Thai Boxing, Ko Samui
Around the town center area of Lamai is where I witnessed some impressive and fairly vicious Thai Kick Boxing contests. But they are all around Koi Samui as well. This is a must see. Not only is this incredibly combative and exciting, but the sport is also handeled with grace and beauty. Each of the fighters go through a ceremonial bow before the fight, which really brings a certain level of spirituality to the sport. The event was free. BUT you are expected to order a drink, since each seating section is connected to a certain bar in the square.
Every Saturday evening in the centre of Lamai there is a session of Thai boxing. 6 bouts are lined up, 3 for men and 3 for women, and the women, like the men fight for 3 rounds of 3 minutes. The ring is set up in the middle of the girlie bars and you would do well to watch your pockets, although the atmosphere was very friendly. Get there early (before 21h00) as there are not that many seats. Admission is free and you are not obliged to drink at the numerous bars. Even if you do drink they only put the beer up by a few bahts. No problem in taking photos although it helps to be tall as the number of people standing up is a hindrance. I know these fighters were in the main, amateurs, but I got bored with it after a couple of bouts although the Thais around me were very enthusiastic and seemed to be enjoying it.
There are several matches in several locations in the main resorts of Chaweng and Lamai...........some are free and some there is a small enterance fee and betting is encouraged. The shows are well advertised and include men women and children
A typical Thai experiance but it can be a little brutal. The fights start around 9.00pm in the Chaweng Stadium and seats cost from 800-1100 bahts for ringside seats and tables. Fights are usually held twice a week on Mondays and Fridays and lasts for about three hours. Just listen out for the announcements from the cars during the day around town.
The Muay Thai boxers start off generally quite young, the youngest being maybe 9 or 10. There were about 10 fights in all and the match is preceded by a wai khru dance performed by the contestants.
Chaweng Stadium is just along from the lake and the Reggae Pub. Ladies be prepared as it is quite seedy and I would not really recommend using the loos if you can avoid it... Worth going to for the experiance but I'm not sure I would go again.
On my second trip to Koh Samui, went to see the boxing three different times. I took plenty of pictures (see travelogues)this time and couldn't seem to get enough..hehe..
Again I sat in the 500bht seats and was able to see the action no problem. The 1000bht seats are more comfortable but are further away from the ring. The 750bht seats are right near the ring but are only about 3 feet ahead of the 500bht ones.
This time before the start of the matches, a short video is shown explaining the rules, fighting techniques, and some history. This is especially good for first time visitors to a Thai boxing match.
After missing out on this activity the first night I was in Koh Samui, I had to make sure I went a few days later. There is a night of fights once a week; you can't miss the loudspeaking voice in a truck, with Thai music playing in the backround. These guys go up and down the street all day doing this, its pretty funny.
The fights start at 9:00pm and go on until about 12:00am. The seat that I watched from was 500bht and I could see everything perfect. The beginning matches are between young boys (the first ones couldn't have been older than 6-8) and then it moves up in weight class to the final, higher ranked bouts.
Most of the matches I saw were good, but the final bout saw the Thailand south champion defeat a Japanese champ, the crowd was going crazy. It was short but good fight, as it ended with a KO in the second round.
It is a good night out as long as you don't mind watching this kind of thing. If you care to drink while you are in the Stadium, there is a bar located in the corner. I found this activity to be exciting and fun to experience, due in part to my martial arts/ boxing backround when I was young.
While not as authentic looking as the large shows in Bangkok, Samui provides a pretty cool show of Muay Thai. It seemed more staged here, but if you like watching people beat other people up for fun or cultural reasons, then this is a good spot for you.
There are many shows, just look around for one of the 1000 fliers posted all over the island. Chaweng Beach is the location of the fights.
If you spend any time around Chaweng Beach, you can't help but hear about the Muay Thai fights. In the week leading up to a fight night, there are cars driving up and down the main road with an annoying recording announcing the date and time, claiming it is "something to write home about", It's quite comical really. I nearly died when I was sitting on the beach and a boat went past with the same recoding. The joys of commercialisation. Anyway, I digress.
If you're interested in martial arts, then a night at the local staduim watching the Muay Thai is worthwhile. There is regualrly local fights, and often international title fights. The quality of the fights varies, but it's pretty amazing to see local fighters of about 16 years who have had over 100 fights! All the Thai fighters begin with the Wai-Kuru ritual, a boxing dance to pay respect to the king or the chairman of the tournament, and demonstrate the excellence of the master/teacher. The fights themselves vary between 3 and 5 rounds.
Chaweng Staduim (Tuesday's nd Friday's)offers decent seating, good, cold beer, and costs about 500 Baht. My only complaint was the somewhat irritating sound of the Pi Chawa (Java Pipe), part of the traditional live music that accompanies thai fights (it was very loud!).
There are also fights at Lamai on Wednesday's and Saturday's.