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  • Writer's pictureNikki Busuttil

Climbing the Walls in Krabi

The south of Thailand is a rockclimber’s mecca. Avid enthusiasts flock year upon year, season after season to the Krabi province. Some of the most thrilling places to climb include the walls scattered around the bays of Railay and Tonsai - neighbouring beaches.

Not only is there a plethora of mostly titanium-bolted, well-maintained routes for all levels, but climbers also get to enjoy spectacular views and stunning sunsets. This makes for a rather spectacular climbing experience, especially given the beauty of the rock formations and funky stalactites. There are even great spots to basejump over the beach in Tonsai, but climb and jump at your own risk, as there is nothing official organised...

First timers and beginners can also learn to scale the rocks, while intermediate and advance can brush up on their skills and learn new techniques, with the massive amount of climbing centres, courses and guides for hire.

For those who want to go it alone, full equipment rental is also possible, without needing to take a guide along. The guidebooks available provide an in-depth look at almost all of the routes that are open to climb, to navigating one’s way around both bays is done with ease.

An enticing alternative climbing adventure, for those with a head for heights and a love of plunging into the sea, is to try your hand at ‘deep water solo’. Simply put, you hire a boat and head out with your swim gear on, scale one of the outlying rocks and jump back down – exhilarating!

Should you head there alone, it is very easy to find climbing partners, but be sure to choose with whom you climb wisely. However, that being said, the climbing community tends to be a very friendly, safety-conscious bunch. The resident monkeys, on the other hand, can be a tad more intimidating… Cute to look at and take photos of, yet avoid having any food on display when they cross your path, as they will win the battle for your bananas!

Accommodation is fairly easy to come by, except in the thick of high season (particularly December to January), so finding somewhere to stay on the fly is usually not a problem. There are rates to suit all pockets, from the very cheap, mosquito-ridden wooden bungalows and tents, to very luxurious resorts.

It is worth noting that if you’re a beginner, then all of your routes to learn on will be in Railay, so it would be worth your while staying there, particularly if you have trouble getting up early. Tonsai has the more challenging climbs, as well as some limited bouldering opportunities. Wherever you climb, time of day is everything - one of the rock faces is called 'Firewall' for a very good reason! Consult the climbing guides for the best time of day for the season to pick your am and pm climbs.

Railay and Tonsai are only accessible by boat, whether you’re coming from the direction of Phuket or Krabi Town, so consider that when packing, to ensure you have what you need for your stay.

Shops have limited supplies and some resorts switch off their electricity during the daytime until 6pm. This is more so the case on Tonsai, than on Railay. There are plenty of small bars and restaurants and it is possible to cross from one beach to the other with a jungle walk or cliff/rock walk (tide dependent). Internet access can be temperamental, but usually a connection and cell reception is available throughout. Did I mention the sunsets?

If you’re a climbing fanatic or a budding beginner, do feel free to hit me up for further information on climbing in Railay and Tonsai... In the meantime, take a look at my little slideshow and video (forgive the amateur camera panning - I was up on the wall!). Enjoy:

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