Despite its fierce humidity, sport is keenly embraced in Thailand both as a competitor and a spectator.
Outside of Bangkok, Thailand hosts a variety of other international tournaments and events, from beach volleyball to Rubik's cubing. Other famous events include the Kiteboarding World Cup held in Hua Hin and perhaps the strangest must-see event the King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Chiang Rai.
As with most countries, football is much loved in Bangkok. The Thai Premier football league is very popular and it is inexpensive to attend games. In 2013, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all took trips to play the Singha Allstars, and Chang and FC Barcelona held the "Chang Champions Cup FC Barcelona Asia Tour 2013".
There are eight teams based in and around Bangkok including the Bangkok United Football Club.
It is possible to practice in compete in muay thai as well as attend events. World-title bouts are occasionally held in Bangkok, but they are often announced only shortly before the actual fight, so keep an eye on boxing websites and the local papers.
There is Thai kickboxing competition held outside MBK (BTS National Stadium) every Wednesday which is free. Despite constant reports that it is closing, the Lumpini Stadium (Sanam Muay Lumpini; Address: East of Lumphini Park on Th. Rama IV. Bouts; Tel 02-251-4303) remains open to watch weekly fights. Ticket prices range from 200 to 2,000 baht.
Top golf tour events are held in Thailand, with the LPGA Thailand Open recently held in Pattaya featuring all but one of the world's top 50 players. The men's Thailand Open complete with one million dollar prize is another prominent event in conjunction with the OneAsia Tour. There are also a number of Asian Tour events in Thailand.
Horse racing is very popular in Thailand. Races take place every other Sunday from 12:30 until 18:00 at the Bangkok Sports Club (Address: Henri Dunant Road; Tel 66 (0)2 251 0181) and the Royal Turf Club (Address: Phitsanulok Road, Suan Chitralada Sub-District, Dusit ; Tel 66 (0)2 628 1810-5).
Note that gambling is illegal in Thailand except for the state lottery and horse racing.
The tennis world holds an annual PTT Thailand Open. Previous winners of the ATP Tour event include Roger Federer, James Blake and 2009 champion Gilles Simon.
Perhaps surprisingly, there is a local ice hockey league as well as a national, Ice Hockey Association of Thailand (IHAT). The Thai World Hockey League season runs from September to April, with matches every Sunday evening at Imperial Samrong.
Parks are very popular places to exercise. If your condo does not have a gym, there are gym listings below or you can simply exercise outdoors. Most of Bangkok's larger parks offer gym equipment and evening aerobics classes, yoga classes and tai chi. Note that it is best to exercise either in the early morning or late at night to avoid the heat. Wear a hat and drink plenty of water.
Running is very popular in Bangkok. Many condos come complete with their own gym, or others prefer to run in one of Bangkok's many parks. Beware the heat and try to jog either in the early morning or late at night.
There are many competitions for runners to enter, from 5km charity fun runs (Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok holds an annual run in February for Cancer Care) or marathons and half marathons held sporadically throughout the year. If you prefer not to make running an individual event, there are running clubs in Bangkok like the Punky Runners. Start your own running group meet-up on the Bangkok expat forum.
For the more athletic, try the annual Bangkok Triathlon. The event features a swim in the Chao Praya River, biking on a traffic-free expressway, and a final run along the magnificent Rama VIII Bridge.
There are many 5-a-side and 11-a-side weekly football matches that are keen to welcome new competitors. Try:
You can also arrange a game on the meet-up thread for the Bangkok expat forum.
Thailand truly is a golfer's paradise with driving ranges even in central Bangkok and beautiful golf courses making it an even more pleasant pastime. There are approximately 40 different courses that are easily accessible for Bangkok residents. Tournaments are held throughout the year and are advertised on http://www.thailandgolf.com/bangkok.htm, across BTS stations, in the Bangkok Post and - of course -at golf courses and clubhouses themselves.
Popular golf courses around Bangkok:
The Southerner Sports Club holds a social touch rugby game most Saturdays from 10:00 until 12:00 at NIST international school on Sukhumvit Soi 15. The emphasis is on having fun rather than anyone taking it too seriously.
Get involved with the local sport of Thai boxing for a guaranteed good work out. There are many rings located around Bangkok including the Sasiprapa Mua Thai gym in Bang Kapi, the Sor Vorapin Muay Thai training gym in Phra Nakhon and the Bangkok Fight Club which offers MMA, boxing, jiu-jitsu and muay thai.
The fitness industry in Bangkok, although still relatively new, is growing. There has been an explosion of gyms over the last ten years, thanks increasingly to Bangkok (and Thailand's) growing amount of expat residents. Monthly membership should be between 1500-3000 baht depending on the quality of the gym equipment offered, whether classes are included and location.
Many condominiums and apartment complexes have their own gym. They differ greatly in size and equipment offered - not necessarily according to how much rent you pay. In theory, you would expect the higher your monthly rent, the bigger and better your gym to be but unfortunately that is not always the case. In any event, many expats find the equipment offered in their condos gym to be lacking, particularly fans of weight machines. Going to a gym provides the added benefit of personal trainers and experts being on hand to help you, refresh your routine or show you new equipment. Many gyms also offer classes as part of a monthly fee which is another benefit as these can be very expensive in Bangkok (expect to pay 500 baht for a one hour class).
Many hotels also have good gyms - if one is conveniently located to where you live it might be worth checking out. Recommended hotels to try include the Grande Millenium Sukhumvit (Sukhumvit 21 Asoke BTS) and Pathuwam Princess Hotel (MBK, National Stadium BTS).
It is also worth trying some hospitals which is rather unusual. The fitness centre at Vibhavadi Hospital has good equipment, free weights, a swimming pool and classes.
Interestingly, the first gym to be introduced to Bangkok was California WOW, which has now gone into administrations and has had its assets frozen in order to allow the Anti-Money Laundering Office to investigation allegations of fraudulent activity.