It’s always been a dream of Jacs’ to go to a Muay Thai camp in Thailand, as he used to fight semi-pro Muay Thai back in the UK when he was a bit younger. Obviously any sort of physical activity is my idea of heaven too, so we booked on to live and train at Santai Muay Thai Gym in San Kamphaeng, 40 minutes out of the centre of Chiang Mai.
We booked a package that combined 2 weeks of training (2 sessions a day) and accommodation (Double room with AC) on-site, which cost 15,000 Baht for 2 weeks altogether (£347). Seeing as our budget is £910 for 2 weeks, we couldn’t believe how much money would be saving excluding food and living costs.
When we arrived at Muay Thai Camp, we were told we had to rent/buy some kit. If you are only going there for a week or so and are into boxing back at home, it is well worth buying some gloves here and taking them back with you. SantI sell Fairtex boxing gloves for 1200THB (£30), which is a great price as these gloves will cost you about £70-80 in the UK. We rented gloves for the 2 weeks as we have no room for a pair of boxing gloves in our backpacks surprisingly!
Glove rental cost 800THB each (£20) and then we had to buy some wraps for 200THB (£5) and shorts for 300 THB (£7.50 - these are optional, but who goes to a Muay Thai Camp and doesn’t buy a pair of traditional Muay Thai Shorts, ey?!). Therefore, all in all, our accommodation, training and kit rental/cost to buy came to 17,600THB (£440), which is pretty amazing if you are on a budget - £31 per day for two people for two weeks, excluding the cost of food. It’s almost worth doing this camp purely to save a bit of money! But that wasn’t the reason we were doing it of course, can you guess why we were doing it?
a) really challenge ourselves - training twice a day for 2 weeks, core this was going to be a killer!
b) to learn how to fight Muay Thai by professional Muay Thai fighters in the country that the sport was created
c) to stop eating rubbish/drinking alcohol for two weeks straight so that we could go back to being shredded!
d) all of the above is the answer
The owner of the gym showed us to our apartment for the next 2 weeks. It was literally amazing! We stayed at Penprapa Place which was a 2 minute walk from the gym. It had a really nice sit-down area outside and the rooms were so spacious. We had a huge double bed, a flat-screen tv (that only had Thai channels so you can imagine how much tv we watched those 2 weeks), a table and chairs, a huge wardrobe, an ensuite bathroom and a balcony. There was a washing machine and places to hang your washing downstairs, which was great for us as it was really cheap and meant we could do our washing practically every day (because you can imagine how we stunk at the end of every sweaty training session!) It was a really nice place to stay and we loved it during our time there.
The gym was brilliant. There was a huge space filled with all different kinds of bags for bag work, 3 boxing rings for pads with the trainers/clinching/sparring, a small gym/weights area and loads of tyres outside for tyre flips/jumping/agility work. There was also a 3 mile loop that went around the area of the gym for running in the morning.
There were two training sessions a day: Monday - Saturday. The morning session was 6:00-8:00 and the evening session was 16:00-19:30. Truth be told, we got there on a Friday and skipped our first 2 morning sessions due to not being able to physically remove ourselves from our new comfy bed to train at that time in the morning! We went to the evening sessions for the first 2 days, had our rest day on the Sunday and then smashed the rest of our time there, attending the morning and evening sessions every day.
The training sessions were great, especially if you are like us and push yourself by your own motivation and will. On the website, the training sessions are laid out as follows:
• Warm up Run (4km / 20 min.)
• Skipping (10 min.)
• Stretching (10 min.)
• Shadow Boxing (10 min.)
• Bag Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Burpee’s (20 min.)
• Pull-Ups (3 sets)
• Warm Up Run (4km / 20 min.)
• Stretching (10 min.)
• Shadow Boxing (10 min.)
• Bag Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Pad Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Clinching (Everyday at 6PM) / Technical Sparring (2 – 3 times per week)
• Knees On Bag (100 knees / 10 min.)
• Repetitive Kicks on Bag (100 kicks / 10 min.)
• Individual Technical Drills (20 min.)
• Walking Knees / Kicks / Push-kicks / Punches
• Defense / Offense Training
• Sprints (15 min.) * 2-3 times per week only
• Weights (15 min.)
• Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Burpee’s (100 each / 15 min.) *Competitive- prize for first finisher
• Pull-Ups (2 sets)
We saw a lot of the sponsored Muay Thai fighters in the gym practicing parts this routine, however we never saw any competition taking place as stated above (which we would have loved to take part in) or any ritualised training really. It was all a bit random and done under your own We’d like to say this was our complete training schedule too, however our actual training was a bit more relaxed and didn’t really feature much of this structure.
Our sessions pretty much featured the following:
Our favourite part of every session was the 5x5 minute rounds on the pads with the instructors. They were so good at pushing you and we felt physically exhausted (but even more motivated) after every round! As Jac and I love training and pushing ourselves, the relaxed structure of the session was no bother to us as we made ourselves train our hardest and improved our techniques massively by the end of the two weeks, with the help of the trainers who corrected your technique (at every whim!)
The trainers are awesome and are really approachable when you need help with something. There’s a mixed team here too of 3-4 sponsored western fighters combined with 5-6 sponsored Thai fighters. The other people that trained there consisted of many different nationalities and were all there from differing amounts of time. A lot of them were training at Santai on 3-6 month retreats, simply wanting to spend 3 months learning from the best, whilst implementing the ultimate health kick for themselves away from home. Everyone was really nice and we enjoyed spending the 2 weeks training with them all.
Whilst living and training at Santai for 2 weeks, we got very creative with food in our little apartment (ew no, not in the way you’re thinking!) We have eaten our at restaurants for the past 6 months and loved the idea of cooking for ourselves for a couple of weeks. We had only a kettle so we cooked everything we ate using only this appliance! Our diet looked a little something like this:
Post training - 8:00am - overnight protein porridge (1 scoop protein, milk and porridge oats) and 1 tiny banana
Lunch 11:30/12:00pm - 1 tin of tuna, lite mayo (bought from the big C, 7/11 or Tesco down the road) and a tonne of salad (bought from the morning market down the road)
Some serious lunch prep going on! Jac used to spend ages in the morning market. He assured me he was just haggling and getting the freshest vegetables. However, it seemed that when I ventured with him once, I got a lot of dirty old looks from all the old Thai ladies that he'd obviously been flirting with!
Pre-training/3pm - a portion of jasmine rice
Post training - 1 tiny banana and home made chicken noodle soup. To make this we bought loads of vegetables from the morning market, chopped them up and boiled/reboiled them about 4/5 thought the day. We used our jasmine rice plastic containers to do this and our kettle. We bought 2 5ltr bottles of water and cut the tops off of them when they were empty to make two big bowls. We bought some noodles/flavouring from the shop and some cooked chicken breasts from 7-11. And there you have it, chicken noodle soup with a tonne of veggies - voila!
Desert: 70 calorie lychee jellies from 7-11
We both pretty much ate this exact diet for 2 weeks (with training combined) and managed to shed the few lbs that we’d put on during our 6 months travelling so far. We loved cooking for ourselves again, so the novelty of it all was fun for us alone!
During our 2 weeks training, we ventured out to the San Kamphaeng Saturday night market twice during our stay! It’s down the road from there Muay Thai camp and is one of the best markets we’ve ever been too! There was so much food on offer and you can be sure that we had a little pig out here! (This is a major understatement - we actually went mental and ate about a million different things!)
On Sundays, our rest days, we ventured out to explore San Kamphaeng. On the first Sunday, we went to a Waterpark, which was awesome and had some wicked rides! We went on the big waterslide that shoots you into a big bowl and then drops you out of a little hole into the water with 2 Thai men that joined us in a dingy, and laughed our heads off as one of the Thai men had the highest pitched scream we’d ever heard!
The next Sunday, we rented a motorbike from the apartment owner and visited the hot springs and the cave that are located in San Kamphaeng. The hot springs were awesome! The springs are so hot that you can boil eggs inside them. We boiled some eggs in them for our lunch, which was a bit of a disaster as we read for a runny egg, you need to leave it in for 5 minutes. So we did... and then had to re-dip the eggs about 5 times for the next 20 minutes as they kept coming out raw! When we finally got a cooked egg, it was hard boiled! It’s a really nice place at the hot springs, we chilled here for a while and read our books after going in the unbelievably sweaty mineral baths that nearly made us both pass out!
The cave was really good too. There was a bit of the cave inside where you could rub your hand in mud and leave your handprint on the wall! (Either that or we’d joined in a dirty protest!)
However, we didn’t realise actually getting to the cave and the temple at the top of the mountain was going to be such hard graft, we ended up walking up about 1000 stairs! Our poor legs, so much for their rest day!
We absolutely loved our two weeks training at Santai Muay Thai. For the price, the experience and the accommodation, we would definitely recommend booking to stay with these guys! One of the things I loved is that there was no judgement for myself being a complete beginner. From the very first session, you’re thrown in at the deep end, doing exactly the same as everyone else. In this way, it’s easy to quickly immerse with the group and pick up on other peoples skills and routines. Not for one second did I feel like a newbie and really quickly felt at home in the gym. Jac loved that they recognised his skills straight away and put him into a more advanced group with harder (more brutal) trainers, he learnt so much during the two weeks and definitely improved his stamina!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear from you!
All gone rogue x
When we're free