At once salty and sweet, seedy and sublime, Bangkok’s contrasts pair together like the flavors in a traditional pad thai. Locked-in-time temples share the streets with ultramodern megamalls; long-tailed boats glide past gridlock on the network of canals; and Michelin-starred chefs serve up gourmet cuisine overlooking stalls of cheap, delicious street food.
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Known as the “Art of Eight Limbs,” Muay Thai boxing originated in the mid-16th century when the famous Siamese fighter Nai Khanomtom returned to Siam after fighting in the Burmese-Siamese war. His unique hand-to-hand combat style was soon recognized as a national sport, becoming part of local festivals and celebrations as well as a technique used in actual warfare. Unlike boxing, which uses two points of contact (the fists), Muay Thai is characterized by its combination of fists, elbows, knees, legs, shins, feet and neck, making it a full-contact sport.