Rock-climbing in Thailand

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of November 28-December 4, 1996
Active getaway to Kauai
Rock-climbing in Thailand
Crested Butte a good early-season choice
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Rock-climbing in Thailand
Question: I am looking to trip through Thailand/Asia and am aware that there are some good rock-climbing locations along the way. Could you please advise me of what the best places would be for an intermediate climber, and how much gear would be appropriate to take?

Chris Sinclair
Wellington, New Zealand
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: You're probably thinking of the limestone cliffs at Phra Nang on Thailand's Andaman Sea, home to some of the best climbing in Asia--including the world-class Thai Wand, the toughest on the continent. Getting there is half the fun. You'll need to hitch a 45-minute ride on a longtail boat from the town of Krabi out to the end of the roadless peninsula. Once there, reserve a room at the Sand Sea Bungalows (011-66-75-61-19-44) for $15-$50 per night or shack up with the rest of the climbing crowd at the treehouse-like Ya-Ya Bungalows (011-66-75-14-76-02-70; $2-$20 per night).

Get the logistical stuff out of the way and you'll be ready to climb. The routes range from 5.6 to 5.13 in difficulty, so as an intermediate-level climber you'll have plenty to choose from. For a full-day refresher course, talk to Dean at Phra Nang Rock Climbers (fax, 011-66-75-61-29-14); they'll outfit you in rental equipment and give you a heads-up on the don't-miss routes in the area, all for the low cost of $28 per person. Best of all, when you're tired of bruising your knuckles and shredding your fingertips, there's great cliff-jumping, swimming, bouldering, and hiking; try the hour-long jungle hike up and over the lip of a crater to an inland lagoon that fills and empties with the tide. Another option: Baby Shark Divers (fax, 011-66-75-61-29-14) will take you out into the bay for guided snorkeling and scuba excursions. Bear in mind that December through February is high season, so expect to be stuck with the upper price range for motel rooms and other services. For more information on climbing in Phra Nang, check out "Thai'd In" in Outside's 1996-1997 Winter Travel Guide.

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