Summary : Awesome camp. with a few good westerners there it could be even better. Highly recommended.
I left Jitti gym feeling pretty dejected after discovering another holiday camp muay Thai school in Thailand, so I had to find a traditional gym next. I scoured the net for the gym with as little info on it as possible in order to avoid training at another tourist-filled gym and I decided to head to Por Samranchai gym in Bangkok. All I had to go on was an address that I got off some random website, so I gave it to the taxi driver and away we went. Below are some photos of what I found…
Por Samranchai gym hasn’t been in operation for the last two years and is now a building site…my bad. Pictured above is the big boss of the old gym. He was a really friendly guy and we chatted for a while about the gym and the champions he had produced there. I told him I wanted to find a new gym and he mentioned that he had a friend in Chon Buri who had a good gym and offered to drive me there. I had grown so frustrated at finding sub-standard gyms in Bangkok that I thought “This place he’s talking about can’t be any worse”. I had no idea where he was taking me, but I had nothing to lose. So off we went (again).
I met up with the owner of Por Burapha gym while he was eating out at a restaurant and he bought me dinner and some drinks. Doesn’t speak much English, but a really nice guy. I arranged to head over to the gym the next day.
Por Burapha gym is a Royal Thai Army boxing camp. It is situated in the Tambon Napa district of Chon Buri on an Army base. All of the fighters and staff are (or were) serving members, and so the camp operates in a military fashion. All of the nak muays must “brace up” when the big boss walks into the gym and stand to attention when speaking to him.
As you can see, Por Burapha gym is set back from the busy main road upon which the barracks is situated. There is a small farm to the rear and pretty much feels like you’re in the countryside the entire time you’re there.
When I first arrived at the camp, the big boss, Kru Hin, was eager to get me into the gym accommodation. Unfortunately I need WiFi to work but they don’t currently have it so I chose to stay in a hotel about a 5 minute motorcycle ride away. Kru Hin is very welcoming to visitors and you can have a bit of banter with him, although, as I mentioned previously, his English speaking skills are virtually non-existent so you should learn some basic Thai before you visit to make things a little easier.
Por Burapha gym is a great facility. Very clean (as you would expect), more than enough training mats, about 14 bags and two boxing rings. There is also a small strength training area where the fighters finish off their sessions with bench press, chins, dips and sit ups. Out the back there is a seating area for eating and a showering area with Thai-style toilets.
There are around 15 nak muays permanently living and training at the gym so there are plenty of experienced Thais to train with. I should add that I was the only foreigner training at the camp during my week-long stay. The gym has only ever had around 30 foreigners train at the camp since its doors first opened in 1993.
Most of these guys are around 55kg so if you’re above 70kg you may find yourself wanting for larger training partners. However, I am 80kg and I clinched with a couple of fighters who were 65kg and 75kg and they threw me all over the place. The 75kg Thai, Payak Burapha, is an ex-Lumpinee champion and is an absolute beast. Yes, he threw me around a bit but he also showed me a lot of techniques, which is something of a rarity in some muay Thai camps in Thailand.
The gym has trained 9 champions in its 30 year history, including Rajadamnern and Lumpinee titles. The fighters from the gym currently fight in Bangkok and all over Thailand.
Onto the training then. Every session begins with a run; a 10km run around the local area in the mornings and laps around the Army base in the afternoons (above). Half of the morning running route is on the Army base itself and the final half takes place on the road which brings you back into camp. The road is quite busy at that time of day so if you want to avoid breathing in car fumes then you are better off finding an alternative. Once the run is over, everyone goes to the rear of the gym to skip for 30 minutes, after which everyone wraps hands and begins two rounds of shadow boxing. I was given direction and correctional advice while shadow boxing by several muay Thai trainers throughout. After shadow boxing, everyone gloves up and moves onto the bags and pads.
One of the things I love about Por Burapha gym is that, like other big name gyms such as 13 Coins and Meenayothin, they have a western boxing coach as well as muay Thai coaches. I feel that this is an extremely valuable asset to look out for when choosing a muay Thai camp in Thailand.
All bag work is overseen by one of the coaches so there is no slacking on the bags by any of the boxers. All boxers get 5×4 minute rounds on pads. My trainer was decent; he was highly motivated and I was able to freestyle with him some of the time. He was also quite a big guy which was handy for me. Sparring takes place every day; either in the morning or afternoon, or both. It’s very light, playful sparring, though.
The clinching here is great. As you can see from the featured video, it’s pretty fast-paced but performed in the classic playful Thai-style. You’ll get a chance to clinch with all of the fighters here; there are no “off-limit” superstars as I found in 13 Coins gym. The two Thais I clinched with here are two of the best I’ve trained with in Thailand.
Kru Hin is now offering all-inclusive packages including food and accommodation so you’ll have the chance to live, eat and train with the Thais on this camp.
To sum up, I highly recommend Por Burapha gym (and I don’t say that about too many gyms!). It’s a really nice camp which feels pretty secluded and, if I were staying in the gym’s accommodation, I probably wouldn’t want to leave. You’ll have everything you need here; top quality training, nice people, washing machines, good food and a bed. If I were to pick holes, the only two things I would say are that it’s a tad expensive and there is currently no WiFi. But maybe no WiFi is a good thing? Apart from that, this place is top notch. Oh, and the cockerels. I hate cockerels. Apart from that, this place rocks.
Floors are matted
Owner and staff are very friendly and welcoming
Lots of high-level Thai training partners
All staff and fighters have limited English skills
No WiFi on camp
Por Burapha Gym Photos
One session: 500 Baht
One day (two sessions): 700 baht
One week (once per day): 3000 baht
One week (twice per day): 4500 baht
One month (once per day): 12000 baht
One month (twice per day): 18000 baht
Training + Room
One day (twice per day): 1000 baht
One week: 6500 baht
One month: 25000 baht
3 meals per day: 500 baht per day | 3500 baht per week | 15,000 baht per month
Group discounts available
Por Burapha Gym Address: 306 Mu 9, Tambon NaPa, Maung, Chonburi, 20000
Address in Thai (give this to the taxi driver!) กองพันทหารปืนให่ญ่ ที่ 21 รักษาพระองค์ – ที่อยุ่ ค่าย 306 หมู่ 9 ต.นาป่า อ. เมืง จ.ชลบุรี 20000
Por Burapha Gym Map
Phone: Noi 0930507919 (English) | Kru Hin 0899354863 (Thai) | 038-205-471 (Thai)
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