The morning after our mega-journey we were a tad worse for wear.
Going through a-day-and-a-half’s worth of time zones had left Andy looking crumply-faced, and me under a pile of tissues.
Suffice to say, neither of us felt up to having our mugs smashed in.
So we did the next best training thing, and headed down to Tiger Muay Thai to enrol.
For those that aren’t up to speed with the area, it’s based around one road.
The rest of the area is comprised of restaurants, hotels and hostels, scooter hire places (sometimes these three services are all housed under the same roof), pharmacies, tattoo parlours and a reassuring (under the circumstances) ambulance station.
Anyhow, Tiger is by far the biggest gym in the vicinity, looking roughly 5-10 times the size of Dragon down the street.
It’s also, if we’re honest about things, probably the most well-known gym in terms of tourist trade. Your Muay Thai aficionado may well nod approvingly if you’ve trained at Dragon, but pretty much every bloke in the bar will know what you’re on about when you mention Tiger. But more on those differences later.
So why bring it up?
Well, because it sorta explains what happened when we hit up the registration office.
Whether it’s down to the guaranteed rate at which folk rock up begging to enrol, book privates and buy the Tiger-branded t-shirt, or whether the ladies housed within had just had their fill of farangs, the service was pretty much non-existent.
In the land of smiles, we were hoping to be walked through the signup, hocked a bit of training gear, and then guided in the direction of the classes (it’s a big place).
Instead someone begrudgingly took our passports and money (approx. £217 each for the month once credit card fees kicked in), handed us a schedule and we were out on our proverbial arses.
So far, so perfunctory. But, somewhat ironically given the speed in which we’d been pushed out of the office-cum-shop, we actually needed to buy quite a bit of stuff before we could start training.
According to the Tiger site, 16oz gloves are compulsory for sparring, so both of us had budgeted enough to buy them on the ground.
Andy needed shinpads to protect his delicate pins, and we were both up for some wraps and Thai shorts to look the part.
The YouTube vid for Tiger showed a well-stocked selection, whilst UFC veteran Brian Ebersole assures us they have "everything you need for your trip to Thailand".
Heck, shopping is my second favourite sport, so I figured perusing the range of Thai Boxing gear in Thailand, in a shop that could even order stuff in on request, would be an almost orgasmic experience.
As it happened, the only 16oz gloves on the shelf that day were Tiger-branded ones, and the salesman’s chair was empty.
So we headed over the road to Fightlab, where the functional (if not in any sense extensive) selection awarded us two pairs of Fairtex gloves (2100THB/£45 each, Fairtex is a premium brand with a higher price point), two pairs of shorts (Fairtex ones 1200THB/£25, non-Fairtex ones 700THB/£15) and a couple of pairs of own-brand handwraps (250THB/£5 each).
Here we are modelling our his-and-hers haul.
Andy snuck back to the Tiger shop and picked up his Fairtex shinpads the next day for 1700THB/£36.
As I skimmed over before, the Asiana baggage allowance was stringent, and my gloves in the UK are a measly 14oz, so I’m not going to bang on too much about the end cost of our protective swag.
It is worth factoring into your budget though if you’re planning – in a country where dinner costs a couple of quid, laying out nearly £300 each in an afternoon smarts a bit.
Anyway, we were finally set for our Muay Thai date with destiny, or at least with a room full of trainers and some other sweaty folks. Hands up...