Bangkok’s Best Places & Ways to Experience Thai Boxing


In my ears, my heart is thumping loudly. I’m working hard, dripping in perspiration, and pushing myself to the very maximum. I simply can’t move my body off the ground another time because it never ends. I’m just going to lay here for a moment to collect my breath.

Whack! I suddenly feel a leather pad in my tummy. Overhead, the instructor is screaming at me. Whack! This time the pad is coming at you hard. It stings very bad. The words he is saying at me are incomprehensible to me. But I understand what he’s saying, and it works; somehow I muster the energy to do a few more reps.

At Bangkok, I’m in a Muay Thai gym. This had a lot of potential this morning. I’m now unsure if I’ll survive this or not. The instructors pushed us through the worst exercise I’ve ever done for well over two hours in the sweltering heat. Jumping rope, pushups, sit-ups, kicks, punches, and combinations make up this classic exercise. After that, the boxing and wrestling rings. Short water breaks where we sip and cold water is dumped over us from enormous barrels are the only breaks we get.

I’m not at home here, I can tell just looking around. I’m not at home here. Other foreigners are there, but they are all extremely fit and skilled fighters. Not me. Even my kickboxing friend, who is across from me, is struggling. In our world, there are many strong men and a few even stronger women.

The lecture is now ended, and I managed to finish. The teacher grinned at me. Good work, he remarks. My best buddy is the same person who punched me in the stomach an hour ago. He formerly held the title of best Thai boxer. Although he is becoming older, he still has a commanding appearance. He was lean, tall for a Thai, and muscular. He has a few teeth missing, which gives him a slightly threatening appearance.

We all stand in line for a picture that will be shown next to hundreds of other pictures. The faces that gaze back at me from that wall and my fellow combatants immediately strike me as family at that moment. I feel a bit proud of myself for persevering through the same strenuous workout that the rest of us did.