Looking Back: Lumpinee Boxing Stadium

| June 8, 2010 | 6 Comments
lumpinee Looking Back: Lumpinee Boxing Stadium
Lumpinee Boxing Stadium is located in Bangkok and is considered the home of Muay Thai. Contests are held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Bangkok, Thailand (August 29, 2004) —There is no spectacle in Bangkok like the boxers—their slick bodies like blown glass fresh from an oven. What people there are here were drawn from the limbs of Bangkok by the asthmatic breath of the park to settle here in Lumpinee Stadium. Cement pillars curving upwards like ribs, roof hung with corrugated steel, faces surfacing in the cigarette haze like canvases on deserted easels—we are tourists lost in the anonymous crowd. Every Saturday, automatic with instinct, the boxers paint a dance of blood.

The bell rings and the crowd explodes like a searing jackknife into the large loose sphere of night. In the sudden vacuum of time, the boxer’s bodies play themselves backwards—every bruise rewinding itself into an indigo flower pressing its face outward against skin. The spectre of their bodies on the canvas: Rorschach blots for our looking and laughing.

In the aftershock of the fight, comes a sigh not of relief but exhausted panic. No champion, but a man leaning into the crowd, madly shuffling through the faces trying to determine through the threadbare smoke—forensically—who it is he once was.

The boxers gone, their fight gone out, the spent crowd pour through the stadium’s ventricles and course home through the subways and skytrains—moving homewards to be repopulated by sleep and oxygen. Bangkok sighs and rolls over in her sleep.


This post is part of a series on our blog called ‘Looking Back’ . This series is comprised of an occasional entry from our journals that date back to 2001, when we first began writing about living and travelling abroad. We’ll present these paired with a photo in the form of a verbal postcard. Together, these postcards provide an (in)formal and often (in)coherent narrative of the trips we’ve taken!


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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

Comments (6)

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  1. Loved this because poetry rocks my world… and this is poetry, prose journal entry or no. I’m envious. I write clunky prose and would love to be able to write something more musical. What was it Flaubert said? I think he wrote: “Language is a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.” I’m working on getting those bears dancing on a few blog projects, but you guys, I think you make the stars weep!

    • Daniel says:


      Thanks Steven — I appreciate the kind words. I think that it’s still lives firmly in the land of journal entry/work in progress. When writing in this kind of stream-of-consciousness style, I tend to really mix metaphors. And that kind of happens here. I left it is as, though. Because I really liked the rhythm and cadence of the language.


  2. Amazing and vivid description of the Thai boxing at Lumpinee. I’ve been in Bangkok now for over 8 months and still waiting to go to my first fight.

    • Daniel says:


      Get yourself down to Lumpinee, Mark. It’s a great night out. Especially Saturdays — when the title fights and big purses come out. Love the fact that the match is complemented by a band, who changes the tone and pace of their sound as the match waxes and wanes. It’s really cool.

  3. Kathryn says:


    Going to Lumpinee Stadium for the boxing matches was a highlight of my entire trip to that part of the world. Everyone in the stadium was in such a great, excited mood—amazing! I especially liked seeing the kid boxers do their thing. Sooo cool!


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