Sunday, March 15, 2009


I’ve been home for over a week and finally have a moment to start writing.  I spent a significant portion of the weekend sorting through over 500 photos, of which I’ve posted the highlights on Facebook and Windows Live.  Ted, Katy, Lisa, Rob – miss you guys already!
I met up in Bangkok with Ted, who (on the outside chance you don’t already know this) is working for Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures in Northern Thailand.  We spent a day touring Bangkok (summary: there is a lot of gold at the Grand Palace), and then flew on to Krabi, a province in southern Thailand and strong contender for the “Most beautiful place I’ve ever been” award (Annecy, France and Grand Teton National Park are the only competitors that come to mind immediately).
We stayed at and primarily climbed at a small beach named Tonsai on the Pranang Peninsula, which is only accessible by boat.  The peninsula is inaccessible to trains, planes, automobiles, helicopters, and any other non-floating motor vehicle that you can think of.
Tonsai consists of a bunch of bungalows rented out by various locals and cabanas that take care of all of your needs. Example: Wee’s Rock Climbing School, below, can rent you gear, take you deep water soloing, serve you breakfast, and much, much more…  Special thanks to Wee and Elke (authors of the ubiquitous Rock Climbing in Thailand) for their great hospitality.  It’s nice traveling with a friend who works in the local climbing industry!  It should also be noted that Ted knows every white expat in Thailand as well as everyone in the Thai climbing community regardless of origin, and none of them seem surprised in the slightest to run into each other on a remote beach.

Additionally, the Thai people all fall in love with Ted when they find out he can speak Thai, unlike 99% of white people (tourists like me).  This contrasted with Vietnam and Japan, less touristy places, where the people seemed more surprised by my ignorance of the local tongue than my expat friends’ fluency.  In particular, Ann, the hotel keeper at the Krabi Mountain View Resort (neither “resort” nor “hotel” describe anything at Tonsai, but no better words come to mind) and Ted became best friends after a mix-up over our key was resolved (they thought we lost it. We didn’t).  Every time we’d come back and ask for our key after that, Ann would tell Ted in Thai that they didn’t have the key, and Ted always believed her for some reason (sorry for calling you out in public, Ted!).
We had two full days of climbing in Krabi.  Our first day involved no particularly memorable climbing, but we explored the Pranang Peninsula over the course of the day.  We started out the day with a 40 minute hike through the jungle to Railay Beach, which is a 10 minute hike over beach at low tide (crazy tide effect at Tonsai).  From Railay Beach, we climbed from one side of the peninsula in the morning, then hiked through a cave and rappelled out the other side.
The second day of climbing involved consistently great climbing that was memorable both for the beautiful views and the quality of climbing.  In the morning, at high tide again, we hired a longboat to take us to Eagle Wall (hikable only at low tide), where we were the only climbers.  At the top of the first climb, “Where Eagles Don’t Dare”, (below, 30m, 6a+ in the French system), Ted shouted “Fuck!”  I was of course thinking that something had gone wrong; the anchor was rusty, Ted had hurt himself, the list went on until Ted clarified: “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.”  Once you got above the trees, the view was indeed spectacular, a birds eye view of the whole peninsula.  Since I didn’t climb with my new Pentax K200D DSLR, you’ll just have to go see for yourself.

Shameless plug: this post was written with Windows Live Writer, which is an infinitely better way to write to Blogspot than the Blogger web interface.


  1. Even that short excerpt sounds absolutely amazing! You are very very lucky! I cannot believe the places you guys went, and am about to go peruse your pics and leave tons of comments :) How you guys even know how to do all this stuff, well I just have no idea. It's insane. Can't wait to hear more! Miss you!

  2. I like beaches in Thailand, my favorite one is Phi phi, which is the place where The beach was filmed, with Leonardo Dicaprio. The problem there is the menace of jellyfish near the shore. At some beach hotels in Thailand they have a cocktails which is called the Generic Viagra.

  3. When ever i see water just one thing clicks my mind the beach, you can say im just in love beaches no matter where they are, which part of the world is this i am gonna love it. I've had a chance to see a couple of beaches i mean visit couple in krani the Ao Nang beach and the Raily beaches both are awesome place to have fun. I liked the Aon Nang beach most because the my hotel is one of the best krabi hotels and quite close to the beach as well so when iever i wanted i am there at beach.