Saengmorakot gym is hard to find. Very hard to find. What started off as a quick afternoon training session at a new gym turned out to be an all day event. Despite leaving my apartment at 2, I didn’t make it to the gym until nearly 5 o’clock; only to find out that training started at 3. If you’re planning on checking out Saengmorakot, the gym can be found directly next to “Wat Sitaram”. Problem is, you can walk right by it without even knowing. You actually have to walk INTO the Wat gates, turn left and only then will you be able to hear shins smashing against the twins pads. The gym is right there.
I’ve been wanting to train at Saengmorakot ever since I saw the videos that surfaced on you tube showcasing the gritty gym. No mats, no carpets, no “bells and whistles” at all. Just hardcore training and of course, hardly any other foreigners – which admittedly, has its appeal. The gym seemed to be an undiscovered treasure, especially considering the amount of champions it has produced. Here are the videos that initially sparked my interest..
When I arrived, I didn’t recognize the place. It looked nothing at all like I had previously seen in the videos. It was renovated with new bags and mats. The whole gym had been completely re-done – which is obviously a good thing. The downside however, was the overall size and age of the fighters there. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I mean, compare the videos above with this..
It seems as though the previous generation of fighters (as seen in the videos above) had passed through and they have a new stable of fighters that they’re bringing up. There was a few larger, older looking guys around but not as many as I was expecting..
One of the kids really caught my attention. He’s in the video below wearing the blue shorts. I asked about him and he’s only 12 years old, yet he already has tattoos on the front of his shoulders and on each of his fingers (although it’s hard to tell in the video)..
There’s just something about him. He’s just, so.. cool! A little on the cocky/mean side (as indicated by the taunting of his outmatched training partner), but whatever, he’s still a lot cooler than I was at 12 years old (or even 28)..
Hopefully I’ll make it back and actually get the chance to train (I’m sure I will), because without training, I can’t really tell you guys if it’s good or not. One thing though that was sort of surprising was the price. Based on how rustic the gym was (previously anyway), I was sure that the training would be inexpensive, especially considering that so few foreigners roll through there, but it was more expensive than most. Here are the prices..
500 baht per day
3,500 baht per week
12,600 baht per month
Training + Accommodation (4 ppl per room and NO air con):
6000 baht per week
21,600 baht per month
Training + Accommodation (private room WITH air con):
7500 baht per week
27,000 baht per month
As I mention in my Thailand Training Guide, the gym accommodation is usually overpriced (as in this case). You can find your own room in Bangkok for around 4000-6000 baht per month. Of course, like anything else in Thailand, I’m sure the rates above are negotiable.
Anyway, in other news, the rent on my apartment is due on the 5th and since I have a friend visiting from Canada on the 22nd (who wants me to meet him here and show him around Bangkok, then go down South to Phuket and the islands), I figure it’s the perfect chance for me to head to a gym on the outskirts for a few weeks before he arrives. I’m thinking maybe Sitmonchai or Kiatphontip..
THINKING OF GOING TO THAILAND TO TRAIN?
I’ve developed a 70 page guide that profiles everything you need to know about training in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. In the manual, I discuss the visa issues, the Muay Thai camps, the different areas, the transportation, the food, the culture and customs, the girls, the scams, the safety issues and most importantly, how to save a ton of cash along the way!