Training Muay Thai In Thailand For The First Time? Listen Up…
Travelling to train Muay Thai in Thailand can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Of course, there are some things to look out for and consider.
7 Lessons I Learned Personally While Training Muay Thai in Thailand
For those of you travelling over to Thailand to train Muay Thai, there are some great cost-saving tips in this article.
It also goes over how you could end up in the hands of Thai Police breaking a law unknown to you (I did) and how you can prevent this from happening to you on your trip.
Lesson #1 – Your body will react to electrolyte depletion, even if you stay hydrated with water
If you’ve never trained Muay Thai, in 90+ degree weather, twice a day…it’s going to be at least a few training sessions where it will seem unbearable…You’re definitely going to be sweating a lot more than you’re used to…at ALL times of the day.
Training Muay Thai in Thailand is an out-of-your-world experience, if you’re an avid Muay Thai Maniac like myself, you’ll want to soak up every minute of training. It’s one thing to remember to drink a lot of fluids…but if you’re doing the typical two – a – day training sessions when you’re there, you’ll most likely need to re-balance your electrolytes.
They sell this brand of electrolyte powder mix along with several others and you can find these at every 7-Eleven’s and Tesco Lotus’s there. (That should tell you something). It’s real easy to over-heat and cramp up over there.
These packets are 30 Baht each ($1.00), kept in disposable pouches. Just open up the package, mix with water and drink up to ensure you keep yourself going strong into the late rounds of your Muay Thai training.
Lesson # 2 – Eat Spicy Thai Food after all of your training is done for the Day
While training Muay Thai in Thailand, if you’re going to optimize your training, you can’t waste days because of poor food choices. One poor food choice is this. Testing the level of Thai spiciness your mouth and stomach can handle the meal before you go train.
Once you get to Thailand, you’ll notice almost all dishes cooked are cooked with chili peppers, particularly if you travel to the North, North East or South of Thailand to get to your training camp.
The Thai’s weapon of choice, the bird’s eye chili. These peppers taste like fire going down. And if you eat enough, like a river of lava coming out… if you get my point.
I know, I know. You think you’re too smart for that. You know better than to test the spicy Thai food before training or you just simply never order spicy food.
Well, either way, it’s good to know some Lingo around ordering your food in Thailand. Here are some words that will help you communicate the level of spiciness you want in your Thai food.
Let’s use the typical standard dish of Som Tum Salad(pronounced Som – Thum), a staple of Thai cuisine. Based on this single dish, depending on the spiciness level you ordered, you may get it served anywhere between 0 and 10 of those bird’s eye chili’s in a single dish.
So when a Thai person cooking your dish says to you Mai Pet, just know you’re getting ‘Mai Pet’ for a Thai person, it doesn’t mean it’s not spicy. Protect your digestive system by screening the food you eat carefully and it will take you a long way in Thailand. It sounds stupid, but trust me on this one.
Lesson #3 – To Save the MOST money on food while still eating Fresh, Nutritious, (and Delicious) food Available, shop from the Morning and Night markets
At about 6:00 AM every morning, you’ll find local morning markets setting up to sell fresh cooked food, produce, desserts.
It’s the place where the locals eat and they’re friendly to foreigners. After selling out their good in the AM, they’ll prep for the evening markets, which will start around 4:00 PM.
This is a great way to buy local delicious and healthy whole foods and fruits, such as fresh-cracked coconut water and Thai bananas
(What my Muay Thai Instructor urged me to eat everyday before training).
Without a doubt, if this is your first trip to Thailand, and first time training Muay Thai in Thailand, you don’t want to miss walking through the morning and night markets.
Forewarning: You’ll see some pretty unsanitary practices for storing meet according to Western Civilized Standards. However, if it’s your typical busy morning or night market, likely the food was cooked fresh that day, as it was made to sell to normal workaday Thai folks. If you’re in Thailand and on a budget, this is the safest way to eat great food, with great ingredients for about the cheapest prices you’ll find in the local area.
This was a great budget saver for me whenever I’d spend a little too much on booze the night before – it’ the #1 option for eating on a budget.
Lesson #4 – Don’t Get Run Over Because You Didn’t Understand the Traffic Culture
Chances are, you’re going to be doing some site seeing when you’re in Thailand, outside of training Muay Thai.
If you’re in the middle of the road, and a car is driving straight at you, don’t expect them to avoid running you over. Just don’t assume it.
In Thailand, pedestrians stop for vehicles, NOT the other way around.
Unlike the US, where we drive our vehicles on the right side of the road, they drive on the left lane. So when checking the road, look to the RIGHT for incoming traffic!
Lesson #5 – Renting a Motor Bike to ride is a Great Idea!….if you’re staying in a more Rural Area
I’d recommend Motor-biking as the cheapest and most convenient way to get around, if you’re training anywhere outside of a major city. Bangkok, forget about it. I’ve heard on average, 2 people a day die from motor bike crashes in Bangkok alone. .
If you’re staying in a rural area with a lot of open space, motor-biking can be a safe and cost effective way to get around. Just ask the gym you’re staying at or the hotel you’re staying at to arrange to rent the bike.
You’ll pay upfront and pay a small deposit fee that you’ll get upon returning the bike. You don’t even need to show them a license to rent the bike.
If you’ve made the decision to ride a motorbike..then you’ll definitely need to arm yourself with this next strategy.
Lesson #6 – If you’re a foreigner on a motor bike, you might get profiled by the police
You’ll want to avoid Thai Police as much as possible. They see foreigners (‘falang’), particularly those that don’t look Asian, riding without a helmet and they see dollar signs.
Always wear a helmet when riding around on the bike to avoid giving cops any reason at all to pull you over. It’s the law to always wear a helmet when riding a bike in Thailand and the police can pull you over for riding without one.
Driving in Thailand without a license is illegal. Police in Thailand set up stations at parts of the highway and randomly pull people over to check if they have their license and/or fine them for not wearing helmets.
This has happened to me several times in my 10 trips back to Thailand (altogether, I must have spent close to 6 months there) and every time I showed them a copy of my passport and my address of residence in Thailand and the people I was staying with written in Thai so that the officers could read it.
Definitely saved me a lot of hassle of identifying myself (since I don’t speak fluent Thai and I bet neither do you). Keep a copy of your passport on you and this information at all times.
I’d include a phone number of the person you’re staying with in case the cop wants to hold you for longer, someone is on the outside that can help you out.
Luckily, for all the times I was pulled over, I had this information on me and ended up paying 500 bhat (~$15). Two things to remember when riding a motor bike in Thailand
- Always wear a helmet when riding or operating a motor-bike
- Carry with you at all times, a copy of your passport, and the name and address of the people you’re staying with, written into bothThai and translated into the language you speak.
Ask the Muay Thai gym you’re training at to write this information down in Thai for you. Thai gyms
Lesson #7 – When Flying Domestically through Thailand, you can save booking with Low-Cost Airlines only if you Travel Light
During training Muay Thai in Thailand, if you want to travel and you don’t have much stuff (<20 kg or 44 lbs), low cost domestic airlines like Air Asia, Nok Airways and Lion Airways are a great way to save on flights. Tickets can be as low as $23 to fly across Thailand (one-way), depending on the season of the year and where you’re going.
Because the airplanes for these airlines are pretty small, they’re going to be charging you a lot more if the weight of your baggage is above the threshold.
If you’re travelling heavier than 20 kg, you can try to find your cheapest flight option among the ‘Non Low Cost Airlines’, such as Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways.
The allowances for baggage included with the initial price of your ticket are much higher and that will make up for the cost you would be paying if you went with a ‘Low Cost Airline’ in this situation.
If you’re on a budget and packing light, ‘Low Cost Airlines’ are the way to go. Just make sure you read the ticket guidelines carefully on baggage weight and weigh your baggage on a body weight scale to make sure in the limit.
When you’re booking your flights, you’re most likely going to be flying into one of the two international airports in Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi (pronounced Soo – wan – a – Poom) and Don Muang.
If you’re flying into Thailand, and need to make another domestic flight to get to your Muay Thai gym, make sure when you book your tickets online, that you book it from the correct airport to your final destination.
I learned these the hard way, while trying to get the most out of my Muay Thai Training.
Hopefully now that you’ve read this, you won’t make some of these same mistakes I’ve made. Thailand is a very tourist friendly and safe place to visit and train. However, there are some cultural differences and this blog post highlighted lessons I learned from bad experiences or near misses I’ve had in my 10 trips to Thailand.
You’ve Read This Article, and you’re still Nervous about travelling to Thailand for Muay Thai?
I can remember my very first trip and first time training Muay Thai in Thailand. My instructor, Kru Eric, had coached me for weeks up until I left and this being my first solo international trip to a foreign country to learn Muay Thai..yea I was pretty scared.
Luckily, I had my instructor, who had trained me for several weeks prior to my flight on how to navigate Thailand and communicate effectively enough with the Thai locals and the gyms I was staying at to get the most out of my Muay Thai training.
If you were like me, nervous and uncertain of how to navigate Thailand to find a legitimate Muay Thai school that will take you and your Muay Thai training seriously. If you’re in Thailand for the first time, you’ll probably also want to be a tourist and check out some sites as well as some live Muay Thai fights.
However, the logistics of coordinating all of that if you’re a first timer to Thailand….might be a bit daunting. I remember being nervous from all of the uncertainties of travelling to a Third World Country solo.
I also remember being nervous because everyone who loved me told me I was a nut case for going there.
My very first instructor, Kru Eric runs ‘Muay Thai Training Vacations and Guided Thailand Tours‘. For anyone who is interested in training Muay Thai in Thailand, it’s an easy way for you to go train there, to ease your way into travelling to Thailand, with all of the uncertainties taken care of.
So you can focus purely on the one thing that matters when you’re there: Getting the most out of your training.
To learn more about his Muay Thai Training Vacations and Guided Thailand Tours, click the link below.