Railey & Tonsai, Krabi, Thailand

Happy Chinese New Year! As it was a four day holiday in HK, we       naturally did not stay in the city. Instead we flew to my favorite place in Thailand, which is Railey, Krabi for several days of climbing in paradise. I went to the same place during my one month long backpacking trip with D last year.

As we had some leftover aeroplan points to use up, we flew in style on Thai Air instead of our usual budget airline. Thai Air is lovely and the service is wonderful. My mum suggested I order a special meal: fruit platter. What did I get? TWO BANANAS! And since I had to change planes, I got way more fruit than I bargained for.

Ordered fruit platter meal ... two banansa,

Since Tonsai/ Railay can only be reached by long-tail boats and it was 9 pm by the time we left the airport, we stayed the night in Krabi Ao Nang which is a small tourist town right by the  pier. The town was nothing special, selling tourist knick-knacks , overpriced food and filled with over tanned old tourists or drunk backpackers. Reminded me of a mini Phuket. Yuck.

Early next morning we boarded the long tail to Tonsai. Last year I stayed in Railay and found the place to be very quiet after 7pm. The reason was that Railay is filled with nice resorts and everyone hides in them after sunset. This time we opted to stay in Tonsai the next bay over where it is much more low key and budget. How budget? Most places have electricity only from 6pm~6am, cold water , very simple toilets (no  flush) and there are bug nets on each bed. The result of this is that it attracts a lot of laid back hippy backpackers and world class rock climbers. Why rock climbers? Tonsai and Railay has one of the best climbing area in the world. Some climbers come and stay for months, some never leave.

Hello Tonsai:


So after landing in Tonsai we walked around asking if they had rooms available. The first two from the beach were full, but eventually we found a free bungalow at the Bayan Resort for 700 baht a night. Later on we found that during high season you can find accommodation around Tonsai anywhere from 300~1500 baht a night. At the lower end you will probably get a bed with a fly net that has lots of holes in it or a giant ant nest residing with you. At 700 baht a night we had a very simple washroom, windows, bed,  a fly net with no holes, and a porch.

What 700 Baht looks like:


The say we arrived at Tonsai we went climbing at a crag called “one~two~three”, its pretty cool to climb on stalactites ( or “toothers” in climber slang). We had an easy time meeting other climbers and had a great dinner with a couple guys at the Legacy restaurant.

Crag is super busy with classes:

Busy Crag (1-2-3)

The second day we went Deep Water Soloing with Basecamp Tonsai, which is climbing over deep water so you just fall into the water when you are done or miss a hold. Sounds great unless you are 15 meters from the ocean. At the second spot for DWS it was low tide so I had to climb up this giant rope ladder before I could begin to climb. By the time I reached the top I was about 15~18m from the ocean. The jump looked terrifying and it was pretty painful as I landed not 100% right and now have a bruised thigh and collarbone. Still totally worth it for the money shot but I would think twice before I jump that distance again. It ended that only a handful of participants and I was the only female who took such a leap. M wisely chose to forgo this climb.

Climbing and trying not to think about the height:


Taking the leap! Bad body position though 😦


A more normal bouldering problem by M:


At night, we tried this restaurant called Mama’s Chicken which is very popular and busy with other backpackers. However, we got violently ill and was pretty much unavailable for the day after. We did manage to crawl our way to Phra Nang Beach where we just laid in the sand and watched the sunset.

The Penis Gallery at Phra Nang Beach:


Feeling a lot better the day after, we did more climber. First we tried out Muay Thai Wall, then walked over to Escher Wall but realized the sun was going to burn us alive so we decided to go into the pitch black cave and rappel down the other side to West Railay again.

Luckily I had packed a flashlight:


Nice view at top of cave:

Sunlight and a view! Time to get down!

And a nice rappel down:

A view

We ended up at Thaiwand wall which was very nice crag with lots of possible multipitches (I need to get on learning that). I did a nice 6a+ there and we headed out since it was quite busy.  On a side note, while we were at Thaiwand wall a large group of young Canadian backpackers also went through the dark cave led by a very irresponsible Thai  guide. Apparently, the harness was broken and all the Canadians were drunk. What was worse was that they were drinking while being lowered and left their beer cans everywhere. These are times I do not associate with being Canadian. The more professional Thai guides were very not impressed. But I digress.

The local guides suggested heading over to Eagle Crag at Tonsai but by the time we reached Tonsai, the sun was going to set. So we had a Nutella Banana smoothie instead, dinner and another Thai Massage for 200 Baht. Tough.

Our last day, we woke up, packed and headed to Eagle Crag. I wish I had checked out the crag earlier because it was full of climbs my level and was actually not packed with people. We did a couple of climbs and called it a day.

Eagle crag, Tonsai.

Leaving the crag, we realized it was high tide so we were stuck waiting for the tide to go down so we could safely wade through the water without getting all our expensive gear wet. Luckily there was a very nice and quiet beach where we finally got to relax and swim.

Relax at the beach off Eagle crag:


After that, our vacation was over. We headed back to Ao Nang so that we could catch the morning flight home.

Beautiful, fun vacation that left me more bruised, sore, but very happy. Until next time 😀

Some sunset photos:




Hong Kong. Travel. Climb. In that order.

2 thoughts on “Railey & Tonsai, Krabi, Thailand

  1. Wow, what an awesome looking and sounding trip! And holy, you guys are looking buff! Climbing is definitely my next athletic endeavor…..living vicariously and sending the love from Van. xo

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