Rock Climbing Limestone Cliffs At Railay Beach

Railay Beach Thailand

Rock Climbing at Railay Beach

Railay Beach, Thailand

Giant pillars of karst limestone protrude into the sky around Railay Beach, home to some of the best rock climbing in the world. Even the monkeys love this place.

Climbers from around the world regularly flock to Krabi Province to test their skills on the 700+ bolted climbing routes around Railay Beach. After working behind my computer for a few weeks in Bangkok, I decided to visit for a little climbing adventure.

From the coastal town of Ao Nang, it’s a short & very scenic boat ride to Tonsai Beach where I was staying. Tonsai is like the hippie version of Railay Beach. It’s less developed, cheaper, and there’s no electricity during the day.

Long Tail Boat Thailand

Long Tail Boat Ride to Tonsai

Rock Climbing Gear

My Climbing Gear

Climbing Railay Beach

The climbing in Tonsai is pretty advanced, so I hiked 10 minutes through the jungle every morning to Railay for climbing lessons with Hot Rocks Climbing School. While I’ve got some climbing experience, I’m definitely not a pro.

I can tie in, belay other climbers, and repel solo, but I don’t know how to lead climb yet. This means someone else has to go first and set up the “top rope”.

John would be my instructor for the next few days, leading the climbs and holding the rope that kept me from plummeting to the ground if I slipped. I could tell right away we’d get along.

Hot Rocks Climbing School

John My Instructor from Hot Rocks

Rock Climbing Prana

Climbing with PrAna Gear

Climbing With PrAna

Climbing in Railay also gave me the chance to test out some new travel clothing from PrAna’s Spring Collection. They hooked me up with a bunch of cool stuff. Their gear is fair trade certified, ensuring that the people who made it were justly compensated for their hard work.

The instructors at Hot Rocks actually complimented me on my clothing, as they’re all fans of PrAna. It’s a well known brand in the climbing community. Although they said it’s difficult to get in Thailand.

I’m really loving PrAna’s Bronson Pant — made from comfortable but tough stretch canvas that’s perfect for adventure travel. They look great too!

Monkey Climbing

Monkeys Show Me How It’s Done…

Rock Climbing Selfie

GoPole Bobber Selfie from 60 Feet

Scaling Rocky Cliffs

Railay Beach has hundreds of climbing routes, so there’s something for every skill level. John started me on some easy stuff, and by the end of the week I was scaling pitches rated 6A+. The grade describes the difficulty and danger of the climb.

When I’d get stuck somewhere, he’d yell up for encouragement:
“Matt, do it for your country!”

There were other incentives too. Like if I reached the top of a climb, I’d be rewarded with a beer later. If I didn’t, I’d get a ladyboy…

Luckily I reached the top every time.

Rock Climbing Thailand

Rock Climbing in Thailand

Rock Climbing In Thailand

I attached my GoPro to a GoPole Bobber and took it up with me, capturing some fun climbing photos. One morning a family of monkeys decided to climb around with us! They were much faster than me, even with babies clinging on for the ride.

If you’ve never tried it, rock climbing is a wonderful workout. It activates tons of small muscles that normally don’t get much use, especially in your hands & forearms. But the great thing about Railay is that if you get tired, just take a break to go swimming, kayaking, sunbathing, or island hoping.

Deep Water Solo climbing is also popular here. This is when you climb without ropes over water.

Whether you’re into rock climbing or not, a journey to beautiful Railay Beach is worth the trip. However while you’re there you should definitely take a climbing lesson. It’s one of the best places in the world to try.

Climbing is a safe, challenging, and super fun adventure activity! ★

More Information

Location: Railay Beach, Thailand [Map] Company: Hot Rock Climbing School
Cost: ฿1000 THB ($30 USD) Half Day
Useful Notes: Some water is provided, but I recommend you bring extra. It gets hot quickly when climbing in Railay. They also have a 3 day course available. If you’re more experienced, you can just rent gear and go climbing with a friend.

READ NEXT: Why You Shouldn’t Ride Elephants

Have you ever been rock climbing before?

Prana

Any Questions Or Comments?

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19 Comments

  1. Cool! Railay is indeed a perfect place to go climbing. It wasn’t an easy experience for me but I did have lots of fun! The view definitely motivated me to keep climbing until the top.

    For those who’s planning to go there, I’d like to recommend exploring the cave around the beach. It is a definitely a perfect touch to wrap up your tiring day after climbing :)

  2. I have been in Railay but I couldn’t climb that time. Now I’m going again and I’m gonna definitely gonna do that but I have a doubt. If i rent the gear, can I go and just pic a spot and climb a line by myself (of course with my gf, not alone) or do I MUST pay the day? I have been reading a lot and I cannot find some info about it. We are both into climbing and we are planning on just going there and pick some lines to climb but every in post I read people always payed bot half/full climbing day.

  3. i spent much of February climbing around Tonsai Beach. It was a blast and your climbing article brought the trip vividly back to me. Thanks.

    I would encourage anyone, regardless of skill level, to make their way to Railay or Tonsai for incredible climbing amidst the most magnificent scenery imaginable. And, for about $15/day you can get a hut right by the cliffs and watch world class climbers from your front porch. Of curse, these are not luxury accommodations but I was so whacked out by the end of each day, after many hard climbs, that I only needed a comfortable bed to crash on.

    Thanks for the article and get some lead climbing in.

    Mike Tett
    Owen Sound, Ont., Canada

  4. I sooo want to do rock climbing, but I’m afraid I’ll be a complete tool at it.
    It looks like so much fun. I will do it one day. When I’m no longer scared of heights ….. :-D

    1. Don’t let that stop you. Most people that I climbed with in Tonsai had never climbed before. The teachers practically hoist you up the face of the rock, and they know the routes like the back of their hand… so they can tell you exactly where the holds are. You won’t regret it. And it’s totally safe, no need to be afraid.

  5. Railay is truly of the most beautiful places on the planet. I went a few months ago and the weather was so bad all the boats were staying in (a good thing given the conditions). I definitely want to go back and try climbing. I have never been!

  6. I just started climbing this month and I’m already in love. I’ve been dreaming of climbing in places a beautiful as Railay. And deep water soloing looks absolutely awesome!

  7. Looks like a great day adventure! I would love to take a climbing course sometime… seems like Thailand would be an ideal place to do it for the weather, beautiful landscapes and cute, furry climbing mates. Where did you learn to climb?

    I agree, Prana has some great stuff. I love my Prana pants. I use them for hiking and cycling…they are so comfortable I have even slept in them!

    1. I learned to climb in Montana during college with friends who were into it. So much fun! Would love to learn how to lead climb one day though.

      The furry climbers (with babies!) were an added bonus for sure.