So I’ve been at Tiger Muay Thai for about 2 months now – which is a little longer than I had originally planned on staying. During my first couple nights, I’ll be honest – I wanted to leave. It had nothing to do with the training either – it was the location.
I remember using my laptop outside (since I wasn’t getting any connection in my room) while getting eaten by mosquitoes. It was about 20 minutes after 9 and the restaurant had just closed. The camp is in a very isolated area and after about 9pm, the food selection is limited.
So, as you can imagine, I didn’t find getting multiple bug bites – as a result of having to spend hours outside due to the poor internet connection – and going to bed hungry very appealing. Especially considering I had come from Pattaya – where a 7-11 and a 24 hour Thai food restaurant are fixtures on every block.
But you know what? While I was a little frustrated the first couple nights, I’m writing this – about 58 days later – and I’m still here. Once you get used to it, the location isn’t so bad. Actually, the way I see it, if there’s nothing around – there’s no temptation. No temptation to party, no temptation to drink, no temptation to do anything but train and in my case, get some work done.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive. I just train, watch the stacks of 50 baht DVD’s that I buy from the market and write for websites. I’m watching the 5th season of entourage right now actually – Ari Gold is awesome by the way! I’ve even used the location to my advantage. I’ll purposely avoid buying food for the night which forces me to run about 6km to a place that sells plates of chicken, rice and soup for about a dollar.
Tiger Muay Thai Review – The Training
The training here is a lot better than I expected. Every single pad-holder that I’ve worked with – and I’ve worked with about 8 different trainers – has been amazing. The thing about Tiger Muay Thai is that they probably have more students than any other camp in Thailand. More students – in most cases – equates to more money and since they do so well here, they can afford to pay their trainers an attractive salary.
So, it comes to no surprise that they have a lot to pick from. That’s not to say that you won’t find good trainers at some of the less financially stable camps. There’s actually a couple lumpinee champions over at Sityodtong without foreign students to train. That’s just their loyalty though. A lot of times, if a camp brings up a fighter, they’ll stay there for decades and help train the younger students coming up. When they fight, a lot of them even take on the camp name as their surname. Yodsanklai Fairtex, Buakaw Por Pramuk – get the idea? Although, for the record, Yodsanklai wasn’t brought up by Fairtex – but that’s besides the point.
What’s unique about Tiger Muay Thai is that they implement a lot of western training methods with the traditional Thai way of doing things. Each class begins and ends with a great warm up/cool down and a lot of time is spent on flexibility. They also have a free weight area – which is currently undergoing expansion – and a personal trainer available to help students out with their form and answer questions. In the new free weight area, I’ve been told that they’re getting all sorts of new equipment – even a full set of kettle-bells.
The students here are split into classes based on their skill level. There’s beginner, intermediate and advanced. There’s plenty of beginners so if you’re just starting out, don’t even worry about it. There’s plenty of people here that have never even thrown a kick before getting on that flight to Thailand – at least that’s what it looks like anyway.
The advanced class is run drill sergeant style. The trainers push you hard. They’re the sort of workouts that you hate doing at the time, but feel good for getting through them when they’re over. When you’re doing pad-work and you’re pushed to exhaustion, the trainers will just say “come on man!” and start hitting you with the pads. It sounds bad but it’s not, it’s great actually. They really push you.
In 2 months time, only twice have I been completely overlooked by the trainers and skipped over for pad-work. I was obviously disappointed at the time seeing as how the pad-work and individual attention is what people (myself included) come for. If I just wanted to skip and hit the bag, I’d stay home – save myself thousands of dollars – and just train in my basement.
But in all fairness, that was 2 workouts in 2 months. The other 50 or so training sessions have all been pretty good. No gym I’ve ever been to is perfect, they all have their flaws. There was a point here (before the airport protests) when I found that the place was just too packed. It was during that period though that the owner of the camp was really pushing for a big expansion to accommodate the influx of guests.
The expansion – which is going to see the camp almost double in size – should be done in a couple of weeks. Although, in Thailand – you never really know. So while the place was way too busy for a while, effort was being made to fix the problem and that’s really all you can ask for.
As for the MMA program, to be honest – I haven’t really done any of the MMA classes. I’ve just been focusing on the Muay Thai while I’m in Thailand but from what I’ve seen, the instruction is pretty good. Ray Elbe is the head MMA instructor here and he certainly knows what he’s doing. He’s a BJJ purple belt but I’ve watched him roll with BJJ black belts here and surprisingly, it looks pretty even – at least from my perspective anyway.
Just the fact that there’s BJJ black belts and UFC vets that come here to train says a lot about the calibre of fighters you’ll have to spar with and learn from. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get to spar against one of the UFC guys while they’re here – since they’re usually off getting private lessons – there’s still plenty of other high level guys on hand.
Tiger Muay Thai Review – The Accommodations
I’ve been staying in one of the “budget style fighters rooms” that are advertised on the site for 4000 baht per month but for some reason, the price was jacked up to 5000 baht when I arrived. The website still actually says 4000 baht. The room is good enough. Its got a TV, DVD player, mini fridge, bed, dresser and a fan. It gets pretty hot here but surprisingly, a fan seems to do the trick.
The site says that the rooms here have “high speed wireless internet” access. Well, the truth is that most rooms don’t. Most of the students here have to bring their laptops to one of two locations – near the office or near the restaurant. When I first got here, I was living in one of the budget rooms near the back of the camp and since I couldn’t get a connection, I had to switch to a room that was closer to the restaurant.
Even here, the connection is still pretty weak and I get signed in and out every 5 minutes or so. There’s nothing more frustrating than constantly getting logged out of msn when you’re in the middle of a conversation with your friends from back home or writing up a detailed email, then trying to send it off only to realize that you’ve lost connection and even worse – lost your work.
The camp offers accommodation to suit all budgets. Even if you don’t want to stay at the camp, you can stay in one of the nearby resorts that were built specifically to accommodate the Tiger Muay Thai guests. Truthfully, the pricing on all the nearby rooms has been jacked up for the foreigners. There is no way that a Thai would be charged – nor would they pay – 12,000 baht for a basic room with a basic washroom.
Staying nearby the camp is certainly more convenient but if you’re on a budget and you don’t want to stay in one of the budget rooms, you can go a little further out and find a room with hot water and a washroom for about 4000 baht a month – the budget rooms at the camp don’t have a washroom. It’s really not a big deal though. You don’t really need your own washroom, the public facilities at the camp will do just fine.
If you’re only staying for a month or so – or if you’re a baller and money isn’t an issue – some of the nearby resorts are awesome. Here are video tours of both the rooms at the camp and the nearby accommodations. I didn’t film these by the way. I had planned to go around and film them myself but TMT beat me to it. So, to save myself time, I’ll just use their tours..
Budget Room at the Camp (where I’ve been staying)
Family Bungalow at the Camp
Willow House (Looks pretty nice actually)
Ruam Mai Bungalows
I-Com Hotel (Boxer Bar)
Tiger Muay Thai Review – The Food There’s a restaurant on site at the camp and it’s decent I suppose. I eat there every now and then just for the convenience of it although just down the road, there’s a place called “country restaurant” that’s a lot better. The portions are bigger and the prices are a bit lower. Everyone just calls the place “mommas” and a lot of the guests live and eat there. The food is great but the rooms are overpriced for what you get in my honest opinion.
There’s also a place in chalong circle that’s amazing. The portions are huge and the prices are more than fair. I’ve actually once gone there once since I don’t have a motorbike and it’s a bit out of the way but now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll have to go back there once more and get the giant chicken salad before I leave chalong and move on.
As I mentioned earlier in the review, I usually run late at night to a Thai food stand that sells chicken, rice and soup for 30 baht – which is under 1 USD. I’ll eat a couple servings there then bring a couple servings back to the camp to eat throughout the night (I’m a night owl).
Since the food selection is so limited after 9pm, I mentioned to Will (the owner) that he should look into getting a microwave so students can heat up their meals and about 2 days later, there was a brand new microwave sitting on the restaurant counter with a sign saying that students are welcome to use it. That really impressed me. A perfect example of an owner who is always looking for ways to try and improve his services.
I’d also recommend that if you’re planning on coming to Tiger Muay Thai (or Thailand in general), you should bring your own protein supplements from back home. They’re much more expensive here. A small 2 pound container of most likely poor quality protein will run you around 3000 baht or so – which is almost 100 bucks.
Tiger Muay Thai Review – The Pro Shop
There’s a pro shop here that sells shirts, shorts, gloves, hand-wraps etc. The prices here are cheaper than back home but compared to what I’ve seen throughout Thailand, they’re a little jacked up. They sell twins gloves for about 1950 baht and hand-wraps for about 375 baht. I’m using Fairtex gloves at the moment and while they’re normally a little more expensive than the Twins – I bought them for about 1450 baht in Pattaya.
You can scoop a pair of Twins gloves for about 1400 baht in Bangkok or Pattaya as well. I’ve noticed that the Muay Thai gear in Phuket to be a little more expensive all around but there’s a shop in Patong that sells the gloves for around 1600 baht. It’s not that big of a deal though, most people – even knowing that they can get the gloves cheaper elsewhere – would just end up buying them at the Tiger Muay Thai pro shop for the convenience of it.
They also sell Tiger Muay Thai shirts for just under 500 baht – which is expensive for Thailand – but I’ll probably end up buying one anyway because they look sick and you can’t get them anywhere else. A couple of my buddies from back home actually want me to send some shirts back (even though they don’t train) so they can wear the shirts at the bar and look tough. Whack yes, I know!
Tiger Muay Thai Review – Final Thoughts
After having spent 2 months here, I can certainly recommend it. The trainers are excellent and the entire staff – the owner included – seem to do whatever they can to help you out. They have a guest services manager who will organize trips & visa runs for you, they have a laundry service that is the cheapest I’ve seen so far in Thailand and a personal trainer that seems eager to answer questions and help people out.
For first timers who have never been to Thailand and are a little nervous, you want to pick a camp that has good guest relation services so that if anything were to go wrong, you wouldn’t be alone. Tiger Muay Thai is also a good place to make friends since on average, there’s around 100 guests from all over the world training here at any given time.
That being said, since Tiger Muay Thai is a very isolated, foreigner oriented gym – it has a summer camp feel to it. You’re in Thailand, but you’re surrounded by people from western countries. For that reason, I also recommend eventually going off on your own (once you feel comfortable) and putting yourself out of your element so to speak.
Doing so will enable you to experience a completely different culture and training alongside Thai’s – even the 8,9 and 10 year olds – can be very motivating. Travelling to foreign countries is all about new experiences so if you’re planning on staying long term, I recommend that you train in a few different gyms and environments.
I’m about to move on now but I know I’ll be looking back on my time spent at Tiger Muay Thai with fond memories. The bottom line – Tiger Muay Thai is a well equipped gym with awesome trainers. Certainly worth checking out..
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!
Great write up mate. I was wondering what had happened to you. I have a mate who went to TMT back in March of 2007 and he told me the same thing regarding the summer camp feel. Nothing wrong with that if you that is what you are looking for.
Nice! I check everyday for some new entries. Thanks for the info on TMT. It’s one of the ones I’m considering starting at in Feb. Since I haven’t really been travelling before I’m thinking one of the gyms in Phuket would be the place to start for me. Ideally I’d like to train and travel for about a year. Are you considering going to Rawai Muay Thai?
Great blog btw, I’d love to do one myself when I get to Thailand!
Great review! Good to hear from you again.
Good review but man that camp sounds like a fucking nightmare! NO way i would travel to Thailand to train together with 100 foreigners.
What`s next? Where will you go?
great to hear from you – like Shaun I check your site everyday for an update haha
Now I wish you went to Sinbi next and compare it to Tiger…I think I’ll end up spliting my vacation cause I cant decide for one of them through reviews…
Good review mate, keep up the good work! Im thinking of going to Rawai muay thai when I travel out there in March as well (going for 1 month). I’ve heard some good things about the place, and they seem to be a well run/kitted out gym. There any scope for you going there? If not where you off to next?
Thanks for the feedback guys,
Marc and Gareth,
I’ll be going to BOTH Rawai and Sinbi and I’ll write up reviews on them. Later today I’m going to start training at a new gym that just opened in the hills of Patong. They don’t have many students at all. Actually, it looks as though they have more trainers than students so it should be good.
“Good review but man that camp sounds like a fucking nightmare! NO way i would travel to Thailand to train together with 100 foreigners.
What`s next? Where will you go?”
That’s what I’m saying! Why go to a gym where there are 100 farangs and not that many Thai’s? Please don’t go to Rawai. I was there for a few days in March and it is not for those who really want to test themselves. Some of the trainers would lose their focus as soon as some new chicks would show up.
Great! Can’t wait for your Sinbi and Rawai reviews!
Awesome write up! Like what others have mentioned, I was wondering what happened to you since you haven’t written in a while. My trainer just came back from Thailand and he said he spent most of his time at Tiger. I wish I could take at least a month off from work and train in Thailand. I would be happy with just 2 weeks. Glad to hear that all is well. Keep keeping us posted!
great website and reviews!
i have a question.
are you planing on staying in Thailand? or traveling different countries and practicing other martial arts?
BTW, great job.
I’d actually like to go to different countries. I’d love to go to Brazil next year, train BJJ and do some reports from there..
The thing I like best about training at Tiger was the fact they had a decent amount of foreigners and a there were close to 30 trainers on my last trip and it seems ike more now..So 100 people divided by 3 trainers is just about 3 guests to 1 trainer.That I liked because I got a lot of personal attention. So I had one-on-one training everyday and worked out with people that were the level as me. i didn’t want to get my ass kicked, which I did at rawai 4 years ago by a guy with 5 years experience. after that and being ignored by trainers at rawai I left and found Tiger. Sinbi wasn’t open yet. Tiger has grown since my first visit then but they keep getting fantastic trainers and makin a better gym. Last year I worked with Ritt, nazee, and Phet and could not have asked for more. i sparred and trained with people at my level and what was most important is that i realized I was actually getting better.If I did something wrng, the trainers stopped and told me.That s what makes Tiger better than other gyms because they separate the training levels for beginers to advanced. Someone above called it a nightmare, to me it was perfect having 1 on 1 time with trainers and then sparring and working out with people same as me. As for the internet problem, if i know Will he will have it sorted out. He watches that place like a hawk, but even last year I had the same problem with internet as you did. It would keep going out to the whole street, so that seems to be a issue with the server. I agree with the shirts, the make some slick designs and I bought several for my friends.and will again this yearand I get to meet Mike Swick at the tournament next month. Tats cool. As for location, my first trip to Tiger after I left rawai the road was deserted, I cant beleive how much they built in one year and the camp is really spreading out. The new facility looks huge giving everybody lots of space. Good review. Sorry I missed you by 2 days. by the way, I can’t believe all the new champion trainers they added. A new one nompon looks great. Running at 7:30, need to take a little weight off. Yeah pad thai at mama’s is pretty good.
So is the owner or manager (Will) of Tiger a Thai or is he foreigner?
Thank you for taking the time to journal & review these camps…. I think I can speak for everyone here that you are doing a great job and it is much appreciated.
I’ll be out in Thailand in a couple of months, and plan to go to Suwit Muay Thai. I originally wanted to go to Sinbi, but they were out of “single room accomodations.
I heard that Suwit is not far from TMT and that they also have a Muay Thai Stadium. Could you tell me your thoughts on Suwit? I decided to go to Suwit instead of TMT because I wanted the experience of training with Thai fighters and from reading and viewing your TMT pictures… it seemed like they were all foreigners.
You’re thoughts are appreciated.
The fact that they seperate the classes according to skill level is great. Beginners aren’t overwhelemed and the advanced students have plenty of skilled sparring partners.
As for the trainers, agreed again. The trainers are Tiger are consistantly awesome, especially Phet and Nazee as you mentioned.
Will is a foreigner, from the states.
I actually haven’t trained at Suwit yet but I still plan too. Suwit was actually the first Muay Thai camp in Phuket and they do have a lot of Thai fighters training there.
If you were considering them both, you don’t really have to decide before you go. They’re so close to each other that you could just get a room in the area, train at both camps and THEN decide which one suits you best.
Can you post a photo of the TMT t-shirt?
You mentioned that this camp is far from most things and that you didn’t have a moped or anything. Do you think a mountain bike would be useful here? Or would someone be able to get by for a couple months with no transportation besides feet?
A mountain bike would be perfect. I wish I had one. I asked in the office at Tiger and I was told that the one they usually rent out was broken. You MIGHT be able to find one to rent down the road at forest bungalows, I’m not completely sure though.
Most of the students rent motorbikes but if you’re going to do that, just make sure you don’t get ripped off and of course, drive carefully. Motorbike crash is the leading cause of death in Phuket because people drive so crazy!
One guy I talked too paid 6,000 baht for his bike (per month), which is really overpriced. You should be able to find a motorbike to rent for half that price. From what I’ve seen, I’d say 3000 – 3500 baht per month is the standard price. Perhaps a little more if the bike is new/nice.
Thanks for the quick reply.
I’ve pretty much ruled out a motorbike. Have already had an accident before and don’t really want the extra cost.
Thinking a mountain bike is a good alternative.
Honest weighed up opinion, appreciate it amigo. Keep them coming and happy travelling.
Hey man! Very thorough and nice. back here in NY NY, we’ve got a few people from my gym (and a neighboring gym, The Wat), 5 Points Academy (formerly known as 5 Points Fitness) currently training or has trained at Tiger.
I looking forward to going there!
Which is the best Muay Thai camp you have been to then for making you improve?
The camps I’ve spent the most time at are Scorpion, Tiger and where I’m at right now, Patong Boxing Gym…
Out of those three..
Somphot at Scorpion has been the most technical trainer I’ve worked with..
The actual workouts at Tiger have been the hardest..
I get more one-on-one attention from the trainers at Patong Boxing Gym than I’ve ever gotten anywhere else ..
So it’s really been a combination of all three..
Thanks for the reply, i was thinking of tiger for 2 months and each fairtex gym for 2 weeks each but i got told if you stay at one camp for longer you will improve better im going to be doing vip training at tiger but now youve said that im not sure what to do ive bin training for 7 months in muay thai and i just want to improve it as quick as possible in the time i have their which is 3 months in thailand now im stuck for what to do and i leave in a few days to go their, which camp do you feel you improved the most at? as if tiger is just a place where they make it hard but just going through movements and doing lots of cardio maybe its not the place to go
I think your original plan is a good one. Tiger for 2 months and then each Fairtex gym for a couple months each. That way you’ll get some variety not only in your training, but you’ll get to live in 3 different parts of Thailand – Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok.
The trainers at Tiger ARE excellent and if you’re planning on doing the VIP training, then you’ll get a lot of one-on-one time with them so you’ll certainly improve a lot ..
orite thanks for the reply its just ive seen reviews on fight passport saying that other gyms have better things and i just want to be at the best gym their is
Thanks for the great article on Tiger Muay Thai and advice on housing, I figure I could stay on camp for a month and then move out to some lower priced housing down the way after I get settled in. Is internet a pretty common amenity at all facilities?
Internet is pretty common in the touristy camps, as it should be. After training, it’s nice to relax and keep in touch with your friends/family from back home.
For me – especially since I work online – a reliable internet connection is a MUST.
Awesome review. I have been looking at a bunch of sites and trying to figure out where to stay for 3 months.
Would you reccomend this to a begginer who wants to immerse himself in the sport and culture?
Also, besides training of course, what did your days/nights consist of?
[…] at a lot of different gyms, but the three gyms that have helped me the most are Scorpion Gym, Tiger Muay Thai and most recently – where I’m at right now – Patong Boxing Gym. These two videos were shot last […]
Cheers, mate good read. Hopefully will be going soon, want to hit up various gyms while there and really get ‘out of my element’ and heaps better.
Great write-up! I’m looking to travel over to train there next year. This is a HUGE help in making an informed decision.
good, first congratulations on the article, TMT looks very good, it seems almost perfect, I have read good things about TMT, I am planning to go one time to train MT, also interests me the gym in front of TMT, the phuket muay Thai dragon is smaller but has much say 1 to 1, could someone give me an opinion on the latter compared to the first? I intend to go to one of 2 months and then both go to chiang mai even small gym that is in pai called true-bee, and heard great things about the coach bee
I am a student of rajabhat suansunandha university and i am doing reserch about muay thai for my presentation. Could you please answer the quetions down below I will be really appreciate .
1. What is the most difficult thing to teach new boxers? (for boxer student)
2.What is the most difficult thing to teach new boxers? (for trainer )
3.How old are yours youngest and oldest student ?
4.What or who inspires you to continue as a fighter?
5.What do you want to accomplish the most in Muay Thai?
6.Which technic do you think the most beautiful ?
7.what is the heat of mauy thai ?
8.how do you teach muay thai basic to beginers ?
9. how long does it take to learn mauy thai foot work ?
10. which technic do you think that you can use in the real life?
[…] biggest weakness. In the video above, Shields is working with Kru Yod, who is the head trainer at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket. Every time I see Kru Yod training someone I’m impressed (and a little jealous that […]
[…] of the trainers from Tiger Muay Thai has a sick 4 year old daughter who needs a liver transplant. Problem is, the average wage here in […]
im a mma fighter and i wanna train at ur gym and i wanna see how much are the prizes to stay out there for 2 weeks
[…] is the great trainer I was talking about above. He’s actually fighting one of the trainers from Tiger Muay Thai in a couple days so I’ll try to post up some video footage of […]
[…] but that’ll likely change as I get older and my priorities change. I recall Will, the owner of Tiger Muay Thai, telling me how he wanted to move back to the States so his kids would have a better education and […]
Ray Elbe is a black belt under Juliano Prado 🙂
First off I just want to say your doing a great job and have already answered most of my questions throughout your articles, much appreciated. I do have a few more questions though since Ive recently been considering going to thailand for about a month to train. I was mainly considering Tiger Muay Thai or Fairtex(which I think is in Bangkok but not sure) I would like to get some hardcore training in but wouldnt mind experienceing the nightlife maybey for one or two nights. I have my heart set on Tiger Muay Thai but Im not familiar with phuket and I was just wondering if you did want to go out and let loose a bit if your completly secluded from all that. If so how hard would it be to travell to bangkok for mabey just a night at the end of my trip. Also I would like to watch some live high level muay thai is it common to have fights regularly in phuket or would I have to go to say Lumpini stadium which would be awsome but probably pretty expensive. Another question, you said there is always tons of foreners at Tiger Muay Thai which is great so I could hang out with some people that speak english but do you still have the chance to train with thais not only the trainers but some sparring partners? And last this may sound a little stupid but if I am to go to Thailand I would like to experince there culture and what not can you actually just go around and see elephants and monkeys and stuff? lol cause that would kick some serious ass. Again great work man.