Thailand: The love affair continues

I don’t know how to express in words the magic that is Chalong. If you are into training and a healthy lifestyle - this place is for you.

I originally found this place on my travels around Thailand in October 2017. You can read that blog post here.

Chalong is a town on the island of Phuket. Soi-Toi-Ied (from now on, I’ll call it “the street”) was originally just Tiger Muay Thai but soon enough, more Muay Thai gyms opened up and it became known as the ‘fighter street’. In more recent years, crossfitters, bodybuilders and just people interested in fitness started coming to the street. Two big gyms opened - Titan Fitness and Unit 27 - both providing a wide range of classes and gym facilities. 

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With these facilities, other businesses popped up to cater for the needs of all the people on the street who were focused on their health and well-being. Now the street is a hub for health, fitness and relaxation. There are smoothie bars with tubs of protein on every corner, Thai massage parlours for those aching muscles and plenty of Fro-Yo and ice cream for when you deserve a treat (which I deemed everyday!).

The magic of this place is in the people. The majority of those that I met travelled on their own. This is such a foreign concept to people I talk to at home but it is completely normal here. It is so easy to make friends with people in the classes and then you go grab food together after. It is not unusual to start speaking to people in cafes and restaurants too.

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I love that most people you meet in Chalong are living differently. It is completely normal to ask somebody how long they are there for and they respond with “I’m not sure, I just quit my job” or “I was supposed to leave last week but I extended another week”. I think the fact that I’m about to take my fourth trip since October says it all!

Training

While everyone thinks that I go over for a camp, it’s not actually the case. Titan Fitness do full packages incorporating classes, personal training, accommodation and food but I’ve always just used the gym and done some classes.

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Previously, I have pretty much always trained on my own when training for bodybuilding but as soon as I tried the Cross Training classes at Titan (the gym isn’t affiliated with Crossfit but the training style is the same), I loved (or hated?!) them! They are so tough and challenged me in ways I hadn’t trained before. The coaches are all amazing crossfit athletes. 

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The other classes I really enjoyed are the Strength and Technique classes in the evening. Each day they focus on a lift e.g. Squat, Deadlift and even Olympic Lifting. I wasn’t a beginner for the compound lifts but used these classes to test my 1RM under the watchful eyes of the coaches. 

You can pick and choose which classes you want to do each day but I usually stuck to my routine of the two classes. There is also Yoga every morning, as well as Boxercise, Calorie Burn Course, Beach Training and much more.

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When I was originally in Thailand in Patong, I tried Muay Thai and loved it. When I am in Chalong I train in Phuket Dragon Muay Thai (or ‘Dragon’). After travelling around Thailand, I realised most Muay Thai gyms have a similar class structure. There is usually a morning and afternoon class which suit all abilities. There is a warm up and stretches, followed by some technique work, some pad work with the coaches and some bag work before cooling down and stretching. The classes in Dragon are 300B (about €8) but they do packages too, if you want to bulk buy. You don’t need any equipment but I have bought my own gloves and wraps, just so I don’t have to use somebody else’s smelly ones! The workouts are tough but great and I was delighted to have found a form of cardio that I really enjoyed!

 

 

 

Food

Ah where do I begin! I am a little guilty of finding what I like and sticking with it but there is a lot of choice on the street. Here are some of my favourite meals:

 Falafel Bowl from Pure Vegan Heaven

Falafel Bowl from Pure Vegan Heaven

 Chicken Cashew Nut from Cocoville

Chicken Cashew Nut from Cocoville

 Chili and Lemongrass Fish from Mamas Cafe

Chili and Lemongrass Fish from Mamas Cafe

 Double Chicken Pitta from Alis BBQ

Double Chicken Pitta from Alis BBQ

 Protein Ice Cream from Alis (you can make up your own concoction and they freeze it. I usually go for a scoop of vanilla protein, peanut butter and almond milk. Delicious)

Protein Ice Cream from Alis (you can make up your own concoction and they freeze it. I usually go for a scoop of vanilla protein, peanut butter and almond milk. Delicious)

 Tortilla Wrap Pizza from Rich House

Tortilla Wrap Pizza from Rich House

 Frappe Protein from Cocoville

Frappe Protein from Cocoville

 Brown Rice Pancake from Cocoville

Brown Rice Pancake from Cocoville

 Build Your Own Meals in The Shack

Build Your Own Meals in The Shack

 Sweet Potato Pancakes from Pure Vegan Heaven   

Sweet Potato Pancakes from Pure Vegan Heaven

 

 Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice from Mamas Cafe

Chicken and Pineapple Fried Rice from Mamas Cafe

 All the protein treats from Mamas Cafe

All the protein treats from Mamas Cafe

 and of course, Frozen Yoghurt (with all the toppings!) from Nommys

and of course, Frozen Yoghurt (with all the toppings!) from Nommys

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These are just a few of my favourite dishes but there are plenty of more places on the street that I don’t go to as often. Many places have the calories or macros on the menu but I am quite skeptical about how accurate they are - most would be too good to be true! Luckily my activity levels are so high that I’m unlikely to go too far off track once I am keeping a loose eye on things. Plus all the local Thai dishes are so tasty and fresh it's hard to go wrong!

The magic of the food over there is that I never feel like I am dieting, and the weight tends to fall off itself. It’s win-win!

Money

Flights to Phuket from Dublin are usually between €650 and €800. You could get cheaper to Bangkok but you will end up spending the difference booking an internal flight. 

You can do the food as cheap or as indulgent as you want. You can get a Pad Thai for 50B or 300B (€1.50 - €8) depending where you go. In general, cafes on the street are more expensive than the rest of Thailand.

You can get your clothes washed and dried in a few hours for €3-€5

You can get your hair blow dried for about €6-8

I found Acrylic Nails more expensive at about €35

Everything you really need is on the street but if you want to go to the nearest mall, it costs about €8 in a taxi. The nearest beach is probably about €9 away.

A transfer from Phuket airport costs 800B (€20-€25) and you can just walk into arrivals and book one. I’d also recommend getting a SIM card there too. 

Accommodation

So far I have stayed in a few places on the street and I will give my honest opinion on them.

I have left referral links to booking.com below for more pictures and reviews but here is where I have stayed and my thoughts! There are so many to choose from if you just put Soi Ta-Iad into Booking.com (That's another referral link!)

Cocoville - Really nice rooms, friendly staff, two clean pools and a brilliant restaurant. This is a premium priced place though. I only realised that after my first trip. If you are booking, just be careful to book the right one as there is a Coco Retreat owned by the same people but slightly off the street. 

Floraville - I stayed here for 17 nights, and although it was much cheaper than Cocoville for the same sized room, it didn’t feel as clean, the staff weren’t as friendly and I didn’t attempt the restaurant as there were always dogs around and cats on the tables.

Happy Cottage - By far my favourite so far. The price I paid for 6 weeks was half of what I was quoted for Cocoville for the same time but I was much more impressed. Staff were friendly, the rooms were cleaned religiously every morning while I was training, the pool was gorgeous and very instagramable (this should be a filter on booking.com!). There is no restaurant on site but it didn’t matter because you can go anywhere. The location is perfect - right in the centre of the street. 

Mamas Cafe and Forest Bungalows - This is what I have booked for my next trip. I have had friends stay there and were very impressed. I was quoted 16,000B for a month for a deluxe bungalow as opposed to 26,250B for Happy Cottage. I have seen the bungalows before and they seem nice but keep an eye on my instagram for more info! I’m excited to be near all the protein treats!

Conclusion

Just go :) 

Seriously, if you are like me at all, you'll love it.

If you’ve any questions, please leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Siobhan x

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