I often get asked by friends passing through Bangkok about Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium, and whether one is better to watch the Muay Thai fights at than the other. For a long time, I used to refer friends to what remains to be my favorite stadium, but then I realized that not everyone has the same expectations. Nowadays, I’d rather give people a run down of what each stadium offers, and then let them decide which to pick.
That’s exactly what I want to do for you. Instead of suggesting which stadium you should go to, I’m going to lay out everything you can expect to experience at the two stadiums. Then, armed with that info, you can make an informed decision. After all, assuming you’re in Bangkok on vacation and only have one chance to watch Muay Thai, you want to be sure you get it right.
Lumpinee Stadium Vs. Rajadamnern Stadium: Quality Of Fights
Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium are the two top venues for Muay Thai not only in Bangkok, but in all of Thailand and beyond. No matter which stadium you choose to visit, you’re going to experience the best of the best. Having said that, there are definitely ways to increase your chances of seeing the best fights at either stadium.
When I watch Muay Thai fights at Lumpinee Stadium, I go to one of the Friday night ONE Lumpinee events. These events feature 12 fights — usually two MMA and 10 Muay Thai. The Muay Thai fights always feature the top Thai and international fighters on the circuit. And because fighters can win bonuses based on performance, they never let off the gas. Keep in mind, though, that ONE Lumpinee is an entertainment Muay Thai event, so you won’t get to see the wai kru before every fight. Also, the fights are three rounds long instead of the usual five.
If you decide to go to Rajadamnern for some traditional Muay Thai, I’d pick a Thursday night Petchyindee show. These five-round fights, complete with the wai kru and gambling, are some of my favorite at the historic venue. You won’t always get the top fighters on this show, but the traditional Muay Thai atmosphere makes up for it. Rajadamnern does hold traditional Muay Thai shows six days a week, so if you can’t make it on a Thursday, you have other options.
Atmosphere At Lumpinee Stadium And Rajadamnern Stadium
Some people assume that every Muay Thai stadium in Bangkok radiates with the same atmosphere. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when it comes to Lumpinee and Rajadamnern.
One of the greatest things that separates Rajadamnern Stadium from (the new) Lumpinee is its history. Rajadamnern remains the oldest-standing Muay Thai venue in Thailand. It has undergone some renovations over the years, but even when I stand outside the stadium I immediately feel those old-school Muay Thai vibes. The architecture, the stairs leading to the ticket windows, the dimly lit entrance ways — they’re all there as a reminder that some time ago, when traditional Muay Thai was at its peak, history unfolded right there.
Lumpinee Stadium doesn’t offer the same old-school vibes. The original Lumpinee Stadium on Rama IV Road was torn down in 2014. Tragically, sadly, when it was reduced to dust all of what made the iconic venue so special was whisked away in the wind. Walking into the new Lumpinee Stadium on Ram Inthra Road will never compare to the feeling you once got when walking into its original structure. That said, new times call for new measures, and ONE Championship has done a great job making history at the new Lumpinee Stadium.
Gambling And Gamblers At Lumpinee Stadium And Rajadamnern Stadium
The one major difference between Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium is how they handle gambling and gamblers, both of which are customary in Muay Thai.
After the COVID-19 pandemic almost ended Muay Thai as we know it, Lumpinee officials banned gambling inside the stadium. They did this to clean up the sport which, for decades, has been perceived by the general public as being filled with corruption and controlled by the mafia. Nowadays, it’s strictly prohibited to gamble at Lumpinee, and anyone who gets caught will be removed from the stadium.
That said, I was flabbergasted the first time I went to Lumpinee Stadium after COVID-19. Without gamblers fervently backing their fighters, I expected the atmosphere at the stadium to feel flat. But it was just the opposite. In place of the gamblers were a passionate Thai public who cheered just as loud — if not louder — for their fighters.
Rajadamnern, on the other hand, still embraces the gambling culture that goes along with Muay Thai but they’ve segregated the gamblers to their own section. You can, of course, choose to sit in this area, which will no doubt add to what will be an already exciting experience. The only night that gambling is prohibited at Rajadamnern is on Saturday night for its Rajadamnern World Series (RWS) event.
In my opinion, there is still nothing quite like the gambling scene at Rajadamnern Stadium. There’s something to be said about hundreds, sometimes thousands, of Thais chanting in unison for their fighter. Chills shooting down my spine, hairs standing on my neck, many nights I’ve sat in those seats at Rajadamnern and became more fixed on the gamblers than the fights. It’s something to behold.
Convenience: Getting To Lumpinee Stadium And Rajadamnern Stadium
If you’re only in Bangkok for a few days and don’t have much time to waist, you have to consider how easy it will be to get to the stadium from where you are. Luckily, Lumpinee and Rajadamnern stadiums are fairly easy to get to no matter where in Bangkok you are. Lumpinee Stadium is a short walk from the recently constructed MRT line. Rajadamnern Stadium is a short taxi ride from either the BTS or MRT lines.
If I’m to be honest, what you really need to consider is not getting to the stadium, but getting away from the stadium. Because of how many people leave the stadium at the end of the night, it’s sometimes impossible to find a taxi. And if you do, they don’t always want to turn on the meter. Your best bet is to call a Grab.
I never have this problem at Lumpinee, as I always drive and park there. But at Rajadamnern Stadium, I usually walk a few hundred meters away from the venue to flag down a taxi. Or I walk back to the Sam Yot MRT station. Check out this map of every Bangkok Muay Thai stadium if you need help getting to one of the venues.
Lumpinee Stadium And Rajadamnern Stadium Muay Thai Event Schedule
When it comes to Muay Thai events per week, Rajadamnern ekes out Lumpinee. Lumpinee only holds events on Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and Saturday evenings. Rajadamnern puts on Muay Thai fights every night of the week. For a full list of this week’s schedule, check out the 2023 Muay Thai event schedule.
Ticket Prices At Lumpinee And Rajadamnern Stadiums
There’s a lot that goes into entrance prices at the stadiums, so I’ve written a dedicated guide to Bangkok Muay Thai tickets. Generally speaking, though, to get into Lumpinee Stadium you’ll pay between 500 Thai Baht and 3,000 Thai Baht per person. To enter Rajadamnern, you’ll pay between 1,500 Thai Baht and 3,500 Thai Baht per person. For both stadiums, the prices do depend on which day you go and what seats you pick.
Is Lumpinee Stadium Or Rajadamnern Stadium Better?
Considering everything I wrote above, neither Lumpinee Stadium nor Rajadamnern Stadium is necessarily better than the other. They are both great venues to watch Muay Thai at, and both offer unique experiences. The best one, then, depends on what kind of viewing experience you’re after. But no matter which stadium you pick, you’re sure to walk away with memories that’ll last a lifetime. And, hey, if you have the time, you can always visit Lumpinee Stadium and Rajadamnern Stadium and get the best of both worlds.
Hi, I’m John Wolcott, a former long-time English-language Muay Thai commentator who’s been living in Thailand since 2014. Over the last decade, I’ve commentated Muay Thai fights at MAX Muay Thai, Rajadamnern Muay Thai Stadium, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, World Siam Stadium, and more. In 2022 I stepped away from commentating to focus on writing about the sport. Although I still occasionally commentate, my goal nowadays is to share with you everything I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about watching Muay Thai in Thailand so that you can have an unforgettable experience.