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While we were in Ko Samui, we went to see a traditional Thai sport – Muay Thai. Sue was not keen but came along reluctantly. The event was held at Chaweng beach which is the main commercial area on the island.
We were picked up at the hotel and were the first to arrive at the Chaweng stadium, a small venue that also stages concerts and DJ appearances. Seb Fontaine (a DJ who made a few popular remix back in early 2000) was to play there some time later in January.
We were seated at one of the reserved tables at the front row. I was trying to remember a movie (possibly a James Bond movie from the 70’s – yes, just looked it up, it is “The Man with the Golden Gun”) that depicts Muay Thai as a deadly blood sport. The villain/henchman and our hero would meet at such a venue and either one or both of them would each have a female companion who salivates at the violence. In the background is a raucous crowd shouting and leaning into the ring with a handful of bills.
That night, the crowd was less energetic, smoking was not allowed but sitting along the front row not far from us was a blond young woman who was  snapping pictures with great enthusiasm (outdoing me) while the boyfriend looked on.
Before the match starts, the fighters walk around the ring and perform a series of solemn ceremonies, such as praying, bowing, etc.
The sport is extremely popular in Thailand, like football. Gambling is legal and we saw crowds watching it on a giant LED screen in a street of Bangkok, cheering for their fighters when they entered.
It is a full contact fight – a regulated form of kickboxing. The rules are complicated and allow attacks made with 8 parts of the body (fists, elbows, knees, feet, left and right sides). Head butt is not allowed.
There were a total of seven matches, the first and the last were matches between junior trainers. They look shockingly young and we could not help but think that they were fighting because of the money.
Each match has 5 rounds and each round lasting 3 minutes. This was the main fight of the evening.
This is a video of one of the late rounds when the fighters were visibly tired. Three and a half minutes long of action accompanied by traditional Thai music.
Two Hungarians were in the line up. They were probably trained in mixed martial arts. We think they were visiting a local Muay Thai camp to learn this form of  martial arts. Their friends and  families were sitting behind us and were really supportive, i.e., loud.


The first Hungarian won by KO.
Posters advertising the event were all over town. There was going to be another one next week. It was high tourist season after all.
When this video was shot, I was focusing on the fight. It was the last round and both fighters were cut and bleeding. On playback, I noticed how excited the girlfriend/wife was in the blue corner. See her go at 00:12. In the end, the Thai fighter (gold pants) beat the second Hungarian (black pants) on points.
In another fight, the wife/girlfriend of one of the fighters (red shorts) brought their child to the corner. The mother brought him around to give us high fives – very cute. I will not be surprised if this child will grow up wanting to fight like his father.


  1. This is definitely exciting, live fighting.

  2. Great to come across your site.. and am actually going to Koh Samui next month.
    You mentioned that you were picked up from your hotel to go to the Muay Thai event, was this from a tour company or package? I was hoping to organise something similar with a group of friends.. thanks!!

    • i booked it from the hotel front desk and they arranged it for us
      you can go to the venue and buy it for a better price i bet

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