Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) is Thailand’s national sport. As well as being very popular throughout Thailand and South East Asia, its popularity is now growing worldwide, where it is more popular than ever before.
Many visitors to Thailand are eager to witness a live Muay Thai fight and it is something that is often on their list of things to see and do whilst staying in the country. It is fair to say that the largest selection of Muay Thai arenas can be found in Bangkok. However, every town or city in Thailand will have some sort of stadium or arena where you can watch a live bout.
Koh Samui is certainly no exception when it comes to the popularity of Thai Boxing. The island is home to a couple of boxing stadiums and arenas, which are well worth visiting and that can make for a fantastic night of entertainment.
In the days in the lead up to these fights, pickup trucks drive around the island blasting out the details of the fights via a loudspeaker, often at deafening volumes, whilst other promoters hand out flyers in main streets of Chaweng and Lamai.
Witnessing a Muay Thai fight in Samui is something you should experience at least once during your stay on the island. Even people who are not regular boxing fans are often fascinated by this intricate, highly skilled and energetic sport, which plays such an important role in Thai culture and society.
The Popularity of Thai Boxing
As well as football (soccer), Mauy Thai is probably the most followed sport in Thailand. Many of the Thai television stations will broadcast live fights up to 5 times per week and all the of the country’s major newspapers will print results and information on the leading Muay Thai fighters and events.
With Thailand being the home of Muay Thai, it is not surprising that the country has produced dozens of world championship fighters. Often, boys as young as eight or nine, sometimes even younger, will start to train seriously, in order to try and follow their dreams to becoming a professional fighter and maybe even a world champion.
As mentioned, fights of all different standards and importance are held throughout Thailand. Normally, a Muay Thai fight takes place in five, 3 minute rounds, with a two minute rest break in between. Before the fight starts each of the boxers will pay homage to his teachers or instructors by performing a dance, known as ‘wai khru’. If you go to watch a Muay Thai event, you will also notice that each boxer will be wearing a headband, which is known as a ‘mongkhol’ and some armbands.
The mongkhol is worn to bring good luck to the boxer as it is normally blessed by a monk or the boxer’s teacher. It is then removed before the fight, after the wai khru. The armbands, which are believed to protect the boxer are worn during the fight and only removed once the fight has ended.
Upon witnessing a Muay Thai boxing fight, you will also notice that next to the ring there will be a traditional Thai band, which normally comprises of drums, cymbals and a Javanese clarinet. The band plays constantly during the fight, from when the boxers are performing the wai khru to when the when the fight has finished, raising and lowering their tempo as the fight between the boxers intensifies. It is said that the band’s music is like a siren song, which a true devotee to Muay Thai will find impossible to resist.
All of this makes for a great atmosphere and an evening spent watching a live Muay Thai fight in Thailand is one that you will surely remember for many years to come.
Muay Thai Boxing Stadiums and Events on Koh Samui
Chaweng Boxing Stadiums
Despite the crushing elbows, furious punches, powerful grappling and lethal kicks, Muay Thai is actually incredibly gracious to watch and Koh Samui has two great places where you can watch some of the islands fighters in action.
Arguably Samui’s most popular boxing stadium is the Chaweng Stadium, which is located close to the Reggae Pub and Chaweng Lake and is home to many of the islands major Muay Thai fights. Fights at Chaweng Stadium are normally held on Monday and Friday nights. However, it is always best to check locally for when the fights are on as during the peak season there can often be additional fights held during the week.
Fights at the Chaweng Stadium start around 9pm and will normally last for about 3 hours. During these 3 hours there are normally a number of small bouts (sometimes as many as 10) before the actual main fight.
These earlier bouts will often include fights between younger boxers, who can sometimes be as young as nine or ten. Admittedly, whilst these fights might not be the main attraction, they can still be worth watching. However, if you are only interested in the night’s main event then you might want to visit the boxing stadium from around 10.30pm.
Chaweng is also home to the Phetch Buncha Stadium, which is newer than the Chaweng Stadium and can be found close to the Laem Din Market.
The atmosphere at both of these stadiums can be electric and with traditional Thai music playing throughout, it certainly helps to create a truly memorable experience. Fights include both Thai and foreign boxers, many of whom are professionals, with the standard of fighting, generally being very good.
Tickets for a Muay Thai fight at one of the boxing stadiums in Chaweng can cost anywhere between 1000 and 2500 Baht, depending on the event and if you have a ringside seat or a seat in the stands. For the latest ticket information it is probably best to check locally before purchasing your ticket.
Many of the Muay Thai events which are held in Chaweng are advertised by a pickup truck that drives around the area blasting out details about the fight from a loud speaker. In the run up to an event there are also normally plenty of flyers and posters dotted all around Chaweng.
For more information, please contact:
Chaweng Boxing Stadium
Address: 3/7 Moo 2, Chaweng Lake Side, Tambon Bophut, Koh Samui
Tel: 077 413 504 or 081 719 6503
Lamai Lady Boxing
As well as the different Thai boxing events which are on offer in Chaweng, Lamai has weekly bouts of lady boxing, which has been popular with locals, expat and tourists for a number of years. Whilst this might be less traditional than the other Muay Thai, it can still be just as entertaining.
Every Saturday night, the main street in Lamai becomes home to an outdoor boxing event mainly featuring local bar girls who fight it out against each other for the prize of a couple of thousand Baht. The boxing starts from about 9.30pm and entry is free. However, you are expected to purchase a drink from one of the one of the surrounding bars.
Now, whilst the lady boxing in Lamai is a popular event, genuine fans of the sport might be a little disappointed, as you certainly won’t be seeing any future world champions here!
That said, others would describe the lady boxing as one of the bet nights out to be had on the island and certainly the place to go for a good laugh.
You might also be surprised by the large and varied crowd that attends this event, with everyone from families, expats, locals and other tourists out to have a good time. The atmosphere around the ring is good too and as the night progresses the crowd can get more and more vocal in their support.
Some people do complain that many of the bars which are located close to the lady boxing raise their prices whenever there is a boxing event. Whilst this may well be the case, generally drink prices should still be pretty reasonable, although you might find the odd bar that tries to charge you silly money for a beer.
If you want to go to a lady boxing fight in Lamai then just head to the main street on a Saturday night, you can’t miss it! If you want to get ring side seats then make sure you get there within in plenty of time as the whole area can get pretty busy.