Muay Thai has been widely known to the world as a combat sport that originated from Thailand. By using a wide variety of clinching techniques, and powerful stand-up strikes, it has similarities with other Asian kickboxing styles. Muay Thai uses a lot of fists, knees, elbows, shins, making it a very good example of a contact fighting sport.
If you happen to visit Chiang Mai, it is highly recommended that you visit Muay Thai Chiang Mai camps where a lot of sports events take place. Tourists would probably notice the posters that would direct them to where the fights take place, though more local places display less authentic fights. Getting into arenas might require an entrance fee, ranging from cheap to fairly expensive depending on the place.
The Loi Kroh Entertainment Complex is a Muay Thai fighting venue where the crowds are huge, and the entrance fee fairly cheap. It is surrounded by bars where people can hang in. the surrounding bars are at a fair enough seeing distance from the arena where people can observe the fight, some even give tips to the fighters after their matches.
A tip costing 20 baht is good enough for this place and is fairly cheaper compared to Muay Thai fighting arenas around Chiang Mai. Most of the fights held in this complex are friendly sports matches between rival schools or training matches between fighters. The fights don’t tend to get too serious but are still entertaining to watch. But sometimes, you might get lucky and get a real good fight during the night.
Setting aside the friendly fights of a Muay Thai training camp and giving way to the more serious matches, the Thaepae Boxing Stadium hosts “real” fights that could sometimes get slightly “tough”. Located at the center of the community, the audience of the fights in this stadium is more likely jam-packed, crowded, and mostly composed of foreign tourists. The entrance fee is more expensive at 500 baht per head, and even more expensive if you wish to sit on VIP seats closest to the ring.
This place is a very good place to familiarize yourself with the sport, surrounded by tourists and friendly locals; you can enjoy the fight while still staying inside your comfort zone. Alcoholic beverages are sold inside small bars where you could sit, relax, and observe the ongoing match away from the crowd. This venue is perfect for night-outs and holiday celebrations.
Moving on to where the most “realistic” (and probably a little hardcore) fights in Chiang Mai, you would need to cross a river riding a “tuk-tuk” to get to the good old Kawila Boxing Stadium. With an admission of 500 baht per person, the matches you’ll witness in here are more private, and a little longer compared to what the other venues hold.
Here you can find authentic Muay Thai fights, and authentic locals without the presence of a lot of tourists. Just a heads-up though, fights here can get really rough, and with crowded gambling over the match.
The Muay Thai style of the fighting takes a lot of getting-used-to at first, but once you warm-up to it, it becomes an exciting and fun event that you would probably want to get back to in the future.