Friday 12 October 2012.
Highlights: Jim Thompson House and Museum, Shopping at MBK, Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing).
The tour officially ended at 8 am today but I had planned activities with my fellow travellers Sue, Ray, Sarah and Catherine and sole activity at the Muay Thai.
Before that however I got up to see Laurence and Kirsty off at 3 am for their trip to Bali which will complete their honeymoon, I hope they both have a great time. Unfortunately I somehow missed Yasmin at 11 pm, she must have been picked up early.
Today I went down to breakfast at 8.30 am, a late start for once, after rechecking in for my post tour stay over the next two days. Cat joined our small shopping group and later so did Lydia and Chloe for breakfast.
After Ray, Sue, Sarah and Catherine checked out and dropped their bags in my room we found a couple of taxis and headed off to the MBK Shopping centre. Fortunately it didn’t open to 10.30 am so we walked to Jim Thompson House and Museum guided by Cat’s earlier directions.
Jim Thompson was an American who settled in Thailand after World War 2 and revived the craft of hand weaving silk. His house was turned into a Museum after he disappeared in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia that I visited earlier in the trip. Jim’s body was never found. For 100 baht we got a 45 minute tour of this incredible house, well worth the visit.
From here it was to the gigantic (I’m not kidding) MBK shopping centre. On advice we started on the 3rd floor. Sarah was in her element but to be fair we all bought something, I was happy with my Thailand shirt and a couple of gifts for friends. We also ran into Lydia, Chloe and Sophie, a small world sometimes.
They had an interesting International Food Court. You get an electronic card and then enter and select the food you want with the card getting swiped. To leave the card gets swiped again and you pay. After Sarah withdraw money again and purchased a few more items she requested that Her father Ray and myself get her out of there ASAP or she would end up bankrupt ;).
After returning to the hotel and retrieving their bags I wished the Futcher’s and Catherine a goodbye at 4 pm for their airport transfer. I later farewelled Lydia and Sophie switched to a hostel. The tour group is definitely over now :(. I can’t ask for a better, more friendly or inclusive group.
At 5.30 pm I was picked up to go view Muay Thai, Thai Kickboxing, at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium. I had a VIP ticket sitting right behind the officials at ringside. the general public stand a little further back and seem to bet on each match.
There were 2 preliminary matches before the real card started. These matches the participants had head protection gear and only fought for 3 rounds of 3 minutes. The official card had 9 matches scheduled for 5 rounds of 3 minutes each (2 matches ended by knock out in the 4th round).
Before each match the participants would undertake the Muay Thai Sacred dance which lasts several minutes. The participants place their head in each corner by bowing, showing respect. The matches could be brutal and sometimes even very technical. The crowd loved the brutal matches. Most times I could tell the winner before the 3 ringside judges score were announced. In close matches the crowd was extremely loud.
This as a lot of fun for me, the fighters probably not so much but they seemed happy getting paid (fighters walk though crowd and you can see interactions with organisers if you look). Very happy I went to kickboxing in Thailand!