Pai is a small town 140km north of Chiang Mai in the Mae Hong Soon Province of northern Thailand. Situated in a valley surrounded by mountains, jungle, hot springs and rice paddies Pai is unlike anywhere else in Thailand. There is a friendly, laid back vibe in town that attracts backpackers & tourists seeking a relaxing atmosphere to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok & the islands.
Pai attracts Muay Thai fighters who want to train & relax and prefer a slower pace than city or Island Muay Thai Gyms. Whilst the Muay Thai scene is far from the level of training in Bangkok. There are still some great gyms for fighters of all levels to train in the most chilled town in Thailand.
Below are some of the best Muay Thai gyms in Pai that you should check out!
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Charn Chai Muay Thai
Charn Chai Muay Thai gym is owned and operated by Monkoldej Sitthepitak. During his career Sitthepitak was ranked number 1 at both Lumpinee and Rajadamnern with notable wins over Kompayak Sit.Kruawt & Phetarun Sor.Suwanpakdee.
The morning session at Charn Chai is from 8 am-10 am, and the afternoon session runs from 3 pm-5 pm. A typical training session consists of jogging, skipping, bag work, pad work and sparring with emphasis on clinching in the afternoon. The gym caters for both fighters and hobbyists. The cost per session is 350 baht, or it’s 500 baht for both sessions in 1 day.
Sitjemam Muay Thai
Sitjemam Muay Thai is a run by manager Ms Supanee Changpradit and her husband Emmanuele Corti. The Muay Thai camp is located a 10-minute ride from Pai Town.
The morning session at Sitjemam takes place 8 am-10 am, and the afternoon session runs from 4 pm-6 pm. The training feels personal, and the gym has a family-like atmosphere. Typical training sessions consist of skipping, bag work, pad work and clinching with sparring taking place 3x per week. The cost per session is 300 baht, or it’s 500 baht for a full day of training.
Telephone: (+66) 83 321 2230
Krimanee Muay Thai Gym
Krimanee Muay Thai gym is located 15 minutes outside of Pai town surrounded by jungle and mountains. The gym has an authentic Thai feel, with the benefit of smaller classes giving you a more personal session.
The morning session at Krimanee starts with a run at 7.30 am, and the afternoon session runs from 3 pm-5 pm. The training sessions are traditional for Thailand consisting of jogging, skipping, bag work, pad work and sparring. Krimanee Muay Thai costs 300 baht per session, or it’s 500 baht for the whole day.
Telephone: (+66) 65 439 9980
Where to stay in Pai
All of the gyms above offer accommodation on site. I prefer to stay in a Bungalow near town and travel to training via scooter. Accommodation in Pai is exceptionally cheap, a bungalow in a mid-range hotel with a pool can cost as little as $10 a night. If you plan on staying long-term, I recommend trying a few areas where you prefer before you commit to one area.
Getting to Pai is easy, buses run hourly from Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station. The air-conditioned minivan takes 3 hours and costs around 180 Baht. You can pick tickets up via most hotels & shops or online, but they often sell out in advance so make sure you book your seat.
The best way to get around Pai is by scooter! There are plenty of rental shops with a monthly rental costing around $125 per month. The great thing about having a motorbike is that you are free to explore the mountains and waterfalls in between training.
While the Muay Thai scene in Pai doesn’t compare to Bangkok or the islands, Pai is still a great place to learn Muay Thai. Surrounded by mountains and rainforest Pai offers plenty of activities to do, and places explore when not training. High-level instruction, coupled with a laid back vibe, makes Pai the perfect place for fighters who prefer a slower pace to the hustle of Bangkok.