Koh Phangan is renowned for its full moon party, but there is much more to the island than the monthly entertainment – like the pristine beaches and idyllic spots of seclusion. But the island also offers great options for being physically active.
While there are several general gyms spread out along the major island roads, there are also a few that cater to a very specific type of exercise: Thai boxing, also called Muay Thai.
Some visitors try out Muay Thai, taking a few beginner lessons and maybe even doing some sparring. For others, it turns into a year-long venture, when they enroll in a longer-term Muay Thai course that gives them the right to apply for a Thai student visa.
And for some, it turns into a life passion or even a way to get some lucrative boxing contract and become an admired YouTuber.
Thai Boxing For Beginners
Going to the gym is a great way to get your mind off work, especially for office workers or the many digital nomads on Koh Phangan that likely spend hours staring at little laptop screens. Muay Thai is not just a sport or martial art, but it also is deeply rooted in Thai culture. So it’s not only the physical aspect that’s interesting, Muay Thai can also be a gateway to a deeper understanding of the host country.
Learning your first steps and throwing your first punches of Muay Thai is not that difficult, almost all boxing gyms have a beginners course or instructors to get you started safely. Take off your shoes at the entrance, and be prepared to sweat like you never did before. A group session can be 200-400 baht, while private sessions can be at 700 baht.
This video gives some nice insights into a Muay Thai beginner class on Koh Phangan:
Visiting Muay Thai fight nights on Koh Phangan
If you are not ready to step into the ring, you can still enjoy some fight nights. Koh Phangan has a great spot to watch a fight and meet up with fellow Muay Thai aficionados, at the Chinnarach Boxing Stadium, on the outskirts of Thong Sala. The stadium is on San Jao Road, otherwise, it’s a 5-minute cab ride or a 20-minute walk from Thong Sala Pier.
In high season, Chinnarach Fight Nights are every week, they start at 9 pm, and you pay around 800baht for the ticket. The nights are colorful social events, a big party, with dogs, kids, and food, and a very lively atmosphere where everyone is welcome. This video captures the atmosphere pretty well:
Schools and box camps for Muay Thai Training
There are several top Muay Thai Gyms that deserve the attention of both an expert and an amateur boxer.
Chinnarach offers training with world champions and local stars whether in class or as a pop-in session and is one of the best places in Thailand to do Muay Thai or send your loved ones for Muay Thai beginners course.
The Max Maverick
An authentic Koh Phangan Muay Thai for beginners experience from Koh Phangan Muay Thai gurus: It is a perfect way to combine exercise and shadow fighting with remote working from an artsy smoothie bar.
The island is in love with this Muay Thai Gym. The Diamond offers cutting-edge facilities, and great accommodation: expect training all at a great price for a locale at one of the island’s most pristine spots.
Phangan Muay Thai
This boxing joint is also located in Thong Sala Settlement and is one of the island’s most respected boxing schools. But it is also great to do Muay Thai for beginners here: you can not just learn how to wrap your knuckles, do light warm-up; stretching exercises, but can also master shadow boxing and hone up Muay Thai’s physical basic tactics, such as guard posture fighting, balancing, foot working, blocking, and combos. You will be accompanied by the expert guidance from the school’s ninja instructors.
Haad Rin arena
The only joint situated outside Thong Sala, Haad Rin Arena stands out for its spacious training space and a fully rigged-out kickback. It also boasts perfect conditions for shadow fighting with its ring and cage ranking among the best on the island. Equipped with cutting-edge international-golden-standard equipment it is arguably the island’s best venue for those with some skills or burgeoning talent.
One of the possibilities to get a longer Visa for staying in Thailand is to enroll in an educational scheme. Besides Thai language schools, Thai boxing schools also offer visas for long-term students. Some schools offer full packages, including training lessons, certification, and accommodation.