Of course, that’s just my opinion. I ended up at the Sor Vorapin gym nearby Khao San road on a Sunday simply because Kaewsamrit gym (where I had originally planned to go) was closed. With its location in backpacker central, the trainers at Sor Vorapin gym have a lot of experience when it comes to teaching foreigners – which is usually a good thing as they can relate the techniques more effectively.
Well, in this case – it wasn’t a good thing at all. At Sor Vorapin gym, I felt like I was viewed as nothing more than an ATM machine. I was asked for 500 baht before I was asked my name. In fact, they didn’t ask what my name was at all! I was simply referred too as “you!”. And at 500 baht per training session, the Sor Vorapin gym is very overpriced. Especially when you consider that you can get a session at Sityodtong or Scorpion gym for half the cost. Fairtex was 800 baht per session but that price is justifiable when you consider how much money they invested into the place. Sor Vorapin gym on the other hand is nothing more than 1 ring and about 4 punching bags in a back alley.
Now, I’m not knocking back-alley type gyms or modest training facilities. All you really need is basic equipment and a good trainer. The trainer I was matched up with at Sor Vorapin gym didn’t know how to hold the pads at all. He would tell me to kick while standing about 2 feet away from me. So I’d kick (as to just be respectful and not correct his teaching methods) and my knee would hit the pads instead of my shin.
This annoying occurrence went on for about 10-12 kicks and I eventually just got frustrated and asked him to move back a bit. After all, I’m the one paying 500 baht for the session – I at least went to get off some decent kicks. Well, I guess he felt like he lost “face” or something because he told me to “go kick the bag”. That was fine with me. I’d rather kick the heavy bag with my shin then kick the pads with my thigh and knee like a goof.
Throughout my session at Sor Vorapin gym, the only bit of good advise I got didn’t come from a trainer, but rather ..one of the students. While I was hitting the heavy bag, he stepped in and started showing me some combinations that he thought would work well for me. I never caught his name but he told me that he had been coming to Thailand since he was 14 (he’s now 22) and that he has now fought in Lumpinee stadium 3 times with his fourth Lumpinee fight coming up in a couple weeks. Here’s some footage I got of him doing pad-work at the start of the session..
I also got some good footage of his clinch work with one of the Thai fighters. While I was watching the clinch-session, one of the other students pointed out the pictures along the wall and apparently the Thai-fighter is a former Lumpinee champion himself. However, it’s pretty bad when the highlight of your workout is watching other people train after getting only 2 rounds of sub-par pad-work in yourself.
I DO NOT recommend coming to Sor Vorapin gym at all. It’s experiences like this that make it worthwhile for me to keep the fact that I’m a Muay Thai journalist a secret so I get to see how anyone who walks in off the street for a workout gets treated.
Again, there’s so many gyms throughout Thailand. Don’t waste your time and money with Sor Vorapin!
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I have really enjoyed your blog and the information is very useful. I am from London Ontario and am interested in heading to Thailand for a year. I read that you got a 1 year ED visa from the embassy in Ottawa. Other then the letter from the camp what else did you bring to get the visa accepted? Thanks.
That guy looks like Chris Forster. Great fighter!
Shitty. Sounds frustrating. For 500 baht ($15-ish CDN) fuck that noise. Kinda feel sad for the 22-year-old dude; they must be treating him alright though because he must know that there are tonnes of other gyms to choose from. Hopefully they aren’t throwing him to the wolves in his fights at Lump. Maybe they treat farangs offhandedly until they return a couple times and really prove that they want to train. Good report.
Chris have trained at Sor Vorapin many times and it is like you say, they treat “holiday boxers” at lot different than professionals like Chris. If think he have fought all his lumpinifights for Sor Vorapin and a couple of fights at Ratchadamnoen too so you don`t have to worry.
While your in Bangkok, go to Kiatphontip gym in Salaya, ask for Jompop. You wont be disapointed. Kiatphontipgym.com
Its to bad you didn’t like the gym. When I was there I trained with the owner and loved it. I agree with you that the first person I met asked for pay before name. But I met the owner and best trainer at my hotel. My pad work was great and he even kept me from being lazy on my kicks. We also worked boxing like crazy. Its to bad you didn’t have a good experience there. Maybe its because I was a fighter that I got a different look.
By the way the fighters name is Cris Forster. He is a great guy and he is actually from Sweden, via Africa. He told me about how he came to Thailand at 14 and the gym gave him a spot as if he was Thai. He speaks like 4 languages. You can find him on Facebook.
That’s a shame man, I had good experiences training there. Not mind-blowing, but good atmosphere and good trainers. The clinching work I did there was some of the best I did my whole trip.
Nice, you actually got to meet Chris “Petchdam” Forster, guy’s a beast.
Really enjoyed the review by Admin. Agree completely with the other lads’ remarks, however, in that the trainers will only be truly interested in you if you turn up more than once, show commitment and a willingness to train hard. It’s the same anywhere be it in Muay Thai, Boxing, TKD any other discipline – why should you be expected to put everything into teaching or some guy/girl who may well never turn up again and be incredibly disrespectful during the practice time. I was at Sorapin in March for 3 months and I was treated exceptionally well by all the guys including Chris and the Gym owner but can completely understand the almost visceral contempt the Thai instructors have for one-session wannabe hard cases. Yours in Martial arts 🙂
Chris is the world champ now. Won in lumpini feb 2009.
He´s a really great fighter, From Gothenburg Sweden.
I trained in this camp few days in 2008 and for me experience was quite good, first day was little bit disappointing, then training got better in next times. Chris was there also in that time, damn he trained hard. He had fight against some Japanese fighter in Lumpini and won that.
Hello do they do Pro boxing at the gym?? I mean not the muay thai but western boxing aswell? I am thinking about coming to thailand to do some training and would like to have a bout there aswell. I am all ready a pro in britain with 6 pro fights under my belt. Can anyone help.
Another issue might have been that you showed up on a Sunday. The website said training is Monday to Friday at specific times. It’s supposed to be like a two hour class.
I trained at Sor Vorapin two weeks ago. I stayed at gym 2 which is about 15 minutes from Khao San Road. I had the best time at Sor Vorapin and I plan to return. The trainers gave me the oil massages before the afternoon seshion 2-3 times per week. They also taught me wai kru and had me practice after every afternoon seshion. I trained at gym 1 (Khao San Road) only once, on a sunday. The training there was okay, i was belted a few times at gym 1, about my guard and not stepping each kick, knee, punch or elbow. I plan to return to Sor Vorapin gym 2, I really enjoyed it. Maybe not gym 1 though.