Takraw, the traditional game of Thailand, in which players seek to keep a woven rattan ball from reaching the ground without using their hands, is a popular pastime among young men in Southeast Asia. Football (soccer) is a popular spectator sport in the United States, whereas tennis, swimming, and Badminton are all popular here in Thailand. At the Southeast Asian Games, Thai athletes excelled in many of these sports.
The story started centuries ago and is still flourishing. In 1952, Thailand participated in the Summer Olympic Games for the first time and also in the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Thailand was most successful in Boxing, with featherweight boxer Somluck Kamsing winning the country’s first Olympic gold medal in 1996.
The Asian Games have been held in the country on multiple occasions. Many sports activities have gained popularity in recent times in Thailand; still, it has successfully saved its traditional sports and recreational activities very well.
Here, you will get to know about some of the most popular sports that are played and followed by the masses in Thailand.
1) Thai Boxing
Thailand’s national sport is Thai Boxing (Muay Thai), a traditional martial art. It is a kind of unarmed fighting complete with traditional music and frantic ringside wagering. Any part of the body is fair game, with the exception of the head, which cannot be struck. Before a Thai Boxing match, the fighters perform the ram muay, a five-minute dance to honor their trainer and the Thai Boxing’s guardian spirit.
The sport was reintroduced in the 1930s under modern laws based on the Marquess of Queensberry’s rules after falling out of favor; it has also moved to the West, where it is known as kickboxing. Khaosan Galaxy, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999, is one of the standard boxers who have won world championships.
Football is the most popular sport in Thailand, the same as in many other countries. Many Thai locals start their day not with a coffee, but by checking the latest football livescore which is called “ผลบอลสด” in Thailand.
Even though professional leagues are new to the country, the history of football as a sport dates back to 1897. Many Thais, in reality, like watching and playing football, particularly the English Premier League, which is one of the world’s most popular football leagues. Most of it can be seen on free networks in Thailand, and the FIFA World Cups are also immensely popular.
Thailand hosted two Asian Cups in 1972 and 2007. The national football squad, on the other hand, has yet to achieve international success. Thailand currently has around 464 licensed football players who only play in the Thai League.
Theerathon Bunmathan, Dusit Chalermsan, Kiatprawut Saiwaeo, Kiatisak Senamueang, Datsakorn Thonglao, Kawin Thamsatchanan, Piyapong Pue-on, Teerasil Dangda, Chalermpong Kerdkaew, Niweat Siriwong, Kiatprawut Saiwaeo, Chalermpong Kerdka are some of the most famous football players of Thailand.
3) Muay Thai
You may be familiar with this sport, which is Thailand’s most popular sport. It’s also known as Thai boxing sometimes, and it’s regarded as one of the most dangerous and fascinating combat sports on the planet.
This sport dates back to at least the 16th century when it was performed by the King’s soldiers. It was at the height of its popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
Smart Payakaroon, Dieselnoi Chor Thanasukarn, Saenchai, Thongchai Tor Silachai, Sagat Petchyindee, Pud Pad Noy Worawoot, and Apidej Sit-Hirun are all well-known Thai Muay Thai fighters.
Golf is one of the games which has gained popularity in recent times in Thailand.
Golf, believe it or not, is one of Thailand’s most popular sports, and the country is frequently referred to as the “golf capital of Asia.” Due to its pleasant weather and 200 world-class golf courses distributed across the country, It is a popular golf destination in general, attracting players from Japan, Korea, South Africa, and Singapore. PGA and LPGA tournaments are frequently held at some of these incredible golf courses.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jazz Janewatttananond, Poom Saksansin, Phachara Khongwatmai, and Prayad Marksaeng are well-known Thai golfers.
Badminton is Thailand’s fifth most popular sport.
In general, Badminton is one of Asia’s most popular sports, and Thailand is no exception. The sport is popular among the country’s youth, and it has a large following.
The Thailand Open is also a national tournament. It has been held in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi, since 1984, with the exception of a few years. Viktor Axelsen of Denmark is the current men’s singles champion.
Ratchanok Intanon, Bodin Isara, Jongkolphan Kititharakul, Kantaphon Wangcharoen, Saralee Thungthongkam, Sudket Prapakamol, and Tesana Panvisvas are some of Thailand’s most famous badminton players.
6) Sepak Takraw
Kick volleyball is what sepak takraw is all about. It is a visually amusing sport performed on a badminton court in which participants are unable to use their hands. Instead, they must juggle a synthetic fiber spherical ball, which is traditionally called rattan. In this high-flying game, participants frequently jump very high, perform backflips, and compete furiously.
The sport was most likely invented in Malaysia, but it has since spread throughout Asia, including Thailand.
Anuwat Chaichana, Suebsak Phunsueb, and Siriwat Sakha are famous Thai Sepak Takraw players.
Tennis is not as popular as Badminton; nevertheless, it attracts a sizable following.
The Thailand Open was the national tennis competition. It was once a women’s event hosted in Pattaya, which is on Thailand’s east coast. The most recent edition, which was part of the International Series, was published in 2015. Daniela Hantuchová, who won three titles in 2011, 2012, and 2015, was the major winner on hard courts.
Paradorn Srichaphan, Sanchai Ratiwatana, Danai Udomchoke, Sonchat Ratiwatana, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, Luksika Kumkhum are all well-known Thai tennis players.
8) Motor Sport
In Thailand, motorsport has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Birabongse Bhanudej is the main reason for this, a racing driver, sailor, and pilot who was a member of the Thai royal family. He aided the motor sport’s popularity, and there are now numerous variations throughout the country.
Auto racing (including sports car racing, drag racing, rallying, street racing, etc.) and motorcycle racing are the most popular motorsports in Thailand (most notoriously the Thailand motorcycle Grand Prix).
Jack Lemvard, Nattavude Charoensukawattana, Sandy Stuvik, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, Tin Sritrai, Kantadhee Kusiri, and Pasin Lathouras are famous Thai motorsport players.
Other Recreational Sports Activities in Thailand
For Thais living in rural areas, temple festivals appear to be the primary recreational activity. Members of the increasing urban middle class, who have more discretionary cash, frequently travel up-country to temple festivals. At the same time, they also seek entertainment in other ways. Others go to the gym or spa, while others play tennis or golf.
Indeed, in the 1980s and 1990s, so many golf courses were created in Thailand that environmentalists began to worry that allocating irrigation water for golf courses was harming agriculture in neighboring areas. Other sorts of entertainment are available in Thai cities, ranging from nightclubs featuring cabaret acts to formal concerts with internationally renowned musicians. Sanuk, or the enjoyment of life, is central to Thai social life, whether in villages or cities.
The Kingdom of Thailand is a Southeast Asian kingdom located in the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula. Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Malaysia are its neighbors. Bangkok, which is the country’s capital, has a population of more than 8,305,000 people (but more than 14,626,000 if you include the metropolitan region!). It is a natural wonder due to its extensive natural beauty and recreational ecosystem.
The most popular sports in the country are an intriguing aspect of the country that I wanted to investigate. In light of this, I’ve compiled a list of all of Thailand’s most popular sports, which I hope you will have enjoyed. Hope it added some value to your knowledge about Thailand’s popular sports.