Summary : Good gym. Needs matted floors! Apart from that, it gets reasonable scores all-round.
When I was looking into what Bangkok gyms to visit during my 3rd trip to Thailand, Meenayothin gym really struck a chord with me. It was top of my list of camps to visit but I put off heading there right away as I hadn’t trained for over a year and I had turned into a skinny-fat man (it wasn’t pretty). I feel that you waste a lot of time in gyms when you aren’t in shape so I wanted to save this one until I was a little stronger and better conditioned. All of the reviews I had read online seemed to be positive and all of the footage I had seen looked legit so I was eager to check it out.
Meenayothin gym is a well-established gym, having been around for more than 20 years. It was founded by Mr. Chaiyasit Kongkiatyong and, although it has undergone many location and name changes, it has resided in the premises of the Kasetsart University.
It’s definitely the biggest camp I’ve visited in Bangkok so far in terms of square-footage. I have absolutely no square-footage prediction skills so I will just say that it is frickin’ massive, with about 8 bags and one boxing ring. To the right as you walk through the doors is the kitchen area, gym accommodation and bathrooms. The floors are covered in an variety of carpets and rugs, which I’m not a fan of but this is a pretty old school, traditional gym so I guess that’s what comes with it.
There were around 15 Thais training in the camp during my stay. As with every gym in Thailand, the Thai fighters go back to their home towns quite often so it’s a constant change of personnel at the gym. In total, there are 40 Thai fighters training at the gym, most of whom are fighting at a high level in Lumpinee or Rajadamnern stadiums. The world-famous Aikpracha Meenayothin still trains here, so you’ll get to mix it up with him, should you decide to stay at the gym. Another stand-out fighter at the gym is “Wanheng”. Wanheng has now retired from muay Thai to concentrate on Western boxing. Why did he retire? Because nobody would fight him, that’s why! There were no opponents left for him at Lumpinee so he turned to boxing instead. His western boxing record currently stands at 30 fights, 30 wins.
The Thais who live here are extremely disciplined. At 9pm the TV goes off in the communal area and everyone goes to bed – no exceptions. They also train 7 days a week…there is no day off in Meenayothin gym.
I decided to stay for a week and stay in the gym accommodation with two meals daily. I didn’t think I would stay on-camp during this trip but it worked out pretty cheap at 1,000 baht per day so I gave it a shot.
Training sessions begin with 2 or 3 rounds of shadow boxing. Instruction and correction is given throughout by muay Thai trainer “Yod” and the boxing coach (more on him later). After that, we would glove up and move onto the bags or get called onto the pads with Yod. The way it works in Meenayothin Gym is that Yod takes all of the foreigners on the pads 90% of the time and a few other trainers take the Thais in the boxing ring. I guess that’s one of the examples of foreigner-Thai divide in this gym, but Yod is a good trainer so I didn’t feel too hard done by.
Yod is a decent trainer who adjusts your technique as you work, while pushing you physically. The first time I trained with him he just had me throwing techniques at him slowly for a couple of rounds, without pads. This way he immediately got a sense of my balance, control, style and timing before having me hit any pads with power. The three other trainers in the gym looked good but I didn’t get to train with them so I couldn’t tell you any more. You’ll see some footage of them in the video above. You’ll get 3 or 4×4 minute rounds on pads in Meenayothin gym.
As I stated above, Meenayothin gym also has a western boxing coach. He coached the Thailand national boxing team to 4 Olympic games so, needless to say, he is a top notch coach! He doesn’t hold pads for any of the fighters but he helps everyone out on shadow boxing and bag training. He was telling me how he has helped Aikpracha utilise his hands more in his fights to become a more rounded fighter. He is a really helpful coach with good English speaking skills too.
After pads it’s time to clinch. Meenayothin gym place great emphasis on clinch training; they’ll clinch for 30 minutes in the morning and an hour in the evening. Foreigners tend to do less but it depends what Thais are training on the day; Aikpracha is 70kg+ so you’ll get to clinch with him and the other Thais, but the others are much smaller.
A I mentioned previously, one of the drawbacks of training at Meenayothin gym is that the floors are carpeted and they are really dirty. Also, there is only one boxing ring so the foreigners usually have to hit pads on the floor, rather than the ring. These are a few of the negatives with training at an authentic gym in Bangkok, but you have to take the rough with the smooth sometimes.
There were 5 or 6 other foreigners training at the camp during my visit. I can see a big influx of foreigners to the gym shortly, indeed, it’s already began due to the positive reviews that the camp has been receiving online. Hopefully, that won’t affect the standard of training here too much but there will inevitably be a decline in training quality to some degree.
To sum up; great gym. Great authenticity and great people. My advice would be to get there sooner, rather than later.
Lots of high quality Thai fighters
Staff includes a western boxing coach
Good attention to detail
Lots of clinching
Separation between westerners and Thais
Dentoranee Sor Weerapon
Mondam Sor Weerapon
Meenayothin Gym Photos
The gym rooms are pretty basic; I had an air-conditioned room which had a large refrigerator and a couple of beds. Prepare to be woken up by cockerels in the early hours.
The food package here is awesome. Lots of food and lots of variety. The food is bought from the shop/restaurant opposite the gym and is really nice. The foreign visitors eat at a table in the gym, while the Thais sit together on the gym floor.
One session: 300 baht
Two sessions (daily) 500 baht
Two sessions, shared A/C room + two meals: 900 baht per day, 6,300 baht per week.
Two sessions. private A/C room + two meals: 1,400 baht per day, 8,000 baht per week.
The gym is located on the premises of Kasetsart University on a quiet soi. There is a couple of 7/11s within walking distance.
Meenayothin Gym Address: Near Kasetsart University, Paholyothin soi 45, Bangkok, Thailand 10900
Meenayothin Gym Map
Phone: +66 (0)812598584 | +66 (0)83 1336821 | +66 (0)89 9936488
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