A film & travel writer & editor, currently travelling New Zealand ~
Published February 23rd 2013
Get Boxing Fit in Thailand
Looking for some holiday action that doesn't involve drinking your days away? Maybe you want to drop a few kilograms or get fit or just looking to get into something different while on holiday in Thailand? Then Thai Boxing might not be the push, but definitely the punch you need.
Muay Thai Boxing has become the next biggest thing to do on your holiday in Thailand, so much that the gyms there are pretty much set up for the weekly/monthly traveller to come on down & get fit quick.
By all means though, don't think that the training will be a holiday. There only a handful of Muay Thai gyms on Phuket, and GVW trained at Rawai boxing gym, which is in the sleepier south of the island of Phuket.
Rawai has plenty of restaurants, nightlife & beaches to keep you happy, and it's not as full on as Patong - not by a long shot.
The gym is only 3km from the nearest and one of the best beaches on Phuket, Naihearn - its a long beach with a beautiful aspect for the setting sun. Great for training in the morning and some relaxing beach time in the afternoon.
When you turn up to Rawai, buy yourself some boxing wraps - you can hire all the other gear you will need from the gym. If you're worried about the gear being sweaty or smelly - two things. Firstly, you can wash your gear if you want (not the gloves) and secondly, by the end of your first day, you won't care about sweat as much as you first thought.
Naihearn Beach - 3km from the gym
Rawai gym though is staffed by mostly ex-Thai boxers and they start work at 7:30am, and so do you. The beginners class takes you through the basic moves of Muay Thai, where the trainers will assist you with your stance and technique. You'll do some shadow boxing with a partner but mostly stick to practising your moves on a boxing bag.
They do take breaks, but the breaks generally mean a quick sip of water and then sit-ups and press-ups for 2 -3 minutes. Not the break your trainer gives you back home in your air-conditioned gym.
After your morning session, come back for the afternoon one and you'll be on your way to perfecting your moves quicker than you thought.
The next day you might be sore, but stretching and doing the morning session will sort you out - still sore? Then take yoga class to really get the muscles stretched out.
After a couple of days of the beginner, you will move into the sparring with a trainer - this means one on one training and getting your full Muay Thai groove on.
You can progress with your training the longer you stay and train - eventually moving into the ring and doing some grappling or effectively fighting another fighter.
There are fighters who come to Rawai and stay for months at a time - honing their skills.
The idea of training in the tropics means your effectively training harder than you would back home - you are sweating ten times more, drinking fifty times the water, and training solidly for at least 4 hours a day - this means you will return home, leaner, fitter and healthier than you've probably ever been.
Rawai - getting fit in paradise - copyright Rawai boxing gym
A weeks training will set you back around $97 AUD, the gym has cheap cold water to buy, as well as everything you need to hire for your muay thai extravaganza. They even have a meal program with a local restaurant down the road, so you can eat well pretty much the whole time you're there. It doesn't stop the trainees from getting into the beer though!
The best things about muay thai is not only the fitness, but the level of confidence you will gain in yourself - from every day life to just learning some moves to keep you safe on the street. Most students return to Rawai gym year after year and stay longer each time.
Rawai Muay Thai has rooms for hire - stay in your own air-conditioned room or bunk down with the rest of the fighters in the dorm rooms. Or stay at some of the hotels nearby, GVW stayed at the Happy Elephant, literally metres from the the gym and with a cold pool for after the hot gym sessions.
Rawai Boxing Muay Thai boxing gym is certainly the place to start if you want a holiday with a twist... I mean... with a punch.