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.
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.
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.
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.
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.