I must admit that I’ve become a bit of a jaded traveler over the years. My first instinct is that businesses are going to try to rip me off, when I travel. So it was a pleasant surprise that everything started off smoothly at Rawai.
Despite the last minute addition, they were able to accomodate the three of us in a shared bungalow with fan, which was the cheapest option. I was very happy with the digs and honestly expected much less. To be fair, after working on a ship for the better part of the last two years and living in the equivalent of a metal coffin, anything with an adult-sized bed is luxurious! But what made me really please was that we had a microwave, fridge and blender. So this gave us the opportunity to make yummy smoothies and reheat food.
Being at Rawai made me feel like I was at summer camp. There was shared living, great weather and group activities. Everything set the tone except the dodgy looking bar next door with the dubiously friendly waiteresses and fat old white men as customers. Somehow I suspect those men they aren’t Muay Thai students.
The area around Rawai is very accessible and everything you need is walking distance. However, a lot of people rent motorcycles because it’s cheap and fun. There are plenty of shops, mini-markets, restaurants and even a night market every Monday and Thursday, where you can get fruit, eggs and sample street food cheaply. And of course, being Thailand there are plenty of massage parlours in the area. No, that’s not euphemism for brothel, I’m referring to the legit version. Massage parlours in Phuket seem to be as widespread as barber shops in Istanbul and hot dog stands in New York City. It’s one of the oddities I encounter when I travel – why don’t people offer something with less competition. I could have really done with a traditional wet shave after allowing my beard to grow for two weeks. Then again, I’m not sure if Thai men grow facial hair.
The first day of training was intense. We had a 2-hour morning work-out starting at 7.30 am followed by a 1.5 hour afternoon work-out at 3pm. And this was the trainers going easy on us! We spent a lot of time on basic techniques. It was around this time that I realized that my lack of flexibility may affect my ability to kick higher than someone’s knee. Fortunately, Alex still found time to make this cool trailer.
The students at Rawai are an ecelectic. It’s very international, mostly westerners, all ages and people stay for days to many months. People seem to be here for very different reasons. Some people want to get fit. Some people want to learn how to fight. And some want to be professional Muay Thai fighters. Then, there’s a few people seem to like the idea of training with Muay Thai fighters more than actually attending class.
Nevertheless, everyone gets along as you do when you’re part of a small village.
Accommodation: There are plenty of accomodation options on-site and nearby off-site for different budget options, from budget (like us) to boutique.
Food: There’s probably not much point in buying the “offical meal plan” at the nearby Cashew restaurant or you’ll be stuck at one place. It’s the most social restaurant for students so it’s sometimes nice to meet people there. But go ahead and explore the area, eating at different restaurants. It’s also cheaper if you venture from the camp.
Transport: You don’t need a motorbike but it’s fun and cheap. Plus you can rent it by the day for 200THB.
Internet: The internet sucks at peak times. There’s not really much you can do. I just wanted to bitch about it.
Disclaimer: Rawai Muay Thai was kind enough to give us a discount. The opinions are still my own.