The Rocks Of Railay
Trip Start Mar 01, 2011
92Trip End Ongoing
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Blog Writer: Dan
We Checked out of our room in Ao Nang at about 11am and headed towards the sea. There’s a booth just near the jetty (not actually a jetty just a slope of concrete entering the sea) where you can buy tickets for long boats over to Railay and some of the other islands nearby.
After purchasing our tickets we headed over to the group of shouting men and long boats. As soon as we arrived we were told to climb aboard, aboard the boat was ourselves, Ben from Australia, Tammy and Dylan from the USA and a couple we never spoke to. We were told to all get on the boat “quick quick quick” the man kept shouting, a little worrying but we all survived.
A long boat is a large wooden boat with slats to sit on. Its shaped like an envelope when you partially hold it open, this is the best way I can describe it. The ones they use in Ao Nang are quite large because they ferry backpackers and there bags across but in the rest of Thailand they tend to be smaller.
The boat trip took 15 minutes and during that time we got chatting to Ben, Tammy and Dylan. Ben is a 20 year old Aussie on a 7 month trip (pretty cool) and Tammy and Dylan have just spent 6 months in India and are now travelling a bit of South East Asia before heading home. All three of them were coming over to Railay to try some climbing. We also wanted to climb so we decided to attack it as a team. Firstly Me and Jen found some where to stay as did Ben. Tammy and Dylan were heading back to Ao Nang after the day at Railey.
The climbing shops offer beginners, intermediate and advanced classes. Ours began at 2pm and lasted till 6pm. Tammy and Dylan had never climbed and Ben had only climbed indoors, similar to Jen so we all signed up for beginners.
As I mentioned before Railay is the climbing capital of South East Asia. Similar to the Perhentians where everyone dives, everyone talks about diving, there is a dive shop every 10 feet, Railay is the same, only it’s about climbing. Everyone climbs, talks about climbing and both sides of the island are dotted with climbing shops.
We all went out for lunch before our climbing expedition to get to know each other a little better, during the meal our waiter had a dig at me for having small arms
Waiter: “You climb today yes?”
Boff: “Yeah, after lunch”
Waiter: “Who you?”
Boff: “Yeah all of us”
Waiter: “Ha ha ha, Nooooo, not you, your arms are small like a little boys arms!”
He wasn’t to know that I climb already but it was pretty funny either way. Anyway, so we headed back to the climbing shop where everybody got kitted up with harnesses, shoes and chalk bags. I have brought my own rock boots with me which I climb with around 3 times a week at home so they now smell similar to rotting flesh. I have to wrap them up in a couple of plastic bags before putting them into my backpack in case they taint the rest of my clothes.
We were led up to the first climbing spot above the east beach where a huge limestone outcrop pops up out of the jungle, there are limestone cliffs and caves everywhere and every single one is perfect for climbing
It was relieving to get climbing again, the last time I climbed was in Manali in India which was over 3 months ago so my arms are turning to jelly and my fingers have lost the calluses which I worked hard to earn back in the UK. Jen hasn’t climbed for even longer but got straight back into the game on the first route and did amazing. After the first couple of short warm up routes me and one of the guides went to another face around the corner whilst everybody else was still climbing. The advantage was that I could set up the routes with him whilst the other guide was belaying the others. I belayed him up a route and he came down.
Guide: “You like bee’s?”
Guide: “Yeah bee’s, like Bzzzzzz, Bee’s”
Me: “Not really why?”
Guide: “Oh then don’t put hand in crack there, Bee’s nest there and stings”
Me: “Errrrr, maybe I’ll go up another route then?”
Guide: “No no no, wait a minute, you help me”
The guide then walked off and came back with a stick with newspaper on the end and a lighter
So I got to do the route after all, it had a cave about half way up which I could sit in and rest before attempting the rest of the route. Climbing is so much harder with the hot Thai sun on your back but the view from the top was out of this world. I could see over all the other limestone cliffs across the bay and over to the sea on the other side of the island. It looked like something out of the Jurassic Park movie. We all did a couple more routes (about 5 in total) and then it was time to go back. Dylan and Tammy were sleeping on the main land but were coming back the next day for Dylans birthday.
Later on that night, Me, Jen and Ben met up for dinner and some drinks in the local reggae bar. They love the reggae bars here. There’s three just on our stretch of the beach. We sat up drinking Chang and chatting for the rest of the night before it was time to turn in. We had too many Chang beers and the Gin and tonics at the end of the night were not a good idea as I’m sure Ben would agree. He’d gorged on some dodgy chicken balls from a food stall on his way back home (Twice) and woke up fully clothed.
The following day I met up with Ben again at midday whilst Jen took a little more time to ready herself for the day
In the morning we met up with everybody again for breakfast where Dylan tried to remember some of his antics from the night before and afterwards we went to what is called ‘The cave beach’ on the opposite side of the island. This was by far the best strip of beach on the island. There are uncountable boulder routes and lead climbing routes stretched all the way across the sand where you can pay 200baht per route (£4). I gave the climbing a miss though, my arms were still sore and two days of drinking had taken it’s toll so Me, Jen, Dylan and Tammy spent the rest of the day chilling out on the beach just watching the local Thai guys climbing the routes. We had to say goodbye to our friend Ben earlier on the afternoon. He was getting a boat over to Ko Lanta, an island not too far away and we arranged to meet him there in a couple of days because I wanted to spend maybe one more day climbing whilst I had the chance.
Today is the 6th July and we bought our boat tickets over to Ko Lanta for tomorrow morning so we’ll be seeing Ben again soon I imagine. I’ve hired another guide to go and do some more climbing with later on today and we’re probably going to take a break from the Chang Beers tonight to recover.