There’s no question that Krabi is Thailand’s climbing capital, with impressive limestone arches and overhangs that give climbers unparalleled views over the sea. Krabi deserves its reputation and belongs on every climbers list, but there are other sites to consider as well.


Many of Thailand’s other top climbing sites can be reached on day-trips from Chiang Mai or Bangkok, the latter of which also has a number of indoor or open-air climbing walls. While full equipment hire along with lessons is available to beginners, seasoned climbers are advised to bring their own harness and shoes.

  • Tonsai Bay: (Krabi) - Tonsai Bay is part of Krabi’s major climbing arena, with multi-pitch routes covering thousands of feet worth of sea-facing cliffs. The overhangs loom over white sand beaches, giving skilled climbers the chance to enjoy a one-of-a-kind view.

  • Railay Beach: (Krabi) - Krabi’s other major climbing site, Railay Beach (a short walk from Tonsai) also offers superb climbing, with hundreds of routes for climbers of all skill levels. Campsites, hiking trails, and local dive shops give visitors plenty of other options to fill out their experience.

  • Khao Yoi: (Phetchaburi) - Only 90 minutes from Bangkok, this face is a popular day-trip destination on weekends and holidays. Climbers share the space with nimble monkeys, but also numerous mosquitoes, so wear repellent. A few of the routes are showing signs of wear so inspect the bolts before you commit.

  • Crazy Horse Buttress: (Chiang Mai) - Chiang Mai’s most popular climbing destination, Crazy Horse can be reached in 30 minutes from the city center and attracts a fair amount of locals and tourists alike. It boasts several crags and 100 bolted routes (with the potential for many more). Chartered tours are through Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures.

  • Khao Kralok: (Prachuap Khiri Khan) - ‘Skull Mountain’ is close to Hua Hin resort, and climbers enjoy views over the sea from a few of the bolted routes. Boulders are a challenge on this limestone crag, and there’s also a sizable arch to navigate.

  • Khao Jeen Lair: (Lopburi) - The first bolts on this 600-foot limestone face were laid a decade ago and have grown to cover 40 routes. Access is through the back lot of a temple and the resident monks like climbers to drop in before and after the climb.

  • Ko Phi Phi: (Krabi) - Some of the climbing faces of Phi Phi island are only accessible by sea, requiring climbers to literally belay out of a boat. Sea-facing and ‘in-land’ routes on touristy Ko Phi Phi make a nice diversion for anyone who’s already visiting the resort island (or those who get sick of the crowds).

  • Pak Chong: (Nakhon Ratchasima) - The cave tucked into this rock face is used by local monks as a meditation chamber so it’s best to ask permission to climb if monks are inside. The route intentionally ends just short of the cave, where a Buddha image resides. Climbing higher than this image is considered inappropriate.

  • Chiang Dao: (Chiang Mai) - Long known for a hilly terrain that primarily attracts hikers and mountain bikers, Chiang Dao has only recently broken into the rock climbing arena. A local hill tribe village maintains a climbing park with a few bolted routes.

  • The Peak: (Chiang Mai) - Located at Chiang Mai Night Bizarre, The Peak is a good place for novice climbers to start, but there are routes for every skill level. Onsite instructors also organize climbs outside of town so after testing your mettle on the artificial wall you have the chance to sign up for the real thing.

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  • Soi Klang Raquet Club: Perhaps the largest climbing wall in Bangkok, the Soi Klang Raquet club is great during the day, when the gym is relatively quiet. While its a bit busier in the evening, the best thing about Soi Klang Raquet club is that your admission includes all the club’s facilities, including tennis, squash, badminton, and racquet ball courts, as well as two swimming pools, a fitness center, and sauna. Instructors are on hand to assist beginner and novice climbers.

    Sukhumvit 49/9 (BTS Phrom Pong) • www.rqclub.com

    • Hours: Climbing wall 7am - 10pm, Swimming Pools 6:30 am - 9pm
    • Prices: Non-member day pass: weekday/weekend - 525/625 baht (around $20)
    • Memberships: 1 month - 4,280b ($145), 3 months - 9,630b ($320), 1 year - 21,400b ($700)
  • Big C Lad Phrao: Hailed by serious Bangkok climbers as the best climbing wall in the city for its excellent routes, the facility (in the middle of a shopping mall) is terrible, but the management is great. A 10 meter column with a funky overhang the wall is typically surrounded by gawking Thai families who watch as you sweat and grunt your way up the wall. With the added challenge of straining to hear your belayer’s commands over the throbbing mall music, the wall has the best climbing routes in Bangkok that are psychological difficult, with challenging foot holds.

    To get there, take the BTS to Mo-chit (weekend market stop), which is the end of the line and from there any taxi driver will know “BIG C LAD PLOUGH”

    • Prices: 180 baht/day

There are other natural and indoor climbing venues around Thailand and Bangkok, including Hua Maak Stadium Ramkamhaeng, a fiberglass rock climbing wall at the Bangkok Planetarium and Science Center complex near the Ekkamai BTS station and a soon-to-be-opened wall opposite K-Village on Sukhumvit 26. For a full list of climbing destinations in Thailand check out http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/Asia/Thailand/Bangkok_and_Central_Provinces/.

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