My Month at a Muay Thai Camp
Earlier this year, I travelled to Thailand to spend a month at Por Promin Muay Thai Camp in Hua Hin. It was one of the best experiences in my life so far. Tough? Yes. Rewarding? Incredibly. Not just because of what I learnt (and the increase in my fitness); I also met some great people.
Por Promin is a traditional Muay Thai camp, providing Muay Thai training for professional fighters and beginners to advanced levels of all ages. If you're not sure what Muay Thai is, it's a Thai martial art that uses stand up striking (punches, kicks, knees and elbows) and clinching techniques.
The 'camp' is essentially a gym with a ring, bags and other equipment where the training is held from Monday to Saturday (Sunday is rest day). There are also rooms at the gym where you can stay, or you can stay in a neighbouring hotel/apartment and come to the gym for the training.
Training is held twice a day: once in the morning and again in the afternoon. When you book your stay, you can choose whether you want to train once or twice a day. For the first two weeks of my stay, I trained twice a day and then reduced it to once a day for the remaining two weeks.
Where did I stay?
For most of my trip, I lived at the gym in a room (with excellent air con) right next to the ring. It was convenient and no excuses not to train! (I stayed in a hotel down the road from the gym for the last 10 days of my trip, as the gym rooms were fully booked for those days).
What did I eat?
After each training session, a bunch of us who were staying at the gym would eat at the little outdoor restaurant across the road from the gym or one of the nearby restaurants. The food was nice and cheap. I would typically get some sort of curry or stir fry with rice and/or an omelette on the side. I'd also always ask for extra vegetables to be added to my meal (because, well, I love vegetables). I ate a lot more rice than I usually would back home, but I needed extra carbs to fuel my training.
If you hire a motorbike and want to venture out a bit further, there are also a heap of restaurants in the centre of town.
What was the training like?
The sessions begin with a run to warm up, or you can skip or jump on the tyres instead. Then there's stretching, shadow boxing, bag work and up to five rounds on the pads with a trainer with sit-ups and push-ups in between rounds. The sessions usually finish with sparring or clinching. Sometimes I did some weights, pull-ups and/or sprints as well.
You can always take things at your own pace. The trainers will push you to achieve your best, but you can scale it back if you need to.
Why did I choose Por Promin?
There are a lot of Muay Thai gyms in Thailand. Some are definitely better than others. I wanted to go to a smaller gym where I would learn proper technique and get good one-on-one attention. My trainer in Melbourne recommended Por Promin and it delivered exactly what I was after. The trainers really care about teaching you properly, rather than just saying 'good' even when you know you're doing it wrong. Plus they love to have a laugh, so each training session was a lot of fun. In case you're wondering, I'm not being paid to say this. It's my honest opinion; I loved it.
What else did I do during my stay?
We went to watch a lot of fights in town, usually when the fighters at the gym were fighting. We also went to Hua Hin beach, visited temples, got massages (so good and necessary!) and went to the night markets (for mango and sticky rice). There's plenty of time during the day between training sessions (unless you need a nap), or you can do things in the evenings or on the Sunday rest days.