Recently, I traveled around the world to study Muay Thai in Thailand. There were many reasons for this trip. What was initially an attempt to increase my knowledge of Muay Thai to improve my curriculum at My Muay Thai Stadium in Salt Lake City quickly became much more than that.
In preparation for the trip, I obsessively read everything I knew about Thailand. I haven’t traveled abroad much, so I really didn’t know what I was looking for. I found out that Thailand is 95% Buddhist. In contrast, I am from Utah, where it often seems that you are far from my Mormons, Mormons make up less than 50 of the local population. This fascinated me. I’m not exactly a religious man, but religion has always fascinated me. Many of our histories are full of conflicts, wars, murders, terrorist bombings and other acts of utter hatred, all in the name of religion.
I started reading everything I could about Buddhism, because it seemed logical to me that knowing a religion that is very prominent in a region would help me better prepare for a trip to their country.
In my studies, I became acquainted with the amazing Buddhist temples that exist in Thailand. One, in particular, caught my attention. It was a large Buddha statue perched on top of a mountain overlooking the city of Phuket.
I also learned that Tiger Muay Thai, the gym I used to visit for training, visits this monument once a week. My recent Facebook post about Escape is as follows:
The Great Buddha is performed in Phuket, Thailand. You either like it or you hate it, this is either your best friend or your enemy, no matter how you feel about it, this exercise is unlike any other.
The Muay Thai Tiger offers the big Buddha performance every Tuesday as part of its daily fitness classes. Guests meet in front of the tiger office and are transferred to the Grand Buddha base to begin the journey. The Great Buddha is one of the most important and revered places in Phuket. This is a large Buddha marble statue located at the highest point of Phuket. This is a steep ascent 4 km (2.5 miles) from the base of the hill, where we begin to move the Buddha.
You will see new things every time you do this. Elephants, monkeys, butterflies, birds, lizards and more.
Along the way there are spectacular views overlooking Phuket. It is mentally and physically challenging. Join us for a run / walk to the Great Buddha here at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand.
I came to the conclusion that I had To cross that mountain and see the great Buddha up close.
I found pictures in the line that showed that the mountain had been escaped. It seemed treacherous!
After much internal discussion, I decided to do this climb, but I do it alone. I had my first Muay Thai class at Tiger Muay Thai. It was Friday. I decided to do this trip alone on Saturday. Many of these journeys have become more of a personal discovery than originally thought. I wanted to know if I could do it or not, and I wanted to do it alone. I did not need anyone to shout at me or put pressure on me … it was time to put pressure on me.
I woke up early and went mountaineering. I asked the receptionist what was the best way to walk to the Great Buddha. He laughed at me and said, “It may seem too close, because it is too big. It is actually too far, so let me call you a taxi.
Looking back, I am very happy to have accepted him with this advice. The base of the mountain was 10 miles from my hotel. My personal challenge was to climb that mountain, not a 10 mile walk, and then climb that mountain.
However, immediately after entering the base, I was surprised by the steep slope of the ground. There were places that were close to vertical climbs.
My taxi driver estimated that it would take me an hour to get to the summit and said he would catch me then. I really got into it in 35 minutes. When, given my age and circumstances, I am absolutely proud of it. I would love to do that climb again after this training camp to see how much better I am doing, but my knees were swollen for weeks after this climb. On the next visit, I took the taxi to the end.
As explained in the Facebook post above, there were beautiful things to see, from lush landscapes to elephants, monkeys and other native wildlife. It was a truly amazing experience, but all of this was influenced by the beauty of the shrine itself. This is an amazing show. Inside, there are many smaller Buddhas and a temple where Buddhist monks live. The view from the top of the mountain offers an opportunity to see the ocean on both sides of the island as well as the city of Patong. Anyone visiting Phuket should see this place.
My legs were almost taken when the taxi took me back to my hotel. I sat on the bench and put a bag of ice on each knee and began to mentally prepare for next week’s hardships. A two-day training session, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, was on my agenda. My whole body was sore from last week’s workout and now my legs are injured from walking … What have I achieved?