Between a rock and a hard place

What we say: 3 stars

Never heard of bouldering? If you took a guess… you’d probably be right. It’s all about climbing boulders. And Ko Tao is becoming increasingly popular with the bouldering community due to the quantity and variety of granite boulders here to climb.

Granite everywhere

Granite everywhere

Bouldering is a discipline in climbing that’s growing quickly; put simply, it’s the practice of climbing boulders without lines or ropes. Originally it started out as a way to practice techniques and get experience ahead of “normal” rockclimbing. Climbers use a crash mat to cushion falls, usually wear climbing shoes and maybe carry some chalk, but nothing else. Unlike solo climbing though its climbs are usually less than seven metres high.

Boulders are scattered literally everywhere here on Ko Tao and more are being discovered all the time as land is cleared for development. If you’re interested in giving this sport a go, while you can just go for it on your own, you might want to pop into Goodtime Adventures for advice and pay any land fees if required — not all the land you see is publicly owned and you should check first and carry receipts for any payments you make.

Do be warned that the boulder at the south end of Sairee Beach is sacred and on no account should be climbed. Do be considerate with noise and of course don’t climb anywhere you are going to disturb someone in their home.

Grab your crash mat !

The alternative backpacker turtle look.

It’s now quite a common sight to see climbers riding their bikes around the island with their crash mats strapped to their backs. If you are going to be one of them, then there’s a great guide that you can download directly from Goodtime Adventures, with the boulders marked and graded and additional tips.

Boulders with a view.

Boulders with a view.

If you are not travelling with your own gear, they offer hire from their office on south Sairee: shoes are 350 baht, chalk 150 baht and a crash pad is 300 baht for 24 hours.

Don’t forget, if climbing is too much, there’s always plain hiking.

Last updated: 4th October, 2013

About the author:
Ayesha ditched her power suit in favour of a wetsuit and ventured to Ko Tao to indulge in her passion for scuba diving. Apart from writing for she manages the Master Divers Blog and whenever possible is underwater with her camera shooting fish!
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