Sure, Phuket is synonymous with the infamous ping-pong shows on Bangla Road, but for the top mixed martial arts (MMA) and Muay Thai fighters, it’s known for being home to the world’s best training destination, Tiger Muay Thai. The camp attracts world champions but also everyday fitness fanatics – like us – who love the idea of training hard. Not only will the daily sessions in the humidity see you easily drop weight and get fit, but healthy eating is made simple as the street where the camp is located is filled with clean-eating cafes and restaurants. You'll even come across fruit stands with shelves of protein and BCAAs for fresh smoothies. It’s a health nut’s paradise!
What you’ll do: There are separate classes for beginners, intermediate level and pro fighters in Muay Thai (the traditional Thai kickboxing), Western boxing, Brazilian jujitsu and MMA, plus fitness conditioning classes (including beach boot camp and CrossFit) and yoga. And it's all in the open air - no stuffy gyms for you while you're on holidays. You can also train as many times a day as you’d like, although twice is probably enough. And the best part? You can wind down with a massage that costs less than what you’d spend on your usual weekend brunch.
Don’t miss: The Big Buddha Run. Every Tuesday morning the trainers take a group by bus to the bottom of Nakkerd Hills to tackle the 4km, all-uphill run to the 45-metre-tall statue of Buddha at the very top of the mountain.
Ideal time to go: It’s cool and dry from November to February, and remains pretty nice until May, when the monsoon season starts.
When you’re not sweating: A half-hour drive from camp is the Insta-worthy rooftop infinity pool bar at Kata Rocks (that's the main pic that got ya), where you can enjoy sunset drinks as you gaze longingly at the water (downside: swimming is only allowed for guests, but the pics are worth it). If you want to meet an elephant up close, make the ethical choice and head to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, where retired working elephants are rehabilitated in 30 acres of amazingly lush jungle. A day at the sanctuary will give you all the feels.
Expect to: Come back home seriously shredded.
What the athlete says: Muay Thai fighter Brooke Farrell (that's her above!)
Brooke moved to Thailand from the Gold Coast three years ago with her hubby Eddie. “[Tiger Muay Thai] is an amazing fitness hub full of like-minded people who are here for the same reason we are! So it’s really nice to have such a big supportive community. Tiger really look after their fighters; they offer so much support to help keep their fighters living their dreams, which we are so grateful for.”