The perfect way to avoid the winter in London was the idea of doing Muay Thai for 6 months in Thailand. I had been putting off my fitness and healthy lifestyle for far too long and it felt like it was now or never to correct this. I was quite nervous before arriving at the gym to begin training. This was mainly due to my lack of fitness over the past few years. Leading a fairly sedentary life to training four hours a day was something I could only laugh about being able to do. When I want to do something extreme like Muay Thai I did tonnes of research. I checked Phuket, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and Chiang Mai. Initially, I had planned to go to Bangkok but having trouble finding cheap accommodation I switched and headed to Chiang Mai. I decided on Por Silaphai Gym after checking all options. The benefits that made my decision up was the fact that it had the earliest timetable. The morning session was 7:30 to 9:30 and the afternoon session 3:30 to 5:30. I wanted to be up early and this was a guaranteed way of doing that. They had a boxing ring which some gyms didn’t have and also the communication via email was quite good. It made me feel comfortable as a beginner to go without feeling intimidated.
The first week was an absolute killer on my body. All I did was train, eat and sleep. My body was adjusting to a new time schedule, in bed by 10 pm and up at 6:30. Every muscle was sore and achy but I keep pushing through the pain. By the end of my time at Por Silaphai, one month later the soreness has greatly subsided. However, my left shoulder aches from all the punching. I try to rest it as best as I can but for now, I am pushing through the pain. I feel more confident to go to the next gym feeling like I am not a total newbie anymore. There are ups and downs but if I stay focussed on my goal it helps. I really enjoy the fitness side of Muay Thai. Before starting I thought my end goal would be to have a real fight. After spending a month training, I feel this goal is further away. I also am not sure that I want to go and hurt someone else or get hurt myself. Will see if my view on this changes over the coming months.
I am not going to sugar coat these reviews, I am too honest a person for that. There is going to be pros and cons about every gym I train at. I will start with the pros of Por Silapahi Gym. The two trainers are fantastic. Nok has so much experience from over 700 fights and he does most of the teaching. Prasit usually does mostly pad work and he has great enthusiasm which brings good energy to the session. They both like to have a good laugh with the students and you can see the passion they have for Muay Thai. I love that they have a ring, it’s so much cooler sparing in the ring making you feel like you are a real fighter. The people we met while training there were awesome. It made the experience more fun knowing you got to spend your time making new friends along the way.
There are a few cons to the gym, and being the first one I am not sure if there will be a perfect gym out there. At times there was close to 20 students, which then makes two trainers not enough to get around. Many sessions I only got one round of pad work, which let’s be honest is the best part of training. I felt like if I didn’t really try to get their attention, I wouldn’t even get one round in. There was also a lack of structure to the classes, maybe due to the ratio number. Not enough bags, only 6 to use amongst 18 students. They could have had circuits running to bring more structure even if there were not enough bags for everyone to use. Simple things were missing from a Muay Thai gym, like good skipping ropes. I was close to buying my own because theirs would break every time you tried to use them. It really doesn’t cost much to invest in a few skipping ropes and not everyone likes to run for a warm up. While the bathroom facilities were clean, the mats and equipment need a clean. Lots of dirt and dog hair all over the mats, so you were covered in this if you wanted to do sit ups etc.
Overall I would recommend this gym to a beginner who likes a friendly atmosphere. Chiang Mai is a great little city and I was glad to start my Muay Thai journey at Por Silaphai Gym.
Pros: Fantastic Trainers, Atmosphere, Friendly Students (no big egos) clean bathrooms
Cons: Not enough structure, trainers and bags. Needs a bit of TLC