Back in 1954, Lumpinee Stadium opened its doors in Bangkok, thanks to General Praphas Charusathien’s push. It quickly became the go-to place for Muay Thai, shaping up as the sport’s gold standard. This was where you’d witness the greatest Muay Thai bouts.
Winning a Lumpinee championship was like reaching the pinnacle of the sport. But in 2014, things shifted – the original stadium closed, making way for a newer version, and with that, a chunk of history vanished.
Interestingly, Lumpinee Stadium is named after Lumbini, where Buddha was born. Lumpinee Stadium has been a historic spot for Muay Thai alongside Rajadamnern Stadium. Both of the places are iconic centers of the sport. These two hold the history of Muay Thai. It carries the heart and soul of Muay Thai.
Lumpinee Stadium In the Golden Age of Muay Thai
The ’60s and ’70s laid the groundwork for what was to become the golden age of Muay Thai. Meet the first big stars of Lumpinee Stadium; Apidej Sit Hirun, Kongtoranee Payakaroon, Sirimongkol Luksiripat, Poot Lorlek, and Vicharnnoi Porntawee,
The ’80s and ’90s saw Muay Thai skyrocketing in popularity. Enter Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn is an undefeated Lumpinee champion known for his brutal knee strikes. Eventually, he was forced into early retirement. Samart Payakaroon is considered the greatest Muay Thai fighter in history. Also, this era saw other legendary Nak Muays such as Saencherng Pinsinchai, Saencherng Pinsinchai, and Sagat Petchyindee.
The golden age of Muay Thai was an incredible time. The stands were always packed with viewers and gamblers alike. Muay Thai was a cultural touchstone for the nation of Thailand, something created for Thai people by Thai people; it was something to be proud of, and Lumpinee Stadium was at the center of all this. Eventually, corruption and gambling tainted how the sport was seen and this lowered how Muay Thai was perceived by the general public, thus ushering the end of the golden age.
Lumpinee Nak Muays In the Modern Era
The modern era of Lumpinee Stadium is still creating legendary fighters. Many names that would be known around in the world within the fight sport culture. Moderns champions of Lumpinee include Saenchai, Capitan Petchyindee Academy, Yodlekpet Or. Pitisak, and Nong-O Hama, among others.
The main titles in Muay Thai used to be Rajadamnern and Lumpinee Stadium Titles. In the past few years this has changed. While those belts are important, a higher-ranked fighter may hold a world championship elsewhere such as the Channel 7, RWS Muay Thai, ONE Championship, WBC Muay Thai, and others.
Why did Lumpinee Change Locations?
Lumpinee Stadium changed its location primarily due to the lease expiration of its original site and the need for modernization. The original stadium, which opened in 1956, was located near Lumpinee Park in central Bangkok. However, by the early 21st century, the building had become outdated, and the area around it had developed significantly, leading to increased land value.
The lease on the land where the old stadium stood was set to expire, and the Thai Army, which owned and operated Lumpinee Stadium, decided it was an opportune time to relocate and upgrade. In February 2014, the new Lumpinee Stadium opened on Ram Intra Road, a more suburban area of Bangkok. This new location offered a larger space, allowing for a bigger, more modern facility that could accommodate the evolving needs of Muay Thai events and their audiences.
This move was also part of a broader trend of urban redevelopment in Bangkok, where older structures in valuable central areas were being replaced or relocated to make way for new development projects. The relocation of Lumpinee Stadium, therefore, was a combination of practical necessity due to the expiring lease, the desire for modern facilities, and the changing urban landscape of Bangkok.
ONE Championship in Lumpinee
In 2023, ONE Championship, a Singapore-based fight organization, began doing events out of Lumpinee Stadium. These fight events included submission grappling, MMA, kickboxing, and a heavy focus on Muay Thai.
During the announcement, the CEO of ONE Championship Chatri Sityodtong explained:
“I never imagined when I started Muay Thai 38 years ago at Sityodtong gym that it would lead to this moment. I’ve lived Muay Thai as a student, a competitor, a teacher, and now a CEO. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be the main promoter for the Lumpinee Stadium to showcase our national treasure to the world. For the first time in history, Lumpinee will be broadcast live to 154 countries.
“In partnership with The Royal Thai Army, ONE will hold a minimum of 52 events at the legendary Lumpinee Stadium with a live global broadcast to 154 countries, starting in January 2023 every Friday night. ONE Lumpinee will pay the highest fight purses in Thailand to elevate the entire ecosystem.”Chatri Sitdyodtong
The Honor of Lumpinee
Competing in Lumpinee Stadium is prestigious. It is a historic landmark and fighters all around the globe are honored to be competing in the hallowed ring.
All-time kickboxing great Superbon Singha Mawynn said:
“Lumpinee is an iconic stadium in Muay Thai history for a long time. This place is like a Mecca of Muay Thai, no matter where it is located. “Superbon
Pound-for-pound Muay Thai talent Tawanchai P.K. Saenchai explained:
“The first time I set foot in Lumpinee Stadium, I remember being amazed by how grand it was. This is where all the greatest fighters compete. I was 14 and I won the fight by decision.
“It’s the nostalgic feeling. Lumpinee is the most respected stadium, which has accommodated the best Muay Thai fighters. There are so many that become well-known after fighting in this stadium.”Tawanchai
MMA fighter “Hands of Stone” John Lineker, former UFC athlete, was flattered to be competing in Lumpinee. He said:
“Fighting in Bangkok, in one of the most legendary arenas in the world, is an honor, a great satisfaction. Totally different emotion and I am very happy to have this opportunity to step into an arena where great Muay Thai legends have stepped.”John Lineker
Visiting Lumpinee in Bangkok, Thailand
Whether you’re a hardcore fight fan or just looking for an authentic Thai experience, a visit to Lumpinee Stadium is sure to be memorable.
- Days: Muay Thai matches at Lumpinee Stadium are typically held on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
- Start Time: The fights usually begin at 6 pm, but it’s a good idea to check local details before you go
- Specific Events: On Fridays, the ONE Championship is featured from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm with 12 bouts, and Saturdays host the LWC Super Champ from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm with 7 bouts
Ticket Prices and Seating
- Ticket Prices: Tickets start from 200 Baht for standing tickets and go up to 2000 Baht for ringside seats
- Seating Options: You can choose from various seating categories:
- Ringside: Priced at 3,050 THB, offers an unparalleled close-up view and an exclusive experience.
- 2nd Class / CAT 1 and CAT 2: Ranging from 2,550 THB to 2,050 THB, these seats provide a great view of the entire ring, with CAT 1 being closer.
- 3rd Class / CAT 3: Priced at 1,250 THB, this option immerses you in the vibrant energy of the crowd and the raw Muay Thai culture
- Location: The stadium is situated on Ram Intra Road in Bangkok.
- Transportation: Taking a taxi from downtown Bangkok is recommended as there are no BTS stations close to Lumpinee Stadium. If you prefer public transport, take the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit station, and then a taxi from there
A Few Tips
- Booking in Advance: It’s advisable to book your tickets in advance to ensure availability, especially for popular fights.
- Cultural Experience: Embrace the lively atmosphere, the cheering crowd, and the intense energy of the fights.
- Safety: While Lumpinee Stadium is generally safe, it’s always good to be aware of your surroundings and personal belongings.
Lumpinee Stadium the heart of Muay Thai for the past several decades, it’s is a piece of Thai culture. From its start in 1954 to its relocation, it has seen the best of Muay Thai and has been a key part of the sport’s history. Now, hosting events like ONE Championship, it’s bringing Muay Thai to the world stage.
Visiting Lumpinee is special. It’s not just about the fights; it’s about feeling the energy and being part of something historic in Thailand. This is home to some of the most electrifying fights and greatest fighters in the history of Muay Thai. Lumpinee has witnessed the evolution of this combat sport from a local passion to an international phenomenon. Whether you’re really into fighting or just want to experience something unique in Bangkok, Lumpinee Stadium is the place to be.