Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thailand Rock Climbing Trip

After three years of dreaming about going to Thailand, I finally made it. I've been hearing stories about this rock climbing Mecca ever since I went to New Zealand. This was my one week opportunity to take in all I could! I couldn't have asked for a better holiday!

To be honest, it actually started out quite badly. I've never really traveled to a country like this so even after all the research, I still didn't know what to expect. I got there and felt like I was getting ripped off every turn. All those people are experts at taking advantage of naive foreigners, and I'm the most gullible of all of them. Things like my taxi ride from the airport and the first few nights of my bungalow were way overpriced.

My private bungalow.

I finally got to Railay Beach after 24 hours of travel time and was a little frustrated and overwhelmed. This place is quite a lot different than the dirtbagging climbing crags I'm used to. I stayed at Tonsai beach, where many of the backpackers stay, but the famous beach is Railay which is full of suitcase people. It really is quite a resort area. The next morning I woke up all frustrated but on my walk after breakfast, I met the two nicest people I'd meet on the whole trip: Michael and Angela. They needed gear and I needed a climbing parter, so we had a great mutual friendship and got some great climbing in for the next few days! We did some nice easy climbs and even went on a sweet snorkeling trip! I'd never been snorkeling before, so that was a great experience for me.

Michael and Angela


Sunset dinner on a deserted island.

The thing I was looking forward to most was the deep water soloing. I did two days of it during the trip. The first day was on our own in rented kayaks, and the second day was guided by Wee's Rock Climbing School. It was super-fun, but honestly, it wasn't a life changing experience. It was quite scary, since you don't really want to fall. I don't care what you say, falling in the water sometimes hurts, especially when you fall sideways. It was certainly a fun time, but nothing that I'll pursue any further than these little excursions.

Our ride, its called a 'longtail'

Climbers being dropped off in the kayak.

Too much fun!

Beautiful Climbing

Happy Climbers

I spent most of my time on the trip meeting cool people and climbing nearly every day. I love hanging around the backpacker's culture. There's so many interesting people to talk to and so many dreams being formed and realized. Towards the end of the week, I met and mostly hung out with a few folks from the 'Korea on the Rocks' message forum. They were super nice, it's too bad I can't ever see them while I'm in Korea! I also met John and Lisa, two folks I climbed with in New Zealand and Australia 3 years ago!! I couldn't believe they recognized me! Especially with my short hair!! Finally, on my last two nights, there was a cool fire dancing competition. Overall, it was a great trip, and I already can't wait to go back!

This is the outdoor climbing gym....Tonsai Roof.

There were lots of super strong climbers.

Strange climbs!

This was one of my favorites, 'The Lion King'

The beach is beautiful, even at low tide.


I climbed with John and Lisa In NZ 3 years ago!

Can't beat the views!

Fire Dancing Competition.

I wanna go back and never leave!


  1. Hi Dan,

    Great blog you have abou Railey rock climbing. I was searching to the group of rock claimbing instuctor there in Railey someone told me they start some informal beach ultimate there.. as i play ultimate in Bangkok and want to set one group by any nice beach around Thailand.

    And one thing i want to ask you is i'm going to Jeju ultimate on 26-27 April then will stay over for 2 more days after the tourney.. Any place there is the "Must visit" can u recommend? (I'm from bangkok,thailand)

    Thanks heap

  2. Hey,

    Good to hear from you and glad you're coming to Jeju! I don't play ultimate, but I'll definitely go to watch the tournament this year. There's lots to see and do on Jeju, and I'm sure you'll find some good things to do and meet some great people. I don't have any recommendations for "must see," I usually tell people to rent a scooter and explore! See ya at the tournament!


  3. Hi, great blog about climbing in Thailand. There are a couple of new destinations, Koh Lao Liang and Koh Yao Noi, which we cover in our Thai climbing ezine on, maybe your readers would be interested to read more, there's a safety article and one on birds' nest collectors in there somewhere too

  4. Amazing! I would love to check out more climbing when I’m stateside too. I need to do more exploring within my own backyard!