Imagine if you were on "The Ultimate Fighter" and trapped in a house in Las Vegas for 6 weeks with a but of dudes. What would you have wished you brought along with you?
1. X-Box 360 or PS3 -
No one thinks of this, but everyone regrets not bringing out their gaming systems with them. If the Ultimate Fighter Contestants had a PS3, I'd be there wouldn't be as much drama and door breaking as there was. In between the morning and afternoon training sessions it's a great way to make friends by inviting them over for a game. And instead of being tempted to go out drinking and partying at night because you are bored, you can do your body good and stay home on your 360. Verdict, bring your 360, PS3, lots of two player games, or even just your PS2 if you have one.
Note: There are TV's in every room and the sockets take American plugs. Just make sure you use a surge protector and double check that your power adapter is good for 110-240v as the power in Thailand is 220volts while it is 110v in America. Most PS3's are multi voltage and work, while some 360's require a power converter. Look at the power brick so you don't burn it out by accident.
Games to bring: Think two player fighting games. UFC: Undisputed, Street Fighter IV, Mortal Combat, Mushroom Wars, Fight Night. Physical board games such as Risk have been fun as well.
2. A shit load of TV shows and Movies on an external hard drive - I'm talking about at least 1TB (terrabyte) of movies and TV shows, plus a couple USB memory sticks so you can plug it directly into your TV. After a long session of morning training, you'll just want to lay down and zone out to a movie, trust me. Some places have good enough internet to download, but don't take the chance and come stocked up.
3. Chocolates - I've never really craved chocolate when I was back home, but for some reason when I'm out here i'm a fiend for it. The problem is, good chocolate is impossible to find in Thailand. All the chocolates here are made with a special anti-melting agent that gives everything a waxy taste. Plus they are crazy expensive here. So trust me on this, bring a box or two of high quality chocolates from home and stick them in your mini fridge when you get here and you'll make tons of friends for it. I also brought a 3lb bag of raw almonds from Costco as they are a lot more expensive here and hard to find.
4. Running Shoes - If you have size US11 (UK45) or larger feet, it's next to impossible to find shoes here in Thailand so bring your own. If you want barefoot running shoes such as Vibram Five Fingers, you can forget about trying to find a pair in Thailand.
5. A Longer Visa and an Open Return Ticket - A 3 week trip to Thailand sounds like a hell of a long time, but once you get here, you quickly realize that it's no time at all. Most guys end up training for a few weeks and wish they could extend their trip. Most do. They make a visa run down to Malaysia to get another 60 days or some even go as far as signing up for Thai School to get a 1 year educational visa.
Other guys who have commitments back home or a fixed return plane ticket end up going home just to come straight back for a 3-6 month training camp. Knowing that 90% of people end up staying far longer than expected, plan for it. Get yourself a multiple entry (2-3) Tourist Visa before you come, sub-let your apartment and plan to stay longer. If you don't like it you can always go back early, but that seldom happens.
Everything else you can buy here in Thailand for super cheap. Boxing Gloves, Hand Wraps, Muay Thai Shorts, Mouth Guards, and all that can be purchased at your training camp. But bring that PS3!
Johnny Jen, My Fight Camp