After 3 nights in Bangkok, Part Two of our trip was a five night stay in Railay Beach. On the mainland, but only accessible by boat, Railay is on a peninsula.Â It is a small resort area that has a couple of great beaches and world class rock climbing.Â When planning the trip we saw beaches and climbing together so we figured what the heck?Â Letâs give it a shot.Â The area has hundreds of bolted routes ranging from 4 to 7frickinâ ridiculous(French System). Lodging can be found for a few bucks per night on up to $140+. Itâs been 17 years since Iâve climbed regularly so I really had no expectation of actually getting on the rock; just watching people would have been great.
The ice breaker was a boat tour that took us Deep Water Soloing.Â This involved free climbing up cliffs as high as you had the guts to go and then jumping into the water below.Â The climbing part went pretty wellâ¦jumping was the hard part!Â Talk about unnatural!Â Our guide was a South African named Jason whose climbing skills were off the charts good!Â We also went snorkeling and visited an island with a very cool beach.
When we got back to our bungalow I talked to An, the manager at Railay Gardenview Resort, about climbing. He made it easy by telling me to be ready at 9:30 the next morning. Â An was the most cordial host and he became my climbing partner for a couple of days.Â He was down to earth and a GREAT climber.Â He had not climbed in a month so he started easy by leading a 6a.Â I took it even easier by leading a couple of 5âs.Â It all came back very quickly and I was reminded of what I love about the sport.Â By the end of the second day I led 6a and a route with a 6b crux move.Â Dave Holdcraft taught me how to climb and he used to penalize me with âpenalty slackâ in the rope if I scratched and hacked my way up a route.Â He encouraged smooth moves and relying on power only when needed.Â I also reminisced about my old climbing partner Pete Deisroth. Â Thank you Dave and Pete for those good years way back then!Â There were climbers from all over the world.Â The local guides were all lean Thai natives with ridiculous strength to weight ratios.Â It was a great scene. There are many shops to rent gear and hire a guide or you can recon the area on your own no problem. Nearby Tonsai Beach is the hard core climbing area with cheaper lodging and simpler accommodations. Tonsai is also known as the local Stone Zone. So if climbing hard and then relaxing under a palm tree with some bud is your thing this is a good place to be!
The girls spent their time blogging, doing homework, and on the beach.Â The two days I climbed, I joined them on the beach and we lounged in the water for hours!Â It was great!Â We also rented sea kayaks, ate great Thai food every day and played cards. Another significant highlight was watching Carly play soccer on the beach with a bunch of local guys.Â It was 8 on 8 with a mini net.Â She was the only girl out there and the guys were super cool.Â The skill level was ridiculously good and we enjoyed watching!Â Visit Carlyâs blog at spytraveler.com for her take on that experience!
Finally, Railay has a trash problem.Â It bothered us a lot.Â The beaches were super clean, but the walking paths to and from were full of litter.Â Trash needs to be taken off the island everyday by boat.Â Not all of it makes it out of there.Â And we learned that there is no landfill. Trash gets incinerated.Â The locals just donât seem to be bothered by it. This resort will lose visitors if they donât manage this problem.Â It made us very grateful for our green community back home.Â It felt as if the local attitude was âpeople are coming with the trash so why bother picking it upâ.Â We heard the same problem exists on Koh Phi Phi and other places too.Â Paradise is being threatened.Â Any of these resorts can separate themselves from the other by instituting the simplest of greening measures.Â This was proven to us at our next stop at beautiful Koh Tao; the subject of my next blog.
Thanks for reading!