Bangla Boxing Stadium is the latest Muay Thai arena on Patong Beach’s boxing scene. Originally built on Bangla Road on a smaller scale, the stadium kept its name after moving to its new location opposite Banzaan Market on Sai Kor Road, the new large thoroughfare passing behind Jungceylon Shopping Mall. The stadium is difficult to miss: it’s a large two-storey building with a first floor made of beige stone-like sculpted cement and features four beer bars with hostesses, while the second floor is an amphitheatre surrounding the ring. At the front of the building you can spot large statues representing Thai boxers.
At first, the fancy, show-off aspect of the place could make you think that it is just another tourist trap only featuring well-choreographed Muay Thai fights (which was mostly the case when the stadium was on Bangla). But no, this is real Thai Boxing and the contestants, foreigners and Thai alike, are real champions fighting for prices, titles and to improve their rank on the Thai Boxing scene. Fights are organized three times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
When arriving at Bangla Boxing Stadium, the first things you’ll notice are the four beer bars – Lucky Bar, Koala Aussie Bar, Casanova’s Bar and B1 Bar – which are in fact the only part of this setup reminiscent of Bangla Road – the heart of Phuket’s naughty nightlife. You can have a drink here if you are too early for the fights upstairs, but be careful: a few drinks and the charm of the hostesses could make you forget why you came here in the first place.
The boxing stadium is on the second floor and it’s a well-lit large open space with comfortable seats arranged in the best possible way for all the punters to clearly see the ring and the action happening in it. VIP seats are available at the first row around the ring and cost 2,500 baht each. Ringside seats are 2,000 baht and stadium’s 1,700 baht. The atmosphere at Bangla Boxing Stadium is relaxed and typical of most of Muay Thai venues in Thailand.
Tradition is at the heart of all Thai boxing events: Sarama – the hypnotic Muay Thai traditional music – fills the air and takes both fighters and audience to another level; the wai kru ram muay – pre-fight ritual dance – is performed to show respect to the fighters’ trainers and coaches. Thai boxing is not only a show of force and skill; it is deep rooted in Thai history and spirituality.
Fights start from 21:00 and go on until midnight – the evening can be shorter if too many knock-outs occur. Young fighters between 12 and 14 years old open the show (note that it can be somewhat disturbing to see such young boys hitting and kicking each other). The quality of the matches increases as the evening unfolds until the climax at the last fight which usually features national and international champions. Foreign boxers are usually more impressive to watch due to their size – the 2013 Super Heavyweight World Champion is Russian – and Thai boxers do not lead the world championship any more, even though their style is certainly purer than a lot of international boxers.
Summing up, Bangla Boxing Stadium is a great place to witness the most popular sport in Thailand: centrally located, well organized with friendly staff, it is a great way to spend an evening in Patong, watching outstanding physical performances by powerful athletes. Gamblers will also be glad to know that despite being illegal in Thailand, they can bet (discreetly) on red or blue for each fight.
Bangla Boxing Stadium
- Opening Hours: 21:00 – 24:00 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
- Location: On Sai Kor Road, opposite Banzaan Market
- Tel: +66 (0)89 726 1112 or (0)86 954 2999