Rock climbing

World class

Photo of Rock climbing, , Railay Beach

What we say: 4.5 stars

With hundreds of bolted routes leading up vertical limestone cliffs to caves and pinnacles with soaring ocean views, Railay is a dream destination for climbers.

Overseen by a large group of both Thai and foreign climbing experts, safety is taken seriously, and the overall rock quality is excellent. Many routes are regularly re-bolted with titanium gear. The cliffs are riddled with crags and crevices, and some have ledges and caves that can be climbed to. On the French grading scale, the easiest routes are scored at 5a while several challenging climbs reach up to 8c.

Some of the most popular cliffs include Three Wall at the south end of Railay East, the massive Thaiwand Wall at the southern side of Railay West and, for really serious climbers, Ao Nang Tower, which can only be reached by longtail and dares you to go for an extremely difficult third pitch. For something different, head to Highland Rock Climbing inland from Railay East to climb a floodlit wall at night, or go with one of the many companies that offer deep water soloing.

We counted nearly a dozen climbing schools with offices all over the peninsula. Two of the largest and oldest are Hot Rock (office on Railay East) and King Climbers (office near Railay West), both open since the early ‘90s. Also going strong for over two decades is Tex Climbing School with an office on Railay East, which is a good choice if you prefer a smaller outfit. German-managed Basecamp Tonsai (guess where it’s based?) is another reputable choice that claims to have been the first to offer deep water soloing.

Courses run from 600 baht for a basic beginner's class and up to 12,000 for a multi-day advanced session. Climbing gear can be rented from most schools. If bringing your own, the minimum you'll need would be 60 metres of rope, several slings and quickdraws and lots of chalk.

Last updated: 24th April, 2015

About the author:
Usually found exploring Bangkok's side streets or south Thailand's islands, David Luekens is an American freelance writer & photographer who finds everyday life in Asia to be extraordinary. You can follow his travails here.
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