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Railay/Tonsai in July 2014 - where best to stay and calling for climbing partners
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By AndrewTerris
From wellington, NZ
Mar 13, 2014
Hi
I'm travelling from NZ in July - planning a month in Thailand climbing before heading over to Europe. The last time I climbed over there was in 1996 (showing my age!). Im happy leading 5.10's - not really into the party scene - more a case of climbing and swimming/diving while there. Any "beta" on accom at that time of year and anyone else planning on being there at the same time who might want to catch up for a climb?
cheers
- Andrew

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 13, 2014
El Chorro
Doesn't sound like Railey/Tonsai is really your scene. Most of the 5.10s are either no good, or extremely polished, or both. And while it is possible to avoid the parties, neither place is remotely the same as they were in 1996. You'll probably be disappointed.

That time of year is also very crowded and relatively expensive.

At least look into Koh Yao Noi. It's beautiful and there is still a bit of Thailand left there. You could also look at the climbing in China.

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By Jon D
From Carthage, NY
Mar 14, 2014
bouldering at Wichita Mountains
Andrew,

Are you climbing 5.10 or Tonsai 5.10? Most Tonsai grades are definitely soft and it's not uncommon for complete beginners to warm up on 5.9 and work 5.10. If you can climb 5.10 in the U.S. then you'd definitely have a lot of fun working Tonsai 5.11, 5.12.

As for accomodations- don't stay on the beach it's expensive, always wet and kinda dirty. If you walk further in the jungle past Wee's Climbing shop and keep going the jungle bungalows get cheaper, (I think we paid 250 bath/ night for should season). If you want nicer you can always walk a ways and stay in Railay.

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By Jon D
From Carthage, NY
Mar 14, 2014
bouldering at Wichita Mountains
I also second Ryan's advice to just go to China. It's better now.

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By AndrewTerris
From wellington, NZ
Mar 14, 2014
Hi Ryan and Jon,
thanks for the advice. Have to confess that I use the Aus grading system and not use to the European. Climbing in NZ comfortably leading grade 19-20. Koh ya Noi looks interesting thanks Ryan. Have to confess Id not considered China (big place!- where's good that's also near the water?). First pref in Thailand as I'm catching up with some other friends (non climbers) over there.
cheers
- Andrew

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By Carl Rene Pelletier
From Jackson, Wyoming
Mar 14, 2014
Andrew, my wife and I went to Thailand a couple of years ago. We climbed in Railay for about a week and then went up north to Chiang Mai and climbed there too. We actually liked the climbing in Chiang Mai quite a bit. For us....Railay was a bit of a scene and we ended up climbing in the early morning and early evening as it was so hot and slippery between 9am and 4pm while we were there. I felt like I was constantly being hustled down there. The routes and features were amazing in Rialay, but in the end the quiet feel of Chiang Mai trumped the Rialay scene. We hooked up with CMRCA (Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures - run by a guy from SLC) and they helped us with a hotel, transportation and even made incredible recommendations on cooking classes and night life when we weren't climbing. No beaches in Chiang Mai, the routes are not as spectacular as down in Railay, but you have this true rural Thailand feel. We took a moped ride up into the countryside on an off day that was incredible. The crag is low key, fun and well bolted. There are even climbs inside of a cave (The Bat Cave) where you climb by headlamp! CMRCA also recommended Vietnam climbing.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Mar 14, 2014
El Chorro
Carl Rene Pelletier wrote:
Andrew, my wife and I went to Thailand a couple of years ago. We climbed in Railay for about a week and then went up north to Chiang Mai and climbed there too. We actually liked the climbing in Chiang Mai quite a bit. For us....Railay was a bit of a scene and we ended up climbing in the early morning and early evening as it was so hot and slippery between 9am and 4pm while we were there. I felt like I was constantly being hustled down there. The routes and features were amazing in Rialay, but in the end the quiet feel of Chiang Mai trumped the Rialay scene. We hooked up with CMRCA (Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures - run by a guy from SLC) and they helped us with a hotel, transportation and even made incredible recommendations on cooking classes and night life when we weren't climbing. No beaches in Chiang Mai, the routes are not as spectacular as down in Railay, but you have this true rural Thailand feel. We took a moped ride up into the countryside on an off day that was incredible. The crag is low key, fun and well bolted. There are even climbs inside of a cave (The Bat Cave) where you climb by headlamp! CMRCA also recommended Vietnam climbing.


Great description of the climbing up north. All around I think Chiang Mai is amazing and the climbing is underrated. Some of my best memories (both climbing and non climbing) of Thailand are from up north, and that is saying a lot considering I lived in the south for the better part of three years.

There is also good climbing near Bangkok. Koh Chin Lae II, which is described on this site. Dec-Feb would be great there, and also in Chiang Mai.

Not to say that the south is not amazing. It's very beautiful and definitely unique. But Phra Nang Peninsula has seen better days, that is for sure. Koh Yao Noi is one of my favourite places in the world though, so if you're in the south, I totally recommend it.

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