sure the exact breakdown, so please do not quote me on those prices. The point is that it’s not a big deal if a car kills someone on a motorbike.

If you need to go somewhere that is a long distance away, rent a car or take a taxi. Assuming you are only spending a few weeks in Thailand, you can afford to spend a little bit more money on transportation.

Tip #4 – Wear a Helmet

I know this sounds like a given, but a lot of foreigners do not wear a helmet when they drive motorbikes. Maybe they don’t want to mess up their hair, or they don’t like the fit, whatever the case, foreigners don’t like wearing helmets in Thailand.

When you drive around on some of the smaller islands, there is nothing wrong with this. But driving in the big cities, you need to put on a helmet. Even if the helmet isn’t going to save you, it is better to have some head protection, so your brain doesn’t splat on the concrete.

Tip #5 – Don’t Drive at High Speeds

Sometimes when you drive around with a group of friends, there is always one asshole who decides to be speedy Gonzales. This guy (always a guy), wants to show off his driving skills and will try to go as fast as possible. Not wanting to lose your friend, you are often forced to keep up with this guy who doesn’t care about the people he’s with.

If you ever drive somewhere with a friend going fast, let him go. Driving fast is a bad, bad idea in Thailand. Unless you are on a clear stretch with a big divider in the middle that prevents people from turning into your lane, there are too many things that can go wrong.

Motorbikes do not respond well when you try to squeeze the brakes at 90 km/h. You will skid out and end up all over the pavement. However, you don’t want to be that one asshole on the road holding up the people behind you because you are going to slow. So drive at a speed you are comfortable, but also ensure you aren’t holding up traffic.

Tip #6 – Go with the Flow of Traffic

The best advice I can give you is to follow the lead of everyone around you. Most of the time there are a lot of motorbikes on the road, and they all follow the same flow. The cars will hog the main roads and force the motorbikes to skirt around on the side of the road.

Going with the flow of traffic can help you glide in and out of lanes, without risk. Try to emulate how the other motorbikes drive on the road.

Use Hand Signals When Turning Right

Sometimes when you drive a motorbike and move into the middle of the road, there is a danger of a car trying to pass you. They might not see your turn signal and move to go around you on your right side. This can result in being hit as you move to make your right-hand turn.

Tip #7 – Don’t Drink and Drive

I mentioned this point before, but it is important to say it again. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. If you know you are going to be drinking, share a taxi with friends. Simple as that.

Even though the taxi prices outside of Bangkok are a rip-off, it is worth the extra money. Taking a taxi to your destination prevents you from bringing your motorbike in the first place.

If you end up driving your motorbike to the bar, leave it there and pick it up in the morning. Driving a motorbike drunk is not something you should do. I’ve seen guys crash their bikes within 10 seconds of turning it on. These guys usually end up in a hospital covered in scrapes and broken bones.

Drinking and driving is a common event among locals. If you party with locals, you can expect a few of them to drive home drunk. Keep in mind it is illegal to drink and drive, so if you run into a road block, you could have problems. I know a Thai friend who lost his license for being drunk, so it does happen on occasion.

I should also point out that getting on the motorbike of an intoxicated person, is even dumber than driving drunk yourself. Drunk people ALWAYS feel confident in the driving abilities, no matter how many beers they have consumed. Don’t risk your life just because a friend is trying to convince you that he’s ok to drive you home.

Be Aware of the Risks of Driving in Thailand

If you decide to rent a motorbike in Thailand, understand the risks involved. If you are comfortable on a bike, you won’t have any issues unless you have too many drinks at the bar and decide to drive home drunk. If you are aware on the roads, you can survive the streets of Thailand without a scratch.

Motorbike accidents can leave you paralyzed in a hospital bed.

While most people always think, “it will never happen to me,” a lot of good people have died or been seriously injured on the roads of Thailand.

Road accidents are the leading cause of tourist deaths in Thailand. Google search tourist death in Thailand and you will see dozens of sad stories of people who have died on the roads of Thailand.

Young, old, men and women, people from all backgrounds have come to Thailand for a holiday, ended up being shipped home in a coffin. If you don’t have confidence in your driving ability, do not drive.

If you have time, get someone to teach you how to drive on small roads that don’t have any traffic. A few days of learning and you should be ok to drive around the local areas.

Every time I see a motorbike accident I get a sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing a person lying on the ground covered in blood, surrounded by a crowd of onlookers who are waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Unfortunately, I know it is only a matter of time, usually a few weeks, sometimes days, before I see another person spilled on the ground.

Share this Article

If you know someone visiting Thailand, send them this article. It might make them think twice about renting a motorbike if they don’t know how to drive one. At the very least, it can make them aware of some of the dangers that await them if they do drive in Thailand.

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Impressions of Khongsittha Muay Thai Gym in Bangkok http://muaythaipros.com/khongsittha-muay-thai-gym-bangkok-review/ http://muaythaipros.com/khongsittha-muay-thai-gym-bangkok-review/#respond Fri, 12 May 2017 09:48:19 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14943 One of the benefits of living in Thailand is that you have access to the best Muay Thai training in the world. Whether you want to train at a beginner Muay Thai camp designed for tourists, or a gym with Thai champions, different gyms cater to different people. When you think of Bangkok, the first […]

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One of the benefits of living in Thailand is that you have access to the best Muay Thai training in the world. Whether you want to train at a beginner Muay Thai camp designed for tourists, or a gym with Thai champions, different gyms cater to different people.

When you think of Bangkok, the first thing that comes to mind is fighter gyms. These gyms are filled with Lumpinee, Rajadamnern and Channel 7 fighters and champions. Traditional gyms like Sor Sommai, are considered the epitome of a fighter gym that breeds champions.

While these gyms have the best fighters, they are not geared towards foreigners. Most foreigners who visit Thailand are too intimidated to train at a gym where nobody speaks a word of English.

The majority of visitors who train in Thailand train at gyms that have trainers that can speak basic English and are used to working with foreigners.

These gyms typically exist in tourist destinations like Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. Over the years, Bangkok has always had a reputation for being the home of the hardcore Thai camps that focus on fighters first, and tourists secondly.

Not anymore.

Today, if you do a search for gyms in Bangkok, there are a lot more modern and clean gyms that are catered towards hi-so Thais (rich Thais) and tourists. These gyms typically offer Muay Thai classes, in combination with fitness and other types of gym activities.

Khongsittha Muay Thai Gym

What separates Khongsittha apart from other gyms is that they focus on all-inclusive training packages which make it convenient for tourist training for the first time. They offer training, accommodation, and meal plan packages for people who are staying at the camp.

In addition to their training packages, Khongsittha differentiates themselves by putting on ‘training camps’ designed for different types of students. This partnership started out with Sean Fagan (Muay Thai Guy) and has grown into Khongsittha offering their own in-house camps.

Khongsittha training camps take place between 2-4 week periods and are catered toward tourists who want to train in a safe environment with their food, housing, and everything is taken care of. Each training camp has a different target audience, with some camps dedicated to fighters and other camps focusing on weight loss.

Since my trip to Khongsittha was only a drop in, I wouldn’t be able to comment on the training camp environment. I would imagine it would be a fun environment to meet people who all have an interest in Muay Thai.

Getting There

The taxi ride to Khongsittha took me about 30 minutes from the Asoke BTS station. I had to ask a few taxis before I was able to find one willing to go there, but it wasn’t too much of a hassle. The cost of the ride is around 200-300 baht depending on the traffic.

Since most of the gyms in Bangkok are situated outside of the Sukhumvit area, a 30-minute cab ride wasn’t something that bothered me at all. Uber is quite popular in Bangkok, so that is another transport option if you don’t want to deal with Bangkok Taxis who don’t speak any English.

The Gym and Facilities

 

When I arrived at the gym, I recognized the big statue of a Muay Thai fighter outside the gym. From the outside, this gym is modern and has the look of a place you would train at back home.

You can tell from the layout of the gym, that they had more than Muay Thai in mind when they built the gym. In addition to the Muay Thai areas, there are also fitness areas and a full sized gym at the camp.

There were three main areas of the gym: A huge weight area for people who want to workout, an open mat area where some fitness classes take place for locals, and the Muay Thai area where they have two rings side by side.

If there was one complaint I had, it was that the Muay Thai area was a little bit small. Only about ten people were training at the gym when I showed up, and it felt pretty crowded when people were shadow boxing and warming up. Considering how much space the facility has, I could see them expanding to open up more space in the Muay Thai area later on.

Training

When I showed up at the gym, the trainers told me to start skipping. The skipping lasted for about 10 minutes, and then we had a group stretching session that was led by one of the trainers.

After the stretch, we but on our hand wraps and started shadow boxing.

During the shadow boxing, the trainers were quick to ask me about my background. And by the time I finished shadow boxing, they were asking me, “You fight Super Muay Thai, Ok?”

Since I’ve been living in Thailand for the past six years, I’m used to being asked to fight all the time.

This is the standard when you train at any gym in Thailand and have experience.

During my last stint in Bangkok, I trained at five different gyms, and I was offered to fight in Max Muay Thai, Super Muay Thai, Rajadamnern, and Omnoi stadium. Anyone who looks half decent in training gets offered a fight, that is how it works in Thailand.

After we had finished shadow boxing, the trainers signaled everyone to hit pads. The pad rounds were unique because, after every round, you end up switching trainers. So for three rounds of pads, you get to work with three different Thai trainers.

I enjoyed this method of pad holding because I got to sample a few trainers right away.

Overall, the trainers were very friendly, and the all were decent pad holders. I can’t recall the names of the instructors, but I know most of them come from other tourist camps, which is how they learn English.

After the 3 rounds of pads, everyone was sent to work on technique. The technique portion of the training was boring for me, but that was because I’ve done it all before. For beginners, these drills are excellent at helping you build your foundations.

Once you finished up with the technique portion of the training, the last 20-30 minutes was all condition. The head trainer ran us through different conditioning exercises like the pushup, pullups, monkey bars, and ab work.

I was told that every day there is a different training theme. So one day might be conditioning, while the other day could be clinching, sparring, etc.

I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to spar or clinch with any of the trainers while I was there, but if you train throughout the week, you will make it to the clinching/sparring days.

Outside of the Muay Thai vacationers who are there for 2-4 weeks, they also offer a “Muay Thai for Fitness” program. This program is designed for cardio Muay Thai and is used by local Thais who are looking to get in shape.

Gym Environment

All of the people I met at Khongsittha were very friendly. None of the trainers or students had any egos, and they were all eager to help out.

The students training at Khongsittha gym were at the beginner/intermediate level. Typically, gyms that offer all-inclusive training are going to attract people who haven’t trained in Thailand before.

If you want to train at a fighter camp, you are better off going to a gym that focuses on fighters. Khongsittha offers a friendly environment for people who are new to the sport and want to learn Muay Thai in a comfortable environment.

Who Should Train at Khongsittha?

Khongsittha is a tourist gym designed for people looking for 2-4 week training and accommodation packages. Their all-inclusive training packages are 29,000 baht for a month of training and a single room, and you can also add a meal plan for another 10k baht.

If you are looking to train in Bangkok, and want to train in a clean, modern, and comfortable gym, Khongsittha is a great option. The trainers speak good English, the management is excellent, and you get to train with other like-minded students from around the world.

Khongsittha makes training in Bangkok seamless for people who don’t want to worry about booking a place to stay or visiting fights etc. However, if you like to do your own thing, you are probably better off training at another camp.

The training at Khongsittha is designed for beginners and short term Muay Thai vacationers who want to learn Muay Thai or lose weight. If you want the hardcore Muay Thai experience, you are better off looking at some of the more traditional gyms in Bangkok. Khongsittha has a couple of fighters, but the gym is not a fighter gym.

Overall, Khongsittha would be an excellent introduction for a beginner or intermediate Muay Thai student who is looking to train in Bangkok. If you want to learn more about the different packages you can visit their website for the latest updates.

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Controlling Your Opponent After You Catch Their Kick ft. Petchboonchu http://muaythaipros.com/controlling-your-opponent-after-you-catch-their-kick-ft-petchboonchu/ http://muaythaipros.com/controlling-your-opponent-after-you-catch-their-kick-ft-petchboonchu/#respond Sun, 07 May 2017 09:02:11 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=15114 When you catch your opponent’s kick, there are multiple techniques you can use to score points. The sweep is the most common method that people learn when you catch a kick. There are many types of sweeps you can perform, but the general concept of tripping your opponent after you catch their leg stays the same. […]

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When you catch your opponent’s kick, there are multiple techniques you can use to score points. The sweep is the most common method that people learn when you catch a kick. There are many types of sweeps you can perform, but the general concept of tripping your opponent after you catch their leg stays the same.

While a sweep can score you quick points on the judge’s scorecard, sometimes it is advantageous to try to control your opponent, so you can throw strikes.

It is important to remember, that you are only allowed to take two steps forward after you catch your opponent’s kick. If you try to run forward after a kick catch, that is a foul, and you can be disqualified if you hurt your opponent. While it is a foul to move forward with your opponent, you can hold your opponent’s leg and move back.

The following technique demonstrated by Petchboonchu showcases how you can control your opponent after you grab their leg.

Things to Consider

The key to this technique is controlling the back of your opponent’s neck. If you don’t have a good grip on your opponent, it will be difficult to control them.

Once you establish a grip around your opponent’s head, you have to pull down so you can off balance them. If you do not pull their head down, they will have good posture and will have good balance. Controlling the head of your opponent will make it difficult for your opponent to defend himself.

After you establish neck control, you need to circle out to the inside of your opponent and pull their neck down. This pulling motion makes it hard to stay on balance and can give you and opportunity to throw a knee, sweep, or release their leg and strike.

The pulling motion with the combination of your footwork is the key to the technique. If you don’t circle with your feet, it makes it easier for your opponent to regain the position and posture up.

Special thanks to Petchboonchu for demonstrating this technique. If you want to train with Petchboonchu, you can visit him over at Evolve Vacation to learn more. 

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The Ultimate Koh Tao Travel Guide http://muaythaipros.com/koh-tao-travel-guide/ http://muaythaipros.com/koh-tao-travel-guide/#respond Fri, 05 May 2017 22:33:07 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=15062 Introduction – Why go to Koh Tao? Koh Tao actually means “Turtle Island” and this island was actually inhabited by turtles in the past. Now it is inhabited by locals, expats, and tourists. Located east of the Surat Thani coastline, Koh Tao is a haven for scuba divers from all over the world. Some even […]

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Introduction – Why go to Koh Tao?

Koh Tao actually means “Turtle Island” and this island was actually inhabited by turtles in the past. Now it is inhabited by locals, expats, and tourists. Located east of the Surat Thani coastline, Koh Tao is a haven for scuba divers from all over the world. Some even choose to live here for most of the year. There are two nearby islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, which I’ll talk more about in another part of this guide.

Why do so many people visit this small Thai island? It is a paradise, both above and below the water. Divers flock to see the incredible coral reefs and vibrant sea life that inhabits the warm, clear waters around this group of islands. The lifestyle on Koh Tao is always relaxed, even more so during the hot season and monsoon seasons. I hope you’re not in a hurry when you get here.

Koh Tao became popular about 35 years ago with tourists, and since then, several who decided the island life was for them have stayed and opened businesses like restaurants and hotels, and there are a fair number of digital nomads who recently began calling Koh Tao home, or at least ‘home-base,’ because of the improved internet services to the island.

However, what really brings the throngs of tourists to the island is the diving industry. Koh Tao has some of the world’s best dive centers for education and certification, and the underwater experience here just can’t be beat. With calm waters for much of the year, the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand are the stuff diver’s dreams are made of.

Even if you’re not a diver, the beaches with their calm bays are stunning and perfect for being lazy. Looking for a romantic getaway? There are romantic hotels, restaurants, and secluded beaches where you can while away the hours with your sweetheart. There is something on Koh Tao for everyone, whether you plan to be here a few days, weeks, or a lifetime.

When to Go

 

Peak Season – December to February

High season in Koh Tao is December to February, roughly, and this is considered the “dry” season with temperatures averaging around 30 degrees Celsius. This time of year, the weather is idyllic with blue skies and gentle breezes. The seas are calm, just waiting for you and your diving gear to arrive. This is Thailand’s winter, technically, so the temps are lower, even though they are still hot, but humidity is low.

This is peak season, so prices are also at their peak, but a gorgeous holiday is pretty much guaranteed. Sometimes there is a bit of rain in December, but it’s rare. If you’re looking for a stunning place to celebrate the holidays with fun in the sun, this is it. You’ll want to book early because hotels will fill up quickly.

Hot Season – February to May

During February and March, Koh Tao gets a bit of rain, prices are lower, but the rain is still not a deterrent to visiting. This is actually a good time to visit Koh Tao because of lower tourist numbers and lower prices.

April and May are Thailand’s summer season, so during these two months, temperatures reach about 40 degrees Celsius and there’s no rain to provide a bit of relief. But if you’re on Koh Tao to spend time under the water, the seas are calm and you’ll find relief from the heat under the sea with the colorful sea life because visibility is at its peak during this time.

The pace of life on the island slows down during these months, and prices are much cheaper. There are amazing bargains available if you’re willing to tackle the heat in April and May. Few tourist numbers mean optimal diving opportunities.

High Season – July to September

I bet you thought I already talked about high season! Nope! Koh Tao essentially has a peak season AND high season! These months bring afternoon thunder showers, but they are short lived. These months coincide with Europe’s school holidays, so booking accommodation can be a challenge. Book very early if you plan to visit during this time! If you want a good selection of available hotels to choose from, book even earlier!

Monsoon Season – October to November, possibly into December

Weather on Koh Tao is actually pretty good during September and October, but rain is definitely on the horizon. Temperatures range from 27 degrees to 35 degrees Celsius. Visibility is still good during these months, but in October the heavy rains come and they don’t stop until December. However, the rain doesn’t last all day. Showers are short-lived and usually just once a day. If you like a bit of drama and enjoy a good storm, you will enjoy this time on Koh Tao. Get a drink, sit on the patio of your favorite restaurant, and let the wait staff spoil you as you enjoy the weather show.

This is the best time to come price wise because accommodation will be at its cheapest and tourist numbers at their lowest. Diving prices are also at their lowest because of less demand. Weather overall is a bit unpredictable on Koh Tao, but these are good guidelines to follow to help you determine the right time of year for your visit to the island.

How to Get There

 

There is only one way to get to Koh Tao and that is by boat. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. There is no airport on the island, so unless you’re a bird, you have to take a boat.

From Bangkok

From Bangkok, fly to Koh Samui (east of Koh Tao) or to Surat Thani Int Airport (west of Koh Tao). You can also take a bus to Surat Thani from Bangkok, or a sleeper train.

From Koh Samui

Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways offer flights to Koh Samui. Bangkok Airways offers more flights, making it easier to get a ferry connection.

There are two ferry companies that operate ferries from Koh Samui. They are Lomprayah Catamaran and Seatran Discovery.

From Bangrak Seatran Pier Koh Samui, Seatran Discovery departs at 8:00am, 13:00, and 16:30 and each ferry takes 2 hours and costs about 17 USD.

From Na Thon Koh Samui, Lomprayah departs at 11:15am (3 hours) and 17:00 (1h 45m). The morning ferry is about 17 USD and the afternoon ferry is about 20 USD.

From Maenam Koh Samui there is one ferry departure at 12:30. It takes 1.5 hours and costs about 17 USD.

From Surat Thani

Nok Air and Air Asia offer flights from Bangkok. Nok Air has a connection at Chumphon Railway Station in Surat Thani with Lamprayah Catamaran. You can take a sleeper train from Bangkok, but you need to arrive at Chumphon by 6:00am because the ferry departs at 7:00am. If you don’t make it, there is an afternoon ferry.

Air Asia also has ferry connections in two locations, both with Seatran Discovery. One connection from Surat Thani and another from Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Thai Airways also flies to Surat Thani.

From Surat Thani Lomprayah, a high speed ferry leaves at 9:00am. It takes about 5 hours 15 minutes and costs around 20 USD.

From Surat Thani Train Station, a high speed ferry leaves at 8:30am, takes about 5 hours 45 minutes, and costs about 22 USD.

From Surat Thani Airport, take a mini-bus taxi to the pier. Ferries leave at 8:30am (6 – 6.5 hours), 10:45am (7h 45m), 11:20am (7h 10m), and 13:30 (5h 15m). Cost is around 25 – 30 USD depending on departure time and which ferry company you choose.

Best Things to Do on Koh Tao

 

1. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

This is the reason most people come to Koh Tao. It is a world-famous diving destination. For that reason, I have written in more detail about these activities in a different section. Find more information about diving and snorkeling under Diving and Snorkeling.

2. Rock Climbing 

Koh Tao is surprisingly well-equipped for rock climbing. Almost the entire east coast of the island is rock cliffs which are suitable for all skill levels. Climbers can improve their technical skills virtually undisturbed as they will likely have the cliffs all to themselves. Popular climbing spots include Front and Back Yard at the southern end of the island in Chalok Baan Kao and near Sairee on the west coast there’s Secret Garden and Mek’s Mountain. There are other locations on the east coast. Courses and guides are also available.

3. Yoga

There are a number of places on Koh Tao where you can learn and practice not only yoga, but T’ai Chi and Reiki as well. Koh Tao provides a peaceful and tranquil environment to heal and exercise both your inner and outer self. Try Shambhala Yoga or Baan Talay Yoga, which is also mentioned in the Where to Stay in Koh Tao section of this guide.

4. Thai Cooking Classes

Fortunately or unfortunately, Thai food on the island is often made to suit a western palate with milder tastes in spice. I like it spicy, so for me, a cooking class is ideal. There are several cooking schools on the island where you can learn to cook authentic Thai food that you can adapt to your own taste. Several resorts and restaurants offer classes. Most lessons include shopping at a local market first and learning about the ingredients, and then heading to the restaurant to use all those fresh ingredients to cook your lunch. Thai Cooking with Joy comes highly recommended. A 3-hour course with 3 dishes is 1500 baht per person. You can choose from three pre-set menus. A full day class is 5-6 hours and costs 2100 baht. You’ll create 5 dishes at The Earth House in Mae Haad. Class size maximum is 4 people, so it is sure to be hands on and individualized.

http://www.thaicookingkohtao.com/

5. Take a Course

In addition to diving and rock climbing courses, there are many other opportunities to learn something new on Koh Tao. People come here to take courses in Muay Thai (see below), Thai cooking (see above), Thai language, yoga, and Eco programs. The most popular course on the island is Underwater Photography & Videography. There are four schools on Koh Tao and all have Westerners as managers and instructors. With the incredible marine life here, there is no better place to learn about underwater photography.

6. Muay Thai Camp

This increasingly popular sport made its debut on Koh Tao in 2002 and now there are two well equipped Muay Thai facilities on the island.

Island Muay Thai

Established in 2002, this was the first Muay Thai facility on the island. They have weekly fight nights, so if you’re here for training, you’ll be using what you learn. This training facility is open to locals, expats, and visitors. It is located in Sairee. They have a complete range of training exercises during one-on-one sessions with their trainers and a full-size ring for sparring. Accommodation is available in the form                                                                    of double or twin rooms.

Single day training is 300 baht for 1 session, 400 baht for 2 sessions.

Weekly training is 1000 baht for 4 sessions, 1600 baht for 7 sessions.

Monthly training prices depend on how many times per week you train. 3x per week is 2500 baht and 4x per week is 3600 baht.

Custom training and accommodation packages are available. For more information, check their website at http://www.muaythaikohtao.com/index.html

Monsoon Gym and Fight Club

This Muay Thai facility offers a western style gym with MMA, Muay Thai, boxing, and Gladiator workout. Patrons can also get healthy meals at the Hell’th Kitchen, and they offer dorm style accommodation. There are only 12 beds, so be sure to book ahead if you want this option. It’s located just a short walk from Sairee Beach.

Pricing is simple and sessions include Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Gladiator high-intensity fitness, and boxing.

Single session is 300 baht.

Weekly (6) sessions are 1500 baht.

Monthly sessions range from 12 to 24 sessions and 3000 to 5500 baht per month. An unlimited monthly package is 7000 baht.

http://www.monsoongym.com/

Diving and Snorkeling

 

Many people come to Koh Tao to earn their diving certification, not just to dive. Dive centers here have some of the best facilities in the world and the best instructors. Courses range from teaching those who have never put on a wetsuit to experienced divers from all over the world. There are over 60 dive centers on this small island, but courses do fill up.

Some dive centers include accommodation in the cost of the course. If you’ve come here to spend some serious time in the water, you won’t need to worry about where to stay on a budget. The courses provide a good balance between education and enjoying island life.

Different courses include Recreational (Try Dive or Scuba School International [SSI]) where you will learn to use the equipment and dive up to 12 meters, and Open Water Course which is a 4-day program where you can become certified to dive up to 18 meters, and an Advanced Open Water Course which takes you to the next level and certifies you to dive up to 30 meters.

There are also three more advanced courses offered on the island. For each of these, you must already be certified in the Advanced Open Water Course. These three courses are Rescue & EFR (Emergency First Response), Professional Level for the long-term traveler looking to get a PADI certification, and Technical Diving Courses which allow you to go deeper than 40 meters.

There are several PADI 5 Star instructors and dive centers on the island, and those who intend to come here for this purpose can enjoy the very reasonably priced accommodation that is provided with most centers. Most people, on average, spend from three weeks to six months or more, earning their PADI certification.

I cannot begin to list all of the dive centers on the island. They are successful for a reason. They are highly qualified and professional centers with excellent instructors. Divers should choose the center that best meets their needs and price range, and location may also be a factor if you have your own accommodation.

Two dive centers that popped up repeatedly in my research are Sunshine Divers and Simple Life Divers. Another that is highly recommended is New Heaven Diving School at Baan Talay Resort, which you can read more about in the Where to Stay in Koh Tao section of this guide. They specialize in marine conservation. But these are just a drop in the bucket compared to what is offered on the island.

Koh Tao isn’t the only dive destination in the neighborhood. Nearby Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are also hot spots for divers and easily accessible from Koh Tao. All three of these islands offer an incredible underwater world of brightly colored coral, vibrant and varied sea life, and awe-inspiring underwater land formations. Different areas of the sea offer completely different scenery and sea life to enchant and entertain you. It doesn’t matter what depth the water is. Divers will not be disappointed.

Snorkeling options are not limited on Koh Tao. Many snorkeling tours have the same covered boats that dock in the same snorkeling spots like Mango Bay, Shark Bay, and other notorious spots, and they serve a simple lunch of rice, egg, and pork. This doesn’t sound very inspiring, but you don’t really need a tour to do some great snorkeling around the island. For some places, you do need transportation. These tours run from 800 to 1200 baht, and you may be able to negotiate a bit.

One option is to hire a taxi boat and go earlier in the day to miss the crowds. Koh Nang Yuan – three tiny islands connected by sandbars – is a very popular snorkeling destination, but if you’re there with hundreds of other tourists, it could prove to be a big disappointment. Try to go here when the tourist numbers are lower and hire a longtail boat rather than a tour.

A full day tour with a longtail boat, essentially your water taxi for the day, will run about 3000 baht, but may be worth it if you’re able to avoid the crowds. Ao Leuk Bay is fairly easily accessible by road, and once you get past the rocks, there is some great snorkeling here just at the edge of the bay. Sai Daeng is not as rewarding at Ao Leuk, but you can see sharks here. Don’t worry. They won’t nibble on you and are actually very shy.

Other popular spots are Japanese Garden, where it is best to hire a longtail boat so you can be flexible. If you set foot on the beach though, you’ll be charged by the rather unscrupulous resort here. In Mae Haad, there’s a small shipwreck that attracts some interesting sea life. Just about anywhere off the coast of Koh Tao that looks like it is a good place for snorkeling, is probably a good place for snorkeling. Keep in mind watershoes are a good idea because of the coral and don’t ever feed the fish. It upsets the balance of the ecosystem.

Best Places to Eat in Koh Tao

 

There is no shortage of restaurants on this small island, and many are suited to western tastes while others are authentically Thai and delicious. Prices range from 30-baht street food to 1500 baht per person at an upscale restaurant, although most are much more reasonably priced than that, even for fine dining. Here are just a few that travelers to Koh Tao and former expats on the island recommend.

1. Yellow Rice and Chicken No-Name Food Stand $

Guess what this place near Chalok Baan Kao serves? Just one thing. Did you figure it out? For less than 2 USD, you can have one of the best lunches on the island. This crispy chicken will have you returning again and again. It’s near the T-junction that leads to Autokan.

2. Zest $ – $$

Looking for a good breakfast on the island? Zest is the place. It’s in Sairee and serves up delicious eggs, toast and bacon for 90 baht. They also serve great salads if you’re into that kind of thing when you’re on holiday.

3. Fizz Beach Lounge $$

This place is a bit of a surprise considering it is a beach bar/lounge/restaurant. It’s not overpriced and the food is actually good. They serve Thai and international cuisine, and while it might be a bit more expensive because of its location, it’s not unreasonably so. You can relax by the ocean, enjoy the breeze, and have dinner and drinks that won’t break the bank.

4. Porto Bello Italian $$ – $$$

There are a surprising number of Italian eateries on the island, but none of them beat Porto Bello. Their food is a bit pricey compared to other Italian restaurants on the island, but still certainly affordable and worth it! Experience their pizza, pasta, and their most famous menu item, the goat cheese and pesto ball salad. Wait till you see it.

5. Whitening $$ – $$$

Most people consider this to be Koh Tao’s most beautiful and romantic restaurant, perfect for a night out or special occasion, and very reasonably priced. They have a varied menu and serve up fantastic Thai food, grilled seafood, and steaks. You may have guessed that the décor is white and with all the candles and fairy lights, the ambiance is relaxed and tranquil. No need to hurry off. You can get a beef tenderloin steak with mashed potatoes and salad for 300 baht. While that may seem pricey for Koh Tao or Thailand, it’s nowhere near what you’d pay in other parts of the world for a steak dinner.

How to Get Around Koh Tao

 

Koh Tao is small and easy to navigate, but always be aware of others on the road and the fact that locals don’t exactly follow the traffic rules to the letter. Most of the roads are not paved, but this is improving. There is one main paved road that runs from the north end of Sairee Beach, through the center of Mae Haad which is the main village on the island, and then continues on to Chalok Baan Kao in the southern part of the island.

There are some paved roads leading to the beaches, but most roads are still dirt tracks that can be challenging to navigate, especially after a rain. If you have never driven a motorcycle or a car in this type of environment, then I don’t advise starting on Koh Tao. Always remember to drive slowly, stay under the speed limit, and never drink and drive. If the police suspect you are doing something illegal, they will not hesitate to pull you over.

Motorbike Rentals

Motorbikes (scooters) are by far the most popular transport option on the island. A scooter can be rented from your hotel or resort in most cases, and tour agents rent them as well. Be aware that all people on a motorbike must wear a helmet. It is the law and you could be fined if you do not wear a helmet. Rentals run about 150 baht a day, or even less if you are going to be on Koh Tao a long time.

Disclaimer: If you don’t have previous experience driving a scooter, we do not recommend this mode of transport. Accidents can happen easily and there is no insurance provided, nor is there a proper hospital on the island.

Songthaews (Taxi)

You can find songthaews in most of the busy areas on the island and on the main road. You can hop on and off as you wish. The cost depends on how far you travel and the number of people in the taxi. If you are alone or just a couple, you are expected to cover the entire cost. There aren’t really fixed prices so just ask before boarding. This is the safest way to get around the island.

Longtail Boat

Longtail boats are located at all of the beaches on the island and are a great way to get from one side to the other. You can also find those beautiful hidden spots around the island. They work like taxis in that you can pay by the journey, or you can rent one for a day for about 1500 baht. To give you an idea of what a journey might cost, if you travel from Mae Haad pier to the south to Chalok Baan Kao, you can expect to pay about 200 baht per person. From the pier to Tanote Bay is about 400 baht per person.

Walking and Cycling

The island is very walkable, although the main road should be avoided at night due to traffic. The island is hilly in some parts, but if you enjoy walking and are moderately fit, you can easily navigate it. If you choose to walk, you will be rewarded with incredible scenery.

A bicycle is also a great option on the island. A mountain bike can handle the dirt roads even better than a motorbike. Mountain bikes are for rent in several locations around the island and keep in mind, they are environmentally friendly and even cheaper than a motorbike. Few people take advantage of this great option because the bikes are not always well maintained. If you do decide to rent a bicycle, do a thorough inspection and test ride before choosing your bike in order to make sure it is in good working condition.

Where to Stay in Koh Tao

 

Budget

Budget accommodation can mean a bungalow on the beach, a cheap hotel with few amenities, or a hostel. But all are likely to be a great a value for the money and a good choice for those on a tight budget.

Here are my recommendations for budget accommodation. Prices are for peak season which is December to February.

Indie Hostel

Located on Sairee Beach, Indie Hostel has spacious dorm rooms that are clean and modern, private rooms with twin beds and ensuite bathrooms, and a super cool café with fresh breads, sandwiches, and more on offer. It’s a great place to hang out and meet people, grab a bite to eat, and have a safe and comfortable place to store your stuff and get a good night’s sleep.

A dorm bed here is about 20 USD a night and a private room for 2 people with ensuite bathroom is about 55 USD a night. Linens and towels are provided and they have free wifi.

Simple Life Talay & Divers Resort

This beachfront property sits at the southern end of Sairee Beach. It has its own private beach, bar, restaurant serving Thai and international cuisine, pool, and a PADI 5 dive school. Free wifi is available in common areas and in the rooms. The bar is the perfect spot to watch the sunset, and so is the pool.

Rooms here are spacious, modern, clean, and some are air conditioned. They have a variety of rooms to choose from. A dorm bed is 8 USD and the room is large and has fans, a private room for two w/fan is 16 USD, and a garden room with air conditioning is 53 USD. A sea view air conditioned room for 2 is 61 USD.

Bubble Bungalows

 

Bubble Bungalows is located at the southern end of the island in Chalock Baan Kao. It’s connected to Big Bubble Dive School and offers a bargain price with a few amenities. The bungalows are set among the trees and have huge bathrooms and some have air conditioning. They also have free wifi.

For about 8 USD a night you can get your own bungalow with a fan, cold shower, and a double bed. For just a few dollars more, you can get a hot shower. If you want air conditioning, it’s about 40 USD a night. Bungalows also have balconies with hammocks. Rooms are modern, spacious, and so are the bathrooms.

Midrange

Midrange hotels and bungalows are very popular on the island. For $60 to $100 a night, you can have air conditioning and quite a few luxuries at your accommodation on Koh Tao. Here are my recommendations for midrange accommodations.

Koh Tao Resort

This stunning and very reasonably price resort backs up to a hilltop in the trees at the southern end of the island in Chalok Baan Kao. Koh Tao Resort has rooms and bungalows that are just a short walk from the beach, and air conditioned apartments up on the hill with stunning views. Inside you’ll find spacious, traditionally decorated rooms with bamboo ceilings and modern fixtures. Facilities include three swimming pools, two restaurants, two bars, a convenience store, and free wifi. Why would you ever leave?

In the center of the resort there’s a stunning infinity pool and there’s another pool by the beach where you can enjoy the sunset. The restaurants serve Thai and international cuisine in a beautiful setting, and you can get kayaks at the beach bar! They also offer speedboat charters to nearby islands and fishing trips. You can also snorkel nearby. Breakfast is included. Be aware that during December and January, there is a minimum four night stay.

All rooms and bungalows are for two people only. A mountain view room on the hillside is 70 USD, standard rooms with air conditioning close to the beach are 72 USD, a superior room with air conditioning by the garden and pool is 75 USD, and the spacious bungalows with balconies near the pool and the beach are 81 USD. They also offer deluxe, beach front apartments, luxury apartments, and poolside suites that accommodate more than two people, but there is an extra charge for a third person.

Baan Talay Koh Tao

Located on the east side of the island In Ao Leuk Bay, it might seem secluded, but with the ample facilities and stunning rooms, there’s really not much of a reason to leave. Each bungalow has a private view. You can book diving and snorkeling expeditions, boat trips, and diving and yoga courses. If you participate in any courses, you will receive a discount on the rooms.

Baan Talay practices marine conservation activities on the island. The dive school has been involved with conservation efforts from their opening in 1995. Now they offer marine conservation courses from 3 days to 3 months in length through their New Heaven Dive School. They also offer daily yoga classes and yoga retreats, as well as Thai massage and kayaking.

On site, travelers will find healthy Thai and Western food in the restaurant and what is reportedly the best coffee on the island at Koppee Café. Koppee is open for breakfast and lunch and has wonderful baked goods.

Baan Talay has seaview huts with grass roofs that keep the huts cool. There are four of these at the resort. Each has mosquito netting over the beds that have hand-made, super comfy mattresses. Each one has a spacious, private balcony and a spa-like outdoor hot shower! There’s no air conditioning, but they do have fans. You can get all this for 33 USD a night! They also have seaview suites which are bigger with the option of air conditioning. They have stunning views, even from the bathrooms. All suites also have hot water. For suites with a fan, you’ll pay only 50 USD a night and with A/C you’ll pay 70 USD a night.

High

There is certainly no shortage of luxury accommodation on Koh Tao, even though it is a lesser-known island. Here are my recommendations for high-end accommodation starting above $100 a night.

Seashell Resort

This resort on Sairee Beach has a PADI dive center in addition to full-service resort facilities, including a spa. The beach front restaurant serves Thai and Western cuisine. Enjoy the sunset while you have a beautiful dinner by the beach. They also have a large pool and Jacuzzi with sunset views. The resort can assist you with tour bookings and money exchange. Free wifi is available everywhere, including in the rooms.

The traditionally and simply decorated rooms are air conditioned and have hot and cold showers, modern bathrooms, and soothing colors. Each one has a balcony or terrace and cable TV. The wood floors in the rooms are a particularly beautiful touch.

All prices are per night for two people. Beachside 2nd floor rooms with a view of the pool are 132 USD, deluxe pool access on the 1st floor is 145 USD, a poolside 2-bedroom villa is 190 USD, and a deluxe garden view room in their boutique style hotel (same property, but different building) is 76 USD. If you are going to Koh Tao with a group of friends or family, you might want to consider their beachfront VILLA with a private pool and 2 bedrooms for 426 USD.

View Point Resort Koh Tao

View Point Resort is located in Chalok Baan Kao on the southern part of the island. Their philosophy is privacy makes for the perfect, peaceful environment for a restful and relaxing holiday. Amenities here include a gorgeous, private infinity pool with some villas, a romantic, oceanfront restaurant that serves Thai and international cuisine, Cape Bar on a grassy area overlooking the sea, and a stunning, oceanside pool. There’s also a spa and the hotel can help book activities such as diving, snorkeling, and other watersports.

Here travelers can book a Pool Villa for two people, with air conditioning and open plan, starting at 300 USD per night during high season. There are seven pool villas available. There are two Deluxe Sea View Cottages which are octagonal shaped with 180 degree views, each with a private terrace. The cottages are 130 USD a night and include breakfast. Deluxe Garden View Cottages nestled in the jungle start at just 90 USD a night with breakfast. All rooms include transfer service to the pier and free wifi.

Best Place to stay in Koh Tao

 

Mango Bay Boutique Resort

This boutique resort on the east coast of Koh Tao offers modern facilities and the peace and tranquility of the east side of the island. It’s also romantic, so it might be the perfect choice for honeymooners. These custom designed bungalows are on 24 acres of land that slopes down to the sea with beautiful views of the Gulf of Thailand. From here, the sunrise will stun all you early birds who don’t want to miss a moment of daylight on the island.

At The Rock restaurant, travelers can have tempting Thai and Western cuisine for three meals a day and Owl’s Bar is open all day for cocktails and snacks. Enjoy your cocktails on the deck terrace which has sun loungers and umbrellas right over the water. Not BY the water, but OVER the water! From here you can watch the sunset while relaxing with a cocktail. Other amenities include tour booking and a shuttle service from Mae Haad pier at 10:30 and 15:30 every day.

The spacious (dare I say huge?) villas here are built into the rocks, supported on sturdy stilts, and the balconies are beckoning for an afternoon cocktail by the sea. They are decorated in a traditional Thai style with a relaxing, spa-like vibe and modern, spacious bathrooms. The wood floors and white décor with pops of color are just stunning.

There are four different villas here to choose from, all with balconies and sea views. The villas are set in the rocky hillside giving them a dramatic appearance, but there is a small beach right beside the resort, easily accessible by walking path that is part of the property. All villas are air conditioned and there is free wifi throughout the property and in all villas. Prices during high season start at 80 USD for an Ocean View Villa for two people. Other villas are more expensive, but not by much, and can accommodate three people.

There are many reasons why this is a top pick for Koh Tao even though it’s on the more remote east side of the island. Check out their website, look at the pictures, and you will understand why.

Koh Tao Area Guide

 

Koh Tao is about 115 kilometers from Surat Thani on the mainland. It is 3.4 kilometers at its widest point, and only 7.6 kilometers long. The coastline is steep and rocky in most places. There are eleven bays, ten capes, and there is a stunning coral reef that spans eight kilometers. One of the reasons the island is so beautiful is because most of it is mountainous and only about a third of it is flat. It is lush and green with beautiful beaches and calm bays.

The tide on Koh Tao is diurnal. I don’t know about you, but I had to look that up. It means Koh Tao has one low tide and one high tide on each tidal day. The water around Koh Tao and its neighbor island, Koh Nang Yuan, is about 30 to 40 meters deep, making it one of the top diving destinations in the world.

West Coast

There are two villages on Koh Tao’s west coast – Mae Haad and Sairee. The western part of the island has a gradual slope to the sea and the villages are located in the flat areas. The eastern part of the island has steep cliffs, prime for rock climbing.

Sairee has almost two kilometers of beautiful, white sandy beach, and on a clear day, you can see the mainland from here. The beach is in a protected bay so it is largely unaffected by strong winds and rough water during the rainy season. With beach bars and dive shops and restaurants amid the palm trees, Sairee beach is ideal for relaxation and even during peak season, you can find space for your towel in the sand.

From Sairee, there is a coral reef just ten meters from shore, ideal for snorkeling. More about this in another section. It is advisable to wear water shoes or wet suit socks when snorkeling here.

Mae Haad is the first beach people see when they arrive on Koh Tao, but for the most part, it is too built up for swimming and relaxing. This is where the ferries arrive, making it less than peaceful, but there are some sun worshippers at the far end by Sensi Paradise Resort. Overall, most people move on from here once arriving at the island.

South

There is a village in the south of the island called Chalok Baan Kao. It is the southernmost point on the island and the second most popular beach because of the shallow, calm, clear water. It’s smaller than Sairee without as many businesses, but it has everything you need such as dive shops, convenience stores, ATMs, even travel agents. There is also a good selection of restaurants and bars, as well as accommodation.

It’s easy to get here from Mae Haad as the road is good and there are always longtail boats to bring you here from the pier. Because of all the boat traffic, the water at the western end of the beach is not always so clear, so hang out by the eastern end.

Surrounding Areas to Visit

 

Koh Tao may look like it’s all alone in the Gulf of Thailand, but it isn’t. Surrounding islands and the mainland are just a short boat ride away. Here are some nearby places that are definitely worth exploring if you’re using Koh Tao as a home base for your holiday.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is larger than Koh Tao and offers more activities. There are many natural and man-made attractions to keep you busy during a day trip from Koh Tao, or for a long time if you’re planning to stay a while! There’s mummified monks (What?), stunning waterfalls, and of course, Big Buddha. Every island of any size has one, right? There are some famous rock formations called Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks (Grandma and Grandpa Rocks) that you just have to see. I’m not going to tell you why. They are not just any ole rocks.

The real draw to this island is its gorgeous national park. Ang Thong Marine National Park is a tropical paradise of 42 tiny islands. There’s limestone mountains, white-sand beaches, jungles with waterfalls, and coves to discover. It’s a protected area, alive with flora and fauna that will astound you. You can snorkel, dive, and go sailing here and also relax on the beaches. Please remember that if you pack it in, you should pack it out. You can stay here in modest bungalows if it sounds like a day trip just won’t be enough.

There’s so much more to do and see here like Wat Khunaram, Ladyboy Cabaret Show, Secret Bhuddha Garden, Snake Farm, spas and restaurants, watersports, anything you can dream of on vacation is here on Koh Samui.

Koh Pha Ngan

This island is very near Koh Samui, but is not part of Ang Thong National Park. It has a small population of locals and not much of a reputation, with the exception of its full moon parties. But perhaps this is unfair to this 167 square kilometers of granite and unspoiled beauty. There is a lush jungle here and more than 20 dive sites nearby. You can also find services here like ATMs and banks, restaurants, and bars, of course. That’s what makes the Full Moon parties legendary, right? You must arrive and depart by ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui.

Chumphon Pinnacle

This incredible dive site is 11 kilometers northwest of Koh Tao and is not to be missed. Most divers agree it is the best dive site in the region. It consists of a huge pinnacle of granite and several smaller ones. Dive depth ranges from 14 meters to 36 meters. Divers will enjoy the company of giant groupers, barracudas, whale sharks, and something called a bat fish, and so much more. Visibility is excellent here, between 20 and 30 meters. People coming to Koh Tao for diving probably already have this site on their radar.

Koh Tao Beaches

 

This small island has much to offer in the way of beaches – privacy, seclusion, romance, and even in peak season, it’s not crowded.

1. Haad Sairee

This beach is in a prime location on the west side of the island, sheltered from wind and storms for the most part, making the water calm, clear, and perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sun lounging. The coral reef just ten meters from the shore is great for snorkeling, but wear some type of footwear to protect your feet, even when swimming. Be aware of longtail boat traffic, although it doesn’t disturb the beauty and appeal of this beach.

2. Chalok Baan Kao

Situated at the southern tip of the island, it faces Ang Thong National Marine Park. Water here is calm, but it is affected during the monsoon rains. A full range of tourist services are available at this beach, including ATMs, restaurants, bars, and great accommodation options. Overall, it is quieter here than in Sairee.

3. Mango Bay

Located at the northern end of the island, the water here is wide, but shallow, and it is a great location for snorkeling. The colorful coral will not disappoint. There’s also deeper areas for scuba divers. A newly opened resort and a new road make this area more accessible, but longtail boat is still the best way to get to this stunning rocky cove.

4. Nang Yuan

This beach off the northwest part of Koh Tao is actually three tiny islands that are connected by sandbars during low tide. It is privately owned, but for a 100 baht entry fee, you can come here to experience what might be the best snorkeling on the island, including an area called Japanese Gardens. There is one resort here.

5. Freedom Beach

You can reach Freedom Beach by a path from Taa Toh Lagoon on the southern end of the island. You can snorkel here to see the coral reefs in the bay and you might see some stingrays that hang out under the rocks here. Just a few minutes south of here is a hidden inlet that you can paddle to if you want your own secluded hideaway. There is some accommodation here.

6. Hin Wong Bay

Located on the east side of Koh Tao, people come here to explore the vibrant marine life residing near a 30-meter-tall pinnacle that rises from the ocean floor to just below the surface of the water. This is mostly a beach for divers. There is no accommodation here.

7. Thian Og Bay

There is accommodation here at this beach at the southern end of the island. It’s known as Shark Bay and snorkelers here can swim with black tip sharks which can be up to two meters long, but they are harmless. Remember, you should never try to touch the wildlife. This stunning beach has soft, white sand perfect for sun lounging and relaxing after swimming with the sharks.

8. Tanote Bay

Tanote Bay is on the east coast of the island and has a great range of accommodation and places to rent equipment for watersports. Offshore you’ll be awed by the sights under the water as you snorkel and above water, bars with hammocks line the shallow waters of the beach.

9. Sai Daeng Beach

This beach is located at the southeast tip of the island and is one of the most isolated on the island. There is a good, but very steep road to get here, or you can take a longtail boat. There are some bungalows you can rent and a few restaurants, but nothing much happens here, so you would have a lot of privacy and quiet time here. This picturesque beach is perfectly secluded, and diving is also available here.

10. Ao Leuk Bay

This spot is perfect if you’re new to diving and want to practice. There’s also great snorkeling here and you can rent equipment. The accommodation here is limited but excellent, but there’s no real beach. See Baan Talay Koh Tao in Where to Stay in Koh Tao.  Diving and snorkeling are fantastic here.

11. Laem Thian

You can get here via a path from Sairee Village, and it’s on the east coast of the island. The resort and restaurant are closed, but there’s great snorkeling opportunities here. The rocky surroundings are quite picturesque and secluded.

General Tips for Koh Tao Travel

 

Responsible and Respectful Tourism

On any island, anywhere in the world, waste disposal is always an issue. On Koh Tao, there is a unique organization that is trying to solve this problem. Trash Hero Koh Tao is on a mission to create a community project involving locals and visitors to remove waste from the island and prevent it from accumulating by changing people’s behavior. They want to create sustainable, environmentally friendly ways of not only disposing of waste, but of preventing it.

Trash Hero Koh Tao does this through action and awareness campaigns that include picking up trash, educating people about the negative effects of trash on the environment, and sustainable projects that help communities with waste management and reduction.

The concept is very simple. Volunteer, see trash, pick it up, dispose of it properly, and don’t create more. Each week, a time and location are designated where volunteers can show up to help. Since September 2015, over 5000 volunteers have stepped up to eliminate over 10 metric tons of waste from beaches on Thailand and Indonesia. This is not only happening on Koh Tao, but all over the country and in Indonesia.

For more information, you can check out Trash Hero Koh Tao here

http://www.welovekohtao.com/koh-tao-tourist-information/trash-hero-koh-tao/

Responsible and Respectful Driving

Be aware that there is a helmet law on Koh Tao, so always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike. If you aren’t an experienced motorbike driver or you don’t have experience driving a car in a place where locals view traffic rules as more like guidelines, I recommend hiring a taxi, walking, or riding a bike around the island. Driving here is not like driving at home and it’s not for the faint of heart.

There is not much traffic on the island, but there are enough cars that you need to be cautious, especially when driving on the roads that are not as developed as the main road. Be aware of the traffic laws before renting a car. Don’t drive above the speed limit.

Internet Cafes

Many hotels and resorts now offer free wifi, even in the rooms. Many internet cafes are located on the island for people who don’t have computers. Internet speed on the island is reasonable, and certainly sufficient for checking email, but it’s not always reliable. Loss of power and internet service disruptions are not that common, but also not entirely unexpected.

Coworking/Digital Nomads/Expat Living

 

KoHub Coworking/Digital Workspace for Digital Nomads

 

Koh Tao has one coworking space so far, but it is a great one. TAOHUB supplies the best wifi on the island for those who have to do a bit of work when they are not enjoying the beaches and island life. They also supply free coffee and water, not to mention Moe’s hibiscus iced tea.

TAOHUB

 

TAOHUB is a community of local expats, vacationing business people, entrepreneurs, and local business people. They offer bike rentals, business startup for those looking to start a business on Koh Tao, and accommodation. They are always at your service and are open 24/7.

Accommodation options range from 15000 baht to 40,000 baht per month and you can choose from a studio with kitchen, two room apartments with a terrace, two-bedroom apartment, a two-room apartment on the hill, and, wait for it, two bedrooms with a private pool and sea view. Bungalows are also available, but prices for these are not on their website.

The facilities offer air conditioned meeting rooms, a big terrace, garden space, and lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance. The space is clean, organized, modern, and spacious. Social events are also planned for those who don’t spend all of their time on their computer.

Rates at TAOHUB run 250 baht per day, 1000 baht per week, and 3000 baht per month.

https://taohub.asia/

Expat Living

There are a surprising number of expats living on Koh Tao, mostly working in the diving or property management industry, managing resorts, and owning or managing restaurants. Expats don’t earn the big salaries like they would in other locations, but because of the low cost of living, the money they earn on Koh Tao goes a long way and they can certainly save for the future.

Expats can enjoy the convenience of big supermarkets or local fresh markets for those who like to cook at home. Eating out local style is super cheap, and even international cuisine is very affordable. A budget of about 10,000 baht a month can easily cover food and drink, and about 5000 a month will cover a scooter rental.

A basic bungalow with a Thai style kitchen that is not on the beach can run from 4000 to 15,000 baht a month. More villas and developments are being built for expats who are looking for more luxury for the long term. Koh Tao is an easy place for foreigners to live with an increasing number of imported goods, excellent services and infrastructure, many international restaurants, excellent communication and internet services.

A Budget for Every Traveler

The quality of accommodation and restaurants has improved in recent years on Koh Tao, and while this did cause an increase in prices, Koh Tao is still one of the most affordable island destinations in Thailand and in the world. No matter what your budget is, you can have a unique and memorable holiday on Koh Tao.

Budget

For a backpacker or budget traveler, a budget of 1500 baht per day (about 42 USD) will get you a fan bungalow and some great local food. A dorm room in a hostel is even cheaper, probably by half. If you want air conditioning and international cuisine, then 1500 baht is not realistic. This doesn’t include any transportation or costs for activities such as diving and snorkeling.

Alcohol on Koh Tao costs about 40 to 100 baht for a beer and cocktails range from 100 to 600 baht, so this can really raise per day expenditures if you’re not paying attention.

Midrange

A midrange traveler can get by on 2000 to 5000 baht (55 to 150 USD) per day including accommodation with air conditioning and some upscale restaurant meals, including drinks. International cuisine on the island is very reasonably priced compared to other locations in Thailand, but local cuisine will always be the least expensive option whether you’re buying street food or sitting in an upscale Thai restaurant.

High End/Luxury

Luxury is surprisingly easy to come by on Koh Tao, and as with other Thai islands, it is incredibly cheap during low season. For luxury accommodation during high/peak season, you can pay about 4000 to 9000 baht (120 to 250 USD) per night and get a beautiful, luxurious room that feels like true indulgence.

The good news is, even for luxury travelers, accommodation is really the only big money you will spend. Upscale dining on the island can still be inexpensive and feel indulgent.

Again, this doesn’t include any activities you might want to participate in on the island, nor does it include transportation like longtail boats.

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The Ultimate Pattaya Travel Guide http://muaythaipros.com/pattaya-travel-guide/ http://muaythaipros.com/pattaya-travel-guide/#respond Wed, 03 May 2017 22:07:52 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14901 Introduction – Why go to Pattaya? Just 147 kilometers southeast of Bangkok lies Pattaya. It’s location on the Gulf of Thailand means it has optimal weather, location, and beaches for all types of travelers, from families to couples to solo travelers. Its relaxed atmosphere appeals to everyone, and the lively nightlife attracts partygoers galore. But Pattaya […]

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Introduction – Why go to Pattaya?

Just 147 kilometers southeast of Bangkok lies Pattaya. It’s location on the Gulf of Thailand means it has optimal weather, location, and beaches for all types of travelers, from families to couples to solo travelers. Its relaxed atmosphere appeals to everyone, and the lively nightlife attracts partygoers galore. But Pattaya is beginning to grow out of its reputation as a sleazy party town and now has a lot more to offer.

Those looking for watersports won’t be disappointed. Diving, snorkeling, and even fishing are popular here and Pattaya is a great home base for experiencing the sea life in Thailand. If you have kids, they will love the amusement parks and museums featuring not-so-common sights. There’s also golf, botanical gardens, and of course, great beaches.

Pattaya became popular in the 1980s and it has been popular ever since. The beaches are never empty, the nightlife is legendary, and entertainment options are much more varied than they used to be. It’s no longer such a “seedy” tourist destination. It’s the closest beach town to Bangkok, which is why it became so popular in the first place. But travelers quickly realized they weren’t just beaches of convenience. Beaches here are beautiful (most of them…) and there’s lots to do and see in the area.

This town boasts great accommodation, food, shopping, nightlife, and culture. It’s easy to get around and locals are friendly and helpful. There’s still a side of Pattaya that families and many travelers will want to avoid, but there’s also an increasing number of cultural attractions and family-friendly beaches, as well as international cuisine.

If you’re short on time and don’t want to spend time getting to Phuket or other south Thailand destinations for some R & R, Pattaya is a great option. Even if you have plenty of time to spend in Thailand, this beach town is a great place to stop before heading further south. English is widely spoken, it’s easy to get around, and you can be as busy or as laid-back as you want to be.

 

When to Go to Pattaya

 

Is there a bad time to go to Pattaya? Some would say no, and I would probably agree. However, there are actually different seasons in Pattaya. Hot, hotter, and hot and wet. Here’s the lowdown on the best time to visit Pattaya.

Cool Season (High Season) – November to February

Weather during these months is mostly dry with low humidity. The sea is calm, so swimming, diving, snorkeling, and other water sports can be enjoyed with relative ease. Highs top out at about 31 degrees Celsius and lows around 21 degrees.  With little rainfall, it is an ideal time to enjoy sun and sand.

Hotel prices will be at their peak, especially in December and January, and the beaches could get crowded. Even though hotel prices max out, they still book up quickly so be sure to make reservations well in advance. I must say though, that competition keeps prices quite reasonable and customer service is premium. Traffic can also be a bit of a problem during high season.

December means the rainy season is mostly gone and tourist numbers increase every day, especially for the New Year’s celebrations. Thailand is a Buddhist country primarily, but they do celebrate Christmas. Retail shops take advantage of the tourist numbers and decorate their shops. New Year’s Eve is one of the most popular holidays in Thailand. There are lots of fireworks and no shortage of celebrations.

January probably has the best weather of the year with little rain and very low humidity, but warm temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius are perfect for enjoying the water. With so many tourists, the nightlife is rocking.

Hot Season – March to May

These are the hottest months in Pattaya with temperatures averaging about 33 degrees Celsius most days. Nights are fairly comfortable with temperatures around 25 to 27 degrees. It’s not only hot, but it can get really humid. There is almost always a breeze coming off the sea, but it doesn’t always provide relief from the heat. Near the end of April and into May, it’s possible to get rain that does actually help to relieve some of the discomfort of the heat.

Hotel prices are lower than they are during high season and tourist numbers drop, but there’s still a lot of action to be found and lively nightlife, and you definitely will not be alone on the beaches.

April is when the Thai people celebrate Songkran, a water festival meant to celebrate the beginning of the Thai New Year. It is possible you could get doused with water by a complete stranger who thinks everyone is celebrating, even the tourists. Book early for accommodation and flights because both will sell out quickly during the celebrations.

Low Season (Rainy Season) – June to October

Average temperatures are about the same as they are during the hot season. Tourist numbers drop considerably during this season. Travelers can find super cheap package holiday deals during this time, but so can couples and solo travelers, and there are big hotel discounts available. It’s possible to find discounts of more than 50% on hotels, especially during October which is one of the wettest months of the year. Luxury resorts and hotels will be competing for your business, offering insane deals.

The pros are that the crowds are gone and there’s a more relaxed atmosphere and a slower pace of life, with lots of options still available at night for partygoers and even plenty of time in the sun for beach lovers. Even in October, you won’t be lonely for the company of other tourists in Pattaya.

The big downside during these months is that the water becomes choppy and may not be ideal for diving or other water sports.

June is the best month to visit Pattaya during the low season. While it might rain, showers are short. Conditions are not ideal for scuba diving, which is a down side. July is much like June in terms of weather and tourist numbers.

 

How to Get There

 

By Plane

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport is about 110 km from Pattaya and the highway makes getting to Pattaya quite easy. A metered taxi from the airport has an official price of 1050 baht one way plus 60 baht for tolls on the expressway and it takes about 1 hour 45 minutes if traffic is good. However, I did see another website that said 1200 baht plus tolls on an official tourism website for Thailand.

Don Muang Airport in Bangkok isn’t as easily accessible from Pattaya, but you can fly Nok Air, One-Two-Go, PB Air and Thai Airways to this airport, and then get a taxi or bus to Pattaya.

U-Tapao Airport is only 30km south of Pattaya and the drive from here takes about 45 minutes. You can really only fly here on Bangkok Airways from Ko Samui.

By Train

Monday through Friday you can get a train from Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok to Pattaya. It’s 3rd class with no air conditioning, but the ride isn’t that long. It departs at 6:55 and arrives at 10:30. This ride only costs 31 baht!

Pattaya Train Station is in the north and there are loads of minibuses and motorbike taxis ready and waiting to take you where you need to go. If you want to depart from here to go back to Bangkok, you must buy a ticket beforehand. The ticket office opens at 8:00 and closes at 16:00. The train back to Bangkok departs at 14:20.

By Bus

There are many buses from Bangkok to Pattaya each day. They have both air conditioned and non-air conditioned buses. Departures are from Eastern Bangkok Bus Terminal (Ekamai) as well as Mo Chit 2 and Suvarnabhumi Airport. Some of the buses from the airport will take you directly to your hotel and run from 5:30 to 18:30.

Fares are about 250 baht from the airport, 400 for the buses direct to the hotels (what a bargain!), and from Morchit or Ekkamai only 135 baht. Drive time is only about 2 – 3 hours. These prices are all for buses with AC.

By Car

You can reach Pattaya from Bangkok in about 2 hours by car.  There are numerous car rental agencies in the airport, but I’d recommend reserving one in advance, no matter what season you go, in order to lock in the best price. Prices will be similar to those in other countries.

 

Best Things to Do and See in and around Pattaya 

 

Pattaya has a reputation for being less than desirable for tourists who aren’t in Thailand looking for partying and girls, but there’s actually sights to see and lots of things to do around this area, as well as some pretty nice beaches that I mention in a later section of this guide. Check out some of the attractions and activities you can do in Pattaya.

1. Sanctuary of Truth Temple

This truly unique structure is built entirely of untreated teakwood. It’s a temple that tells the story of the importance of philosophy, art, and religion. It shows how these three things affect human development and how there are consequences of neglecting morality. No irony lost there, huh? Because the wood isn’t treated, by the time one section is finished, another section needs to be replaced. It is in a constant state of restoration. This monument to morality in the most unlikely location in Thailand is open from 8:00 to 18:00.

 2. Pattaya Floating Market

A floating market in Thailand is always a fun, cultural experience. This one is known as the “Four Regions Floating Market” because of the four sections that represent the four regions of Thailand. It’s over 100,000 sq meters of authentic Thai food, produce, arts and crafts, clothes, and there are even cultural shows. Some vendors really do float in traditional Thai boats, while others are part of a “stilted village” connected by bridges over the canals. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss, even if you did experience the floating markets in Thailand.

3. Tiffany Cabaret Show

This show is in a theater that quite spectacular with its fake marble lobby. It’s almost as sparkly as the costumes. These performers wear elaborate gowns and headdresses and even some skimpy swimwear. But this is not a sex show. It’s a comedy, dance, and pure entertainment spectacle. They perform everything from Bollywood to Korean fan dances to dances illustrating China’s past. This highly entertaining show is performed every night at 18:00, 19:30, and 21:00.

4. Wat Phra Yai Temple and Big Buddha

This 18-meter-tall Big Buddha sits atop Pratumnak Hill. You can’t miss it. It’s between Jomtien Beach and Pattaya Beach and it is the largest Buddha in this part of Thailand. It is the pride and joy of Wat Phra Yai, which was built in the 40s when there was nothing here but a fishing village. There’s usually a bit of a crowd here as locals come here to pray and tourists come to see it, but it’s still pretty peaceful up there on top of the hill looking down on Jomtien Beach.

5. Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

This garden is 2.4 sq kilometers of incredible displays of flowers and landscaped gardens that rival any other in the world. The people who create this masterpiece have won several international awards for their unique designs such as 17th century French gardens, a model of Stonehenge, and almost lifelike topiaries. There’s also cactus and tropical plants and trees. There are over 670 species of orchids! It’s open from 8:00 to 18:00 on Sukhumvit Road in Jomtien.

6. Pattaya Viewpoint

Khao Pattaya Viewpoint is at the top of Pratumnak Hill and day or night, you’ll get a great photo from this viewpoint. If you’ve seen pictures of the crescent shaped bay of Pattaya, this is where those photos were taken. This place isn’t exactly a secret, so you can count on seeing hawkers selling their wares and other tourists taking pictures. Just wait for the bus tourists to leave after a few minutes, and you’ll have a few moments of peace up here.

7. Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark 

Didn’t bring the kids along to Pattaya? Who cares! This awesome waterpark is fun for everyone. It is the largest waterpark in Thailand and has 30 rides, not to mention awesome waterslides! There are Disney-style mascots, shows, and a food court. It’s divided into sections for little kids, teenagers, and older kids and adults. It’s about 20 minutes drive from Pattaya Beach. The whole family can spend a day here enjoying the Cartoon Network themed rides. It’s open from 10:00 to 18:00 and is located in Jomtien. It’s a bit pricey at 1800 baht for foreigners and 1200 baht for locals and those with a Thai ID.

8. Art in Paradise 

This non-traditional art gallery takes art to a whole new level. Visitors can actually interact with the art and create optical illusions that make great photos. The museum even designates the best spots to stand in order to have your photo taken. It’s open from 9:00 to 21:00 and is located in North Pattaya.

9. Thai Cooking Classes

There are many cooking classes to choose from in Pattaya, and if you love Thai food as much as I do, you might be tempted to try them all! In Pattaya you can choose a beginner course, a master chef course, or any level in between. You’ll learn about ingredients, flavor balance, and cooking techniques. They are available all year. Here are three of the most highly recommended cooking schools in Pattaya.

Pattaya Cookery School – This school received a highly prized award from the Ministry of Education of Thailand in both 2011 and 2014. Here you’ll learn about ingredients, techniques, menu preparation and even how to order Thai food at restaurants. The courses offered are Thai and European cookery, Thai dessert, Bakery, and Fruit & Veg Carving, and don’t miss out on the cocktail course! Courses are in English and Thai and are limited to 10 people. Students will experience hands-on cooking and you’ll receive recipes in English. Cost is 1900 baht per person for a three-hour class.

Happy Chef School of Thai Cookery – This cooking school began in 2007. Each student will be spoiled with their own work station that includes all of the equipment you need to make traditional Thai food, including a wok. There is a 5-day course with 4 dishes each if you’re really into learning ingredients and techniques. Each day you have 25 dishes to choose from! You can schedule classes anytime. Classes run about 2 hours at 11:00 and 1:00 each day. It’s located on Central Pattaya Road, Soi 9. Classes are 1000 baht, but if you take all five, the last class is free!

10. Muay Thai Camp

There are numerous Muay Thai gyms in Pattaya in both the north and south. Here are three recommendations. Muay Thai facilities in Pattaya seem to get really mixed reviews, so you might want to do your research before deciding. There are many more gyms in Pattaya besides the three mentioned here, but not all have websites.

Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee Muay Thai Gym – This gym still follows the values of traditional Muay Thai, but caters to foreigners. They have good training partners, including Sudsakorn himself. He will even help the foreigners, which is unusual for someone so famous. They are somewhat limited on space, but have two boxing rings and some decent equipment. Morning sessions are from 5:00 to 8:00 and afternoons from 16:00 to 19:00. One session is 300 baht, two sessions 600 baht, one week 3000 baht, and one month 12,000 baht.

Fairtex Pattaya Gym – This gym is modern and clean. It has more tourists than other gyms in Pattaya as a result, and lots of space to accommodate them. It has around 10 trainers there on a regular basis including Yodsanklai, a famous Muay Thai superstar, but he doesn’t work with the foreigners. It has four boxing rings, but a somewhat mass-produced factory atmosphere. It’s not that traditional, but if you’re in the area and looking to train a few times, it’s fine. Morning sessions are 8:00 to 10:00 and afternoons from 14:30 to 17:00. One session is 800 baht and two sessions are 1200 baht. It’s pricey, but some foreigners prefer the clean and well-equipped facility and are willing to pay for it.

Sitjaipetch Camp – This camp is located next to Jomtiem Beach and it’s owned by the best Muay Thai fighter to come out of Ireland. His name is Craig O’Flynn and he’s a world champion. Craig works with fighters on technique and corrects their mistakes. Lots of foreigners train here, some attempting to be professionals, so it has a serious training atmosphere. I was unable to find specific information about their training times and prices as they don’t seem to have a website.

 

Best Places to Eat in Pattaya

 

1. The Glass House $$ – $$$$

Located in Na Jomtien, this restaurant is a stunner. It is literally a glass house set amidst the trees with comfortable and classy outdoor furniture. The Glass House features seafood and steaks, served with gorgeous sunsets. It’s out of town and a bit secluded, giving it a very romantic vibe. The Glass House is air-conditioned. It serves more than 170 Thai and western dishes and is rumored to have the best seafood in Pattaya. Cocktails on the sofas by the beach are a perfect way to end an evening. Open from 11:00 to 24:00. Mains from 170 – 380 baht.

2. Mum Aroi $$ – $$$$

Mum (Moom) Aroi is north of town in the middle of several fishing communities. They have amazing fresh seafood and it’s so good, even the locals come here. The beachfront property with around 100 tables even has a live band that starts up around 20:00. Their seafood is very reasonably priced and of a high standard. The spicy papaya salad with crab is highly recommended. It’s open from 11:00 – 23:00 on Naklua Road. Mains run between 150 – 420 baht. 

3. Rimpa Lapin $$ – $$$

Located at the top of a cliff in Jomtien, this Thai restaurant has the best views around and some of the best local cuisine in Pattaya. It’s owned by an international couple who knows Thai and fusion cuisine. Stir-fried rock lobster, baked shrimp with cheese, and Rimpa chicken are popular with patrons. You might need to make a reservation around sunset and you need private transport to get here as buses can’t climb up here. Mains run from 150 – 400 baht. Open from 14:00 – 24:00.   

4. Leng Kee $$ – $$$

This Chinese restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists, especially the duck dishes. It’s open day and night and it’s never empty. There’s seating inside and out. It’s located in Central Pattaya Beach and has fast service, great prices, good food, and satisfies those cravings you get in the wee hours after a night out on the town. It might not be modern, but it’s clean and serves up great food. Open 24- hours. Mains from 100 – 300 baht.  

5. La Baguette $$ – $$$

Open 8:00 – 24:00, this excellent bakery located in the Woodlands Hotel & Resort makes homemade breads, cakes, and other sweets, as well a vast selection of sandwiches and savory dishes. The quality is excellent. There is a restaurant attached to the bakery that is modern and chic. Best of all, they have fantastic coffee and ice cream. The bakery is great for snacks and desserts, but not so much for a full meal. Dishes run from 160 – 290 baht.    

6. Thepprasit Market $

This market sells a lot more than kitsch and clutter. Even if you’re not on a tight budget, the cheap and tasty food at this night market is a must-experience. It’s located at Thepprasit and Sukhumvit. Open from 16:00 – 22:00. Dishes range from about 30 – 80 baht.  

7. The Coffee Club Royal Garden Plaza $$ – $$$

This highly rated coffee house serves up lunch, dinner, and late night goodness. It’s open from 6:30 – 22:00 on the ground floor of the Royal Garden Plaza. They serve bacon and eggs and breakfast all day, a great cappuccino, and it’s clean and comfy. Not the cheapest coffee in town, but it is said to be the best. 

 

How to Get Around Pattaya

 

There is no shortage of transportation options on Pattaya. Here are some options that will certainly get you where you want to be.

Motorbike Rentals

For about 150 – 200 baht a day, you can get a motorbike for rent from one of the many agencies in town. This is a great way to get around Pattaya. Both automatic and manual gear are available. The law isn’t really clear about whether or not tourists need a motorbike license, but most likely a driver’s license is enough. Tourists will be asked to leave their passport. Motorbike insurance doesn’t exist, so don’t fall for that. I’m not sure about third-party insurance, but be warned, there is no recourse if the bike is stolen. They will want you to pay for it.

Everyone is required to wear a helmet by law and you’ll likely be pulled over and fined if you don’t. The roads are not in great shape and traffic laws are loosely interpreted by locals. Be careful!

Car Rentals

Some of the major rental car companies like Hertz, Avis, and Budget are located at the airport in Bangkok. There are also many local companies that might offer cheaper rates, but some people like to rent from a major company they trust. There are car rental companies in Pattaya and prices run about 600 baht per day for an older car and 1500 baht per day for a newer model.

Long term rentals are more reasonably priced. Just be aware that sometimes driving in Pattaya can be frustrating due to traffic jams, especially on holiday weekends and rush hours.

You are required to have an international driver’s license and must wear your seatbelt. There could be police checkpoints, so don’t get caught without your seatbelt on. If you’re in an accident, refer everything to insurance and do not take responsibility. Do not move your car. Call the insurance company and WAIT for them to arrive!

Taxi

There are no metered taxis in Pattaya, but they do bring people from the airport. If you see one with no passenger, it is possible to flag them down. If you’re going out of town, car services and non-metered taxis might be a better choice. Your hotel can probably arrange one for you, or a travel agency definitely can. It is more expensive than chartering a songtaew for your group.

Buses

Bus service is a bit limited in Pattaya. There are 3 routes, but they don’t run as regularly as songtaews. They cover just the main streets of Pattaya, Naklua, and Jomtien. They are color coded in red, yellow, and green as well as numbers. All of the routes begin at Big C Supermarket and one trip is 20 baht. Route information and maps are located in most hotels and you can also get them from the driver.

Motorbike Taxi

While this might be the fastest way around town, it is certainly not the safest. They have stations, but you can also flag one down on the road. How can you identify a motorbike taxi from all the other motorbikes? They wear a vest uniform with a number on the back. The color indicates their station. Trips around town can cost around 30 – 40 baht.

Songtaew (Minibus)

The meaning of songtaew is “two rows”, which describes this mode of minibus transport. In Pattaya, the songtaews are blue trucks with a canopy and they can be found everywhere in Pattaya. The ones on Sukhumvit Road are actually white and they go to Sri Racha and Sattahip. Just wave them down. To get off, push the buzzer. You should ask where the songtaew is headed before boarding because the routes can vary. For short destinations, expect to pay around 10 baht. Longer routes are around 20 baht, like Jomtien to Naklua. You can charter one for a private group as well, but agree on a price beforehand.

Bicycle

Pattaya is very bike friendly and this is a great way to get around.  It’s good for the environment, good for you, and it’s super cheap! Most bike rentals are at rental shops, or you can buy one from a strip mall or hypermarket, but they may not be very good quality. Hotels and resorts sometimes provide them for their guests.

 

Where to Stay in Pattaya

 

Pattaya is a definitely a city, and while it may not be as large as Bangkok, it has to accommodate huge numbers of tourists every year. The variety of accommodation is astounding and there is certainly something for every budget. In Pattaya, you may get more than you expect for the price you pay, but you should research neighborhoods and make sure your hotel is in a place that suits your needs. Certain areas can be particularly seedy, but that is not a reason to avoid this city that has much to offer.

As I mentioned in the area guide, Pattaya is basically divided into north, middle, and southern sections, so I have tried to recommend accommodation in each, although the north is primarily upscale luxury resorts.

 

Budget $10 – $70 per night

 

Competition in this price range is pretty fierce, so you will get a lot if you’re willing pay just 100 or 200 baht more per night than the average backpacker hostel.

Tsix5 Hotel Pattaya

For 48 USD (1700 baht) a night, this 4 Star hotel in Naklua in North Pattaya is a great value for the price, offering many amenities you might not expect in this price range. They have 78 guestrooms equipped with air conditioning, free wifi, fridge, flat screen TV, and private terrace. Rooms are spacious, ranging from 35 to 48 sq meters, and modern (dare I say chic?), decorated mostly in black and white with walls of teal or red. Bathrooms are also spacious and modern with a separate tub and shower. A safe is also available in the room for your valuables.

Facilities at this hotel include 2 restaurants, beautiful outdoor pool, fitness center, spa, garden, and more. Breakfast is available and included with every room type except deluxe. The pool is large with comfy sun beds and some umbrellas creating a social and relaxing vibe to enjoy a drink and a book while you work on your tan.

Tara Court Hotel

Tara Court is located in Central Pattaya on Pratumnak Road, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better value anywhere in the city. Wait until you see what you can get for around 38 USD a night during high season. This 3.5 Star hotel has 66 rooms that range from 33 to 85 USD a night, depending on type of room and season. They offer studios, 1 bedroom suites, and luxury 2 bedroom suites. Even a studio has a seating area and kitchenette that is modern and very well equipped. I’ve had apartment kitchens that weren’t as nice!

Rooms are very spacious at 68 – 108 sq meters. They are clean and modern with fresh décor and large bathrooms. Room amenities include free wifi, air conditioning, microwave and fridge in the well-appointed kitchen.

Hotel services and amenities include free wifi, restaurant and bar, fitness center, room service, and a cool, modern looking pool with relaxing sun beds, some under a shaded awning, and you’ll have some pretty nice views of Pattaya from the pool as it sits on Pratumnak Hill. They provide airport transport, free parking, and laundry service. The Irish owner takes pride in a clean, modern hotel and great service. And the bar? Definitely comfortable with a friendly, Irish atmosphere.

 

Midrange $70 – $130 per night

 

Rabbit Resort

Located in Jomtien which is popular with tourists, this resort gets consistently high ratings online and offers a lot for just 120 USD a night during high season. I checked prices for February. The rooms here are scattered over the wooded property making them very private, and it’s right on the beach so you can enjoy a swim in the morning before the crowds come. Owners are on the property most of the time and actually spend time making sure their guests are happy.

This hotel consists of 49 beach villas (villas, not rooms!) and it is built like a traditional Thai village with modern amenities. It is officially located on Dongtan Beach, just a 10 minute Jeep ride to downtown Pattaya. The environmentally conscious construction of the buildings is actually really beautiful. Villas have air conditioning and a fridge, as well as a kitchenette, free wifi is throughout the property and in the rooms. Breakfast is included.

Property amenities include a stunning pool surrounded by lush gardens, and a restaurant and bar. The pool is a perfect place to enjoy an after-dinner cocktail, or even a morning one… Parking is free and they even offer babysitting services and a shuttle bus into Pattaya City. They also allow dogs if you want to bring your furry companion on a well-deserved holiday. Rates range from 105 to 160 USD a night depending on type of room and season.

Jomtien Beach Penthouses, Pattaya

This 3.5 Star hotel is one of the highest rated hotels online in Pattaya’s Jomtien Beach, and it is a great value for the money. There are 60 rooms over 8 floors. They are deluxe studio, deluxe 2 bedroom apartment, superior 1 bedroom suite, and 3 bedroom penthouse with PRIVATE POOL! Wow! I’m not going to tell you just yet how much the penthouse costs.

These spacious, well-appointed rooms are clean and modern with stylish décor and large, modern bathrooms. Room amenities include free wifi, air conditioning, LCD TV, fully equipped modern kitchen with full-size fridge, and a lovely balcony for enjoying your morning coffee.

Hotel amenities include a gorgeous outdoor pool with striking blue tiles, fitness center, and laundry service. The one downside to this hotel is that there is no restaurant, or at least if it has one, it isn’t mentioned. But with the super nice kitchens and daily housekeeping, making your own yummy breakfast is not such a chore.

So how much for all this? A 1 bedroom suite is 70 USD per night, deluxe 2 bedroom apartment is 125 USD a night, and the penthouse? Well, I suppose it is a bargain of sorts at 330 USD a night. It is 200 sq meters and has 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, a lovely seating area outside with a great view, choice of beds (double or king), and washer/dryer. But the real kicker is the pool. This private pool is no kiddy pool. It’s got a deck right off the seating area with loungers and a great view of the Gulf of Thailand.

 

High $130 + per night

 

The Monttra Pattaya

This tranquil and slightly secluded 4 Star hotel will make you feel like you’ve left civilization and the busy streets of Pattaya behind. Actually, you have! But the city is just a few minutes away. The Monttra Pattaya is located at a cliff-top on a white sand beach (not sure how that’s possible, but that’s what the description says, and it sure does look that way). The staff prides themselves on hospitality and service.

The 23 suites at this hotel are decorated in a modern, chic style and have air conditioning, fridge and minibar. Free wifi is in all the rooms and public areas. The bathrooms are way cool and have luxurious bathtubs and glass showers. The bamboo slats on the walls and hardwood floors add to the luxury of this very reasonably price hotel.

Hotel amenities include airport transportation, free parking, dry cleaning, restaurant and bar, spa, and let’s not forget, it is beachfront. But when you see the pool, you may never make it as far as the beach. This stunning infinity pool looks out over the beach and the Gulf of Thailand. You can watch the sun go down while relaxing in this I-never-want-to-leave pool. Prices range from 125 – 185 USD a night depending on the season. For February, I found a suite for 116 USD a night on Agoda.

Wave Hotel

I decided to review this 4 Star hotel based on two things. One, there were positive comments about customer service from nearly everyone who reviewed this property online, something many people fail to mention at all when reviewing a hotel. Two, the fantastic bathtubs and cool, modern bathrooms. It’s a boutique hotel with its own art-deco style. It’s described as Miami meets Thai modern.

Wave Hotel is located on Beach Road just minutes from Walking Street. Its beachfront location is very convenient. Room amenities include suites, air conditioning, free wifi, fridge and minibar, and breakfast is included. Always a nice touch. The décor is art deco with lots of black and white and teal. The black tile in the bathroom against the bright white of that huge tub sold me on this hotel.

Hotel amenities, in addition to the excellent service, include free parking, restaurant, bar and lounge, airport transportation, laundry and dry cleaning service, and a fantastic outdoor pool with cabana-type shade with sun loungers set in a lush garden setting. Oh, and it’s shaped like a wave. The lobby is also a unique art deco style that is definitely picture-worthy. Love it. Prices range from 145 – 220 USD per night depending on room type and season, although a deluxe room was 133 USD a night on Expedia in February.

 

Best Place to stay in Pattaya

 

Pattaya gets a lot of budget travelers at all times of year, and that’s one reason I chose a hostel as Best Place to stay in Pattaya. Another reason is the convenient location. But the main reason is that is just so cool! I was really impressed with this property.

Nonze Hostel

My first reaction to this hostel when I saw the pictures was, “Cool!” The common area looks awesome! It’s located on Beach Road in Pattaya and has an area outside for relaxing and enjoying drinks or a book. Free wifi is available in the common areas which are so cool and comfy, you might actually spend time here. Great for socializing. The more I look at it, the more I think a bit of steampunk came to Pattaya and decided to stay with his modern friends.

They have 110 box beds, not bunks, and they serve breakfast at an extra cost. There are closets in the rooms and lockers available. And there’s a wooden slide you can use to get to the common area! It’s location near Walking Street is convenient, but inside you won’t feel like you’re anywhere near it. It looks awesome from the outside as well, and it’s next to a McDonald’s.

Amenities here, in addition to a slide (!), include free wifi, towels provided, elevator, air conditioning, adaptors (yes!), hot showers, hair dryers, airport transfers, and 24 hour reception (another yes!). There’s also a restaurant on site. So how much is this super-cool hostel per night? Prices range from 18 to 31 USD a night, and the price table says breakfast is included, so you might want to ask to be sure. They accept baht, visa/mastercard, and PayPal.

 

Pattaya Area Guide 

 

Pattaya covers quite a large area, so it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with the different areas before booking accommodation. It’s easy to get around with the many transportation options available, but staying in an area that you’re comfortable with is important. Each area has something different to offer travelers to Pattaya.

North – In Thai it’s called Pattaya Neu and it begins at Dolphin roundabout in front of Dusit Resort. Of three beaches in Pattaya, this one is the quietest. It’s great for swimming. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available here, as are food stalls so there’s no need to pack a lunch.

Naklua’s upscale atmosphere and price tag could be why it is the quietest area of Pattaya. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants, but many are high-end. You can still find great nightlife here along 2nd Road, including Alcaza and Tiffany ladyboy shows. If you’re into Muay Thai, the Fairtex Sports Club & Hotel Fairtex Muay Thai Camp has a spacious, but expensive, training facility here. More about this under Best Things to Do and See in and around Pattaya.

Central – Earmarked by the golden mermaid and dolphins, you can’t miss the start of Central Pattaya when coming from the north. It’s the most popular beach and has more lodging and facilities than any other part of town. Cafes, restaurants, beer bars, and tour agencies are plentiful. You’ll be hard pressed to choose.

Attractions in this area include a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum which might be of interest to the kiddos. Yogis might enjoy California WOW gym in this area. There’s also Sitjaipetch International Muay Thai Camp offering classes for all levels. More about that in Best Things to Do and See in and around Pattaya. Lots of spas and massage parlors are here in case the beach isn’t pushing the relax button.

Nightlife in Central Pattaya is lively and plentiful, and probably non-stop. There’s everything from a Hard Rock Café, to British pubs, to icebars.

South – Pattaya Tai isn’t really the southernmost part of Pattaya, but it’s at the southern end of Pattaya Beach. It also goes inland to South Pattaya Road. Walking Street is in this area, as well as Pattayaland. The beach here is only about .5 kilometers, but along this stretch of beach there are endless shops, bars, nightclubs and restaurants. This is considered the main tourist area in Pattaya because of Walking Street.

There are some great massage parlors that offer a variety of legitimate massage services. There’s also Scorpion Muay Thai Boxing that is open to all levels, and Bira Circuit, an FIA go-kart racetrack. Scorpion gets mixed reviews from various websites, so do your research first.

Jomtien and beaches there are further south, and I will tell you about this area in Pattaya Beaches.

 

Pattaya Beaches 

 

Pattaya really only has three beaches, but each on proves to be different from the other. Here’s a description of each that might come in handy before booking your accommodation for a trip to Pattaya.

Pattaya Beach

This beach is about 4km long and crescent shaped. It’s not exactly an attractive beach for swimming. There are speedboats, jet skis, parasailing, and even floating restaurants. It’s in the center of Pattaya. Pattaya Beach Road is separated from the beach by nothing more than palm trees. This road has shopping, bars, restaurants, attractions, and a lot of partying going on. The infamous Walking Street is here along with ladyboy cabaret shows, museums, Bali Hai Pier where numerous boats and ferries dock every day.

There is an actual beach here. The northern end of the beach is more chill and relaxed, but the central and southern end are quite lively. On the beach, there are sun loungers and volleyball nets. It’s had quite a cleanup in the past few years. There are still plenty of vendors for those too lazy to leave their chairs, selling everything from drinks to beach balls to jewelry and nuts.

Jomtien Beach

This 6km long beach is a favorite of tourists and non-pervy expats. Much quieter than Pattaya Beach, it appeals more to couples, families, and foreigners who are not so fascinated by Walking Street. Here you can splash around, relax in the sand, and eat cheap seafood from local vendors. There are lots of activities if you get tired of being lazy. Take a walk around the botanical gardens, and the cultural and religious sites.

For tourists, this is the optimal neighborhood to find accommodation no matter what your budget is. This area has everything from 4 and 5 Star to budget backpacker hostels, but you’ll pay a premium if you want luxury right on the beach.

There’s more to do in Jomtien that lay around on the beach. This area has Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, Pattaya Floating Market, Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan), cabaret shows, waterparks, aquariums, Mimosa Mall for shopping and entertainment, and cultural sites and temples. It has it all, including its own lively nightlife.

Naklua & Wong Amat Beach

These beaches on the northern end of Pattaya offer beauty and plenty of 5 Star resorts who have realized the potential of this beach after many years of ignoring it. Naklua actually means “salt fields” which is an interesting industry dating back long before tourists arrived, and it is still thriving. There are also some beautiful fishing villages here, giving visitors a good taste of local, traditional ways of life.

There aren’t as many attractions here as there are in Jomtien, but you can still find plenty to do after relaxing on the beach all morning. This is a quiet, residential area, but that makes it all the better to find temples such as the teakwood Sanctuary of Truth. Muay Thai boxing is well-represented in this area, and there’s a Sheep Farm and Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile Farm for all you animal lovers. Hug the sheep, not the crocs.

Because this area is more residential and has upscale resorts, there are fewer bars and nightclubs. Families and older expats enjoy going to restaurants and low-key resort bars here at night. There are some cool live music venues here like Leo Blues Bar where a lot of expats hang out for the great live music.

 

Surrounding Areas

 

1. Coral Island

Koh Larn is just 7.5 kilometers west of Pattaya Beach and it’s an unimaginable paradise when you think of the hustle and bustle of Pattaya. The stunning turquoise waters surround this little piece of paradise and its beautiful beaches. There are no high rises, no crowds, and it is perfect for a day away from Pattaya. There are beach activities here such as parasailing and jet skiing, and even a banana boat. There are beach chairs for tanning and you can get a massage or a henna-tattoo. There are guided tours to the island that include lunch and nearby vendors sell drinks. There are also shops and restaurants here, but they are a bit pricey because it is small island.

2. Koh Samet

This island is full-service and popular with tourists and expats on weekends who want to get away from the busy streets of Pattaya and Bangkok. The sand is soft, the water turquoise and warm, and it beckons to those who want a peaceful getaway. But it also offers lots of watersports and a hopping nightlife!

Accommodation ranges from 5 Star resorts, beachfront bungalows, and luxury diggs with a view located on the cliff-top. Book well in advance if you plan to visit on a weekend. Restaurants here pride themselves on quality, whether they are in a luxury resort or serving up local cuisine on the cheap. Don’t expect to do a lot of shopping here as everything has to come from the mainland, but there are some unique items to be found.

There are lots of beaches here. If you want more seclusion and privacy, head south where the bays are beautiful and so is the empty space in the sand. Ao Phrao on the west shore is also quiet with just a handful of luxury resorts sharing the spectacular beach and bay here. Ao Hin Khok is more for the budget backpackers sporting a fun beach and inexpensive accommodation up the hill. A great option for those on a budget who want a getaway from the mainland.

3. Monkey Island Pattaya

Also known as Koh Ling, Koh Ped (Duck Island), and its official name which is Koh Klet Kaew (Crystal Shard Island), tourists just call it Monkey Island and everybody knows which island that is. It is tiny, covered in jungle, and gets its name from the macaques that eat crabs. Not sure about the name Duck Island as there are no ducks here…

The monkeys are in force by the hundreds and used to humans who enjoy feeding them and taking pictures. Because of the tourists, their numbers have exploded and there are so many monkeys now that the Royal Thai Navy has to feed them during the off season! The monkeys favor watermelon, but will eat just about any fruit. Just remember they are wild animals and while they may seem cuddly as they climb up on you to get the fruit, they can be aggressive without provocation. Let’s just say they will NOT be climbing on me!

This island and its beaches are all about the monkeys, not fun in the sun. No one sunbathes or swims here really. You’d be pestered to death by the monkeys if they weren’t the reason you came to visit this island.

4. Koh Sak

About 10km west of Pattaya lies Koh Sak. It’s very close to Coral Island, but has no residents and virtually no services. People come here for the beautiful beaches and R & R for a day away from Pattaya. There’s one small restaurant for drinks and pretty good cheap Thai food.

If you wander the path through the forested interior of the island, you’ll discover what used to be here. It used to be highly exclusive and only for the famous. Along the path you’ll see the footprints and handprints of people like the Duke of Edinburgh, various presidents of the United States, and most interesting, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin who left their already- famous footprints here after leaving them on the moon! I wonder if they look the same?

The sheltered bay is perfect for snorkeling and beginner divers. Not far off the east coast you can dive to 30 meters depth to see HTMS Kut which was once part of the Royal Thai Navy. Wonder if it bit the dust coming to feed those monkeys? You can only reach Koh Sak via speedboat for about 1000 baht per boat (holds 10 – 15 people maximum). There’s no pier, so you might have to wade the last few meters to reach the beach.

5. Koh Krok

Koh Krock is the smallest and closest island to Pattaya, and well worth visiting. It’s only 100m long, so don’t count on getting in a good run here. The eastern shore is beach and the western shore is rocky. On this stunning small beach, you’ll find beach chairs and banana boats, jet skis, but no accommodation. There simply isn’t space for it. The nearby coral is great for snorkeling, okay for diving. You have to get here via speedboat and there is a small pier.

6. Koh Phai Islands (5 in total)

Koh Phai is the largest, but all five are under the control of the Royal Thai Navy. They are 23km, or about a 2-hour speedboat ride, from Pattaya. There are no overnight stays allowed and no facilities, but it is beautiful and makes for a great day trip. You can worship the sun, snorkel around the reefs, and dive the HTMS Khram shipwreck site. You have to take a speedboat here from Bali Hai Pier. Inquire about the price at the pier.

 

Diving

 

Dive Centers in Pattaya

Many travelers might not think of Pattaya as a diver’s destination, but it is actually a prime location to learn how to dive, get certified, and explore some pretty cool dive sites. There are numerous tours and boats that can take you out to sea for day-long dive trips, giving you the chance to explore some of the surrounding islands as well. There are many dive centers in Pattaya, so I’d recommend talking to them once you arrive to see what they offer and which one meets your needs. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Mermaids Dive Center

This is the first PADI 5 Star Dive Center in Pattaya. In one day, you can actually be in the ocean diving if you participate in their PADI Discover Scuba Diving program. If you want to get a PADI license, you can do that here as well. This dive center is located in Jomtien and opened in 1990, so they have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share. They also have a training facility at Centara Grand Mirage Resort in North Pattaya.

Some of the reasons they are highly recommended are that they have 3 boats dedicated only to diving, they offer wreck diving every day, and a flexible schedule. If you’re already a diver and looking to up your game, they also offer technical and specialty dive classes. Interested in underwater photography? This is your place.

Seafari Dive Center

Seafari is located very near Beach Road in Pattaya, and they are one of the oldest dive centers in the city. They are a PADI 5 Star IDC dive center and have trained many dive instructors who are now working in Thailand. They offer dive classes for beginners and those with a lot of experience, and snorkelers can also join in on day trips through Seafari. They have the full range of PADI courses, all the way up to instructor level.

You’ll need to book at least 24 hours in advance and they will pick you up at your hotel at about 8:00. Bring your diver’s certification if you’re already certified. Boats depart at 9:00 to Pattaya Islands and Samae San Islands where divers will explore coral reefs and shipwrecks! They typically return around 16:00 to Pattaya.

To give you an idea of prices at Seafari, a Classic Pattaya Dive Trip includes 2 dives and it is 3400 baht. The Advanced Diver Wreck Trip is 4300 baht, and a 4-5 day package is 15,000 baht.

Pattaya Dive Centre

This dive center has been in the same location since they opened 15 years ago. It’s owned by David Wright who just received an award for his 25 year PADI certification. They have 3 of their own dive boats and offer daily dives. They are located on Pattaya Beach and are open from 8:00 to 21:00 every day.

Whether you’ve never dived before or have already logged several hours under the water, Pattaya Dive Centre has a course for you. They offer technical classes for those who are looking to go a step further and get a full PADI Tec Deep Diver certification. For beginners, you can earn a full 18m PADI cert within 3 -4 days.

 

General Tips for Pattaya Travel

 

Responsible and Respectful Driving

In Thailand people drive on the left side of the road. You must carry an International driver’s license if you rent a car. Wearing seatbelts is mandatory. Don’t get caught not wearing it or you may pay a fine. Don’t use a cell phone while driving unless you have hands-free.

Always be cautious of motorbikes and try to be aware when one is near. Thais don’t always follow the rules, but you should.

Coworking/Digital Workspace for Digital Nomads

There are two coworking spaces in Pattaya for dedicated digital nomads who need to get work done before (or after…) having fun.

Anchor Coworking

This super modern 500 sq meter space with a cool vibe is just what you need to get your digital groove on. It’s located in Jomtiem in South Pattaya. It is full-service with everything freelancers, independents, or even small companies need to have meetings and get stuff done. They furnish high speed internet, printers, fax machines, meeting rooms, and even a salon.

The community here has events like barcamps, conferences, polyglot club, and various workshops that might be of interest to digital nomads. They have a café as well, and are only 2 minutes from the beach in case you need to take a break. A day pass is just 250 baht, a month is 4000 baht, and a private office for a month is 12,000 baht and you can even receive mail with this option.

rPod

rPod was established in 2015. It’s a shared workplace in a residential area with easy access to Laem Chabang Sri Racha district. They have 6 rooms and 11 desks in 256 sq meters. They are located on Moo 5 Pho Samphan near the 7-Eleven. Open from 10:00 to 22:00.

If you need a desk for a day in the main space, it’s 200 baht per day or 3800 baht per month. They have clean, modern meeting rooms for 500 baht/hr, 1040 baht/.5 day or 1650 baht/day. If you need a private office for an extended period, it runs 17,000 per month.

Other amenities here include coffee and tea, mail service, they allow pets, and have a shared kitchen and shower room.

 

A Budget for Every Traveler

 

Budget

For the budget traveler, Pattaya is easy on the wallet. A dorm room in a nice hostel, although not as nice as Nonze, can run as low as 5 USD a night in a hostel that offers several amenities and a great location. If you eat like a local, not only will you have some great food, you can easily spend less than 10 USD a day, and that includes a couple of beers. Transport costs can be kept to a minimum, making your daily total for fun in Pattaya around 20 USD a day.

Midrange

Midrange accommodation can still fall into the budget range. Travelers with a budget of 50 USD a day can eat and sleep very well in Pattaya, even with transportation included unless you go the rental car route. Midrange accommodation as listed in this guide will run between 50 to 120 USD a night, so it all depends on your preference and the type of amenities you want at your hotel, although some in the 40 USD range offer great amenities like beautiful pools and modern fitness facilities.

High End/Luxury

The sky is the limit. There is so much competition for lodging in Pattaya that it keeps the price of even luxury properties in the very reasonable range. If you want to travel in high style to Pattaya, check out lodging in the Naklua area or Jomtien. You’ll get more bang for your buck and more amenities in these two areas, and you can skip out on the potentially noisy nights. High end restaurants also compete for business, providing excellent service and reasonable prices, even for seafood like lobster.

For luxury travel in Pattaya, you could easily get by on 100 – 180 USD a day including accommodation. It just depends on your taste. Luxury properties here can be as low as 100 USD a night, even during high season.

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How to Get Into Clinching Range ft. Petchboonchu http://muaythaipros.com/how-to-get-into-clinching-range-ft-petchboonchu/ http://muaythaipros.com/how-to-get-into-clinching-range-ft-petchboonchu/#respond Sat, 29 Apr 2017 05:16:19 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14874 To be effective in the clinch, you need to understand how to close the distance against your opponent. You could be the world’s best clincher, but if you can’t get into clinching range, you won’t be able to exploit your advantage. Skilled clinchers know how to close the gap and get the fight where they […]

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To be effective in the clinch, you need to understand how to close the distance against your opponent. You could be the world’s best clincher, but if you can’t get into clinching range, you won’t be able to exploit your advantage. Skilled clinchers know how to close the gap and get the fight where they have the advantage.

Moving from out of range into clinching range is a dangerous area to cross for clinchers. To get inside the clinch, you need to enter your opponent’s striking range without getting hurt in the process.

Advanced clinchers know how to close the gap and get the fight where they have the advantage.

If you don’t practice closing the gap against your opponent in training, you will find it difficult to do it in a fight. When most people practice clinching, they don’t work on closing the distance.

To be effective at closing the gap and getting into clinching range, you need to wait for the right time. Timing is everything. If you come forward at the wrong time, you can get knocked out by a hard punch.

In the following video, Petchboonchu demonstrates a few tactics he uses to get into the clinch.

Keys to Entering the Clinch

Apply Pressure

Good evasive fighters are good at utilizing footwork and movement to avoid entering the clinch. If you try to chase an evasive fighter, they will circle out and make it difficult to grab them.

To counter good footwork, it is important to understand ring control. If you can back your opponent up against the ropes, they won’t be able to back away from you. While a good fighter can still circle out, it makes it easier to close the distance.

Keep a Strong Guard

When you try to bridge the distance against your opponent, you will need to enter their striking range. Fighters who are good at elbow strikes and punches can punish clinchers moving forward trying to engage in the clinch. A strong guard will block a lot of the incoming attacks as you push into the clinch.

In the video above, Petchboonchu utilizes a strong guard and a hop step to swarm his opponent. This is a tight defensive position, and it ensures that you are protected while you are moving forward. You will notice that Petchboonchu’s guard is tight the entire time he goes for clinch entry, this is to prevent any punches or elbows from landing.

Time Your Opponent’s Strikes

An excellent opportunity to close the distance against an opponent is to wait for your opponent to hit so that you can time your clinch entry. When your opponent is striking, it can allow you to block the strike and step forward at the same time. Petchboonchu does an excellent job of timing the strikes and stepping forward in the video above.

Timing your opponent’s punches and kicks requires practice. As you block, you need to step forward from the block. If you try to block and then step forward after, your opponent can recover and strike you again.

Practice Clinch Entry in Sparring

The next time you are sparring, practice closing the distance against your opponent and entering the clinch. You don’t have to clinch with your opponent, but you can practice getting into clinch range and breaking apart after.

Working on your clinch entry in sparring is ideal because it will teach you to block incoming strikes as you are moving forward into the clinch.

Special thanks to Petchboonchu FA Group for demonstrating these clinch entry techniques. If you want to train with Petchboonchu, you can learn more by visiting Evolve Vacation

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Taking Responsibility For Your Muay Thai Development http://muaythaipros.com/taking-responsibility-for-your-muay-thai-development/ http://muaythaipros.com/taking-responsibility-for-your-muay-thai-development/#comments Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:39:30 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14828 A while ago I received an email from someone named Mike (not his real name), who was complaining about his training circumstances. Mike wasn’t happy… Without going into much detail of the email, Mike felt that his coach was not investing enough time in him. He was jealous that other people at the gym were receiving more […]

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A while ago I received an email from someone named Mike (not his real name), who was complaining about his training circumstances.

Mike wasn’t happy…

Without going into much detail of the email, Mike felt that his coach was not investing enough time in him. He was jealous that other people at the gym were receiving more attention and he wasn’t developing as much as he would have liked.

Mike believed that his Muay Thai development was the responsibility of his coach – a view that is quite common among beginners.

Now, if Mike was paying his coach a full-time salary to train him daily, then yes, the coach would have a higher burden of responsibility. However, Mike was only paying for group classes and was complaining about a lack of attention he received.

When I read this email, I was annoyed. Mike’s inability to take responsibility for his own growth is actually quite common in the world of Muay Thai.

I know plenty of people who are like Mike.

If these people lose a fight, you will hear them criticize the promoter for a bad matchup, their trainer for not preparing them for the fight, or for some mysterious food they ate that made them weak.

You will never hear them accept responsibility for a loss or give credit to their opponent for a good fight. They always have a reason or someone to blame when things don’t work out their way.

However, the moment these people win or do something right, they will credit themselves and all their hard training for everything.

Take Responsibility

Nobody will care about your growth as much as you.
You are the person who decides if you show up to training early and put in the work or don’t. Your coach can’t force you to do anything, you are the one who needs to make the commitment.

The only person responsible for your Muay Thai development is you. Your coaches/trainers are there to assist you and help you grow, but you oversee where you train, who you train with, and how you train.

I hear a lot of people blame bad trainers, gyms, and promoters for the reason why they haven’t achieved the success they desired. While there are a lot of bad trainers, gyms, and promoters out there, you can choose who you work with.

If you aren’t happy at a gym, find a new one

If you feel like your coach doesn’t care about you or you don’t like the people at your gym, move on. Don’t sit back and talk shit about other people, just move on.

You are the captain of your own ship.

You get to decide where you spend your time training. If you choose to train at a bad gym because you save a bit of money or time driving to the gym, that is your choice. But don’t bitch about how you don’t like the gym and are ‘forced’ to go there because it is cheaper.

Take Action

Instead of complaining about your circumstances, do something about it. For example, if you live in a small town that doesn’t have a real Muay Thai gym, make it your goal to train in Thailand.

Can’t afford to visit Thailand?

When I hear people complaining about not having enough money to visit Thailand, I can’t help but be skeptical. If you are going out on the weekend drinking with friends, and say you can’t afford a few thousand dollars for a trip to Thailand, you are lying to yourself.

If you are a single guy/girl and don’t have a family to feed, you have no excuses. All it takes it cutting back your expenses and pocketing a bit of extra money every month.

The same people who say they can’t afford to visit Thailand, are the people who are going out on weekends drinking with their friends.

Instead of saying you can’t to train in Thailand, just admit that you choose not to. It is not a priority for you.

Training in Thailand is cheap if you budget your money. You can find one-way flights from the U.S. for as little as $400, with training/food adding up to another $800-1000 per month.

So, if you can save up a few thousand dollars, you can afford to train in Thailand for a few months.

If there is a will there is always a way. Don’t make excuses why you can’t, just make it happen.

Become Self-Aware

Self-awareness is an important skill to have when you are developing your Muay Thai game. At any given moment, you should be able to identify specific areas of your game that need to be improved. Perhaps, specific types of opponent’s give you problems in sparring or you know that you need to keep your hands up when you spar.

Identifying areas of your game that need to be improved, is a skill that can help you take your game to another level. Instead of waiting for a coach to identify a problem area, you should be actively looking for areas of your game that you can work on.

Being critical doesn’t mean that you should tell yourself that you suck. It simply means you can look at your game from an analytical perspective and identify areas that can be improved. Just because you can improve in a specific area, does not make you bad at Muay Thai or mean you have bad technique.

No matter how long you have been training, you should always have an idea of what you can improve. This will ensure that you always have something to work on in training.

Strive to Improve

Part of taking responsibility for your own Muay Thai development means focusing on making continuous improvements. While it is easy to improve as a beginner, if you have been training for a decade, improvements are harder to come by. After years of training, we often develop specific habits which are difficult to change.

The goal of Muay Thai is to strive to improve. If you make little improvements every day, those little improvements turn into major changes over the years. People who become complacent with their Muay Thai game, end up falling into a routine and don’t improve.

By striving to be a better version of YOU, you will achieve the results that you want.

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Inside Leg Sweep from Kick Catch Ft. Petchboonchu http://muaythaipros.com/inside-leg-sweep-from-kick-catch-ft-petchboonchu/ http://muaythaipros.com/inside-leg-sweep-from-kick-catch-ft-petchboonchu/#respond Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:45:17 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14805 The Muay Thai sweep is a technique used to off balance an opponent and put them in a vulnerable position. Sweeps are great scoring techniques that look good to the judges scoring the fight. Fighters each have their variation of different sweeps that they utilize. Some fighters like to trip with the inside leg, while […]

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The Muay Thai sweep is a technique used to off balance an opponent and put them in a vulnerable position. Sweeps are great scoring techniques that look good to the judges scoring the fight.

Fighters each have their variation of different sweeps that they utilize. Some fighters like to trip with the inside leg, while others will use the outside leg. To be successful with sweeps you need to learn the art of off balancing your opponent.

If your opponent has excellent balance, it can be difficult to sweep them to the ground. Some fighters are good at balancing and punching from a caught kick, which can result in the occasional knockout.

The following video showcases an inside leg sweep demonstrated by Petchboonchu:

Keys to the Sweep

It is important for you to grab your opponent’s leg and squeeze your arm tight. Raising your arm after the grab will make it difficult for your opponent to stay balanced.

If you are a shorter fighter, it may be difficult to sweep taller opponents without closing the distance and tripping them off balance. Saenchai is an excellent example of how you can sweep taller opponents if you are a shorter fighter.

Once you grab hold of your opponent’s leg, using footwork and circling will force them to adjust to you. The footwork will help push your opponent off balance and put give you the opportunity to sweep them down.

Use your off arm to control your opponent’s leg to throw it to the ground. There are many variations of the sweep you can execute. Some fighters like to step forward after the leg catch and use their off arm to pull their opponent’s body down. In the above example, Petchboonchu uses the off arm to control my leg and throw me off balance.

The more practice you have working on your sweeps, the better you will get at learning to off balance your opponent.

Adjusting to Your Opponent

In some cases, you will not be able to execute this sweep. If that happens, quickly release your opponent’s leg and go for a quick strike. Throwing a quick strike will allow you to score points and gain the advantage on the scorecard. Many Thai fighters will grab a kick and quickly release it to hit right away. This back and forth often happens in Thailand when both fighters catch and release each other’s kicks.

It is important to understand that your opponent can punch you in the face when you grab their leg. This is why you need to be vigilant with your off arm to protect your face. When you go for the sweep, you can drop your guard momentarily, but keep in mind the dangers of having an open guard.

Special thanks to Petchboonchu for demonstrating this technique. If you want to train with Petchboonchu, you can visit him over at Evolve Vacation.

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Vitamin D Supplement Guide: The Supplement You May Be Deficient In http://muaythaipros.com/vitamin-d-supplement-guide-the-supplement-you-may-be-deficient-in/ http://muaythaipros.com/vitamin-d-supplement-guide-the-supplement-you-may-be-deficient-in/#respond Fri, 21 Apr 2017 01:00:14 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14794 Vitamin D is considered one of the 24 essential micronutrients that are required in order to sustain life. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means that the vitamin is absorbed through the fat tissue within your body, resulting in the nutrients getting carried directly into the bloodstream for consumption. Used as a supplement, Vitamin D is […]

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Vitamin D is considered one of the 24 essential micronutrients that are required in order to sustain life. Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means that the vitamin is absorbed through the fat tissue within your body, resulting in the nutrients getting carried directly into the bloodstream for consumption.

Used as a supplement, Vitamin D is recognized for having notable benefits such as immune health, bone health, and cognition. Some people also state that Vitamin D may help reduce your chances

Some people also state that Vitamin D may help reduce your chances of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. Vitamin D can be found in natural foods such as eggs, juices, and cereal although the Sun is one of the major sources of Vitamin D known to man.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a naturally occurring nutrient within the body that primarily maintains bone health and immune health. People take Vitamin D as a supplement to help them regain strength after they experience conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, COPD, tooth and gum disease, muscle weakness, and arthritis.

If you are a fighter, Vitamin D can help your body retain its natural defense system and resilience if you don’t maintain a diet that consists of enough natural sources for the nutrient.

The Claim: Why People Take It

Vitamin D is primarily known for its beneficial effects relating to bone health. Vitamin D helps facilitate the flow of calcium and phosphorus throughout the body, which are two minerals that play a key function in overall bone health. Vitamin D also has benefits when applied to skin that is itchy or dry, in these circumstances the vitamin is applied under a form known as calcipotriene which is used to treat certain conditions such as psoriasis.

Vitamin D also has benefits when applied to skin that is itchy or dry, in these circumstances the vitamin is applied under a form known as calcipotriene which is used to treat certain conditions such as psoriasis.

Vitamin D plays several critical factors in heart health, asthma, obesity, bone structure, and the immune system. Vitamin D is used to prevent cancer and also helps with conditions like an autoimmune disorder.

Many people take vitamin D for its wide range of benefits relating to well-being and energy if you are someone who experiences constant fatigue, itchy skin, or weak bone syndrome then supplementing with Vitamin D is something that you may want to consider.

Lots of people take Vitamin D if they are prone to bone loss due to the consumption of a particular drug class known as corticosteroids. You may also be surprised to know that Vitamin D has been proven to reduce the likelihood of cavities occurring in people by up to 49%.

Women who experience a condition known as hyperparathyroidism have reported noticeable reductions in bone loss after taking Vitamin D which further proves the beneficial claims that have been made standing for Vitamin D’s aid in the treatment of bone disorders and other related conditions.

 

Top Recommendation

 

NatureWise Vitamin D3

NatureWise’s Vitamin D3 has a lot of positive reviews online by customers who have taken the supplement for a wide range of health issues and conditions. Some of the most common benefits touted by users of NatureWise Vitamin D3 are those relating to skin health, immune health, and bone health. Many users have reported feeling notable increases in energy and all around cognition once they took a serving of NatureWise Vitamin D3. NatureWise Vitamin D3 is a great supplement to take if you don’t receive adequate amounts sunlight throughout the day as Vitamin D plays a critical factor in overall skin health. Many users have reported feeling notable increases in energy and all around cognition once they took a serving of NatureWise Vitamin D3. NatureWise Vitamin D3 is a great supplement to take if you don’t receive adequate amounts sunlight throughout the day as Vitamin D plays a critical factor in overall skin health.

Buy NatureWise Vitamin D3 on Amazon

The Research

Vitamin D is commonly touted to have medical benefits relating to skin health, bone health, and overall cognition. Most people have sufficient amounts of Vitamin D in their system as it is produced from UV light received through exposure to the sun.

Due to a reciprocating effect produced by the previously mentioned benefits of Vitamin D, it also has been noted that visible increases in muscular function and neural activity occur in people of older age groups when they begin supplementing with Vitamin D.

It has been commonly known that Vitamin D has immense benefits relating to bone health and overall strength, tests conducted have also proven that Vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the chances of Multiple Sclerosis occurring in people.

Vitamin D has many inconclusive studies surrounding it’s seemingly endless pool of potential medical benefits aside from those that have already been proven. Parathyroid hormone also commonly known as parathormone is a hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands which play a critical role in the process of bone remodeling: a constant process in which bone tissue is concentrated by the body to be reabsorbed over time which attributes to rebuilding and sustaining bone mass and overall strength. When parathormone is secreted in excess amounts it can begin to have adverse effects on the initial benefits of Vitamin D which is reason to begin supplementation.

Here I have provided links to all of the studies conducted on Vitamin D in order to reach the conclusions stated in this article:

  • Vitamin D has been proven to aid in reducing the odds of falling in elderly people. Link to Study
  • Vitamin D has been shown to have substantial benefits related to reducing the chances of you developing colorectal cancer. Link to Study
  • Vitamin D has been proven to significantly counteract the effects of excessive parathormone secretion which can cause medical issues to related to bone disease and illness. Link to Study
  • Vitamin D has provided substantial evidence to substantiate the claim that neural and muscular function are increased in elderly people when it is introduced into their diet. Link to Study
  • Vitamin D has been proven to substantially reduce the effects associated multiple sclerosis. Link to Study

Vitamin D has been proven throughout history to have substantial benefits relating to bone health and the reduction of rickets within several people who suffer from this condition. When it comes to Vitamin D there is really no question about whether or not taking it has substantial benefits for those who may be the victim of conditions such as colorectal cancer risk and multiple sclerosis, however, the research surrounding other parts of its potential effectiveness is still up for question.

One fact regarding Vitamin D that cannot be ignored is the important role that it plays in the overall regulation and production of critical minerals such as calcium and phosphate which are two key minerals that are essential to over bone health.

Many of the studies surrounding Vitamin D point to a trend that shows elderly people being among the highest number of people who deem Vitamin D “critical for supplementation. With Vitamin D readily available in forms aside from supplements such as dairy products, eggs, and fish there is no overwhelming evidence that points to a need for supplementation if you are an average functioning adult.

How much should you take if you take it?

Vitamin D supplementation does not have a set regulatory amount for how much you should consume under any given circumstances. There are several findings and research points online that do however provide an outline for the recommended amount you should take if you happen to be dealing with certain medical conditions.

If you are someone who suffers from regular falls then the recommended amount for dosing is around 800-1000 IU/day. For patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis the recommended amount is 400 IU/day. For preventing certain forms of cancer the recommended dosage is around 1100IU/day. For Muscle pain, the recommended dosage is around 400 IU daily.

Any Long Term Negative Effects?

Vitamin D has not been proven to carry any detrimental long term side effects. While certain precautions are given to people who are dealing with conditions such as pregnancy, kidney disease, sarcoidosis, histoplasmosis and an over-active parathyroid gland there are no formal cautions to warn against any noticeable side effects as a result of Vitamin D supplementation over long periods of time.

What We Think: Does It Work?

Vitamin D is a part of the micronutrient family that is regarded as being critical for human survival. When we take a look at the numerous amounts of studies that have been conducted on Vitamin D in order to come up with a list of its potential uses in various medical applications, we reach some very interesting findings.

Vitamin D is one of the most powerful vitamins available to help with general health conditions. It has been proven to make substantial impacts in people who suffer from common issues relating to bone health within the body. The consensus surrounding Vitamin D is that there are irrefutable facts pointing to its effectiveness in helping people who suffer from bone diseases, low phosphate levels, low blood calcium levels, psoriasis, and rickets.

For fighters who maintain a healthy diet there have been no studies that point to a conclusive need for Vitamin D supplementation although in some instances it may be beneficial to see if taking Vitamin D in small doses can help you maintain strong bone function and structure. When it comes to the question of how effective Vitamin D supplementation is the answer really all depends on the context in which you ask.

There are several studies that point to a definite reduction in symptoms and signs related to medical conditions such as: rickets, low phosphate levels, low calcium levels, soft bones, and a general deficiency once supplementation with Vitamin D is introduced.

The situations in which one may find Vitamin D supplementation required can and will vary significantly depending on a number of variables all which can relate to family genetics and how the person in question maintains their regulatory diet and habits on an everyday basis.

Most of the studies conducted on Vitamin D point to a correlation between old age and the subsequent need for supplementation once the body fails to properly regulate mineral and blood levels. Low levels of phosphate and calcium within the blood stream are primarily regarded as being the leading factors that contribute to an onset of symptoms in which certain people may find the need for supplementation required.

Let’s take a look at what the research tells us about the effectiveness of Vitamin D supplementation when it comes to bone health. Over the years indisputable evidence has been brought to the table in order to prove the claim that Vitamin D has many substantial benefits relating to the reduction of symptoms associated with softening bones and other deteriorating bone conditions.

We can definitively prove that under circumstances of weak and deteriorating bones, Vitamin D supplementation has incredible benefits in the areas of bone regeneration and structural maintenance. One very interesting note to ponder when looking at Vitamin D supplementation is its potential benefits relating to the prevention of certain cancer types.

There have been numerous studies conducted that point to some very compelling evidence which supports the claims that when taken in high doses, Vitamin D plus calcium may have beneficial health effects in the prevention of certain cancer types.

This research is still evolving so the general consensus around the issue is that while there are studies that show promising evidence to support these claims, no conclusive information has been provided in order to validate these findings indefinitely.

The relationship between Vitamin D and weight loss is one that is very interesting. There is evidence that proves when low levels of Vitamin D are detected in an individual, this usually leads to an increase in weight and exposure to obesity. There have also been some very interesting findings when it comes to the relationship between Vitamin D and respiratory infections.

Research shows that when Vitamin D is taken by school-aged children there is a significant reduction in the chances of them developing respiratory conditions and ailments. This reduction in certain respiratory illnesses and conditions has only been noted in small children however hence many researchers and medical professionals do not recommend taking Vitamin D as an adult for any respiratory conditions as it seems to have no effect.

Low levels of phosphate in the blood can also be a contributing factor to the need for supplementation with Vitamin D under certain circumstances. One of the most common examples we see with cases like this is that of a condition known as Fanconi Syndrome.

Fanconi syndrome is a condition that relates to high toxicity levels within the kidney, the reason for such a condition can be equated to numerous factors although studies indicate that the leading contributor for Fanconi syndrome is that of high levels of toxic metals within the kidney and also adverse reactions to certain drugs.

Vitamin D has provided some very solid evidence to support the claim that with supplementation, effects of Fanconi syndrome can be significantly decreased.

Low levels of blood calcium can also lead to a call for supplementation with Vitamin D. Studies indicate that low levels of parathyroid hormone can also be a leading cause for the depletion of blood calcium with one’s system.

Vitamin D supplementation has been proven to substantially help with low parathyroid hormone levels, studies indicate that when taken by moth Vitamin D has its most substantial impact on the regulation and increase of blood calcium within the system.

After looking at all of the evidence surrounding Vitamin D and it’s many potential health benefits we can clearly see that there are circumstances which may call for the supplementation of Vitamin D without question.

When we look at the entire picture however we can also see a very clear trend that shows no notable need or reason for healthy adults to seek supplementation with Vitamin D. All available studies indicate that in healthy average adults, Vitamin D levels are commonly maintained through the consumption of dairy and egg products assuming optimal dietary standards are met accordingly elsewhere.

In conclusion, Vitamin D has substantial benefits for those who suffer from debilitating diseases such as rickets and bone loss. In average adults there appears to be no reason to introduce Vitamin D supplementation, most studies indicate that the need for Vitamin D supplementation is often sought in older adults who deal with issues relating to the lack of critical nutrients and other vitamins within the blood stream.

If you are someone who is considering Vitamin D supplementation then it is always best to consult with a medical professional who will be able to diagnose you on a case to case basis so that accurate results can be obtained in order to determine whether or not you would require Vitamin D supplementation.

Supplement Guide: Should You Take It?

For Regular People: In average healthy adults Vitamin D supplementation does not appear to have any substantial benefits. Vitamin D is readily available in natural food sources such as eggs and dairy products so as long as you maintain a regular diet the need for Vitamin D supplementation shouldn’t be required. General studies conducted on Vitamin D have consistently brought us to the conclusion that there are no substantial health benefits for supplementation in the average adult.

Regular exposure to adequate sunlight is also another really good source to gain Vitamin D within your blood stream. Being that Vitamin D plays an important role in the maintenance and sustainability of your bone structure, if you feel as though you have been suffering from symptoms that could possibly point to a deficiency in Vitamin D then it is best to contact a licensed medical professional who will be able to help you come up with a proper diagnosis.

For General Training (Gym): For training purposes, Vitamin D does not appear to have any notable benefits in people who are looking for an improvement in their athletic performance. Most athletes who are concerned about the amount of Vitamin D they consume shouldn’t be as there are plenty of available sources for Vitamin D occurring naturally within egg and dairy products. If you are someone who is concerned about the amount of Vitamin D in your diet then you may want to consider increasing the amount of dairy and egg products you consume in order to substantiate for the lack of vitamin D in your system otherwise.

For Weight Lifting (Strength & Hypertrophy): For weight lifting purposes, we know that Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the regulation of calcium within the blood stream which plays a major part in the overall maintenance of a strong bone structure. Vitamin D does not show any substantial benefits directly related to muscle growth or increased performance during psychical activity however which makes it quite obsolete for those who are looking to take Vitamin D as a supplement to help with their weight lifting routine. If you are concerned about increasing your performance during weight lifting routines or general exercise then you may want to consider some of the more readily available supplements out there which are geared towards those specific purposes.

For Endurance Athletes: For those who are seeking help with their endurance by way of taking a supplement, Vitamin D does not show any substantial evidence to prove that it can help you increase endurance or performance longevity when participating in physical activity. Vitamin D mainly helps with the regulation of blood calcium levels and phosphate within the body which are two minerals that play a key role in the health and function of bone structure. A direct correlation between Vitamin D supplementation and an increase in physical endurance have not yet been established.

For Fighters (MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai): For healthy fighters, there does not seem to be any overwhelming evidence that points to a need for supplementation with Vitamin D as it does not hold any physical performance enhancing properties. One interesting thing to note about the use of Vitamin D supplementation where it concerns fighters or any other physical athlete is that of its potential use in the aiding of bone regeneration and maintenance under intense amounts of stress. One common injury that many fighters suffer is that of broken bones and fractures due to excessive use or force, studies have shown a significant improvement in patients who suffer from injuries related to broken bones and fractures once Vitamin D supplementation is introduced. While there is no evidence that points to a need for Vitamin D supplementation in healthy fighters, you may want to consult a medical professional if you are a fighter who has recently suffered a bone injury or fracture in order to see if Vitamin D supplementation may have any effective uses for your condition.

The Final Word

In conclusion, when we take a look at Vitamin D and all of the readily available supplement options out there in combination with the numerous studies performed on the vitamin in order to come up with a conclusion about its respective health benefits we find some very solid answers. Vitamin D has definitive research points that lead to several credible claims, one of the most notable and common uses for Vitamin D supplementation is for bone health.

Vitamin D is a key player in the regulation and maintenance of blood calcium levels and phosphate within the body, when low levels of Vitamin D are present within the body one may experience symptoms of weak bone function and unbalanced equilibrium.

A reduction in cardiovascular disease has also been noted when Vitamin D supplementation is introduced in the body, there appears to be strong evidence to support the claim that Vitamin D when taken in doses of 700IU or greater can help significantly reduce the chances of cardiovascular related diseases and conditions. When you take a look at all of the research surrounding Vitamin D there really is no question about whether or not it has its potential health benefits when looking at certain areas such as heart disease, bone health, blood mineral regulation, cancer reduction, and prevention of multiple sclerosis.

When it comes to general health benefits surrounding the use of Vitamin D supplementation there does not appear to be any evidence to suggest substantial benefits in average adults. A good tip to note is that if you are ever feeling symptoms of a weakening bone structure or find it difficult to stand without falling, you should always seek the help of a medical professional who will be able to provide you with assistance.

Many of the uses surrounding Vitamin D supplementation that point to a substantial health benefit all relate to conditions that will usually require the attention of a medical professional prior to you even knowing that Vitamin D supplementation may be needed, a good example of this would be the key role that Vitamin D plays in the reduction and regulation of parathyroid syndrome which can lead to low levels of blood calcium within the body.

To provide a simple answer as to whether or not you should consider supplementing with Vitamin D I would probably say no. Unless you are aware of a deficiency within your system or have some prior conditions that require the supplementation of Vitamin D, there is no overwhelming evidence to suggest that Vitamin D has benefits for the average healthy adult.

The Best Vitamin D Supplements

After looking at all of the Vitamin D supplements available on the market I’ve come to find 3 which I feel would have the biggest benefit if one decides that they need to supplement with it. There are many great Vitamin D supplements available on the market if you decide that your diet or fitness routine calls for supplementation, I took into consideration all of the possible circumstances under which one would require Vitamin D supplementation and have provided a list of the ones I feel would have the biggest impact on your physical body and health. Take a look below to see which supplement may be best for you.

The Best

 

NatureWise Vitamin D3

NatureWise Vitamin D3 was chosen as the best Vitamin D supplement by me based on the incredible amount of reviews that substantiate the claims made by this product. This product is used frequently by people who suffer from conditions such as psoriasis in order to reduce the symptoms and effects. Many people have seen dramatic increases and reductions in the amount of toxicity within blood levels when taking NatureWise Vitamin D3 as well which point to concrete evidence that this product actually works. This product contains an all-natural forma of Vitamin D with biologically active properties in order to stimulate the blood system and help maintain bone structure. If you are looking for a great Vitamin D supplement then this is definitely the one for you.

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The Runner Up

 

Nature Made Vitamin D3

Nature Wise Vitamin D3 is a comparable second choice to my first pick. This product is 100% natural and contains ingredients and packs the potency that many people desire from a Vitamin D supplement. Many people who have been on a Vitamin D regime for years tout this product as being very effective for treating a wide range of conditions associated with low levels of Vitamin D and blood calcium within the body. People have used Nature Wise Vitamin D3 for treating symptoms related to Bi-polar disorder and other medical conditions that have to do with neural function bone health. If you are looking for an effective Vitamin D supplement then Nature Wise Vitamin D3 is something you should definitely consider.

Buy Nature Made D3

 

Also Good

 

Bronson Vitamin D3

Bronson Vitamin D3 is a USDA certified product produced under organic guidelines. Bronson Vitamin D3 has been proven to provide substantial benefits to those that live in parts of the country where extreme weather may play a factor in your overall levels of Vitamin D. Many people support the claim that Bronson Vitamin D3 helps with maintaining regular levels of blood calcium and phosphate within the body after taking this supplement. Bloodwork results drawn from patients who suffer from Vitamin D deficiency have also supported substantial increases in the amount of Vitamin D within the body once supplementation with Bronson Vitamin D3 was introduced.

Buy Bronson Vitamin D3

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5 Muay Thai Sparring Tips That Will Improve Your Game http://muaythaipros.com/5-muay-thai-sparring-tips-that-will-improve-your-game/ http://muaythaipros.com/5-muay-thai-sparring-tips-that-will-improve-your-game/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:16:41 +0000 http://muaythaipros.com/?p=14761 To reach a high level in Muay Thai, you need to spar.  Unless you are fighting every three weeks, sparring is how you are going to develop your offensive and defensive timing. You can work on technique and practice drills all day long, but sparring is where your theory gets put into action. Once you […]

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To reach a high level in Muay Thai, you need to spar.  Unless you are fighting every three weeks, sparring is how you are going to develop your offensive and defensive timing.

You can work on technique and practice drills all day long, but sparring is where your theory gets put into action.

Once you get over the initial stage fright of being hit in the face, sparring starts becoming fun. Instead of worrying about surviving, you will start thinking about different strategies and tactics you can use to beat your opponent.

In your first year of sparring, you will face people from a range of backgrounds. Technical sparring is essential for the development of your timing and technique in a safe environment.

While technical sparring is the goal, the reality is that you will encounter plenty of sparring partners who spar at a hard level.

Read this: A Guide to Hard Sparring – Everything You Should Know

Going From Beginner to Intermediate

Most people think that the amount of time you are training determines your skill level.

Someone training for five years should be better than someone who has been training for six months. However, I know people who have been training for three months in Thailand who are better than some people who have been training for five years.

The real factor that determines your skill level is the amount of time spent in quality training. Training at a Cardio Kickboxing gym is only going to help you burn calories, not make you better at Muay Thai.

Experience and quality of training are the real factors that determine your skill level.

Develop Timing through Trial and Error

When it comes to sparring it is trial and error that helps you develop better timing. The more experience you have facing different types of people, the more you will learn when to kick and when not to.

Developing your timing is different than good technique. Someone can have poor technique and still have excellent timing. Good timing is the reason why some people can be very effective strikers, even with unorthodox styles.

Experience helps you learn how to read different opponents and adjust your fighting style to them.

As a beginner, sparring is simply about trying to become comfortable in a hostile environment. The goal of a beginner is to learn how to get hit without flinching, work on staying calm, and attack and defend with control.

When you move past the beginner stage people will stop taking it easy on you. Suddenly, those guys who you thought were advanced, start looking normal.

Once people start noticing your improvements in sparring, they will start increasing the tempo and trying to get the better of you. The better you get, the bigger the target on your back.

The following are some tips that you can use to help you thrive in sparring. These tips can help you survive the onslaught against tough opponents who are trying to hurt you in sparring.

Sparring Tip #1 – Give as Much as You Receive

Only go as hard as your sparring partner. Don’t be that guy (or girl) that everyone hates to spar.

Sparring intensity always escalates when one person lands a hard strike, and the other person feels the need to return the favor. I’ve seen regular sparring sessions turn into full-on brawls because two guys keep trying to return the favor of the last hit.

Keep in mind that some people don’t realize they hit hard, so they may not consciously be trying to go 100% on you.

When you run into someone who is going hard in sparring, feel free to return the favor. There is no point playing paddy cake with a guy who is smashing you with full power.

If you someone hits you hard you have two options:

Option 1: Keep the intensity down and let your opponent have a free shot. Maybe they didn’t realize that they went hard and will probably lower the intensity when they realize you are hitting them with no power.

Option 2: Fight fire with fire. If your opponent hits you hard, you can hit back with equal force. They say, “an eye for an eye would make the world blind,” but sometimes it is important to stand your ground.

Option 3: Ask your opponent to lower the intensity. I don’t recommend you do this often, but it is a suitable choice if you are facing someone better than you.

Go as hard as your opponent.

If your opponent goes soft, go soft. If your opponent is trying to kill you, either shield up and wait for the round to end, or respond with the same intensity, they show you.

How you respond will often depend on your temperament and your confidence level. If you think your sparring partner will beat you up, play it safe until the round is over.

Sparring Tip #2 – Play It Safe Against Dangerous Opponents

If you are sparring with someone who is dangerous, play it safe. If you are going up against an aggressive fighter, who is hunting for power shots, this tip will keep you from getting knocked out.

I recently witnessed a young guy get knocked out by a skilled fighter in sparring, and it didn’t surprise me. This young man was going hard with everyone he sparred with and was dropping his guard as he swung for the fences.

This poor kid got knocked out cold and now needs a surgery that he can’t afford, all because he ignored rule number 1 and 2.

The young guy sparred with a lot of heart but didn’t realize that you have to be safe when you are facing dangerous opponents. When he got hit hard, he would try to come back even harder and didn’t mind feeling pain. Because he had never been knocked out, he didn’t realize he was playing with fire.

If you face a dangerous opponent, don’t swing for the fences. Keep a tight guard, and stay safe. Trying to knock out your opponent in sparring may feel satisfying if the guy is a douchebag, but you will quickly feel guilty when you see him lying on the ground.

If you try to go hard against a dangerous opponent, there is a good chance it could be you lying unconscious. While you shouldn’t be sparring at 100%, sometimes you can’t control who you spar. It is only a matter of when it happens, especially if you are training in Thailand.

Sparring Tip #3 – Stay Relaxed and BREATHE

I have mentioned this point countless times before, but this is important enough to repeat. Whenever you spar with better people, you will find you might get a bit anxious. There is a good chance your heart rate will naturally elevate, and you will get nervous, causing you to tense up.

That’s normal.

When you start to experience those nerves, it is important to calm yourself down. Being nervous in sparring will only slow you down and make you gas out faster. Staying relaxed against a hard-hitting opponent will allow you to get through the sparring session without taking too much damage.

Staying relaxed is something that you must focus on when you are facing difficult opponents. The higher the risk of getting knocked out or hurt in sparring, the more nervous you will become. Calming your nerves can help prepare you for the ring when you have someone trying to hurt you.

Sparring Tip #4 – Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes the best learning comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

When you push yourself to a point when you are uncomfortable, that is where you force yourself to grow. That is why going against better sparring partners is a great recipe for improving your game.

If you spar with the same people over and over, you will find that it is easy to get complacent. It is important to spar with new people, so you are always forced to adapt to different styles.

If you spar with the same guys, try working on different techniques every sparring session. Don’t do the same thing over and over against the same guys. That is how you stay the same and don’t improve.

To become a complete Muay Thai fighter, you need to learn how to use different styles. If you always sit back and counter off your opponent’s attacks, work on trying to push forward and be aggressive. Forcing yourself to do things you aren’t comfortable with will teach you to adapt to different types of opponents.

Work on your head kicks, knees, teeps, punches, and all aspects of your game. There are so many tools you can use in Muay Thai, try to implement each technique into your game.

You don’t have to do everything at once, but every sparring session you can pick a few techniques that you want to improve. Isolating specific techniques will help you improve your ability to use those techniques without having to think about using them.

Sparring Tip #5 – Utilize Ring Control

If you are sparring in a ring you should learn the importance of using the ropes and controlling the center of the ring. The ring is important because it prevents guys from always backing up and running away. If someone wants to back up, they will get stuck in a corner unless they have good footwork to circle out.

Ring control can even be practiced outside of the ring, using other sparring partners around you as the unofficial ropes.

Whenever you back your opponent into another sparring group, don’t reset the sparring. Corning your opponent will teach you the importance of controlling where the fight ends up. You should try to avoid ‘resetting’ your position in sparring because you don’t get to do that in a fight. If you are against the ropes, you need to learn how to utilize footwork to get out from the ropes.

Learning positioning and ring control is an important element that can help you thrive in Muay Thai.

Sparring at a New Gym? Watch one session before you start sparring.

I’ve noticed that every gym has their own sparring culture. Gyms filled up with a bunch of buff fitness guys, are probably going to want to smash each other up because of all the testosterone in the air. Conversely, if you are training at family orientated gym, they probably want to keep things light.

If you are worried about sparring at a new gym, I suggest you decline sparring your first day there and watch. Pay attention to how the guys at the gym spar, and make note of any particular guys who look a bit excited when they spar. This can give you a preview of what you can encounter when you start sparring the guys.

Sparring Will Help You Sharpen Your Tools

The best way to prepare for a fight is to spar. Sparring is the closest simulation you will have to a fight, without fighting. Therefore, it is important to spar with different types of opponents. Technical sparring is ideal for improving your timing and technique, but harder sparring is also beneficial because it will prepare you for the ring.

Watch: Technical Sparring with Lumpinee Champion Penake

The only way you will improve your game is to get experience and spar as much as you can. There are no short cuts to developing; you must be patient and put in the work to improve. No ‘secret’ technique or strategy will turn you into a champion overnight.

Sparring is one of the most valuable training tools that can help you translate what you learn in class, into something that works. Working on 5-6 combos in a controlled environment is great for a cardio workout, but the reality is that those combinations won’t work most of the time. Develop your timing first, and the rest of your game will follow.

More Sparring Articles:

 

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