Phuket, Thailand travel tips from an expert expat: Muay thai fighter Celest Hansen


Professional muay thai fighter Celest Hansen moved to Thailand in late 2017 to further her career. After 18 months on Koh Samui, the Sydneysider moved to Rawai, in southern Phuket and in November 2021, became the first woman to enter the ring at Lumpini Stadium, in Bangkok, the country's top muay thai forum. Her goal is to show the world that women are strong and beautiful. See


When Phuket's open, there's a muay thai fight every night. There are regular fight nights at Rawai Boxing Stadium, with seats from THB1300 ($53) but the biggest fights in the province are held in Patong Stadium or Bangla Boxing Stadium. See and


Everyone can join in a muay thai class; ask your hotel or at a gym. Everyone is welcome at my gym, Phuket Singha – first-timers, kids, everyone. You can do a training session with a group or a private session, from THB400 (A$16.50). Don't worry if you're not fit or athletic, everyone there is a beginner, and the trainers make it so fun you don't even feel like you're exercising. Bring a lot of water or electrolytes, which you can find at 7/Elevens, and an attitude of trying something fun and exciting for the first time. See


When you order vegetables here, they are usually cooked, so it's nice to get fresh vegetables. We Cafe is a salad shop that grows its own salad vegies. I do the custom-built salad with lettuce, mixed veg and quinoa, and it's so fresh. There's one in Chalong and another in Rawai. See


I don't drink alcohol or coffee, but there are millions of roadside shops doing fresh juices, such as coconut water, kiwi and lychee. Sometimes you'll get avocado milk or purple taro, and char yen (Thai iced tea) is so good. At Rustic and Blue by the Sea in Rawai, you can look out at Rawai Beach while sipping whatever interesting drink you end up with, and they do food as well. See


Haggling: don't ask for a discount if there's a price on an item. If the price is marked, it's set. If there's no price, you can haggle, but remember that 50 baht to you is a lot different to 50 baht to the trader. For us, it's $2. For them, it's a meal, it's their livelihood.


A lot of people, including my trainer, say that eating chicken makes you stupid. Even though he raises chicken. I don't listen to him; I've cooked him chicken here in Australia.