Rock Climbing on the Railay Beach in Thailand

Rock Climbing on the Railay Beach in Thailand

foreign-correspondent badge finalI grew up on the East Coast of the United States, splitting my time between New York and Philadelphia. My New Year’s celebrations usually consisted of warm sweaters and champagne by the fire. As romantic as that might sound, knowing I would be in warm, tropical weather this holiday meant that I’d be at the beach! Since the winter in Thailand is a far stretch from our winter at home, I headed south to Krabi.

A 12-hour overnight bus from Bangkok’s Mo Chit/Chatachak bus station took us to the Krabi bus station, and from there we grabbed a minibus right to iRest, our hostel in Ao Nang. We chose to stay in Ao Nang because it was easily accessible and a great jumping off point. By that I mean that we could easily take long-tail boats to any of the surrounding islands. It had all of the amenities we needed, plenty of 7-Elevens, restaurants, bars, and a ton of shopping. Our hostel was in walking distance to the beach and the heart of town. iRest Hostel was a bit expensive, although I’m sure it was due to the holiday. We paid 550 Baht/night each for a six-person room. The rooms were simple and clean, and the bathrooms were cleaned every day. There was free coffee, tea and toast every morning.

The beach is among one of the top places in the world to rock climb, so I needed to take advantage of the opportunity.

Beach in Thailand
Rock climbing challenged my physical and mental strength.

Early Sunday morning, we took a long-tail boat to neighboring Railay. Railay is attached to Ao Nang, but you can only access it by boat due to the limestone cliffs that surround it. The beach is a paradise with crystal blue water and light brown sand. Boats line the shore, painting a perfect postcard. Although I enjoyed the scenery and snorkeling with coral and colorful fish, my most memorable experience that week was rock climbing. The beach is among one of the top places in the world to rock climb, so I needed to take advantage of the opportunity.

Rock climbing challenged my physical and mental strength, determination and discipline. We found Railay Rock Climbing Shop right off of Walking Street, where the boat dropped us off. We paid 800 baht for about four hours on the wall. This included a harness, shoes, a chalk bag, and a great instructor. We were all beginners; I’ve never climbed outside before, and only in a gym at birthday parties, but we were encouraged and made to feel like pros. We started on an easy course, and each course after was progressively more difficult. Our instructor, Shy, was definitely not shy about pushing us to reach higher and keep going.

Just when I thought I had no energy left and was ready to come down, I decided to rest for five minutes and began reaching again.

Don’t let the fear of being inexperienced stop you from climbing! Even if you’ve never touched a rock wall before, you will make it all the way up–your instructor will make sure of it. I ended the day pushing to finish a course I previously gave up on, determined to reach the top even though I was exhausted! Every step higher was greeted with cheers from the beach below me, a support system of strangers willing me to the top. Just when I thought I had no energy left and was ready to come down, I decided to rest for five minutes and began reaching again.

Rock Climbing on the Railay Beach in Thailand
Time for that celebratory drink!

I’m under five-feet tall so my reach is a lot smaller than the average climber’s, which meant I truly had to stretch my body out to get a good grip. With the promise of a few beers and massages, I made my way to the top and floated down on cloud nine. The feeling after making it to the top is something that can only be experienced, not explained. With scratches, bruises, and a bloody knee, we packed up and made our way out–only to be stopped by onlookers congratulating me on my determination.

We all agreed it was an exhausting but amazing experience, and the view from the top was incredible. It challenged each of us for different reasons, and we returned to the shop with smiling faces, feeling fulfilled and successful and ready for a celebratory drink.

 

 

Rock Climbing on the Railay Beach in Thailand

About Nichole Baldino

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