For an adventurous bucket list idea, you will love rock climbing in Railay. It is located in the Krabi province of Thailand. This region is popular for having some of the best limestone climbing routes in Asia, if not the world. There are many options which range from novice walls to difficulty levels to thrill even the most experienced climbers.
What makes Railay such a great place to go climbing is the natural beauty of the region. The beaches can be stunning. You can wake up at dawn and go for an early morning climb, then lounge on the beach for the hottest part of the day, then hit the walls again when the sun starts to go down. When you have worked up a sweat, having a tropical sea to dive into is a godsend.
The peninsula feels like an island because of the lack of cars. It is however very busy with tourists. Visiting in the off peak season (June to November) increases the chance of rain but ensures less crowds and lower hotel prices. Whilst there you can take a number of tours to paradise islands, a hot spring or walk around to the amazing Phra Nang Beach.
For those who have some experience climbing you should definitely go on a deep water soloing trip. You get in a boat then pull up to a rock, climb onto the rock and up you go. There are no ropes so if you fall you land in the water. This is an amazing way to combine the enjoyment of the stunning location with the sport of rock climbing.
Where to stay
Backpackers stay at Tonsai beach and many people staying in this area are visiting just for the climbing. You will easily find reasonably priced bungalows here, often without air conditioning. Some visitors have complained of poor hygiene in some eateries, so take care.
A short and strenuous walk away is Railay West beach, which is home to some medium and high end resorts. Prices are higher than usual because there is no road access and a very high demand for the small amount of accommodation. The standard of service is generally not up to par too, possibly aided by the never ending influx of day tourists.
Five minutes walk behind West Railay takes you to East Railay which is not a pleasant area. The beach is muddy and can be smelly. There is a mixture of hotels with many being below par. If you don’t want to stay in backpacker digs, it could be worth staying in Ao Nang which is 10 minutes boat ride away. Here there is a much wider selection of accommodation and eating options, at lower rates.
How to get there
Railay is only accessible by boat from Krabi Town pier or from Ao Nang. Krabi has an airport with regular flights to Bangkok. Or you can fly into Phuket and take a 3 hour taxi ride at a cost of around 3,000 Baht.
There are plenty of instructors available with the standard cost being 800 THB (Thai Baht) for a few hours in a small group. For experienced climbers who are alone, your best bet is to head to Tonsai where you will quickly meet others.