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Thai boxing

Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport of Thailand. Once a skill that was essential for survival in battle, Muay Thai is now one of the most popular fighting sports in the world. Fighters from all corners of the globe travel to Thailand to train in Muay Thai, and it is no longer uncommon for Muay Thai fights in Bangkok or the countryside to feature foreign fighters on the fight bill.

Muay Thai is a fighting style steeped in tradition, as fighters in the ring perform a ceremony known as a “wai khru” prior to each bout. The pre-fight ritual is performed to pay homage to the fighters’ teachers, the spirits, and the art of Muay Thai itself, and is conducted while a live band plays traditional Thai music.

The music continues throughout the five round Muay Thai fight, altering its tempo in line with the action. At live venues betting on Muay Thai is nearly as feverish as the fights themselves and in large open air bars across the countryside villagers gather to shout at televisions cheering for their home town favorites.

In addition to a number of schools where you can learn Muay Thai, there are many opportunities to watch live fights.

The following are several Muay Thai Arena’s around Bangkok:

Lumpini Stadium - Rama IV Road, Bangkok - Tel: 66(0)2-252-8765.

Muay Thai Fights: Tuesdays and Fridays from 6:30pm, Saturday 5:00 - 8:00 pm and 8:30.

Prices for foreigners: 500, 1,000, 1,500 (ringside)

Ratchadamnoen Stadium - Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue - Tel: 66(0)2-281-4205. Muay Thai Fights: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays, from 6:30pm.

Prices for foreigners: 500, 1,000, 1,500 (ringside)

Channel 7 Stadium - Behind Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal (Morchit), opposite Chatuchak Park, Bangkok - Tel: 66(0)2-272-0201.

Muay Thai Fights: Sundays, from 1:45pm and on the third Wednesday of every month from 12:00.

Price: Free

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