I don’t like violence outside computer games and spending an evening watching young men in colored silk shorts bash each other didn’t sound like much of a sport to me. Though AC insisted that we went, as she is a Muay Thai practitioner herself and now in Bangkok, she wouldn’t miss that Muay Thai fight night for the world.
So partly because of bad conscience for making her eat noodle soup with pork blood earlier that day, and partly because AC can be a very convincing lady, I finally budged.
Google told us that contrary to what the name might suggest, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium was not located near Lumphini Park, but almost a one-hour-drive from the central area of Bangkok. Being Friday night and all, we anticipated that the weekend traffic would add at least an additional hour to the transportation time, so already at 5pm, we went out on Sukhumvit Road to hail a taxi.
It took us almost two hours to get there and there were no lines in front of the ticket booths, as everybody had already moved inside, where the first match had begun. It turned out there were different prices for locals and tourists, and the tourist prices were outrageous, considering the general price level in Bangkok.
A very eager sales person tried to persuade us to buy VIP/ringside tickets, which included a meet-and-greet with the fighters, but the tickets were double the price (2000THB) as ordinary, 3rd class tickets, and I could easily be without blood spatter and dripping sweat, so even though we were offered a substantial discount, we refused and asked to purchase the 3rd class tickets. We were then told that 3rd class was “not a place for lady” and blah, blah, blah, but we still insisted and finally we got the tickets.
Turned out that 3rd class was the perfect place to be, as this was where all the locals were. It was only tourists, who occupied the ringside seats and to be honest, they looked a bit bored.
The stadium wasn’t even half full, but everybody with 3rd class tickets had gathered in one corner and the atmosphere was loud, but very friendly. We had a good view of the fighters from our spots, and during the breaks between the matches, we were entertained by watching the bookmakers running around with large piles of money.
The fights were surprisingly eventless in terms of broken bones and bloodstains, and even though I’m sure they kicked each other hard, it wasn’t unpleasant to watch, just very confusing.
AC gave me a short intro to the rules, but it didn’t make much sense to me, so I just decided to cheer for the ones wearing pink shorts. We were told by some of the other spectators that match no 6 was the important match of the evening, and while it was going on, the entire stadium was jumping.
The bookmakers were running around like crazy, and AC and I were careful not to make any unintentional hand movements, which could be interpreted as a bet.
Even though I’m not happy to admit it, it was an awesome night, and we got a unique insight in this deep-rooted and fascinating part of Thai culture. Would I go for another Muay Thai match in the future? Maybe not by myself, but if AC asks, I’m definitely up for it.