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Rant about Thailand Climbing
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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 29, 2013
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

The climbing in Thailand is really fun and the deep water solo is really fun too. Its everything else that gets annoying.

The Taxis from the Airport to Ao Nang are a Cartel and you have to get a ticket from the people inside for anyone to take you from there, no haggling since there are no other options. Also once you get a taxi they will stop about half way and let some sales people try and sell you trip packages. We figured out later that if you went up to the Departs area (where taxis are dropping people off at the airport) you could probably get a better cheaper taxi.

The same goes for the Boat Cartel down at the Ao Nang Beach area. All of the local Long tails are gone and there are only the cartel left. If you want to go anywhere you have to get a ticket from the booth and show that to the boat people. Then they will refuse to leave until they have a full boat of people. We have had to wait for more than 30 minutes after paying till the boat would leave for the 8 minute long ride.

Also the deep water solo is a racket too. All of the climbing companies that offer it for 1000baht just put you off into the same group. You get on a sail boat the just goes at Idle speed (no wind) across the bay towards the climbing area (at about 1/3 the speed of a long tail boat) We climbed for about an hour, then a 2 hour long lunch where they leave you on a beach. And the best part was when they brought us to another area and the guides were "surprised" that the tide was so low and it was a bad area for trying to deep water solo so we should just head back... We still insisted that we give it a shot since that was, apparently, our only option. So as far as my experience with it, they booked 12 people for a max 10 person boat, we wasted a ton of time on an incredibly slow sail boat (about 1.5 hours to putts across the water to the island), Wasted a lot of extra time on the beach not climbing, and they deliberately try to screw you out of even doing any climbing at a second area by taking you to a low tide, barnacle covered wall and suggesting that we just head back. In hind sight try and talk to the climbing company to set up a private Long tail to take you around and do some actual climbing.


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By todd w
Apr 29, 2013

Bummer.

I hear America is nice.


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By jellis
From Washington, East and West
Apr 29, 2013

Dude that's traveling in Thailand. These are all things you should know about before you go with minimal research. Personally I thought all the haggling and searching for deals are what made it fun. It's not a place to go if you just want an easy climbing trip.


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 29, 2013
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

Most of the stuff I saw when I looked into it was that you can just roll down there, haggle with some local fisher guys to rent their boat for a day to take you around and such. Just wanted to let people know that a lot of the resource they might find about the state of Thailand climbing could be out dated. That place is changing pretty fast.


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By David Sahalie
From on the road again
Apr 29, 2013

Wow! I think you are the very first westerner to have his climbing trip slowed down by slow locals. I wish they would do something about all that damn humidity too.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 29, 2013
El Chorro

Tim C wrote:
The climbing in Thailand is really fun and the deep water solo is really fun too. Its everything else that gets annoying. The Taxis from the Airport to Ao Nang are a Cartel and you have to get a ticket from the people inside for anyone to take you from there, no haggling since there are no other options. Also once you get a taxi they will stop about half way and let some sales people try and sell you trip packages. We figured out later that if you went up to the Departs area (where taxis are dropping people off at the airport) you could probably get a better cheaper taxi. The same goes for the Boat Cartel down at the Ao Nang Beach area. All of the local Long tails are gone and there are only the cartel left. If you want to go anywhere you have to get a ticket from the booth and show that to the boat people. Then they will refuse to leave until they have a full boat of people. We have had to wait for more than 30 minutes after paying till the boat would leave for the 8 minute long ride. Also the deep water solo is a racket too. All of the climbing companies that offer it for 1000baht just put you off into the same group. You get on a sail boat the just goes at Idle speed (no wind) across the bay towards the climbing area (at about 1/3 the speed of a long tail boat) We climbed for about an hour, then a 2 hour long lunch where they leave you on a beach. And the best part was when they brought us to another area and the guides were "surprised" that the tide was so low and it was a bad area for trying to deep water solo so we should just head back... We still insisted that we give it a shot since that was, apparently, our only option. So as far as my experience with it, they booked 12 people for a max 10 person boat, we wasted a ton of time on an incredibly slow sail boat (about 1.5 hours to putts across the water to the island), Wasted a lot of extra time on the beach not climbing, and they deliberately try to screw you out of even doing any climbing at a second area by taking you to a low tide, barnacle covered wall and suggesting that we just head back. In hind sight try and talk to the climbing company to set up a private Long tail to take you around and do some actual climbing.


There are local busses that leave from every airport, usually every 20-30 minutes. They go to Krabi, Ao Nang, and other places. They cost like 60 baht and only take a little longer than the taxis. Plus, you don't get crammed in w/ a bunch of Euro tourists.

The longtail situation is the same. If you hang out at the tourist area, you'll get the tourist treatment. In Ao Nang, all you have to do is walk a few hundred meters down the beach and find a local longtail. Buy him a drink (no alcohol if he has flowers on the front of his boat), talk to him for 10 minutes, and tell him you might want to do a deep water solo trip and probably will need a ride back from Tonsai to Ao Nang in a week or two. Get his cell number. He'll take you to Tonsai for the same price you'd pay for the tourist boat (100-150), but he won't wait around for his boat to fill up.

You don't need to go DWS w/ a climbing company. You can rent your own boat with a group of people (easy to find in Tonsai or Railey). You can also rent kayaks.

Sounds like you just aren't interested in making friends with the locals (or even other travellers). Plenty of non-adventurous people spend their holiday griping about that kind of stuff. You know what I tell them? "You should have gone to the Red."

Thailand has been that way for years. It's not "changing fast." It already changed 20 years ago.


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By slim
Administrator
Apr 29, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

just curious, was this your first trip out of the US?


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By Tim C
From Lakewood, CO
Apr 29, 2013
Grahh! There be a human in my Throne!

Dang, sorry to try and contribute any information to this site about my experience and ways to improve upon it. I forgot the first rule was to jump to assumptions about people being inexperienced, anti social, and a complainer.

At least the first half of Ryan Williams post was informative information that would have been useful.


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By Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Apr 29, 2013
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stiletto, Sharkstooth, Forbidden Tower, Petit Grepon, The Saber, The Foil, The Moon & The Jackknife.

Tim C wrote:
At least the first half of Ryan Williams post was informative information that would have been useful.


Maybe you should have made a post asking for good beta on how to get around Thailand efficiently beforehand instead of a "rant" after your trip. Just a thought.


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By CJC
Apr 29, 2013

I feel real bad for you that you had to go deep water soloing in fucking Thailand


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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Apr 29, 2013
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, high Sierras.

What you described is stuff that you simply have to deal with when you travel. These kinds of things are common in developing countries, maybe avoid them if that bothers you. It's important to focus on the good things (which there is plenty of) rather than letting the things that you aren't used to get you down.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 29, 2013
modern man

you either barter with cash or go to the booth, take a ticket and wait because you are scared to deal. cartel? lol, try third world working class trying to make 10% of the bucks you make

you are not alone.


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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Apr 30, 2013
Wall Street, Moab, UT

CJC wrote:
I feel real bad for you that you had to go deep water soloing in fucking Thailand


Sort of the way I feel about it, with 10 more inches of snow bearing down on my fair city... but I took this post (along with Ryan's response) as usable info, should I be lucky enough to be heading that way. For my fellow (and would-be) travelers, I offer this glimpse into the way others around the world perceive us:

things-most-americans-dont-know-about-america/


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Apr 30, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

Peter Stokes wrote:
Sort of the way I feel about it, with 10 more inches of snow bearing down on my fair city... but I took this post (along with Ryan's response) as usable info, should I be lucky enough to be heading that way. For my fellow (and would-be) travelers, I offer this glimpse into the way others around the world perceive us: things-most-americans-dont-know-about-america/


That article is fantastic.

And to second what was said above: asking questions would have better served you than ranting. Your post was half ranting, half questions. You got back roughly half answers, half "getting put in your place."


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