As you may have heard, a new Team Quest training facility has recently opened up in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The reason for such an exotic location? Well, Thailand is the birthplace of Muay Thai; which is undoubtedly the most vicious and effective striking art - as proven time and time again in the Octagon.
The team of Thai trainers here was selected based on their accomplishments in the sport and their teaching ability. Some of trainers have upwards of 200+ fights, as well as some very prestigious titles on the national circuit.
If the opportunity to learn Muay Thai directly from the source sounds appealing (while sharpening your grappling skills under coaches from the one of the top fight teams in MMA history), then book a flight and head out here.
More info at tqmmathailand.com.
For those of you who have never been to Thailand and don't know what to expect, well, I can tell you that it's a beautiful country with friendly people. In fact, you might find that you won't even want to leave. The lifestyle revolves around training, eating delicious food and hanging out with beautiful women. The cost of living is extremely inexpensive and there's no shortage of modern luxuries.
If it all sounds good to you, the list of of "Do's and Don'ts" below will get you started on your research and trip planning.
Get As Many Massages As You Can: You can get an hour long massage here for approximately 4 dollars and in terms of value for your money, it's possibly the best 4 dollars you can ever spend anywhere in the world. When you consider the fact that your body will oftentimes feel run down from training and the recovery benefits the massages can deliver, it makes even more sense to get them often. You'll never regret spending a few dollars on an hour long massage.
Try New Things: If you're going to fly around the world, you might as well immerse yourself in the culture as well. Eat a wide variety of food, check out the temples, go ride an elephant - just put yourself out of your comfort zone and get some unique experiences, pictures and stories to tell for when you get back home.
Check Out The Thapae Sunday Market: This has sort of become a tradition here at the gym. Sunday is considered to be a rest day (no training) so lately, most of us start the day off by watching the UFC (given the time difference, the events show at 9am here in Thailand) and then at around 6pm or so, we head to the Sunday
market as there's a seemingly endless supply of amazing food there.
Respect The Local Customs: Thai people have different views of things than we do in the West. For example, it's considered rude to point the bottom of your foot in someones direction as the feet are considered to be a to be low, "dirty" part of the body (Muay Thai and foot massages excluded of course). Likewise, the top of the head is considered to be the most sacred.
Learn The Basics of the Language: While you can get by fine without knowing a single word of Thai, it's always helpful to have a few of the more common phrases memorized. For example..
Where's the toilet?
You're so beautiful
It's a good idea to learn numbers (for making purchases) as well as the directions (go straight, turn left, turn left, stop) for telling taxi drivers where to go. A good online resource for learning the basics is GenkiThai.com
Look For Love In The Red Light Districts: Seems like a pretty obvious statement but you'd be surprised how many guys make this mistake. Chiang Mai is known for having the prettiest girls in the country and you're much better off checking out the local University nightlife areas (JJ Market, Nimmanhaemin road) and making a legit effort to get to know the high quality ones rather than trolling around for hookers.
Do Drugs: The whole "say no to drugs" lecture isn't anything new but it's especially true when you're in a country where getting caught with them can result in massive fines, long jail terms and in rare instances, the death penalty (although the latter wouldn't happen to a foreigner). Thailand allows for a lot of freedoms but drug use certainly isn't one of them.
Disrespect The Royal Family: The royal family is protected by a law that makes it illegal to insult them in any way. In fact, an American is now serving a jail term for translating a slanderous book about the King into Thai and posting it online. Most Thai people seem to love the King as well so you wouldn't want to offend any of the locals by making a disrespectful comment. A tribute to the King is played before Muay Thai fights as well as at movies at the cinema so keep in mind that you'll need to stand up for this.
Allow Yourself to be Scammed: The best known scams are in Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket. Chiang Mai; which is where the Team Quest training facility is located, definitely doesn't have a reputation for scammers. However, in the event that you'll be touring around a bit, you should check out this page for a list of things to be aware of (http://www.thai-blogs.com/2008/08/05/top-10-scams-in-thailand/).
Flying around the world can be an overwhelming thought for some (especially if you've never left America before) but keep in mind that if this is something you're interested in doing, there's no way you'd regret it. Nobody gets old and wishes they had travelled less. Life is about gaining experiences and a trip to Thailand to train (and whatever other adventures you'll undoubtedly experience along the way) will likely be ranked somewhere at the top of your list of memories when you look back on things years from now.
More info at tqmmathailand.com.