The amazing lime stone monoliths that sprout up all around the Andaman Sea, especially here, have turned Railay Beach into a climbing mecca. There are over 1000 bolted sport climbing routes just in this area, all within walking distance or reachable by boat and the place is a really popular winter climbing spot. No surprise really, there aren’t many places where you can spend the morning climbing, picking from any number of crazy routes on an insanely beautiful tropical beach and then jump in the sea to cool off right afterwards.
There was no way we weren’t going to cash in on the opportunity to do some climbing. The problem: we didn’t bring any climbing gear with us at all. The second problem: the weight difference between Luca and me is too big, meaning I can obviously belay Luca while climbing but there is no way for Luca to safely belay me. The solution: we booked a climbing course! That way we were able to get all the gear required and instead of the climbing guide teaching us climbing, he set up the routes for us and belayed me or helped belay us while climbing. That way both Luca and I could safely climb. We headed for Phran Nang beach, to a nice shaded area. The beach is roofed by a massively overhanging face/cave and is apparently always a safe bet after or during rain because the huge roof keeps the rock dry. Little did we know that we weren’t going to be alone there… At one point there were probably at least 80 Chinese or Japanese people crowding the beach behind us (the big tourist attraction here is a cave at the beach which holds a shrine filled with a massive assortment of wooden “pimmels”) all armed with bloody selfie sticks holding smart phone or GoPro. They all stood there with their mouthes wide open watching us and a few other people climb. I wonder what sort of quality photos they must have gotten with their wide-angle lenses, haha…!
The climbing was really good. The routes were cool, challenging but not too hard. Good for us amateurs who haven’t been climbing in months and, best of all, Luca had a great time and climbed well, especially considering the oppressive heat and humidity. Definitely a highlight of our time in Thailand!