Exercise has become a very important part of daily life in Bangkok as the shift from manual labour to professional work continues. Chichester College is probably the only TEFL course in Bangkok with both a jogging track and a tennis court right outside, but even in other parts of the city you will find that health and fitness are a central part of daily life, whether it's aerobics in a park, cycling around one of the city's many cycle routes or taking part in group or solo workout sessions and yoga at one of the many gyms.
If you'd come to Thailand 10 years ago, you'd have found that health and fitness -- or, at least, health and fitness with decent facilities -- was in the hands of a few very large organizations who charged very high prices and locked customers into year-long contracts with constant pressure to upgrade and purchase training sessions.
Thankfully, in recent years, the industry has calmed down significantly (along with the prices!) and a lot of places now offer reasonably-priced walk-in rates without any pressure to take out a membership. Of course, memberships offering even better value for money are also available to those who want them.
But another thing that has changed (and, again, for the better) in Bangkok is the ever-increasing availability of free outdoor spaces dedicated to promoting health and fitness among the population.
When you think of Bangkok in the early morning, you probably think of those pictures of saffron-robed monks walking through the sois to collect their alms before returning to the temple. That image -- immortalised in almost every Bangkok tourist brochure -- is still very much part of the Bangkok morning landscape. However, in recent years, men and women kitted-out in the latest lycra fashions can be seen running or jogging in the very same sois and parks before work. A similar scene (this time, minus the monks) is seen after work in the evenings.
This jogging track is literally a stones-throw away from the training centre. We've actually thrown a stone (early in the morning when nobody was about, of course) from the training centre to this jogging track just to prove it! This particular track goes around the pond and tennis court in the park opposite the training centre and is very heavily used by local office workers in the mornings and evenings. If you look closely, you'll also spot a Chichester TEFL student in there too.
There are also many larger parks just a few stops away on the MRT train where people jog, run, practice Muay Thai or even join in with curated (and completely free) open-air aerobics sessions. Not only are these great places to keep fir and healthy but they are also good places to meet local people with like-minded interests.
If you'd prefer to work out in a traditional gym then you'll find several within walking distance of the training centre and then several more a few stops away on the train. The closest gym to the Chichester training centre is Ratchada Fitness. They have a very good walk-in rate and friendly welcoming staff who enjoy practicing their English on new arrivals.
In the space of a decade or so, bicycles in Thailand have gone from being a mode of transport for low-income labourers to something embraced by people from all walks of life and backgrounds, either as a mode of transport or as a means of staying fit and healthy.
These days, it is not uncommon to see people on professional-standard bicycles kitted-out with all of the latest equipment weaving in and out of the traffic on any of Bangkok's main roads. But most people opt for the safer options of the cycle lanes (which are popping up all around the city) and the amazing cycle parks which have been landscaped with cyclists in mind.