Tuk and Diana opened Rawai Muay Thai in 2003 to fill the gap in Muay Thai gyms that would teach foreigners from beginner to professional levels. Originally located in Rawai village in the South of Phuket, the gym moved to Khao Lak in 2012. A native of the Khao Lak region, Tuk worked with his brothers and family to make Rawai Muay Thai one of the premiere Muay Thai gyms in the country.
In addition to training students from around the world, Rawai trains aspiring young Thai boxers. Rawai fighters have boxed in Bangkok’s prestigious Lumpini and Rajadamnern stadiums and in major promotions such as Thai Fight, on national television, and abroad winning numerous stadium titles as well as the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) and the World Professional Muay Thai Federation (WPMF) titles.
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HISTORY OF THE GYM: HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
The history of Rawai Muay Thai starts with an unlikely love story between a professional Thai boxer and a foreign traveler. Tuk and Diana met by chance back in 2003. Diana was a tourist travelling around Thailand and Tuk was visiting his home after fighting in Bangkok. They fell in love and married the same year. The gym was the result of their collaboration. Tuk brought all his Thai boxing expertise from years of fighting professionally in Bangkok and around Thailand. Diana brought her love of adventure, language expertise and resourcefulness.
As a female gym owner, Diana knew not much about running a Muay Thai gym. The one thing she did stress was that the gym had to be open to men and women of all levels, ages, sizes, etc. We wanted to create a gym with a friendly atmosphere where everyone was welcome to learn Muay Thai. Back then women did not fight in Thailand. So very few women trained as well. As women began to show up to classes, the trainers had to “learn how to teach them”. Having never done that, it was a cultural change. It happened quickly though and pretty soon, women were fighting in stadiums, on TV, all over the country. Rawai Muay Thai made a conscious effort to welcome female students to the camp. The gym was a front runner in this effort to teach and promote women to the sport.
Tuk getting ready to fight in Phi Phi Island, 2004Phuket had only one Muay Thai stadium back then, Sappan Hin Stadium, which no longer exists. We would take our boxers to fight there and to stadiums and fairs around the area. One memorable time was when Tuk and his brother Hehm were fighting in Phi Phi Island. It was December 23rd 2004. The next day we returned to Phuket, but some of the trainers and students stayed in Phi Phi to enjoy the island. Two days later the Tsunami devastated the island and they were unable to return to Phuket. It was a scary time, but thankfully, all of our students and trainers were alright.
HISTORY OF THE GYM: GROWTH OF MUAY THAI TOURISM
Tuk wins World Champion Belt, 2005If you wanted to open a Muay Thai gym in Thailand, these were the years to do it. The increasing popularity of UFC around the world, and of martial arts movies like On Bak helped to propel the growth of Muay Thai tourism in Thailand. More gyms started to pop up all around Phuket. The increase in demand for training centers spurred some of our students and trainers to venture their own ways, opening gyms like Tiger Muay Thai, Sinbi Muay Thai and Asia Muay Thai. Phuket was booming.
Phuket quickly built stadiums to fill the demand for watching live fights. In Patong there are two stadiums, Bangla and Sai Nam Yen, where you can see live fights. In Chalong fights promotions are available in Chalong Stadium, Republic Stadium, Chokchai Stadium and Suwit Stadium. For a small island, Phuket became the Muay Thai mecca and Rawai was a pioneer.
HISTORY OF THE GYM: BECOMING A TOP LEVEL TRAINING FACILITY
Over the years Rawai grew to become one of the premiere Muay Thai gyms in the country. Students from all over the world would come to train with us. We also developed aspiring young Thai boxers who want to become champions. Our fighters boxed in Bangkok’s most prestigious stadiums, Lumpini and Rajadamnern, and in big promotions like Thai Fight and the King’s Cup. Our boxers have also competed abroad, in China, Australia and Malaysia. We are proud of our students who have won numerous stadium titles as well as the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) and the World Professional Muay Thai Federation (WPMF) titles.
Muay Thai has given Tuk and his family everything they have. With success comes responsibility. Tuk wants to give back to the community, giving young boxers the opportunity he was given. His goal with every fighter is to make them the best that they can be. Every guest who comes to learn at Rawai is helping us to achieve this. We have established a Kid’s Fund and a percentage of your training fee goes to this fund, to help support local fighters in the pursuit of becoming champions and having a better life.
At Rawai we stress fitness and good technique. Our teaching style follows the traditional methods passed on from generation to generation. hat Muay Thai has been taught for decades, the was Tuk and his brothers learned growing up.
HISTORY OF THE GYM: MOVING TO KHAO LAK
After 10 exciting years in Phuket we decided to move to the quieter town of Khao Lak. In our opinion Phuket has grown too much and is no longer the best location for training purposes. There are too many distractions in Phuket (night clubs, bars, malls, traffic). If you really want to focus on your training and get the results you want, then Khao Lak is a better location. It is a quiet seaside town, not yet developed much, perfect for enjoying the sea and nature.
For a more personal narrative of the gym’s history you can read the article “Rawai Muay Thai Built on a Foundation of Love” in Internationality.
Here you find testimonials of students who have trained at Rawai Muay Thai camp. These people come from all over the world. They are men and women of all ages and levels, from complete beginners to professional boxers.
These people come to learn Muay Thai in a friendly atmosphere, both for fun, fitness and competition. Muay Thai has increased in popularity and so more people want to learn in the birthplace of the sport.
At Rawai Muay Thai we have no age restrictions. From children to adults, everyone is welcome to train in our gym. We also accept students of all levels, from complete beginners to professional boxers. The classes are a fun way to workout and the camp atmosphere makes it easy to make new friends.
Below are some testimonials from our students. Check us out on Tripadvisor for more guest reviews of Rawai Muay Thai Camp.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by David
Just want to say a big thank you to everybody involved at RAWAI MUAY THAI. The owners Tuk and Diana have done an amazing job with their gym, the facilities are modern and very clean with the luxury of world class training from their many living legend trainers, everybody on camp is so welcoming and helpful from the office staff to the cleaners, Fon the masseuse, and Safeena in the onsite restaurant for looking after me on my trip. I have visited pretty much most of Southern Thailand over the years and can hand on heart say I have fallen in love with Rawai Muay Thai in Khao Lak and will definitely be returning in the very near future, so if you are looking for world class traditional Muay Thai training in paradise with amazing people and great food then Rawai is definitely the place for you. Once again kob khun krup (thank you) to everyone at Rawai see you all again in October.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Michael
Time to reflect on this trip. Well, what can I say? I’ve always wanted to spend a month in a Muay Thai camp and as of today I can proudly say I’ve done it. Four weeks of 4-5 hours training each day. I had the intention of coming here for the sole purpose of training with no side adventures or distractions and it couldn’t have gone better.
Looking back on all my photos shows what a time I’ve had at Rawai Muay Thai. I have trained with the best trainers anyone could ask for and each trained me on specific techniques each time I was in their ring as well as pushing me to improve myself and remember what I have learned.
I worked on my Muay Thai skill sets with Kru Lek as my mentor and my Muay Boran with Kru Padu: My brothers that I will miss the most and look forward to seeing again next year.
I was reunited with my dog, Bob and became family with Geoff and Starsky as well. I made sure they were well fed during our stay.
We also did have some fun fishing with Kru Fin and Kru On followed by a delicious meal the next day using the fish we caught. On top of that we celebrated my birthday and Christmas with BBQs that brought everyone together.
Best part of the trip? The same as last time, where I have met so many awesome people who I now call my friends. I will stay in contact with you all and hope to see you all again in future travels or at our next visit to Rawai Muay Thai.
Thank you Kru Tuk and Diana for having us once again at your camp and hope to see you again next year. I’ve had an absolute blast this month and couldn’t be happier that I spent this time here with you guys.
RAWAI MUAY THAI GYM REVIEW by Darren
Dear Diana, Tuk, staff and kids of Rawai Muay Thai.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Klaudia
Just wanted to let you know about how amazing it was to stay and train with your team for 2 weeks at Rawai Muay Thai.
Everyone is so friendly and easy going, all the teachers are so patient and I’ve learn so much from them. I have made some wonderful friends along this trip, I wish time wouldn’t fly so fast!
If you could pass my best wishes to all the staff and teachers, and let them know how grateful I am. Big THANK YOU to every single one of them.
I am back in Hong Kong now, getting ready for my trip to Europe.
But I am already planning my next trip to Thailand in October. Hopefully it will be possible and I will be back to train again with the whole team!
Until then, hope you and everyone in the camp is safe, in good health and happy.
Thank You Diana, and the team once again.
With warm regards.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Robert
Dear Diana / Khru Tuk,
It has been a few days since my return to Singapore from Rawai Muay Thai. I have to say it was one of the best experience of my life!
Not only was the staff and trainers friendly and helpful, some went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Please send my warmest thanks to all of them.. yourself and Kru Tuk included.
The children were incredibly lively and show a passion for life some adults cannot match, I am sure in time they will be destined for great things in life!
I have personally picked up a lot of humbling experiences that will help me in my life and some that I will pass on to my children as well. Besides losing weight, which was part of my personal goal, I have also made a lot of friends which I am grateful for. Muay Thai has also changed for myself from part of a hobby and self-defense skill to a way of life. Training Muay Thai is physical, but living Muay Thai as a way of life is a humbling experience.
Warmest regards to you and family,
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by J. H. Kim
JH Kim trained at the gym for 5 weeks in 2015.
This was my first trip to your country and to a traditional Muay Thai Camp in Thailand and words fall quite short of how much I loved your camp and all the things you guys are doing there at Rawai! I could tell right away that the camp was built by good people looking to do good things for their community and the people that come to train, study and learn the art of Muay Thai.
I don’t think I need to give too much praise about the training, trainers, the Muay Thai teaching and the AMAZING natural location that Khao Lak is, as many others have sung Rawai’s praises and it was one of the major reasons I decided on Rawai (a proper traditional Muay Thai Camp run by Thais away from the craziness of other locations ie. Phuket, Bangkok) but it was the other little things that Rawai does that really impressed me and earned my respect. The fact that the gym is so closely invested in the community of Khao Lak, that Tuk would promote and put on the Fight Night on November 28 to raise a lot of money for a much needed rain covering for the local school; the trip that a group of Rawai guys took to the local Orphanage in Takua Pa to drop off money and supplies raised from the camp’s on-site restaurant, Ring Five; the fact that the whole atmosphere of Rawai is family oriented not only for the Thais but promoted to all those who come from every corner of the globe to learn such a special martial art, this was all an unexpected and deeply pleasant discovery about Rawai Muay Thai! Thank you very much for the life experience and teaching you do there!
Looking forward already to my next trip back to Rawai in 2016!
Blessing to you and all those helping to run Rawai! We’ll be back soon!
All the best,
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Natalia
Natalia training with Dam, March 2015.
Me and my friends just returned from your camp and I thought I will drop you an email to say how much we have enjoyed our stay. It was my first stay there and I absolutely loved it. Everyone is just so nice. The camp and accommodation are fantastic and I just cant praise the trainers enough. I came as a beginner and they were very patient and understanding. They are all great guys and work really hard. I am already planning my next stay as Muay Thai is a bit addictive 🙂 As soon as I know when can I come I will be in touch.
Take care and again thank you very much for organizing everything for us.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Steve
Steve Blaschack at Rawai Muay Thai, March 2014.
Good Morning, my name is Steve Blaschak. I attended your training camp from March 9 through March 23 of this year. Just want to express my greatest appreciation and gratitude to you, your staff and trainers for making my stay such a fantastic time. It was an invaluable experience. Fin, Lun and Dam provided me with very highly skilled teachings and techniques that have left a lasting impression on me. I have nothing but high praises for them. Having returned to the states, previously based in Afghanistan, I continue my training and sincerely look forward to a return to Khao Lak to train with you again. Attached is a picture of Dam and myself inspecting the new tattoo I got during my stay in Khao Lak. I’m sure you will recognize the Rawai Logo that I proudly wear and display whenever possible. Thank you again.
RAWAI MUAY THAI REVIEW by Alfred and Doris
Alfred and Doris with Trainer Peck, February, 2015
In January and February we trained at Rawai Muay Thai Camp.
Now back at home our skills are better and we are still impressed from the hospitality in Rawai camp. We learned a lot thanks to all trainers especially to Peck, Soleh and Dam for their really enthusiastic training lessons.
Thanks to all and we hope to see you again next year.
Greetings from Austria
Doris and Alfred
RAWAI KIDS FUND
The Rawai Muay Thai Kids Fund sponsors young children who train at the camp. The gym provides for housing, food, clothing and daily training. The young athletes fight every month and go to school on the weekends.
Our goal at Rawai Muay Thai is to provide a healthy and safe environment for poor children who want to learn Muay Thai, the Thai national sport. It is the dream of many young children to become Muay Thai superstars. We don’t necessarily strive to make superstars but rather focus on teaching the young athletes to become good people, stressing the importance of core values: discipline, respect, loyalty, teamwork.
Tuk, the owner of Rawai Muay Thai, knows first-hand what these young boxers’ life is like. He grew up in this area, his family was poor. His father was a fisherman and his mother sold food int he market. As a young boy Tuk was sent to Bangkok to fight. Thai boxing has given him a good life and now it’s time to give back.
MAKE A DONATION
If you want to help these young kids you can make a donation. Details and information are provided below.
If you have a Paypal account then this is an easy and secure way to make a donation. Rawai Muay Thai’s Paypal account is: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also make a donation through your bank by wire transfer. Below is Rawai Muay Thai’s bank account information:
Account name: Diana Campillo
Account number: 566-2-09133-4
Bank Name: Kasikornbank
SWIFT Code: KASITHBK
Khao Lak Phang Nga Sub Branch
28/26-28 M. 7
Phetkasame Road, Khuk Kak
Takua Pa, Phang Nga
Where does your donation go? We use all money donated to Rawai Kids Fund to pay for the children’s clothing, housing, medical expenses, travel to fights and of course, training.
We also support other gyms in villages and communities nearby with their effort to provide a safe environment for children to learn the sport of Muay Thai and the values that go with it. Gyms in Thailand do not get any government help. So it is up to us to help them raise the next generation of boxers.