When it comes to exercising as a recreational lifestyle choice there aren’t a whole lot of options in Yangon. The distinctly Western craze of physical exertion for fun has yet to appear in the form of chain fitness centers equipped with all the amenities, or bank-breaking private gyms that could double as spas. If you’re the determined type, you might find a damp basement room filled with rusty equipment and mosquitoes for more money than you probably want to pay for the facilities available. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you then perhaps you should become familiar with Luthwei, also known as Burmese boxing.
One of the most well known schools in Yangon is run by Lone Chaw, three time Myanmar National Champion. Called Thut Ti Lethwei Boxing Schoool, it is set off of Kabaraye Pagoda Road about half an hour from downtown Yangon by taxi with moderate traffic. You can expect to pay 3000-4000 Kyat for the ride. If you’re looking for cheaper transportation you can take the number 43 or 44 bus from Sule Pogoda to Kabaraye Pagoda Post. But if you go during heavy traffic set aside at least an hour. It’s a short walk from the Kabaraye Pagoda Post bus stop, but it can be a bit tricky to find. Calling the school and having them give the taxi driver directions is preferable for the first trip. Of course there is always the option of walking down the road and miming boxing at various people. Most in the immediate area are familiar with the school.
All skill levels are welcome so long as you come willing to give it your all. Sessions last one hour at 5000 kyat per lesson. If that sounds a bit short, rest assured you will be worn out by the time it’s over. Every class begins with ten minutes of bouncing up and down on a truck tire to build stamina followed by an extensive series of stretches along with pushups and sit-ups and then a series of kicks. What follows varies by skill level, day and number of people training at once but can include shadow boxing through various combinations, training with a heavy bag, focus training, stepping patterns, and pad work. Afterwards feel free to take an outdoor bucket shower in the open well and buy a banana from the street vendors to resupply your body with potassium before collapsing into a taxi for the ride home.
Location: 893 Wuntharetkhitta Lan Kabaraye, off of Kabaraye Pagoda Road.