What you need to know about Railay Climbing
- Because this guide is geared towards weaker climbers, it may be worth noting that although there are a few easier climbs in Railay, there are definitely not a lot. You’ll stay busy for 2 or 3 days at the most until you have to step up your game into the 6b territory.
- The guide books in Railay use French grading. I found that anything rated “5” would be anything from 5.6 to 5.9. “6a” was easy 5.10ish.
- Unless you have a room in Railay, you’ll need to take a “boat-taxi” to get there and back. We were settled in Ao Nang, so we’d have to pay the 200 baht per day for the round trip ticket. The tickets can be bought by the beach (towards the East end of Ao Nang beach). You’ll need to sit around waiting while there are enough people to fill a boat. This sounds worse than it is and shouldn’t detract from the fun.
- You shouldn’t have to bother with “trad” gear. All climbs are reasonably bolted and have anchors at the top.
- I use the word “bolted” very loosely throughout this post; there are actually a few variations: glue in bolts, bolts with hangers and ropes tied through holes in the rock.
- You can rent equipment from one of the many climbing boutiques in Railay. Prices vary wildly from one place to the next, so shop around. We paid 500 baht for a half-day rental of a rope and two harnesses. Most shops will lend you a guide book when you rent stuff from them.
- Most of the moderates we climbed can be reached within a few minutes of the main beach. All of the places we climbed can also easily be “approached” in flip-flops.
- It’s hot. Real hot. It’s humid. Spend-the-day-sitting-in-a-puddle-of-human-sweat humid. Bring water. A lot of it. Bring chalk. Some of it.
Diamond Cave – Railay East
A fun wall with many easier climbs. It will likely be filled with guides and their clients, especially when the tide is high and the 1-2-3 wall isn’t available.
The Muay Thai Wall – Railay East
This is a great wall for beginners with a few easy climbs. To get there, target the South end of Railay East. The left end of the wall (which contains 3 or 4 climbs) is only available at low tide. Getting to the right hand side involves a tiny scramble up some red dirt up to a nice shaded spot.
The 1-2-3 Wall – Railay East
This wall is only climbable at low tide with the right most part of the wall being accessible earlier during low tide. The wall will likely be filled with guides and their groups, so don’t expect peace and quite. That being said, it’s a fun ambiance and people are having fun, so don’t let it scare you away. This wall, alongside Diamond Cave, probably has the biggest concentration of easier climbs with some really fun and steep routes.
To reach the wall, simply go South following the water at Railay West. You’ll be on the paved path until you hit Muay Thai wall. Hop onto the beach and walk around the tiny island. Do not turn towards Phra Nang Beach.
I highly recommend “Beginner” and the route directly to its left. As well, take note that King Cobra is polished as f*ck taking away from the pleasure.
Fire Wall – Tonsai Beach
We went to this wall for the sole purpose of climbing Groove Tube and it didn’t disappoint. It’s rated 6a (5.10 easy) in the guide-book but I would not put this one at more than 5.8. The reason the first ascensionist gave it a harder grade is he thought people wouldn’t climb it if it were graded a 5. (he is likely correct).
Find the path towards Tonsai and walk North on the beach until you hit the end. You’ll find a well trodden path that goes up towards the wall. A short scramble (with help from fixed lines) will quickly bring you to the base of Groove Tube.