by Jess Spate
Krabi Climbing! Image credit: Neils Photography via flickr under a Creative Commons license.
Thailand isn’t the most famous rock-climbing destination in the world but it is fast catching up with places like the French Alps and Yosemite National Park in the USA.
Not only is there incredible rock to experience in Thailand, it’s also often situated in truly spectacular places. Limestone cliffs rise straight up out of the rainforest or drop down into clear, warm blue seas.
For climbers who are sick of overcrowded American crags and cold, damp mountainsides, a visit to Thailand is the perfect solution- it’s warm, it’s relaxed, and the cliffs are perfect for sports climbing.
The climbing industry is growing fast in South-East Asia. In Thailand, Railay and Krabi are at the forefront, but there are inland crags and pinnacles to explore too. There are also plenty of climbing schools for beginners and guides to help more experienced visitors find the best routes on land or by sea.
New routes are going up every day, and there is plenty to please climbers at any level. Whether you’ve never set foot on a rock wall before or climbing is a life-long passion, there’s enough to keep you busy in Thailand.
It’s fairly easy to buy chalk and anything else you might need on a climbing trip locally. Accommodation and food prices are incredibly cheap, especially when compared to the famously expensive Alpine resort towns of Europe.
It’s not difficult to find a climbing venue with a spectacular setting but you won’t find the crowds that hang around Chamonix or Sheffield getting in the way. If the beach crags are busy, just hire a boat and head out to the islands.
Most of the climbs are bolted, which means you don’t have to carry much heavy climbing gear on the trip over. Deep water soloing (climbing above water with no rope- if you fall, you fall into the sea, a lake, or a deep pool in a river) is a popular pastime and every climber should try it at least once during a stay in Thailand. After all, if you’re going to fall into water it might as well be warm!
On non-climbing rest days you can enjoy the sun and the beaches, head inland and check out the history and culture in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, or experience the rainforests. Sample local food, shop in the markets, and just relax.
If you’re hunting for a new and exciting destination for your next rock climbing holiday, Thailand should be the first place you look. At the moment it’s a well-kept secret, but as more people find out just how good the routes are, it’ll get a wider international reputation, so get in quick before the crowds arrive.
Jess Spate is a keen rock climber and a lover of South East Asia. She works for Timeshare Secrets, a great resource if you want to sell a Marriott timeshare, and Timeshare Partners – go there if you want to buy Wyndham timeshare units.