Healthy Travel

Paragon Gym

If you visit the country of Thailand, you’ll instantly notice how much of a sporting culture it is, both for local Thais and for Farang (foreigners). In fact, in many places where tourists come to stay like Phuket, Bangkok, Pattaya, Chang Mai, etc. it’s a HUGE business opening gyms and fight clubs up to foreigners. Of course, Muay Thai is the number one fighting art of Thailand and what attracts so many athletes both from home and abroad, but there are also a huge number of weightlifting gyms.

In Pattaya – Thailand’s version of Las Vegas for adults on steroids – that is even more true, as it seems like there’s either a weightlifting gym or a MuayThai ring on almost every block. I stayed in Jomtien Beach, a mellow suburb adjacent to Pattaya, recently, and had the chance to hit Paragon Gym almost daily.

My Review of the Paragon Gym

Paragon Gym is in a great location along the main road (called Soi’s) in a complex along with the popular night market as well as dozens of semi-shady beer bars. So a gym is a strange neighbor in this complex, but somehow it works.

Our routine at Paragon starts at the 7-11 up the street, where we get big waters and Red Bulls. Once we down the Red Bull, we hit the restaurant/bar right next door to Paragon for a latte. Once we have all that caffeine in us, the weights almost lift themselves!

Paragon is open-air, with two walls and a roof but open to the street on one side and the bar on the other, which makes for fun people watching while you’re working out. It also gets pretty damn hot in there mid day with the sun, but I sort of like the additional heat and at least the air moves.

A day pass at Paragon only costs 100 Baht – $3 US – which abut the going rate for gyms in Thailand. They tend to do the pay-per-day model and not many people sign up for monthly memberships.

Although it’s a small place, it has all of the equipment you need, including two flat and incline benches, two latpulldown machines, a cable rack, a couple of squat racks, other assorted machines, and a row of dumbells.

I do wish that the dumbells had more variety in the upper weights since it goes from 29 KG to 35 Kg to 40 with nothing in between. I guess that’s nitpicking.

The only bad thing about Paragon is that it will get too crowded to operate if more than four or five people are in there lifting at once, with waiting times on the machines and everyone working around each other. But that usually doesn’t happen, especially when you come during the day.

A funny thing you’ll find about Paragon is that at night, in an attempt to attract more customers and pick up the energy, they made the decisions to unleash a neon laser beam machine inside the gym! So all of these little neon lasers are shooting everywhere and bouncing off the mirrors and it’s a wonder why people aren’t blinded and start dropping weights! Haha.

Oh, by the way, you’ll also find a couple of treadmills in there but they are pretty old, so they might be good for walking if you’re light but that’s about it. But they do have two exercise bikes that we grind hard on.

Enjoy Paragon and have fun!

Make sure to stop by frequently as I continue my adventures!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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