Rajadamnern Stadium: History, Visiting, and Revitalization

Rajadamnern Stadium is one of the most important sites in the history of Muay Thai. The stadium is a legendary place that has housed unforgettable matches and fighters. It is the oldest Muay Thai stadium in Bangkok dating back to 1941.

Today, it still stands in its original location and is visited by thousands of fans every week. Nak Muays and Farangs from all over the globe look to compete in the prestigious location. A visit to Bangkok, Thailand is not complete without seeing Muay Thai at Rajadamnern Stadium.

Rajadamnern Stadium

History of Rajadamnern Stadium

Rajadamnern Stadium was commissioned by Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram in 1941. The building was constructed to establish a national boxing stadium in Thailand. This move was likely part of a broader effort to promote and institutionalize Muay Thai. The sport is considered a key aspect of Thai culture and heritage. By constructing a dedicated venue for Muay Thai, the government aimed to provide a prominent stage for the martial art. The aim was to foster its growth, popularity, and recognition both nationally and, in time, internationally.

While it began in 1941, the construction, however, was halted during World War II due to a shortage of materials. It resumed in August 1945, finishing in just four months. The first boxing match took place on December 23, 1945. Initially, the stadium was open-air, resembling a Roman amphitheater, but a concrete roof was added in 1951.

The stadium is also known for legal gambling, which occurs on the second level with hand signals, similar to a stock exchange trading floor. The security service is managed by armed military police. Ringside seats are usually occupied by foreigners, while gamblers and aficionados prefer the upper rings. This is one of the only places in Thailand where one is legally allowed to gamble.

To pronounce Rajadamnern Stadium properly it is said as Ra-Jad-Dam-Nern. Thai to English is typically spelled phonetically but the foreign tongue often does not what syllables should be emphasized. In this case, Rajadamnern Stadium is said as Ra-Jad-Dam-Nern Stadium.

Historic Fighters at Rajadamnern

Rajadamnern Stadium has been a platform for many legendary Muay Thai fighters in the sport’s history. It is impossible to tell a tale of Muay Thai without mentioning the iconic athletes who competed in the hallowed fight stadium. Here are just some of the most notable athletes who competed in Rajadamnern Stadium:

  1. Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, known as “The Emperor of Muay Thai,” famous for his technical skills, clinch work, and ring intelligence.
  2. Saenchai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym, celebrated for his agility and creativity, and multiple WMC world titles. One of the all-time greats in Muay Thai. He is a modern legend.
  3. Samart Payakaroon, known for his boxing skills and achievements in both Muay Thai and professional boxing. Widely considered the greatest Nak Muay in history. Competed during the golden age.
  4. Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn, “The Sky Piercing Knee Kicker,” famous for his knee strikes. Often discussed as one of the all-time greats in the history of Muay Thai and was a staple of the golden age.
  5. Buakaw Banchamek, a two-time K-1 World MAX champion, known for his striking and knockouts. While he never earned a Rajadamnern title, he has competed in the building. Arguably the most famous fighter in Muay Thai history.
  6. Anuwat Kaewsamrit, known for his explosive style and powerful strikes.
  7. Apidej Sit-Hirun, a pioneer in transitioning from traditional Muay Boran to modern Muay Thai.
  8. Yodsanklai Fairtex, celebrated for his precision and knockout power. A modern-day Mauy Thai great.
  9. Sagat Petchyindee, known for his powerful kicks and inspiration for a character in the “Street Fighter” video game series. Sagat competed during the golden age of Mauy Thai and is considered one of the all-time greats.
  10. Kongsak Sitboonmee, famous for his devastating elbow strikes.
  11. Samson Isaan, renowned for his elbow fighting skills.
  12. Pornsanae Sitmonchai, known for his powerful low kicks and knockouts

Visiting Rajadamnern

If you’re into Muay Thai or just visiting Bangkok, Rajadamnern Stadium is a must-visit. It’s the first-ever Muay Thai stadium, dating back to 1945. A place where history and tradition come alive. For any fighter, stepping into this ring is a dream. And for fans, it’s the supreme spot to catch a match. Don’t worry about it being old and outdated – they’ve spruced it up recently but kept all that old-world charm. It’s like stepping back in time, but with all the modern comforts.

Rajadamnern Stadium ring

Ticket Options and Features

Rajadamnern Stadium offers various seating options to enhance your Muay Thai experience:

VIP Lounge: Offers a panoramic view, premium spirits with free-flow beer, and private service. It’s spacious and provides a luxurious environment with the best view of the action and the stadium’s architecture​.

Ringside Seats: These provide an unmatched, close-up experience where you can feel the intensity of the fights and even interact with the fighters as they enter and exit the ring​​.

Club Class: Located around the lower amphitheater, these seats offer an unobstructed view of the ring and convenient access to food and beverages​​.

Second Class: This section is popular with local gamblers, offering a vibrant atmosphere similar to a lively stock exchange. It’s a unique spot to witness traditional Muay Thai betting culture​​.

Third Class: Although the farthest from the ring, these seats provide a 360° view of the action from the highest point of the stadium​

The stadium also features special events with top DJs on Saturday nights, creating a party vibe between rounds and bouts. Visitors can enjoy fan engagement activities, photo opportunities with renowned fighters, and a range of food and beverage options, including beer on select nights​​​​​​​

Visiting and Transportation

The stadium is located at 8 Rajadamnern Nok Road, Wat Somanas, Pomprapsattruphai, Bangkok 10100, Thailand. Visitors can reach the stadium by various means:

By Train: The nearest stations are Ratchathewi Station or Victory Monument Station. From there, you can take a taxi to the stadium​

By Bus: Buses 157, 509, 201, and 503 are options for reaching the stadium​​.

By Boat: Talad Bobae Pier or Panfa Leelard Pier are nearby options for those traveling by boat​

Remember, experiencing a match at Rajadamnern Stadium is not just about the fight; this is about immersing yourself in the culture of Muay Thai. The stadium itself, with its preserved facade and historic halls, offers a walk through the history of this combat sport.

Reinvogated Rajadamnern Stadium

Old Rajadamnern Stadium

Rajadamnern Stadium, along with Muay Thai, was struggling in Thailand for the past decade. It became a culture that was viewed as for gamblers and old people, not for a fun day out. Seat numbers were dwindling. Then, COVID came along and nearly ended the sport altogether.

Things had to change, the sport and stadium required a reinvention. Global Sports Ventures (GSV) CEO Thainchai Pisitwutthinan knew that it was time for a new age of Muay Thai. RWS Muay Thai is leading the change, with more exciting rules. In an interview Thainchai explained:

“We want to attract newer generations and international fans to Muay Thai. To achieve our goals we made adjustments in both stadium infrastructure and competition format to lower the entry barrier of the sport. In my eyes, Muay Thai is a very enticing sport in both variations of five rounds or three rounds. In the global MMA scene, Muay Thai has been accepted as one of the arts with the best stance.”

The group was well aware of the uphill battle faced. He continued:

“If you talk to someone who has had no exposure to Muay Thai they would more so have negative impressions due to the rumors and stereotypes of Muay Thai arenas. These social barriers are making people afraid to go watch Muay Thai in arenas. We had to bridge the gap between the public’s impression of the sport by renovating and rebranding to appeal to all ages. Our goal is to make them feel that coming to the stadium is more exciting than watching from the TV. We had clear goals of making Rajadamnern Stadium the central hub for sports entertainment to enhance everyone’s experience of live spectating.”

The team at RWS has largely been successful. They’ve created an exciting product that appeals to locals and foreigners. It provides a place where Thai and Farang Muay Thai fighters can compete. Plus, they have added female fights in a historic move.

Thainchai added:

“Our ambition is to preserve and elevate the art of Muay Thai. To this day we have made history elevating Muay Thai to international levels in terms of inclusivity while retaining its traditional roots. Some female boxers cried tears of joy at having a chance to box at Rajadamnern Stadium. It is the stadium of dreams for both men and women.”

Final Thoughts

Rajadamnern Stadium is a living piece of Muay Thai history. From its early days back in 1941 to the current day, it’s been the heart of the sport. It has witnessed legends rise and the evolution of Muay Thai. It’s where traditions meet the modern world, offering something for everyone – whether you’re a hardcore fan or a have never seen a match in your life.

This is experience of culture, history, and thrill, not just a fight. And with recent revamps, Rajadamnern is not just surviving; it’s thriving, adapting to the times while staying true to its roots. Rajadamnern is a place where Muay Thai legends are born.