Muay Thai is an ancient Thai martial art, originally developed for use in military combat. Today, it is a popular spectator sport, both in Thailand and overseas. Here are the best places to watch a thrilling Muay Thai fight in Bangkok.
Operated by the Thai Army on behalf of the government, New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is located outside of the city centre and close to Don Muang Airport. Fight proceeds go towards supporting the Thai military. It is officially known as the New Lumpinee Boxing Stadium as it was moved from its original location some years ago, though many people still refer to it by its shorter name of simply Lumpinee Stadium. Fights here regularly feature the best names in the sport and it’s one of the top places to see some of Muay Thai’s most incredible and famous fighters. The atmosphere is highly charged and electric. Fights take place on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with the most elite competitors often taking to the ring on Tuesdays. Saturday fights start at 5pm, and matches begin at 6.30pm on other days. Ringside seats cost 2,000 THB, though there are also cheaper seats available in the upper tiers.
Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium is the other of Bangkok’s two prestigious Muay Thai venues. The oldest boxing stadium in Bangkok, it opened its doors in 1945. It also has the prestige of having been the nation’s first Muay Thai stadium. The central location makes it a popular choice for tourists wishing to experience the exhilaration of watching a Muay Thai fight. This is also the place to be if you wish to watch a fight between female fighters; Lumpinee Stadium only hosts fights between men. Matches take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, with fights on all days starting at 6pm. Sundays see the lower level boxers competing. Ringside seats cost 2,000 THB, but the higher level “second-class” seats are not only cheaper (1,500 THB) but also offer a better view of the action. Views can be obstructed from the cheapest (and highest) seats.
Located in neighbouring Samut Sakhon province (part of the wider Bangkok area), Siam Boxing Stadium is also sometimes referred to as Omnoi Stadium after its area. Growing from humble roots, the original stadium was the first to have a female commentator. As well as pro Thai boxers the stadium often has fights between foreign Muay Thai fighters. It’s not unusual to see knockouts here, too, partly because of the heavier weights of the competitors. Fights take place each Sunday at 11am and are broadcast live on Channel 3. Tickets cost 500 THB.
Unsurprisingly given its name, fights at Channel 7 Boxing Stadium are broadcast live on Channel 7. The stadium used to be something of a local secret, but it now attracts a large number of tourists as well. It is located in Chatuchak, near the Northern Bus Station (Mochit). Fights take place on Sundays, starting at just after 2pm. A huge bonus of seeing a fight here is that admission is free. The benches are hard, and the standing area will almost certainly be packed, but it’s a great place for a taste of exciting Muay Thai.
Established in 2006 by one of Thailand’s leading Muay Thai promoters, the smaller Bangkok Boxing Stadium offers a much more staged feeling, with almost a sense of pantomime about the fights. Men and women both compete here, with plenty of ceremony and glamour. It’s especially popular with tourists. Fights or shows take place on Saturdays at 2.30pm and tickets cost 1,500 THB.
Rangsit Boxing Stadium is located in the neighbouring province of Pathum Thani, which is also home to the large Future Park shopping mall and Dream World theme park. The stadium has two rings, one for male fighters and another for female competitors. Matches are held on Friday nights, starting at 6pm, and broadcast live on True4U Channel. There are youth and beginner matches on Sundays at midday (not broadcast), and pro fights on Sundays at 4pm, broadcast on Channel 5. Ticket prices vary depending on the day and whether males or females are boxing. Free Muay Thai matches are also held once a month (previously weekly) at the MBK Center shopping mall. For an entertaining and energetic Muay Thai performance, check out MX Muay Xtreme. More of a show than a fight, it appeals more to the younger Thai generations. Some Muay Thai traditions have been replaced, such as the use of modern music and showy entrances, and it’s fairly common to see Thais fighting against foreigners in the ring. There’s often lots of blood, injuries (fake or real), and knockouts. Lastly, many of Bangkok’s Muay Thai camps regularly arrange inter-camp fights. This article was originally written by Kelly Iverson and has since been updated.