Do not recommend
Summary : If you want to pay money to be a spectator then crack on, but if you want real training then I wouldn't bother.
After my session at Khongsittha muay Thai, I headed 15km South to train at the 13 Coins gym in the Suan Luang district of Bangkok. One of the trainers from Khongsittah actually recommended I go train at 13 Coins next so I gave it a shot as he had told me that Saenchai, Pakorn and Sangmanee were currently training there and I would get some good training in.
The gym is about a 15-20 minute-drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport and is located at the 13 coins Airport Grand Resort. There are several 13 Coins restaurants and hotels dotted around Bangkok so don’t arrive at the wrong location! The 13 Coins Gym is located at Soi 57 on the Rama 9 road.
When I arrived here, I was greeted by the owner, Mr. Coke. Mr. Coke is a muay Thai fan who made his living from the 13 Coins franchise so decided to open up his own gym right next to the hotel on Soi 57. He sits by the ringside, chain-smoking, and watches every training session, occasionally shouting instructions to his trainers and fighters.
Talking of fighters, Saenchai was away in France teaching a seminar when I visited the gym so I didn’t get to see him in action but Pakorn and Sangmanee were still there and were both training hard for their upcoming fights.
An instant negative of 13 Coins gym is that, for some reason, Mr. Coke seems to employ one of the hotel managers as his “right hand man”. The guy basically stood there as soon as I arrived and held me at gun point until I agreed to stay at the 13 Coins hotel and train for a week. I was reluctant so I ended up getting a discount on the package. Even when I agreed, he may as well have turned me upside down and raided my pockets for cash. The guy is a douche.
Anyway, the instant vibe I got from the gym itself is that it is a traditional, hard-working gym with few foreigners. There are a lot of Thais here, some young, some old, some big, some small.
That being said, I soon realised that the hard-working, disciplined approach wasn’t mirrored in how the westerners at the gym were trained. In fact, it was a different story altogether.
The training for foreigners is pretty laid back here; nobody is going to hold your hand so you really have to be motivated and get involved with what is going on or you’ll be left out. I don’t have a problem with that at all. What I do have a problem with is paying money to train at a gym and receiving sub-standard training. What you see definitely isn’t what you get here.
With regards to facilities; there are 3 small boxing rings with one makeshift ring/cage at the far end of the gym. Presumably, it’s still there from when the gym offered the MMA program which has now been scrapped. There are plenty of bags along a narrow stretch of carpeted floor and seating along the opposite side.
The morning session starts at 7am when the Thais get into the back of a pickup and travel to the local running track for their 10km run. Foreigners are welcome to go too and can run as far as they wish and at their own pace. If you don’t go for the run, one of the trainers will take you on the pads at around 7:10am so you’re not hanging around.
I trained with 3 different trainers in 13 Coins Gym and came away with very mixed feelings. In the morning of the first day I was there, “Yin” took me on pads. I don’t know much about him but he was training Sangmanee the whole time I was there and I really rate him. Although he was too small for me, his combos were inventive, his pad positioning was spot on and his variation of techniques was refreshing. I got 3×4 minute rounds with a couple of guided bag rounds with the trainer correcting my technique. That was pretty much it for morning training, it’s pretty quiet unless one of the Thais has a fight coming up. Sangmanee was smashing pads morning and afternoon but apart from that the Thais just did the morning run.
Afternoon training was a lot more hardcore than the morning session (for the Thais). Mr. Coke told me that training starts at 4pm. When I arrived at the gym at 4pm, all of the Thais were already sparring hitting pads. I thought I had made a mistake but when I spoke to my German friend he had been told the same thing. Training for the Thais starts at 3pm…
Training for foreigners and Thais varies massively in 13 Coins, there is a big separation between the two.
I noticed that this makeshift ring/cage thingy was where all of the foreigners were being trained in the afternoon sessions. Not only that, we were given arguably the worst trainer in history. I’m not sure of his name and I wouldn’t want to call him out anyway but come on, one combination on repeat for 3 rounds? No joke. “jab, cross, right elbow, right kick”. That was it for 3 rounds. He wasn’t very good at positioning the pads for that either. I wouldn’t have minded so much if he had been watching me while he held for me. His eyes were just wandering around the gym as if he was bored senseless…he wasn’t the only one.
On the first day I was there, after I’d finished my pad rounds, I noticed that the Thais had started clinching in the two middle rings so I stood on the side of the ring and asked the trainer in charge if I could get involved. He said “OK, wait there” (or words to that effect) so I waited on the side of the ring for 5 minutes until he called me in. I clinched with a large Thai (about 70kg) who totally owned me and made my neck sore for about a week after (violins) and I was happy with the top level training I received…for ten minutes. When I asked him to clinch with me again, he told me “no”.
I’m not complaining about the Thais not wanting to train with the visitors, why would they? They have their own training to think of. They are training for big fights themselves and they get nothing out of clinching with somebody who has a much lower skill-level then they have. However, if you’re paying money to train at a gym then you expect to train with the Thais or you may as well be training at home, as there were only 2 other foreigners training here.
The second day I was there pretty much followed the same suite except I got to train with Saenchai’s trainer. He’s obviously a top class trainer who trains top class fighters, but maybe not the best trainer to work with visitors. It takes time to get to know your trainer and to get in sync with him but this guy gets really pissed off if you don’t connect properly and will “tut” do a lap around the ring! But whatever. If I stayed for longer then maybe I would have worked better with him.
The training for Thais is first class but there seems to be a large barrier between the foreigners and Thais in this camp. If you’re going to train here and you want to get the most out of your time (and money) then you need to be very vocal and forthright in your approach. Perhaps if you are a world class fighter then you would have the opportunity to get involved more and the Thais would be more accepting, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Either way, it’s a great place to come and admire some of the best fighters in the sport in their element, but not much else.
Top quality Thai fighters on show
Assigned a sub-standard trainer in afternoons
Do not receive the same standard of training as the Thais
Don’t get to train with the stars of the gym
You’ll have to breathe cigarette smoke while you train
13 Coins Gym Photos
300 baht per session
500 baht per day (2 sessions)
2,500 baht per week
9,000 baht per month
600 baht per 1 private session
Training, room & breakfast: 1,300 baht per day | 8,000 baht per week | 30,000 baht per month
Twin shared room, training and breakfast: 2,100 baht per day | 3,600 baht per week | 54,000 baht per month
Airport transfer is availabe for 300 baht.
As I mentioned earlier, 13 Coins Gym is situated at the 13 Coins Airport Grand Resort so the package deals involve staying at the hotel which is right next to the gym. The rooms are OK, not great value for money and the service is awful. Staff are pretty ignorant and mess up pretty much everything so I would advise finding somewhere outside of the resort.
The gym is just a short drive from Bangkok airport. Street food is available on the same road but you will have to travel a little further to access conveniences such as cafes, big shops and pharmacies.
13 Coins Gym Address: 37,37/1-3, 39 Praram 9 Soi 57 (Visetsuk), Suanluang, Bangkok, Thailand
13 Coins Gym Map
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