Mention Thailand and images of beaches, elephants and Bangkok come to mind. Less known is the fact Thailand rock climbing is some of the best in the world.
Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is bordered by Cambodia, Burma and Laos in the north and Malaysia in the south. The shape of the country is somewhat similar to Italy, and you’ll find similar differences between northern and southern Thailand that you do in Italy. For rock climbing enthusiasts, the south of Thailand is where the action is.
The rock formations in Thailand are almost universally limestone. The level of climbing can be as simple as bouldering or as challenging as tackling over vertical cliffs. This makes Thailand a popular rock climbing destination since it has a little something for everyone.
Located on the southern section of the “tail” of Thailand, Krabi has a wide variety of rock climbing challenges. Most of the climbs in this area are of the pre-bolted sport route variety. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of climbs with difficulty levels from beginner to multi-pitch knuckle crushers.
The beauty of climbing in Krabi is…well, the beauty. While you might have visions of jungles and mosquitoes when thinking of Thailand, Krabi is an area of a different sort. Most of the climbs have been set up on cliff faces on the beach. Being natural capitalists, the Thai’s have built hotels, bars and so on at these locations. As a result, you can literally climb a multi-pitch route for five hours, cool off with a swim and then have a beer. If there is such a thing as a rock climbing heaven, many feel Krabi is it.
Before you cash in your savings, keep in mind that Thailand is a seasonal vacation spot. If you go during the wet season, there is a good chance you’ll just end up sitting around drinking beer. While that isn’t too bad, you’ll go crazy looking at the climbs that are so close, but oh so far away.
Generally, you want to head to Thailand from late November through maybe April. The summer months tend to be both incredibly hot and wet. Make sure you pull up forecasts for the area before booking a trip.
Flying to Thailand is inexpensive, but flights are incredibly long with stopovers. Still, it is all worth it once you experience Thailand rock climbing.