Muay Thai Training in Bangkok

My 1-Year Anniversary in Thailand + Book Review “12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap”

By | Muay Thai Training in Bangkok, Muay Thai Training in Phuket, Preparing for your trip, Training, Traveling | 6 Comments

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s crazy to think that 2013 is done with, which means it’s almost my 1-year anniversary in Thailand (Feb.1st to be exact).  While trying to figure out where all the time went, I made up a list of some highlights and goals achieved (this is a very condensed list).   This is also a reminder to myself to stay grounded and be grateful for the special opportunities life has afforded me.

  • Obviously my biggest accomplishment involved leaving behind a stable job & all familiar facets of my daily routine – and trading it in for an ex-pat life in Thailand – to try something “new” and be out of my comfort zone.
  • Did a 10-day silent meditation (vipissana) retreat at Buddhist temple Wat Ram Poeng, Chiang Mai.
  • Enrolled in Thai language school with classes 2 – 3 times a week.
  • Found part-time work for – worked on projects for Chupa Chups and Movember (yes, the mustache fundraising campaign).
  • Traveled to other countries in South East Asia – Malaysia, Indonesia and Burma/Myanmar.

I’ve always enjoyed taking a step back and analyzing my past to see how it has shaped my current situation, as well as my future.  With that said, it’s interesting to see what I was doing exactly 2 years ago, January 1st, 2012.  As someone that’s into self-improvement/ human optimization, I subscribed to various newsletters…one of them contained a motivational speech on how to start the new year right and be a better man.  Immediately after watching the video, I decided to get off the couch and take action – try something new that makes me uncomfortable.  I searched Google for Muay Thai and chose a gym.  As you can see from the receipt, after my first free session on Jan.6th, I came back a week later to pay for another class.  This quickly became a passion of mine, which ultimately lead me to Thailand.



 Anyways, who is this man that became influential in my life choices?  He is Johnny FD, author of the book “12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap”  As a way to show my gratitude towards him, I purchased his book, even after I moved to Phuket.  Below is my review, which unfortunately has been sitting on my hard-drive since March, 2013.

If you plan on buying it (just $9.99), please use this link as I’ll get a small affiliate commission, thanks.   You can even check out the first chapter for free.

BTW – Johnny now has a few other blogs that are geared towards “life-style design” ie. Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week.  They’re a useful resource to anyone considering a non-linear life or trying to get out of the 9-5 rat race (I wish these were around when I was grinding it out on Wall Street).  Definitely recommend them plus they’re all free.


Book Review – 12 Weeks in Thailand: The Good Life on the Cheap

Even though I’ve been following Johnny’s blog – for a while now and read almost every post he’s ever written, I still wanted to buy his book.  He’s actually one of the few people that “enlightened” me about having a better life in Thailand (he’s a pioneer in that he did this years before me) and I wanted to support his new project.

Recently, I moved from NYC to Thailand back in January of this year, on a perm basis. The book was good to have because I could use it to refresh my memory on all the little details in terms of packing and preparing for my big move (I previously made a short one-month trip).  The book is very comprehensive – it goes into detail as to where you should train, why, how to prepare, survive and make the most out of your experience, whether it’s one-month or one-year.

Although Thailand is comparatively cheaper than Western countries, Johnny talks about how to stretch your hard-earned dollars so you can stay here longer ie. tips on how to not get ripped off by taxi-drivers.  He even gives potential business plans should you decide to live here and need to support yourself.  The money you save will pay for the book itself.

Last year when I planned for my first trip, I spent most hours at work researching numerous blog sites for information (while my boss thought I was working, haha).  For me, this type of reading is actually fun..but for some people, this can be time-consuming.  I highly recommend picking up the book so all the information is at your fingertips in one-central location.  It’s a quick and easy read as well.

My favorite thing about the book is not just the critical information needed to plan a life-changing experience in Thailand, but rather the personal stories Johnny is gracious enough to share with the readers.  His experiences living “impoverished” off a fighters purse (income) and his romantic pursuits at the different island ie. Full-Moon party are very entertaining…big-ups to Johnny for having the balls to share these intimate details as I’m not sure I’d be able to do the same. 🙂

Do yourself a favor and stop being cheap (it’s only $9.99) – this book is for anyone thinking about visiting Thailand, whether you’re into Muay Thai or not.  The advice can be applied to any traveler.

If you plan on buying it (just $9.99), please use this link, thanks.   You can even check out the first chapter for free.

Bangkok for the weekend – Feb.1 – 4, 2013

By | Muay Thai Training in Bangkok, Traveling | 4 Comments

The plane at JFK lifted off around 10:40pm EST Wednesday night and began the 12 hour journey to Doha, Qatar.  The first movie I watched in the seat’s headrest was Argo.  It’s pretty kewl that Qatar Airways can get movies that are still playing in the theatre.  However, it probably wasn’t a good idea to watch this because the movie was about the 1979 Iran-hostage situation…the exact area I was flying to!  After a second movie, I tried to catch some sleep but it didn’t happen.  We finally landed in Doha and had a 2 hour layover.  The last part of the trip was a 6 hour flight to Bangkok.  I watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach.  I’ve never seen this movie and was kicking myself for that…It’ s about a man that goes to Thailand by himself for an adventure…it definitely had some underlying themes & messages that resonated with me.

Around 7:30AM local time, we finally landed (about an hour before I got to see the sunrise)…the visa-customs line was long and took about half an hour to get through.  Luckily my suitcases made it over and nothing was damaged or lost 🙂  A 40min cab ride (300 baht / $10 US) later I was checking in at the Bedrooms Boutique Hotel.  It was located in the Sukhumvit part of Bangkok and only $32 US / night.  I would def recommend them as the rooms  are modern, clean and the location is perfect (near BTS On Nut and food options).  Here’s the website  Other reviews from Agoda’s website

Since I flew in early, it was too soon for check-in and my room wasn’t ready…all I wanted was a shower and my bed to crash in.  So I got some brunch at the restaurant and luckily an hour and half later the room was ready 🙂  I unpacked, showered then passed out for 4 hours…it took a lot of will-power to get back up around 4pm to do some exploring.  The weather was comfortable (80’s ?) but a bit humid.  Nothing un-bearable.  I checked out the street carts, bazaar and shopping centers (Big C and Tesco) for food.  Everything is cheap.  Here’s a video clip of the streets  BTW, Chinese New Year (Feb.10th) is a big celebration here because of the Thai-Chinese population.  Although not an official holiday celebrated, many people celebrate it.  Most of the stores sold decorations or had ornaments up already.

The next day I woke up and took the BTS above-ground train and the MRT subway to explore more parts of the city including the Stock Exchange of Thailand.  In the afternoon , I met up with my Canadian friend Bill (who runs http://www.fightpassport).  He took me to a Muay Thai gym that specializes in clinching.  Luckily the gym was pretty empty as a majority of the fighters and trainers went to watch a fight at one of the stadiums.  Because I’m not as experienced as everyone else, I can be pretty self-conscious.  When I got there he showed me the case with 4 – 8 different champion stadium belts (from Raja/ Lumpinee) that the gym’s fighters have won.  Obviously they are doing something right with their training.  I asked him what the format of the session will be and he said we’re probably going to clinch for an hour straight and only 2 rounds on the pads (although they’re 5 – 10 min rounds!).  To be honest, I don’t have much experience working in the clinch and was a bit intimidated to hear this.

I stretched, shadowboxed then hit the heavy bag.  BTW, Bill kicked the heavy bag once and it broke off the chain…it was pretty funny as the people thought he was Baukaw or something, lol.  About 10 min later I entered the ring and began my rounds.  Because of my torn MCL from my last trip here as well as plantars fasciitis (foot ligament inflammation , I haven’t been able to do much training ie. no skipping rope, no jogging and no kicking Thai pads.  My doc said I had to completely rest which resulted in me not going to any sort of Muay Thai gym for the past 6 months (which totally sucked!).  I could only goto my regular gym and lift weights…luckily they have a heavy bag so would shadow-box and work on my punches and elbows.  The first round with my trainer was about 5 min I think.  He had me working punches, elbows, knee and kick combo’s.  One of my sticking points is getting my hip more involved when kicking…it irks the sh1t outta me.  I had a short break then did a 2nd round with him. After that I was pretty gassed and my chest burned, ehhhhhh.  Then came the clinch-fest…Bill and one of the taller Thai’s helped me with different techniques for about 30-40 min.  I’ve never done so much before.  But this really is what the gym specializes in and was happy to learn everything.  I forgot to get the Thai’s name but he was super-friendly and helpful.  When I’m ready to step up my clinching, I will def return here for a solid month of training.  Here’s Bill’s write-up of the gym  Thx again buddy.  Afterwards, we went and grabbed dinner in Nana area.  Had the chicken and cashew nuts which were really good.  Then I got a tour of the go-go bars where the Hangover II was shot, lol…it was definitely a trip to see it in person hahahaha.

Sunday I went to my favorite barber shop in BKK called Never Say Cutz (see previous post: )…unfortunately Jack wasn’t there and had some other guy give me a fade.  Not bad, but it wasn’t Jack-quality.  Later that night, I got an hour foot massage…best $4US I spent! 🙂

Monday morning, my alarm woke me up at 6AM local time so I could start watching the Superbowl on CBS’s website.  The stupid site would continually play Samsung commercials then error out for the live stream…so just went back to bed.  Around 10AM my alarm went off again and I frantically re-packed everything and checked out to make my 12:45pm flight to Phuket.  After a 45 min cab ride, I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport and went to the AirAsia desk to check-in…she said Air-Asia flies out of Don Mueng airport now and that I need to get in a cab because I don’t have much time!!!!!!  I ran back out to the cabbie line and told the driver to go fast…it’s a 40min ride back towards Bangkok and that didn’t give me much time.  The driver made it to the airport around 12:15pm and the flight leaves 30min…but still have to check-in my bags and go through security.  Luckily when I got to the gate, they didn’t even board yet.  That was one of the most-stressful parts of the trip so far.  Once I boarded the plane, I heard people talking in loud and intense voices…they were pushy too…Was I back in NYC!?!?!  – No, I wasn’t, it’s just that the majority of the plane was filled with Chinese people!!!  I wanted to tell them “Sabai-sabai” which means relax in Thai.  Not sure if I’ll be using this air-line again.

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