Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Tentative Trip To Tiger Muay Thai

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.

Tiger is up one end (about a third in) and Dragon is up the other (about a third from that end). Somewhere round the corner is Phuket Top Team.

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...


  1. Sounds about right with regards to tiger, unless you are a top level fighter they really were not interested and just wanted your money and then that was it,i guess that is the business but if i'm going to be handing over a weeks worth of training money it would be at least nice to be given a small tour.I did a lot of research before going over there which is why a opted to train at Dragon. Smaller but less busy and more 1-1 time with instructors.Also reception were very friendly. With regards to fight stuff i should have pointed you guys in the direction of phuket fight store.Its just down from mama's and probably the cheapest.The only thing i bought from tiger was my top king gloves most my other stuff was phuket fight store,its run by the guy involved with phuket top team.

  2. We actually found Phuket Fight Store on that first day too Dom.

    Odd thing was they had literally nothing on the shelves (a few pairs of kids gloves and some old fashioned lace up ones). The website for the store was overloaded with stock, but the woman just said something about stock running out. Whether it was just a busy day, or they were clearing out/closing down, I don't know, but we were kinda cornered into Fight Lab on this one (given you can't really start training without gloves).

  3. Seems like to stuff sells out really fast but they all get stock in pretty quick,was the same when i went there looking for a fairtex bag,couple of days later they had loads..Fightshop was a great store too and to be honest cost difference was normally only 100-200 baht so not a massive dent in the wallet.
    you need gloves otherwise you would probably get subjected to the tiger big pink hire gloves and the kru's will probably laugh at you lol

  4. I was there not long after your visit, agreed their help in the office is lacking and the instruction for what to do was not very helpful at all. This turned me off a bit. But I have to say, after finding a couple of peeps that spoke English we were off and into it.

    Our stay was for 2.5 weeks and 2 weeks of that was solid training. We actually already had our training gear from home so we did not get any shocks in regard to gear there. It did not take us long to find numerous shops and markets about the place to buy extra gear from.

    As for the pricing, well....Think of food in a cinema, overpriced, but if your hungry you buy some. I am sure any items you bought were still a hell of a lot cheaper than if you bought them at home. We save about 60% or more on any boxing gear compared to home.

    Back to tiger in 4 days for 3 weeks of training....Lookout tiger, Pappa's coming home.

  5. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. muaythai

  6. Thanks for commenting Mark and Calvin, and enjoy training Mark! We're having a bit of the winter blues being back in the UK a year on from our Thailand adventure! I miss that full-time training/relaxing regime...