Thailand: a guide to rock climbing in Krabi
Mention a holiday in Thailand and most people imagine one of two things: either a decadent break spent relaxing on idyllic beaches, or an exciting trip exploring the country’s cultural attractions. While both are absolutely amazing holiday options, it’s activities like rock climbing that I’m really interested in.
Thailand’s a great place for active breaks, offering brilliant possibilities for everything from trekking in the hills (head to the northern regions) to scuba diving. If, like me, it’s rock climbing that sparks your interest, though, you should definitely base yourself in the province of Krabi.
Located in the south of Thailand on the Andaman coast, Krabi has a reputation for being a beach lover’s paradise. It’s not really hard to see why – the islands here are so scenic they have to be seen to be believed, erupting dramatically out of the waves. Plus, the fact that you can reach ultra-secluded stretches of sand by traditional boat is another draw – but I’m getting off topic. So, back to rock climbing.
The Railay area is easily the most famous place for rock climbing in Krabi, and deservedly so. The limestone rock around Railay Beach is actually part of one of the largest coral reefs in the world, and it provides some absolutely spectacular climbing routes.
What’s particularly nice about it – aside from the dramatic setting, that is – is that it’s got something for just about every level of climber. The routes are categorised using the French grading system, by the way, and those of you who are new to the activity should keep your eyes peeled for those marked 5a, which are suitable for beginners. That said, if you’re a novice you will, of course, be arranging tuition anyway, so you’ll be pointed in the right direction by your guides!
Remarkably, there are around 700 climbing routes in Railay, so it’s pretty easy to spend the whole of your break tackling these – and you’ll know there will still be plenty of fresh challenges to try the next time you visit!
Krabi – additional information
Of course, while serious rock climbers will no doubt be happy to spend their entire break trying their hand at different routes, newcomers are probably after a little more variety. So, I’m going to take a quick look at what else this gorgeous province has to offer.
First of all, it’s home to some absolutely stunning luxurious hotels – so if it’s relaxation you have in mind, you’ll be well catered for to say the least! Among your options is the Beyond Resort, but you can check out a comprehensive list at Hayes and Jarvis.
It’s also a brilliant place to go island hopping. For instance, this is the home of Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is famous for being the setting of The Beach – the film adaptation of Alex Garland’s incredible novel. Plus, you can also head to Ko Khao Ping Kang, which you will probably hear referred to as James Bond Island, having featured in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Krabi is also one of the top places to go scuba diving in Thailand. Ao Phra Nang Bay is a great spot to try if you want to avoid the crowds, and has the advantage of being suitable to explore by traditional longtail boat, so you can have an authentic Thai experience.