Location: Mr Big Muscle Fitness, Luang Prabang (Manomai Road)
Google maps: Click here
Opening hours: 6am to 8pm
Price: 15,000 kip (Approx £1.50)
Review: Despite multiple internet searches, and asking around at all of the hotels we could find, I had to admit defeat in Vang Vieng and accept that there was just no gym in this town. Thankfully, you can now read the new article from Kelly Hodges on what to do when you get to a town like this. You can read this article here. Luckily for me, there was plenty to do to stay active in this town, including climbing hundreds of feet to some amazing view points and the infamous river tubing. Despite its checkered past, we really enjoyed the tubing. The views from the river were incredible and the ability to stop and get a gin and tonic before getting back into the river added another level to the experience. I don’t think I have ever been a river with a buzz before. This is one of the shots that we got from the river!
After we left the gymless beauty of Vang Vieng we headed to Luang Prabang. The entire city of Luang Prabang is a UNESCO world heritage site. A one time french colonial city, Luang Prabang is unique in Laos due to the mix of French Architecture and traditional Laos architecture. It is also one of the most beautiful towns that we have seen on our travels. And to further my love of this town, it has not one, but two gyms. Hallelujah! After a quick google search for Gyms in Luang Prabang I managed to locate one of them. The other isn’t on google maps, but you can see the location in the next post about that gym.
Both gyms in this town are branches of big muscle fitness. The first is Big Muscle Fitness on Kingkitsarath Road and it is the larger of the two gyms. The gym itself is partly outside and partly in the ground story of the house. The outside area has matted floors and is where most of the free-weights are located. This is where the local muscle heads seems to hang out. Inside is the cardio equipment, an area for training abs, and a double multigym at the back. Located at the back is an antiquated sound system, next to a self-service tea and coffee station. But you will never guess what else they have next to this equipment.
That’s right. A god dam dresser. Just like Gold Hillside Gym in Thailand and Tar’s Gym in Vientiane. This really does seem to be an asian thing! Maybe something LA Fitness should be looking into for 2017?
The gym itself is well stocked for lifters, with heavy dumbbells and Olympic bars. The equipment is kinda old school in parts, such as the massive iron dumbbells, which I actually really like. What are those?
This gym also has:
- Dumbbells unto 40kg
- Adjustable benches
- Squat rack
- Olympic bars
- Shoulder press bench
- Smith machine
- Flat barbell bench
- Cables x 2
- Preacher curl bench
- Easy bar
- Hack squat machine / leg press
- Lat pulldown
- Seated low row
- Pec Dec
- Pull up bars
- Static bikes
- Swiss balls
- Ab rollers
Entrance to this gym on a day pass costs 15000 kip and includes use of a sweat towel. The outside part of the gym is ventilated by nature and there are fans inside but no air conditioning.
The gym also has a small shop at the front which sells electrolyte powder, as well as water and isotonic drinks. This branch also sells protein powder and a few other supplements too. These slightly are more expensive that those I found in Cambodia but there is no-where else in Luang Prabang to buy supplements from, so this is your only choice if you are running low.
Who is it for? I trained here on a couple of occasions whilst in Luang Prabang and saw a real mix of locals and tourists training here. The atmosphere was friendly, and whilst the locals seemed mildly interested in the new face training in their gym, you are very much left to your own devices. The place felt safe and I don’t see any reason not to recommend this gym to women or to beginners.
Tips: If you are heading into the rural parts of Laos from here, I would advise that you stock up on protein here because once you leave Luang Prabang you are unlikely to find any outside of the major cities.