Muay Thai as the Art of Eight Limbs
Muay Thai is one of the top internationally known combat sports. It is sometimes referred to as the art of eight limbs because combatants can use their fists, feet, knees, and elbows. Before modern rule introductions, it was nine limbs as the head was also used as a weapon (now illegal). It is the national sport of Thailand and Thai people are proud of this fighting art. It was once used to help Thai people defend themselves against invaders, but these days it is more popular as a sport. The first time people see Muay Thai they can get the impression that it is vicious but over time they will see that it is actually a beautiful and elegant art.
Muay Thai in Phuket
Phuket has become a top destination for anyone interested in Muay Thai. Many foreigners come to the island to stay at one of the local Muay Thai camps – there are many of them and they nearly all cater to westerners. This means that visitors to the island can get to watch some great fight action during their stay. There is a Muay Thai event somewhere in Phuket nearly every day of the week, so people will have plenty of opportunities to see this martial art live. Those who are feeling particularly adventurous may even decide to train for a fight.
Where to Watch Muay Thai in Phuket
There are plenty of options for people who hope to catch up on some Muay Thai action during their stay in Phuket.
The following information is accurate as of mid-2012
Patong Boxing Stadium
Patong Boxing Stadium is located on Sai Nam Yen Road near Patong beach. It is a popular venue for Muay Thai with foreign visitors and the fights are usually entertaining. As well as local fighter there is also usually westerners on the bill – these will be people who have been training in one of the gyms on the island. The foreign fighters may not always be as graceful as the Thais, but they can make up for this with passion. Fights take place every Monday and Thursday night – from 21:00 until late. Tickets cost 1,300 THB for a stadium seat, 1,500 THB for a ring side seat, and 1,800 THB for a VIP seat.
Bangla Muay Thai Boxing Stadium
Bangla Muay Thai Boxing Stadium is also located near Patong Beach on Ratautit Road. This is probably the most famous stadium on the island. They have fights on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 21:00 onwards. Their program tends to be focused on international fighters, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. There will always be a few local fighters on the bill as well. Bangla Stadium is a bit more expensive than Patong Boxing Stadium – ticket prices are 1,700 THB for a stadium seat, 2,000 THB for a ring side seat, and 2,500 THB for a VIP seat.
Phuket Stadium Sapan Hin
Phuket Stadium can be found in Sapan Hin to the south of Phuket Town. This is the place to go if people want more traditional and authentic fights. Unfortunately they do not currently have a website but fights usually take place on Friday nights at 20:00. This venue is mostly popular with the local Thais but visitors are always welcome.
Suwit Stadium is actually owned by the Suwit gym so most of the fighters come from this camp. It also attracts fighters who previously would have fought at Khao Lak Stadium in Phang Nga – this stadium was destroyed by the tsunami in 2004. They offer fights on Friday nights from 20:30 until 11:30 pm. The price of admission is 900 THB for a normal ticket, 1,200 THB for a ringside seat, and 2,000 THB for a VIP ticket (a sofa near the ring side). Suwit Stadium is located on Chao Fa Road in Chalong.
Watch Muay Thai in Patong Bars
There are a number of bars in the Patong area that put on Muay Thai fights to attract customers. These shows can certainly entertaining, but there can be complaints that the fights do not look authentic. This is partly due to the fact that the better fighters will be at work in the stadiums and those who fight in the bars will be just there to make money. So long as people are not expecting world class Muay Thai they will likely enjoy these events. Sometimes these fights do get quite ferocious, but there will also be fights where it looks like the combatants are jaded and just going through the motions. If people are interested in seeing more authentic Muay Thai they should stick to the stadiums or visit one of the Muay Thai camps.
Muay Thai Training Camp Fights
Many of the Muay Thai camps on the island will put on their own fight nights. This will be a chance for amateur fighters to get a taste of stepping into the ring without the pressure of doing this in front of a stadium crowd. Many people come to learn Muay Thai Phuket. They will train hard (usually twice a day) for a month or more and at the end of it they want to step into the ring. These amateur nights (sometimes called smokers are good for this. The fighters may use shin pads and heavier gloves during such fights, and elbows might not be allowed. For many of these fighters it will be their first and last fight inside a ring. This can actually make these encounters even more fascinating to watch because the combatants tend to leave everything inside the ring – these fights can get ferocious.
It is usually possible for anyone to attend these camp fights – there will usually be an admission fee. Tiger Muay Thai near Chalong turns their fight not into a real social occasion with free alcohol and a barbeque. This is the busiest camp on the island, and they also have MMA fights as well.
Fight Muay Thai in Phuket
It is possible for people who have never even practiced Muay Thai previously to train and fight during their stay in the island. In order for this to happen they will need to train full time for at least a month – more is better. It will also be in the hands of the trainers to decide if the individual is ready to fight. Muay Thai is a dangerous sport and those who enter the ring can be seriously injured if they are not adequately conditioned and have enough training. Fighting Muay Thai in Phuket is an unforgettable experience, but it is not for the faint hearted.
Muay Thai on TV
If people have not had enough of watching Muay Thai in the local camps, stadiums, and bars, they can also follow the action on Thai TV – this is where some of the best fights in Thailand will be showcased. The schedule for Muay Thai on TV is:
- TV3 usually has fights on Saturdays from 11:30 until 13:30
- TV 7 has fights Sundays – from about 13:40 until 15:45
- TV 9 also shows fights on Sundays from 13:45 until 15:45
There are also other fights shown on TV if there is some type of special even going on.