Football is huge in Thailand. Thais love watching it, playing it and it’s a guaranteed conversation starter with taxi drivers – “David Beckham, velly good!” seemingly being their favourite ice breaker. I’ve even met Thais who’ve named their kids Torres, Owen and, rather worryingly, Rooney.
Bangkok also has a huge expat community from football-loving countries all over the world, so put this together and you’ve got loads of places to play football all over Bangkok, from the centre right out to the suburbs.
Football is a great way to stay fit and meet people in Bangkok. There are regular friendly games and some competitive leagues as well. If you wanted to, you could play football every day of the week.
Listed below are some of the main football pitches in Bangkok. The times given are just a guideline and can be subject to change by the organizer – please contact me for the latest info. Please click the title link for a Google map to the location:
An A-grade full size artificial grass pitch that cost fortunes to build and plays like a dream. The facilities in this international school are next level. There is a full 11-a-side pitch that also splits into two 7-a-side pitches that play across. Without doubt the best artifical pitch in Bangkok, and in a great location.
Casual games are organized throughout the week but are subject to change. Contact email@example.com or myself for info if you’re interested in playing.
Amusingly surrounded by old billboards of past Arsenal players who’ve now become hate figures (Adebayor, A.Cole et al), this well-located facility consists of five 5-a-side artificial grass pitches, one 9-a-side grass pitch and one 11-a-side full size grass pitch. Rental is 1,500 baht an hour and there are usually free pitches except for 8.00-9.00pm on weekdays when it can be very busy. Pitch quality is not quite that of NIST but still decent.
Currently games are organized by Adam on Sundays – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more ingo. Other casual games are organized by people everyday of the week.
No website, and the map given above is as close as I could get. S-One is another quality facility with big, wide 7-a-side pitches of artificial grass. It gets pretty busy in the evenings and is open late. Pitch rental is approx 2,000 baht an hour. They can even film your games and give you a DVD at the end so you can analyse your performance and improve, which is a very cool feature! It is, however, a little difficult to get to for some Bangkok expats that live centrally as traffic can get bad on the Bang-na road.
Situated in the Thong Lor district of Bangkok, Arena 10 is quite bizarrely situated amongst a couple of Bangkok’s most popular nightclubs for Thais. Ask any Bangkok Thai or Taxi driver where “Fun-keee” is and they should know (the Google map is to the club next door). Arena 10 is another top-notch artificial grass pitch that costs between 1,500-2,000 baht an hour depending on time of day. Pitches are 7-a-side but slightly smaller than S-One. Nice aircon changing rooms and good showers, which are much needed after playing football in Bangkok’s 40 degree heat!
A full-size 11-a-side pitch bang smack in the middle of Bangkok, right next to Ratchadamri BTS station. Probably the best located public grass pitch in central Bangkok.
Ram Intra is actually an area of Bangkok not a pitch, but it’s an area FULL of football pitches. They are all over Nuan Chan, Ram Intra and the surrounding areas. They are predominantly Thai but it’s worth bearing in mind if you live in north Bangkok and want to organize a game or play with the locals. The map above links to one pitch I used to play at on Nuan Chan soi 56, called NJ Soccer.
There are loads of futsal pitches in Bangkok which the Thais are more suited to and good at. They are more Thai-oriented but westerners are welcome, too. Just smile and ask if you can play (len duay dai mai krub?, in Thai) They often play with tiny little goals to work on footwork and accuracy. Three areas are – next to MBK centre (National Stadium BTS), Huai Kwang sports area (Huai Kwang BTS) and in the park next to Chatuchak park (Mor-chit BTS), but you will see Thais playing futsal all over the city and country.
If you haven’t tried this cross between football and volleyball, give it a go. The Thais are so skillful and agile though it’s almost impossible to keep up with them. I love the photo to the left which won sports photography awards and really highlights how athletic and flexible these guys are. There’s no need to detail where to play because you’ll see Thais playing Takraw EVERYWHERE in Thailand!
So, those are some of the main pitches where expats play but there are many more around Bangkok. If you start at these places you will meet many people who are involved in football all over the city.
Bangkok Football Leagues
Now onto the leagues of Bangkok. Here are the some of the main leagues in the city with links to their websites.
The longest running, biggest and most well-known expat league in Bangkok with two divisions and a mix of people from all over the world, as well as Thais. Rules state no more than 5 Thai players on the pitch at any one time though, which keeps it expat focused. Games are played on Saturday and Sunday at Pattana school Sukhumvit 105 and also at Arsenal Soccer School. Many bars, pubs and clubs have teams and it’s a fantastic place to meet people in Bangkok. Click on the link for details on how to contact the teams and find the right one for you.
Run by Kevin Watts (click above to contact through his site), this Wednesday night league follows a league format followed by an end-of-season cup. Some bars have teams and no slide tackles are allowed which is good if you’re worried about injuries.
Played on Tuesday nights on the 5-a-side pitches. Contact Arsenal Soccer School for more information.
The Vets League is for over-35s in Bangkok. A good-natured league that, again, is a great place to meet people and extend your network in Bangkok. Matches are mostly played at Pattana, the same venue as the Casuals League.
A weekend league that’s mostly made up of Thai and Asian expat teams, with a few westerners thrown in. It runs all day Saturday. They don’t have a website or system of registration so best to ask around or visit the grounds if you want to play.
So that should be enough for even the most football-crazy expat to be getting on with. I will update this post with new football events as many one-off tournaments are held throughout the year, and new leagues are always starting up.
Enjoy your football guys!