While most people use their holiday time to slip into a world of cocktails, rich meals, and lounging around, those who find joy in a more active lifestyle can often be left feeling short changed, especially in urban environments where exercising in public isn’t too viable thanks to less than stellar roads and excessive heat – not the best running or cycling conditions. The same issue applies to expats, who may want to maintain their regular lifestyle despite being in paradisiacal surroundings. Bangkok is lacking in consistent green space, so if you’re looking to get the blood pumping your best bet is a local gym; this is doubly the case if you’ve come to Thailand to learn about and practice the national sport of Muay Thai. There are hundreds of gyms in Bangkok, but some are most definitely better than others. Here are our top picks for the budding gym rats and Thai boxers.
If you’re looking for a gym in Bangkok with a social purpose as well as kick ass facilities, this is your spot. The gym is in the slums of Klong Toey, but don’t let the location put you off: it’s safe to get there via MRT to Klong Toey Station and a motorbike taxi, which should only cost THB 30 (74p) or so. Sessions start at 3pm and the cost per session is THB 300 (£7); morning sessions are available but have to be arranged directly with the trainers.
Each session starts with a fitness component, before getting into the nitty gritty of technique. You then have the opportunity to spar with a partner. The owner of this Bangkok Muay Thai gym also trains underprivileged children from the local area for free, and they have produced a number of prize fighters, including a current nationally ranked top 10 fighter. If you want great equipment, technical trainers, and to feel like your money is being used for good, then training here is a must.
Those looking for a more conventional Bangkok gym can head to this Thai outpost of the global Fitness First brand. The gym is spacious, air conditioned, and with all the equipment you could want, as well as a sauna, steam room, and swimming pool. If you’re a member of a Fitness First back at home, you should be able to sign up to their “International Passport” scheme, which allows you access to the gym whilst in Thailand. If you’re keen to spend more than one session training, then a day pass can be acquired for THB 400 (£10).
Situated in the North East of the city on Ratchadaphisek Road, this small gym packs a real punch. Highly recommended by locals and expats, it has been running in one form or another for over half a century. Although the equipment isn’t new and shiny, the expertise on offer is priceless, and the trainers here can whip even the laziest of holidaymakers into shape.
Even if you’re a total novice you’ll be accommodated at this Bangkok gym; the trainers are excellent and helpful, and they offer great deals on the necessary equipment. If you’re looking for a Muay Thai gym in Bangkok that treats the sport like a lifestyle and not a hobby, then this is the place. Costs vary as programmes are tailored to your needs, but a three-day training camp (training only) is around THB 2,000 (£50).
Muscle Lab Gym Bangkok is also in the North East of the city on Ratchadaphisek Road and has the added benefit of being open all day and night. Although they’ve only been running for five years, they’ve quickly established themselves as one of the friendliest gyms in the city, with helpful trainers and regulars always looking to make sure the gym experience is as fun as it is fulfilling.
A day pass costs THB 200 (£5), so in terms of value for money this Bangkok gym is one of the best. If you want to work out with likeminded people in a fun environment, then Muscle Lab Gym Bangkok is the place for you.
Open since 2015, Thailand’s biggest gym is so much more than that. This Bangkok gym is for everyone, from novices to power lifters, and their staff are some of the most motivational and helpful around. Run for locals but with travellers and holidaymakers in mind, they offer a day pass for THB 320 (£8), but if you’re really wanting to get your butt kicked into gear their infamous camps are a great idea: run by a former Mr Universe, they offer nearby accommodation, meals for the entire duration of the camp (based on a nutritional consultation that takes place on day one), and airport pick up.
The weeklong camp costs THB 32,500 (£800), but if you want to kickstart your fitness journey the investment is worth it.
Another gym that’s slightly out of the city centre, TBM Gym Bangkok is a specialist Muay Thai gym that focuses on fitness and technique. Full of both western expats and locals, this Bangkok gym has excellent equipment and hardcore trainers who will get the best out of you. Although not as no frills as some other Muay Thai gyms, there is still a sense of the asceticism you’d associate with a top-quality specialist venue like this.
The main draw of this gym is the fact that one of the best Muay Thai fighters of all time and alleged inspiration for Sagat in Street Fighter, Sagat Petchyindee, trains here. A session with him is relatively expensive at THB 3,000 (£73), but given his legendary status, is definitely worth it if you’re looking to improve your Muay Thai, or if you’re a beginner looking to start off on the best foot possible.
Prefer to work up a sweat on the dancefloor? Take a look at our guide to Bangkok’s nightlife scene.
Are you ready to feel the burn and get fighting fit? Then download the Orbzii app today, to Dream, Plan, and Book your next holiday to Thailand!