Muay Thai is Thailand’s traditional art of self-defense and national combat sport. Travelers visiting Thailand have almost always included a segment of their holiday tour to see some Muay Thai action before leaving the country. In Phuket, where most of the tourist arrivals are recorded, Muay Thai tourism is booming and thriving. A lot of foreign visitors especially the westerners head to Phuket to train before they eventually take part in competitive matches at the Muay Thai stadiums in Phuket and eventually in Bangkok, which is the seat of Muay Thai amateur and professional competitive fights.
The Local Muay Thai Scene
It is almost a way of life for many young boys in Phuket to be part of a Muay Thai training camp or gym as they aspire to be the great Muay Thai fighters of their time. This is the reason why in Phuket, organised fights even for the young boys are held at some Muay Thai stadiums scattered throughout the island. For the amateur and professional fighters, more efforts are made to publicize the fight details. Open pick-up trucks will be driving around Phuket nightly with their blasting loudspeakers announcing the dates and venue of the fights. Promoters will be handing out flyers in crowded areas like Patong Beach so more people would know about the fights.
Most of the organized Muay Thai fights are held in the two famous Muay Thai boxing stadiums in Phuket:
Patong Boxing Stadium.
This is probably the biggest and the best known and highly respected boxing stadium in Phuket. The stadium hosts regular Muay Thai fight nights every Monday and Thursday featuring local Thai and foreign or ‘farang’ fighters. Ringside seat will cost a Muay Thai fan Baht 1,500 while a regular seat will cost Baht 1,300. Patong Boxing Stadium is located at Sai Nam Yen Road in Patong Beach.
The Patong Boxing Stadium is buzzing with fight talk and a video on the large screen is continuously playing, explaining the history of Muay Thai, the Art of the Eight Limbs – the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively in this art. The Muay Thai ring is surrounded by the expensively-priced seats and further out are blue-painted bleachers with lower price tags, providing a bird’s eye view of the proceedings.
Bangla Boxing Stadium.
This is another famous Muay Thai boxing stadium in Phuket. It is located just behind the Jung Ceylong shopping center on the upper floor of Tiger Discoteque holding several Muay Thai fights per week. The stadium magnetizes fighters from all parts of the world to participate in the competitive fights scheduled by top Muay Thai boxing promoters. This very dynamic and action-packed competition can give the first-time audience an exhilarating experience. Bangla Boxing Stadium hosts regular fights every Friday, Sunday and BigMatch Wednesday nights. Like the other publicity stunts of other stadiums, open-bed trucks will be driving around with young Thai boxers sparring at the back of the truck to attract more attention.
If you’re traveling outside Phuket, you can see here where to watch Muay Thai fights around Thailand.