This weeks Camp Spotlight is on the Koh Tao gym, Koh Tao Island Muay Thai. Island Muay Thai a remote camp located on the small island of Koh Tao, at the Sairee Beach Thaiboxing Stadium. There are several things that provide a unique training experience at the gym. Here is everything you would want to know about Island Muay Thai.
Here are the categories I will be providing information on.
Koh Tao Island Muay Thai – www.thaiboxingkohtao.com
Island Muay Thai Kick Boxing School Koh Tao and Thai Boxing Stadium is set up on the beautiful tropical island of Koh Tao in the South East of Thailand. Koh Tao is a very small island just north of the larger South East Thailand Islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. Around the camp you will find Restaurants and Bars, Bakerys, Shops and Internet Cafes. Other activities to do on the island include Mini Golf and Bowling over Rock Climbing and Paint Ball, Swimming, Snorkeling over colorful coral reefs. I have provided a map to the right to show you the location of Koh Tao.
Believe it or not, the camp does not post an address on the website, and you are not able to find one on the web either. A reason for this, is that Koh Tao is a small island, similar to Phi Phi island, where everything is very close to each other. There is only 1 Thaiboxing stadium on the island, so it’s not like you would get confused as to where to go. Just in case, the camp does conveinently provide a map for your taxi driver to take you to the gym. The map is located below on the right hand side. If you click on it, a larger version will open up which you can print out.
Best Travel Route
You have two options regarding the travel to reach your destination at Koh Tao Island Muay Thai. The first thing you need to do is fly into Bangkok. From Bangkok, is where you have your options. Option 1 is to fly to Koh Samui and than take one of the passenger boats to Koh Tao. Option 2 is to take the train from Hua-Lampong train station or catch a bus at the southern bus terminal to Chumphon. From Chumphon you can choose one of the passenger boats or the night ferry boats to Koh Tao.
Flying to Koh Samui is the more expensive option of the two, although since there are flights that travel from Bangkok to Koh Samui several times a day, you should have little wait on your travel time. If you decide to fly to Koh Samui you should be able to catch one of the afternoon boats to Koh Tao. Seatran leaves at 13.30 from Big Buddah which is only 2 km from the airport. There are 20 flights daily from Bangkok to Koh Samui. the first flight out leaves at 06:00 and the last one at 21:00. for exact times and reservation you can contact Bangkok Airways
If you choose the option of taking the bus or train, from Chumphon you can choose one of the passenger boats or the night ferry boats to Koh Tao. The trains and buses leave mostly in the early evening hours, so you will arrive early in the morning in Chumphon and you can easily catch a morning boat to Koh Tao. Basically, it’s an over night travel, which could work for you if you arrive in Bangkok on an evening flight, and don’t have the option of flying to Koh Samui until the next morning. There are three major companies running boats in the Gulf of Thailand.
You can find the time tables for the ferry boats here: Ferry Boat Schedules There are several smaller companies running boats as well.
The pricing is one of the most attractive items about Koh Tao Island Muay Thai, and among the cheapest in Thailand. The day rates work pretty much the same as most other gyms, 300 baht for 1 half day session, and 400 baht for one full day. You start to see the price discounts with the weekly rates. Most other camps run between 2400 baht to 3000 baht for one week of training. Island Muay Thai will charge you only 1600 baht, which will give you 7 1 hour sessions over 6 days. If you are planning on doing 2 sessions a day, the price is the same at 2500 baht, but since few people actually take advantage of this, the 1600 baht option is nice. Finally, the monthly rates offer the largest savings compared to other camps. A one month package that offers 6 sessions per week (once a day) will cost you only 5500 baht. Most other camps will charge you between 8000-9000 baht a month for training. The difference is that with the more expensive optoin at the other gyms, you can go to unlimited sessions, however few people take advantage of that as I have said earlier. If you are planning on doing multiple training sessions a day since you want to get into shape, or possibly train to fight, then custom packages can be arranged to suit your needs by contacting the camp. Another option that Island Muay Thai has, is that they offer Muay Thai Instructor certification courses, which would certify you through the World Muay Thai Council as a Muay Thai Instructor. You have to contact the camp to discuss this option. The current exchange rate for Thai Baht is about 30 baht for 1 USD, which means a month of training will cost you about $185 USD.
The camp itself does not currently have it’s own accomodations, however they do have several resorts and other bungalows in the area from the camp. Some of these are literally walking distance to the camp. The one that Island Muay Thai lists on their website is Koh Tao Suksamran Villas. Suksamran Villas offers standard fan studios and deluxe Air-con studios away from the action on the beaches. Even though the location is so quiet, you won’t have to walk more than 5 minutes to the beach or for your shopping. Each bungalow includes the following: in-room Internet wireless access, Complimentary first aid medicine, housekeeping, laundry correction. You have an option of a room with AC or with only a fan. Rates for the month are between 12,000 – 15,000 baht for one month of accomodation. They actually offer a lot of different discount plans for longers stays, including free weeks/months depending on length of stays. The cost in USD for one month with no discount is between $400 – $500 USD.
Koh Tao Island Muay Thai is equipped with excellent training facilities in the Koh Tao Thai Boxing Stadium in Sairee. The gym is a open side gym which is nicer to train in than an in door one. The open sided gym has a roof which will provide shelter from the sun and rain, but allow a cool breeze to blow through on the sides and keep training cool throughout the day. Island Muay Thai also has one fight size ring and are in the process of building a smaller training ring at the end of the year. The gym currently has 6 bags and one fixed boxing pad (uppercut style). Once again more bags will be coming once the second ring is built. You will also notice from any photos of the gym that they have a matted floor which is always nice as it is easier on your feet and will absorb shock and reduce impact on your body.
The head trainer at Koh Tao Island Muay Thai is Pi Toon and he is in charge of the training. The camp has 6 trainers, 5 of which are Thai trainers and the part owner of the camp, Steve, who is originally from the UK. The website has a page labeled “Staff” which is suppose to have profiles of the trainers, but it currently does not have any information. I did communicate with Steve directly and he informed me that aside from himself all the other trainers are Thai. Here is a photo of both the trainers and students at the camp:
There is not a set training schedule at the gym. What I mean is that the gym does not run set classes. People can turn up when they want (unless they are training to fight). The gym tires to do 1 on 1 training although sometimes it ends up being 1 trainer to 2 or 3 students if its busy. Average training session sizes in the morning 5-10 students and in the afternoon average 10-15 students.
There is however a training routine that sessions typically follow. Sessions will start with skipping rope and shadow boxing which is a good way of stretching and warming up. This is usually followed by some short runs to build up stamina and leg strength. At times you will learn various techniques in a one on one technique session. Once you are good and warm, the bulk of your training session will begin.
Warm ups are followed by bag work which are 3-5 minutes round of punching, kicking, kneeing and elbowing a kick bag to increase your stamina and the power of all your physical weapons. After the bag work session, you are ready to go into your padwork session. If you are not already exhausted, you will have 3 to 5 minute rounds with a trainer depending on your condition. These are typical pad work sessions where the trainer wears shin guards a stomach pad and two pads, held in his hands, so he can interact with you and make the training more exciting. This part of the boxing training will help you to figure out distances and speed up your reaction time.
After the padwork sessions, you will start your cool down by learning the technical art of the Muay Thai clinch. During the clinch session you practice close up knee strikes and elbows techniques as well as grappling footwork for 10-30 minutes depending on your strength and fitness. To cool your body down slowly, you will finish up each thai boxing training session with some light shadow boxing, sit-ups to strengthen your stomach muscles and also some stretching. This will increase your flexibility and help to stop cramps and torn muscles. Your sessions will typically be somewhere between 1 to 2 hours.
If you want a competitive fight while you are in Thailand, this can definitely be arranged through Island Muay Thai. If you are training for a fight at the gym, they will push you a little harder, and require more from you such as additional sparring, rounds, running, etc. One of the unique things about Koh Tao Island Muay Thai is that their gym is actually also the Sairee Boxing Stadium, and as a result they hold regular Fight Nights.
Thai Boxing Fighters come from the neighboring islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and the mainland, Surantthani, Trang and Bangkok to fight, as well as from all over the world. As you develop some skills and feel you are ready for a challange the gym can also arrange a real fight for you. They will perform an evaluation of your conditioning and skill level before they allow you to enter into the ring, but the good thing is there is not necessarily a time requirement spent training at the gym before you can fight.
There are a couple of strong points at Island Muay Thai regarding their office. First off the co-owner, Steve, is a westerner. This in my opinion is always an advantage, as the hospitality is usually (but not always) at a higher level of service. I also like the fact that the other co-owner of the camp is a Thai by the name of Pi Toon. This ensures a higher quality in the training, as there is a lot of pride and honor in running a successful camp for the Thais. I contacted Steve prior to writing this review, and received an immediate response from him, which is always a good sign. Although, my follow up emails were not responsded to as quickly. A reason for this, could possibly be explained as Steve informed me in his first email that he was back in the UK for a while. This could attribute to the delayed response on the follow ups.
Here is a cool photo of some of the trophies of Island Muay Thai. As you can see they are very proud of their accomplishments at the gym. Also, this is pretty good representation of the organization of the gym itself.
The website for Koh Tao Island Muay Thai can be a little bit confusing at times. The main site is pretty simple for the most part, with several key categories that has all the necessary information you need, such as accomodations, prices, training, etc. But as you surf it a little more you start to get somewhat lost. For instance, since the camp itself doesn’t have accomodations, that page pretty much just provides a gateway to a nearby villa. Also, the “Staff” page is still under construction. From one of the pages, there is a link to their blog, which has a lot of news and events updates about the gym. From this page, you can also find several links of things to do when you are not training at the island. The only thing about he blog, is you can only get to it from “Training” page from their main website. Just so you guys don’t run into problems surfing between the sites, here are looks for both: www.thaiboxingkohtao.com and www.thaiboxingkohtao.com/blog One final thing I would also like to see is larger pictures and photos of the gym, as all the photos of the camp are only thumbnail sized.
There are a bunch of things to do while you are not training Muay Thai on Koh Tao. Some of the most exciting things to do around the island are scuba diving and sailing. Several other things to do include: mini golf, bowling, rock climbing, paint ball, and snorkeling. There are also many bars, resturaunts, shops and Internet cafes in a close proximity to the gym. Finally, there is a rich night life with a Beach Party going on almost every single night.
There are several things that are very unique about Koh Tao Island Muay Thai. First off, you do all of your training in an actual Muay Thai stadium, with a full sized competition ring. Secondly, the prices for the camp are unbeatable and are the cheapest you will find in Thailand. On top of that, you almost always get a 1 on 1 training session with your trainers, which really can’t be beat.
Let’s not forget, they also have a program to become a Muay Thai instructor at the camp. The instructors course is 45 days to be a basic instructor, which is comprised of 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. It involves improving your own boxing skills, clinching skills and technique as well as learning new techniques. You also learn how to hold focus pads and you will get plenty of chances to hold pads for thai boxer’s. The overall initial program will leave you with a good knowledge of basic thai boxing instruction.
Finally, one of the coolest things in my opinion is that they constantly are holding Fight Nights at the stadium/camp. Most of the Fight Nights have 8 fights a night, and there are usually at least 2 Fight Nights a month. Below is some footage of one of the previous fight nights.
If you are interested in training at Koh Tao Island Muay Thai, and hopefully you will after this article, here is how you can contact them.
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