I stopped by the Sinbi Muay Thai gym this afternoon to check things out and get a session in. Admittedly, I wasn’t there long enough to do a full review on the place but I’ll share my initial impressions. Keep in mind though, there’s usually a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff at Muay Thai gyms here in Thailand that you only pick up on when you stay there for a long time. I’ve noticed that the gyms here go through stages and the overall vibe/training quality of a gym will depend on a lot of things.
Whether or not the trainers are happy, how busy the gym is, the main purpose of the gym (to make as much money as possible vs. to train champions) – it all influences the type of training you’re going to get. While Sinbi is a heavily commercial gym (as most Phuket gyms are), I was still able to receive quality training today. Before I get into the details, here’s quick tour (filmed just before my battery died), followed by some info on the gym..
Sinbi Muay Thai Gym Info..
Sinbi Muay Thai gym was founded about 5 years ago by Sinbi Taewoong – who at one point, held a #1 ranking at both the major Muay Thai stadiums in Bangkok (lumpinee and rajadamnern). The gym is located in Rawai (100/15 moo 7, Saiyuan road) and based on what I saw today, the area is pretty cool. There’s fresh air, nice running paths and to top it off, I even saw a few elephants walking around.
The per session rate is 300 baht while a full day (2 sessions) costs 500 baht. A full month of training (2 “group sessions” per day) will run you 10,000 baht. Of course, the prices may not be the same a few months from now, or even tomorrow, so if you’re planning on training here, make sure you check their website for the latest prices.
While on the topic of money, I’ll tell you straight up that the gym overcharges for the rooms. The accommodation prices are laughable – which is a big reason why it took me so long to even visit the place. I mean, why support a gym that is so clearly trying to rip us off? But then again, you can’t really blame them for trying because students are clearly paying the inflated rates. From a financial side, it makes sense to charge whatever you can get. It’s basic supply and demand I suppose, and based on how many students were there today, I’m sure the rooms were all rented out.
For the most part, the on-site rooms are “shared” – which means you’ll be bunking with other people (literally, they have bunk beds). Some have air conditioning, others just a fan. The room/training packages at Sinbi start at 17,000 baht per month – which would be an excellent price if you had your own room. Unfortunately, for 17,000, you get a room to share with 2 other people and no air conditioning.
Bump it up to 19,000 baht per month, and the 3 of you will have air conditioning. So, do some quick math on that. That’s an extra 6000 baht per month (3 students paying 2000 baht per month extra) just for an air conditioner? YOU CAN RENT A PRIVATE ROOM WITH A/C IN THAILAND for 6000 baht per month!
If you only have 2 people sharing the room, the total charge for each of you will be bumped up an extra 2000 baht – you know, to cover that 6000 baht per month air conditioner. That’s logical right? Most people in the world pay more for air conditioning than they do for the whole apartments (based on the average cost of 6000 baht per month for an apartment here).. They really must think we’re retarded..
If you want an air conditioned room to yourself, which would certainly be nice, the charge for that is 32,000 baht per month (which is about $1,100). That includes your training as well. Compared to our own countries, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all and for the convenience of having a nice, private, clean room right at the gym, it may be worth it for some of you. For me though, having spent so much time here, I’m just sick of the double standard when it comes to pricing. You know, the Thai price vs. the foreigner price.
You certainly have options though. You can pay a little extra money to stay on-site, which is understandable as it’s much more convenient, or ..you can opt to find a room on your own nearby. When I emailed their admin, I was recommended an apartment called the “Stone Inn”, which is apparently 2 km from the Sinbi gym.
The monthly rate for the rooms at the “Stone Inn” is 9000 baht, but according to their website, the price decreases (all the way down to a little over 6000 baht per month) for long stays. If you’re planning on staying off-site to save some cash (and ultimately stay longer), your best bet is to just roam around the area and see what you can find. That’s how I roll anyway..
Here’s what really matters. When we first arrived, me and my friend we sort of thrown off by the “group” feel of the session. I’m used to warming up, stretching and hitting the bag on my own but I couldn’t do that here without getting guided, and literally pushed towards the “group” of people who were all stretching together.
After stretching with the group and some shadowboxing, I then tried to make my way back to the heavy bag and once again, my workout was interrupted as I was told to join a group of students who were facing a trainer and doing some 1-2 punch combinations in sync. It resembled a group aerobic class from back home and at this point, I wasn’t impressed with things at all.
I eventually made my way back over to the bag for a few rounds before I was approached by one of the trainers for pads. His name was Pot, and based on what I’ve been reading online, the consensus among those who have worked with him is that he’s an awesome trainer. After being lead through about 4 rounds with him, I’d have to agree. He was a great pad holder and he was willing to answer whatever questions I had.
I noticed that the rounds were a bit short, simply because I was able to get through them without gasping for air. When I asked how long they were, I was told that they were 3 minutes, but they felt more like 2 minutes to me. Who knows. Perhaps I could have just found them easy to get through because the air in the area is so clean so my asthma wasn’t as much of an issue.
It’s high season now so the gym was really busy. They did a good job at managing all the students though and everything was pretty organized. In one section of the gym, they would have people sparring, in another area, people would be hitting the bags. In the rings, trainers would be putting students through pad work and elsewhere, students would be working technique.
Once everyone got put through their rounds on the pads, the rings started to fill up and students started working on their clinch. There were a couple trainers in the ring offering guidance but for the most part, it was the students who were clinching with each other. I much prefer clinching with the Thai’s because you end up learning a lot more. Foreigners tend to be a lot less technical and just try to pull on your neck. With Thai’s, they’ll throw you around but as long as they demonstrate the techniques to you when you get up, it’s all good..
Overall, the session at Sinbi is fairly pleasant – that being based on my limited experience of course. I’m not a fan of the “group” feel, but with as many students as they had, you can’t blame them for trying to keep things organized. The rounds seemed short, but the pad work was good. They have sparring here and it seems like clinching to finish things off is standard. Since the gym is so structured, it seemed suitable for beginners.
It’s not a bad gym at all and with a 300 baht drop in rate, it’s certainly worth a try. The area is scenic and aside from the overpriced accommodation, the short rounds and the “group training” feel, everything else (the trainer, the facilities, the vibe etc) was pretty good.
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!