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Mua Thai Boxing in Bangkok Streets

Posted in: Asia, Inspiration, Photos, Travel, With Family | 1 Comment | Posted on by kari

After 20 hours of travel, barely no sleep and with jet-lag,  we arrive with a tuk-tuk to our host in Bangkok for Couch-surfing.
A funny guy called James who is running together with his sweet partner, Sunny, a nice cafe in the outskirts of Bangkok city centre; an enthusiastic bicycle freak who immediately asks us to join him on bike ride to see a competition of Thai boxing in Bangkok city centre. Bicycle, in the middle of hectic Bangkok traffic , and not only full of rushing cars with no order, but on top of it at night and actually dying to sleep…..hmmmm.
But to miss a special experience because of being scared? No way!
Lin is too tired and can anyway not bike due to knee-pain, so she stays home, but Kai is of course immediately full on, so we get two bikes from James, soon ready to go with Kai on the back with Offer.
Bangkok streets are packed  with cars, motorbikes and buses; how will this go?? Senses full alert, looking in all directions prepared for anything, struggling like crazy to keep track of James who is speeding ahead seemingly forgetting that we are green bikers in Bangkok and quite lost without him. Oh dear Amsterdam with bicycle-lanes the width of highways. Here the cars have all the right of way, bicyclists are invisible.  Panting and sweating we manage to catch up with James every now and then, at right or left-turns through the overwhelming traffic where you simply have to be quick like a fox and at same time go with the flow  in order to get through.
Pure adrenalin is pulsing through the body and sharpening the mind. A great way to lose all our tiredness.
In a state of high we finally arrive at the boxing-competition, which actually turns out to be an interesting experience of traditional Thai culture. Mua Thai is a combat sport practiced for hundreds if not thousand years, Mua Thai is originating from warfare, but during centuries it gradually became sport for entertainment at celebrations or festivals, especially at the temples all over Thailand.  The difference between Mua Thai and regular boxing or kickboxing is that in Mua Thai you are allowed to use also knees and elbows, not only hands and feet. This makes the fight looking more like an aggressive dance, as the whole body is involved.
On one side of the stage there is a group of musicians accompanying the fight, entertaining with loud traditional music on a drum, two guitars and a Thai version of instrument that looks like clarinet,  mixed with the shouting and screaming from the enthusiastic crowd, a really funny combination.
When the last and final round is over and James has taken Kai by the hand to elbow his way through the crowd for a photo with the winner (who actually was a farang – a Frenchman).we catch our bikes (but never left them out,  of sight on James’ strict orders) and start our heart-pounding ride back through streets without streetlights, along busy roads with 3-4 lanes, zigzaging in-between cars being the only  bikers in sight, again with James biking marathon ahead and us speeding like crazy to keep up, then finally recognizing ourselves when turning into the small street where we stay. Puh.
A great way to start feeling a bit of Bangkok on the pulse upon our arrival to this ever a wake crazy city….


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