At the start of the year I decided one aim would be to go and train in Thailand. I didn’t have anyone to go with but that wasn’t going to stop me. I started doing some research and asked my new coach for recommendations. Sadly WPT where she trained mainly is no longer running but she recommended Santai.
A month or so ago a friend who has not been doing Muay Thai long said she would love to come. I had given her the links to a gym in Phuket and Santai in Chiang Mai. I thought she would pick Phuket as the website is very impressive, the reviews great and it looks very clean with access to the beach etc.
Last night we sat down and went through the pro’s and cons and we settled on Santai. We are going in November and plan to stay 2 weeks (well just under). We will arrive on the Sunday in Chiang Mai and leave on the Friday to spend our last day in Bangkok before flying home on the Sunday. I have emailed the gym asking about availability and we are looking at flights now.
Does anyone have any good tips on what to see in the region (Although we are there to train we would like to fit some kind of sightseeing in on occasions), places to eat, drink, visit or avoid!
Neither of us has been to Thailand before but I am hoping the gym will suit both of us training wise (I did a lot of research on female friendly gyms that would suit a relative beginner and an intermediate). We are pretty similar that sunbathing is not of interest nor is partying every night and we want to train as much as we can manage.
I think I will be wishing the year away!
The Loi Krathong and Yee Ping festival will be around November 14th this year, which is an incredibly beautiful event. It's floating baskets on the river and fire balloons in the air. It's really a big deal up in the North, so try to figure out through the gym where everyone is going to be to witness and take part in the festivities.
Santai should be able to accommodate both you and your friend's different levels. I've spoken with a number of people who have gone through that gym and most have been super happy and satisfied with their experiences, although from the few complaints I've heard I would just advise you to be patient. Because that gym is very technical and adheres to a single style, they will push you toward a fairly uniform method. So don't take it personally - it doesn't mean your technique is "wrong" or "bad," but they're trying to move you toward their style. I'd recommend you consider that there are TONS of techniques and ways of doing things in Muay Thai, a million different styles; so learn what they teach you and then decide whether you like this way or your old way for the long run, but it's about having options, not right and wrong.
Have fun! Chiang Mai is beautiful that time of year.
Some options of what to see:
Hot Springs in San Kamphaeng
Doi Suthep / Phu Ping Palace / Hill Tribes (don't do a "trek", just drive up and visit on your own)
White Temple in Chiang Rai
The "Sunday Market" in the Old City is overrated in travel suggestions, but seeing it one time for an hour or so is worthwhile, just to see what it is. But don't make a whole trip of it, unless you LOVE crowds