Malaysian friends flew to Bangkok to see favourite EPL team and learn Muay Thai

One of the many places that the friends visited in Bangkok was the beautiful Wat Arun. — Pixabay

If you’re a fan of the English Premier League, then you probably have a favourite football team and dream of watching them play live one day.

Unfortunately, if you live in Malaysia, chances of seeing your top team play a match on a local football pitch is very, very slim.

So, when Aaron Victor, 24, heard that his top team Manchester United will be playing against Liverpool in Bangkok, Thailand he took the chance and bought a ticket for the match. His friend, Arvinder Singh, also managed to snag a ticket but the boys decided to make the experience more fun and invited all their other mates along for the trip too.

“The ticket was an impulse buy. But, after securing my ticket I thought, ‘Why not make this a boys’ trip?’ and called my other friends to join in,” Victor explained.

The six friends – Aaron, Arvinder, Edrian Azril, Thirumal S., Kartik P. and Dhanushen R. – came up with an itinerary for a week-long trip in July. It was their first trip together as a group.

They were lucky enough to get cheap tickets to Bangkok, as the airline they chose were having a promotion. They booked their stay at a hostel, which only cost them around RM1,200 for six nights (or about RM200 per person), inclusive of breakfast. What a steal!

The friends more or less managed to stick to their individual budget throughout the whole trip. “We had enough money, although a couple of us had to withdraw a little bit of cash towards the end,” said Victor.

“We paid off all the important things first such as accommodation, flights and some tours. Everything else was pretty much individual expenditure,” said Thirumal.

The guys visited a lot of the main attractions in Bangkok including the Chatuchak Weekend Market, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Chinatown, Khaosan Road, Bangkok National Museum and the floating market. The football match was held at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bang Kapi, about 8km from the popular tourist area of Sukhumvit.

They also watched a Muay Thai fight and later, attended a Muay Thai class, and went for a dinner cruise on a boat at Asiatique Riverfront, which sailed around the Chao Phraya river.

The six friends enjoyed learning Muay Thai in Bangkok. Clockwise from top left: Edrian, Dhanushen, Arvinder, Kartik, Thirumal and Victor. — AARON VICTORThe six friends enjoyed learning Muay Thai in Bangkok. Clockwise from top left: Edrian, Dhanushen, Arvinder, Kartik, Thirumal and Victor. — AARON VICTOR

Victor said that it was fairly safe for them to go around the city as a group, although they did take a lot of precautions everywhere they went. But even then, the friends ran into a problem.

“An elderly man came up to us and recommended a place for us to go to. We had wanted to go somewhere else but he told us that it was closed. So we decided to go with him and he took us a place and then tried to charge us 1,000 baht for the boat ride.

“Somehow, we managed to negotiate the price down to 500 baht. But we discovered after that that the normal price for this ride was only 120 baht!” Thirumal revealed. The man had also lied to them about the place they had originally wanted to go – it was not closed.

They were later told that this was a common “tourist scam” and has been happening since before the pandemic. Thirumal advises visitors to Thailand to be wary of this.

Despite the scam, the friends still had lots of fun travelling together and made lots of great memories. They plan on making more group trips in the future.

“The whole trip was fun and it was something we all wanted to do together. We were very happy that we managed to accomplish this ... but what happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand,” said Thirumal, chuckling.

Victor quipped, “The football match gave us a good reason to go on the trip and then turning it into a vacation. Because we bought the tickets to the match much earlier, we had a lot of time to carefully plan our itinerary; there was always something for everyone to do or see on the list. The whole process of planning the trip was actually part of the experience itself.

“The trip didn’t just begin at the airport, it began at home.”

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