Random Musings

Thoughts on Bangkok and Our Muay Thai Experience

November 11, 2013

As previously mentioned, we were not very psyched with this trip to Bangkok. If not for the fact that I have the hotel vouchers for Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Bangkok, I wouldn’t have gone there. The hotel was absolutely amazing though and it was the best thing that we experienced in this Bangkok trip, other than that everything else was – if not a disappointment, a so so experience.

Bangkok City View from the hotel

Bangkok City View from the hotel

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Bangkok. It was my favorite city in South East Asia and it’s always been a pleasure for me whenever I find myself in it. At that time, I loved how cheap it was, I loved how friendly the people were and I specially love the food! Except for the last bit, everything else has changed. It’s become relatively expensive compared to 8 years ago but I can’t really blame it on Bangkok itself as it’s bound to change at some point and it has to keep up with the development of its economy. What I really didn’t like about it though was the fact that we needed to bargain and haggle our way off every time we are to deal with the local Bangkok city people. I said Bangkok city people because I didn’t have that much of a problem when we went to Krabi nor when we were in Phuket and Koh Samui. We weren’t harassed or anything but it’s just that, it’s really tiring to haggle every single time with just about anything. The taxis, the tours, the souvenir shops – the only people who we never had the problem of haggling with were the food vendors and the people at the massage parlor that I went to one night. It is very tiring to always haggle with them and somehow affects your mood as a tourist and changes your perception about the city, doesn’t it? Whenever I hear some horror stories about Bangkok, I never believed them and I’ve always thought that they’re just overreacting since I really loved that city before until I experienced the new Bangkok myself. I love Thailand in general specially the islands but I don’t think I will ever go back to Bangkok again.

Anyway, during our first night in the city, we wanted to watch a muay thai match which was the only thing the boyfriend wanted to do in Bangkok. I researched about it and found out that there were two boxing stadiums in Bangkok where muay thai is held: Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen.

Ratchadamnoen stadium

Closest to the old town with the Royal Palace and the Chao Phraya river, located on Thanon Ratchadamnoen Nok. The fight schedule here is:
Monday, Wednesday and Thursday starting at 6 pm.
Sunday starting at 4 pm and 8 pm.

Lumpini stadium

Lumpini stadium is located close to Lumpini park on Rama IV road. The schedule is:
Tuesday and Friday starting at 6 pm.
Saturday starting at 4.30 pm and 8.30pm.
Stadiums are closed on important Buddhist holidays.

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As it was a Saturday, we went for the one in Lumpini stadium at 8:30pm. We took a cab, after much haggling of course and arrived at Lumpini Stadium. As soon as we got out of the cab, a woman wearing a yellow shirt asked if we wanted to watch the muay thai match for the night and she somehow sensed that we were hesitant to answer her question as we’re afraid that we’ll get looted by her. She showed us her ID and said: “Don’t worryyyyy, I work heeeeere”. I love the Thai accent by the way, it sounds so sweet and I can’t imagine them fighting with each other in that accent. Anyway, she guided us to the ticket booth and asked if we wanted regular tickets (THB1500) or ring side tickets (THB2000)– boyfriend preferred ring side so ring side it is. Well, it was the best choice as the people at the regular seating area were all local Thais who we think were doing a bet on the muay thai boxers. At some point, there was a fight between the spectators at the regular seating area behind us. LOL.

No, you may not touch the ring.

No, you may not touch the ring.

The boyfriend was very disappointed though as we were led to the third row of seats, he was expecting a front row seat considering that we paid for a ring side ticket. He was also disappointed of the venue, the stadium wasn’t grand as he expected it to be. I don’t know, maybe he was expecting like an MGM Grand in Las Vegas style of a boxing arena which of course was not the case. It was a proper boxing ring with not so plush seats, a separate smoking area, a toilet which I didn’t use and ladies walking around selling beers for THB40 per glass. It wasn’t huge and it wasn’t small as well. It was packed though when we came. In short, it was how I expected for it to be – now I’m really not sure what the boyfriend was expecting out of it.

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That night, there were about 12 matches and it surprised me when the muay thai boxers came out all looking like teenagers so I thought that it’s not going to be as exciting as I thought it would be. Boy was I wrong. These muay thai boxers fly like they’ve somehow managed to defy gravity with their high kicks, executes strong punches and throws their elbows so hard that you can hear it as it hits the chest of their opponents. You can see the determination through their eyes and in each of the punches and kicks they throw to each other. Crazed fans were screaming, shouting at the boxers and amongst each other. I’ve seen a boxer knocked down by one single kick of his opponent across his face and a stretcher was required to get him out of the ring. It was intense. I couldn’t help but scream and shout with the spectators as well.

Knocked down!

Knocked down!

It was a good experience and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone going to Bangkok. We’ve seen a Muay Thai match when we were in Phi Phi Islands but I think the one in Bangkok is the real deal. I’m not into sports nor boxing not even MMA myself but I enjoyed it immensely.

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  • Reply Mitzie Mee November 26, 2013 at 20:20

    So true (regarding the haggling). Muay Thai was also the only thing on my dad’s to-do list, when we were in Thailand. My sister went with him and she also said that the atmosphere was amazing…and they played a lot of tacky bell-ringing music while they were fighting?

    • Reply Pinay Flying High November 26, 2013 at 23:33

      Yeah the haggling part was annoying and really tiring. I never had that much before.

      Yeah, tacky bell-ringing music but I think it’s some sort of a ritual thing for the muay thai. The atmosphere as soon as the fight starts is really incredible though. We didn’t mind the bells anymore. :-p

  • Reply Matt Owens Rees November 11, 2013 at 10:16

    You were robbed at 2000 baht and you should have asked the cab driver to switch the meter on or get another cab. You will find the northern provinces of Thailand more like the old Thailand you might have been used to.

    • Reply Pinay Flying High November 11, 2013 at 23:34

      We were robbed??????? Nooooooo! Don’t say that! 🙁 And please don’t tell me how much it should’ve been. :p

      Yes, we always ask them to turn the meter on but if it’s late in the evening all of the cab drivers seem to have this agreement that noone will put the meter on. So we’re left with no other choice but to haggle.

      I haven’t been to the North of Thailand, the farthest north that I’ve been is probably Hua Hin – loved it! Heard a lot of good things about Chiang Mai too.

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