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!
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!