Just come to the end of my Thailand trip. It’s been amazing and well worth doing if you can get the finances and time together to make it here.
I thought I’d write a few things on what I would do if I was to visit again, so hopefully this will help you for your visit.
Staying at Tiger is good but expensive compared to other areas in Phuket. The whole road where tiger is located has many places to stay but all the prices are above what they should be. A short 5 min moped ride a bit further from the club will save you lots of cash with just as great facilities. 5000 baht a month should easily cover your accommodation when that bit further from Tiger.
The tiger meal plan does provide you well balanced meals but they are over priced and sometimes closed at random times.
There are many restaurants within walking distance and offer a wider range of food at half the price.
You can rent a moped at 3000 baht a month or if you are staying longer you can buy one for about 12000 baht. If I was to stay for 3 months again I would buy a moped and sell it on after my trip. Even if I only sell it for 3000 baht then I wouldn’t have lost any money, but you shouldn’t struggle selling it for 10000 baht. This will save lots of money and give others the option to do the same in future.
I would save up a bit more money to have a few more private training sessions. These really help you improve and are worth the money.
Traveling with your shin pads, gloves and other training gear is a pain, especially with size and weight restrictions on flights. Many people like myself that bought new equipment don’t want to take it home and are happy to sell it for a small price. People place adverts of the notice boards of Tiger of what they have to sell so it is worth a look first before shelling out for new.
Phi Phi is 1 1/2 hour boat trip from Phuket Town pier so it really doesn’t take long to get there.
The Island itself doesn’t have any cars or trucks and everyone gets around on foot or bike. The area is a tourist hotspot so you don’t get much real thai culture as you would in other areas but has some excellent beaches and activities.
The beaches are long with sunbeds available for rent for 50baht. They will get drinks for you at your chair and have music playing right along the beach front. Also there are loads of long boats that can take you to the surrounding islands.
This island is a largely a party area and has many bars everywhere you go. We found one place that was a sports pub and had Premiership football on all evening. There were two English lads promoting the place who were mainly get paid in beer and were hilarious to watch as they tried to get customers into this bar. Most bars here have western staff which does make a nice change and are all very friendly and willing to offer advice if you need anything.
Accommodation is easy as long as you don’t expect too high a standard room. Everywhere you walk you will see room for rent signs and a bed and a shower room is all that you should expect from these rooms. There are a few upper-class hotels but I didn’t look into prices as we only stayed for 2 nights. You can reserve a room in advance from either websites offering trip to Phi Phi or from the travel desks all round Thailand.
We also spent one day doing a Booze Cruise with Captain Bob. He is a Canadian that has been doing these cruises for many years and knows all the best spots to go. We traveled to monkey beach where the monkeys would come and take food from you. Also cliff jumping (10 meters high) which I recommend if you fancy an adrenaline rush. We then carried on round the islands to where the “Beach” film was made. There is some great snorkeling and diving areas as you have amazing fish and plants under the water. We also fitted in a bit of caving and finally watched the sunset before heading back.
Many longboats will offer similar trips though as this was a party weekend for us we opted for the Booze Cruise where we had many drinks and a great laugh.
My final full week of training. Where has the time gone?
This week I mixed up my training further by adding in some MMA and BJJ classes so I can experience everything Tiger has to offer.
Also this week we have a 3 hour seminar with UFC Legend Royce Gracie.
The MMA classes are ran by Ray Elbe and about 2 hours long. They run through different take-down techniques and some ground game. Not much stand-up training in the beginner classes but you can cover that in the Muay Thai classes yourself. Fun class to do and worth sticking with if you are interested in MMA and cage fighting.
Royce Gracie Seminar
Every year in November Tiger has Royce Gracie come over to share his experiences and train at the club.
This 3 hour seminar was amazing and one of the best experiences I have ever had.
The class starts with a 2 1/2 hour technique and grappling session followed by 1/2 hour question and answer section with Royce himself.
The technique session would start with a demonstration of what he wants you to do and them he would walk round and correct anything that you were doing wrong. He showed some very effective moves with take-downs and handling yourself when someone is grounding and pounding you. Royce is very charismatic when walking you through moves and speaks English very well.
The question and answer question at the end was really interesting as he described his UFC experiences and how he was raised learning BJJ. He also mentioned that he wants to do one final fight in the UFC so we may get to see him on TV again soon.
He is very funny and gives excellent advice so a fantastic way to bring my journey to an end.
There are about 8 Muay Thai stadiums in Phuket. The two main ones are Patong and Bangla stadium.
Bangla Stadium is the largest stadium in Phuket and is also in the town of Patong.
Bangla has better facilities than the other stadiums I’ve seen and a larger preparation area for the fighters. Plenty of seats around the ring and there is an upper level where the view is just as good. As with most stadiums there is a VIP area where the tickets are more expensive but you get to sit at ringside. Personally I don’t think the extra cost is worth your seat as the view in the normal price seats are just as good. If you buy your ticket from Tiger Muay Thai before the event then it is usually cheaper. For Bangla it was 1000baht. I did find drinks are a bit more expensive here though.
The fights usually start with some young kids (usually about 6 years old) fighting first. Then come the more inexperienced fighters like teen Thai fighters or Westerners first fight. Then at the end you get the bigger fights with those that are more experienced in Muay Thai. Usually there are about 9 fights each night.
Muay Thai is part of Thailands culture so to get a true experience of Thai life it is worth going to see a few fights and if you are part of a Muay Thai club then it is fun going to support those you train with.
This week I added Western Boxing to my training schedule.
There is a bit of controversy over weather boxing and Muay Thai can compliment each other. The main reason for this is due to the different stances between the two martial arts. For Muay Thai you are more square on with your opponent than with boxing.
Personally I found it beneficial to concentrate on just my hands for a few classes and think I picked up a few good techniques for my fighting style.
These classes seemed a bit easier than the Muay Thai ones for some reason though you still do just as much.
Just like the Muay Thai classes the boxing consists of a warm up, run through punching techniques, sparing, pad work with a trainer (3 rounds) and bag work. The warm down is the typical 300 situps and 100 pressups followed by stretching.
These classes are smaller than the other classes at Tiger and there is no separation between skill so the pro’s train with the first timers. As always everyone is really nice and won’t destroy you in sparing if you have little experience.
As always I continued with my running, weights and Muay Thai classes during the week.