FITNESS FIRST Launched in Thailand 10 years ago, Fitness First now has 29 outposts across the country with two types of club—six Platinum and 23 regular. Most Platinum branches are around inner Bangkok (Sathorn Square, Q-house Lumphini, AIA Capital Center, Siam Paragon, Landmark hotel, Bio House Sukhumvit Soi 39). Only one regular club is located in inner Bangkok at Terminal 21.
Membership: The regular club and platinum club cost roughly B2,000-3,000/month for a five-month to one-year contract.
Love: So many branches, the range of weight training machines, the sauna. Classes from Zumba, yoga and spinning to the music-led strength training Body Pump.
Hate: Best branches reserved for Platinum membership. Too packed after office hours. Some equipment outdated.
The gym chain from British billionaire Richard Branson now has six branches around Bangkok that focus on upper-middle class areas at a higher-than-most membership rate. There are no membership tiers at Virgin Active since the clubs all feel high-end. Locations include Siam Discovery, Empire Tower, Wireless Road, EmQuartier, Central Eastville and Central Westgate.
Membership: B2,900/month (one-year contract) or B3,300/month (six-month contract)
Love: Virgin Active’s app allows members to conveniently book classes. We also love the climbing wall, creative workout classes like Piloxing (Pilates + boxing), Power Plate Cardio and Broga (yoga for men), the fullsize swimming pool, Jacuzzi aqua lounge and, of course, the sleep pods.
Hate: Too packed after office hours. The Wireless Road gym doesn’t have a pool, Jacuzzi or sauna.
This chain came out right after the closure of the notorious California Wow. Yes, it’s from one of California Wow’s former owners, Vicha Poonworaluck, who’s also an owner of Major Cineplex. So it’s no wonder this gym chain is at every Major-owned mall: Pinklao, Ekkamai and Ratchayothin, as well as J Avenue and Esplanade.
Membership: B2,700/month (five-month contract) and B2,100/month (one-year contract)
Love: Less crowded than Fitness First and Virgin Active after office hours. Plenty of credit card promotions. Classes like taichi, various dance workouts, spinning, Body Pump and various yoga offerings from well-trained Indian yoga instructors.
Hate: Mainly old machines from California Wow, though some branches have installed newer ones. You need to pay B50 to use a towel.
Fitfac Muaythai Academy Budget Pick!
For those who want to lose weight through Thai boxing, Fitfac merges fight training with sport science to help members lose weight and build muscle. There are nine Bangkok branches: Belle Condo Rama 9, Parc 39 Sukhumvit Soi 39, Seacon Square Srinakarin, Zpell Rangsit, Foodvilla Ratchapreuk, The Promenade Ramintra, Phloen Chit, Talingchan, and at Beehive Community Mall in Muang Thong Thani, as well as one in Khon Kaen.
Membership: B2,890/month (four-month contract), B2,490/month (six-month contact), or B2,290/month (10-month contract)
Love: Veteran instructors, with one trainer for every three attendees. Affordable membership that allows you to attend unlimited classes with access to all facilities like the shower room and locker room. Multi-location access with a single membership.
Hate: You better like boxing, because there’s nothing else on offer.
The biggest yoga studio in Bangkok has 12 branches plus two in Phuket. Now that it has rebranded from Absolute Yoga to Absolute You, it has expanded to Pilates and spinning, too. Bangkok locations: Amarin Plaza, Liberty Square, Crystal Park Ramintra, Central Ladprao, G Tower Rama 9, The Commons, Beehive Muang Thong Thani, Jas Urban Srinakarin, The Circle Rachapruek, On Nut, Nanglinchee and Exchange Tower.
Membership: B2,500 for 10 classes yoga/ one month, B4,500 for 10 classes pilates/ one month, and B6,500 for 10 classes rhythmic cycling/one month.
Love: The huge range of yoga, from Hot Yoga and Vinyasa to Yin Yang with other added options like Pilates, cycling and Coreblast. Luxury decoration and spacious bathrooms. Every yoga instructor here has a certificate (while other places may not if you don’t check). Multi-location access.
Hate: With so many attendees per class, when one finishes and the crowd leaves, you have a long wait for a free shower.
Kick Off Your Healthiest Year Ever
BK Magazine's Better You, your guide to Bangkok's hottest workout trends, best gyms, healthy-eating shops and restaurants, and coolest workout gear, as well as top wellness retreats and beauty clinics you can trust, is out now. Download your copy here.