Climbing Tonsai and Railay Beach Thailand

Climbing Tonsai Thailand

Bouldering in Railay and Tonsai Beach Thailand

Tonsai Beach is mostly known for it's sport climbing. Bouldering here has never been much more then something to do when it is raining, or a convenient way to train. I've got a feeling that this is going to change in the next few years. There is a huge potential for bouldering in Railay. Many of the roof routes of Tonsai have already been soloed, and are likely to become classic bouldering problems. Routes like tidal wave wind their way through the roof over soft sand, never getting more then 8m above the deck..... Then there is deep water soloing which is a whole other thing...

Bouldering Tonsai Temple Cave
The Bouldering Cave from I love climbing site


Tonsai Bouldering

The Boulder Cave

The jewel in the crown on Tonsai is the Temple Cave- or more commonly called the Boulder Cave. It is located half way up the road from the beach, right under the start of the multi pitch climbs Big Wave and Beauty and the beast.

This is a really cool cave with all kinds of pretty hard problems. Yes there are mosquitoes, but the climbing is excellent.
23 crags
has some not great info and topos.
The Crag has more of the routes (still not all) but no topos...

The Bouldering Cave, Tonsai Beach
The Bouldering Cave from I love climbing site

bouldering topo Tonsai Temple Cave

Other Tonsai Bouldering

As you come onto Tonsai beach, walking the jungle path from Railay, there is a great little wall for traversing, with a few interesting problems on it. (6c traverse?). Next to it there is a tasty little boulder, with some really quite tricky and quality problems to the top.

Further around on Tonsai, towards Freedom bar there are loads of low overhanging traverses over soft sand. There is also potential for turning some of the sports routes into sphincter clenching boulder classics. There is a ledge about 15m off the deck which you can top out on, and then walk down via a ladder. you'd need to be strong though, as these routes go at around 7c...


Railay Bouldering

Most of the Bouldering tends to be traverses, and short hard problems. There are few boulders as such, the Bouldering being on the bottom of the faces of the sea cliffs. The problems tend to be low and safe, over nice soft sand. People have pushed the limits, but because there is no way to top out on any of these problems, there is no incentive to go high save a death wish. The only way off the rock is to jump or down climb...

Phra Nang Beach Bouldering

The traditional spot is on the obvious wall as you come onto Phra Nang Beach. This is a fantastic spot. Deep sand, fingery and technical low down, and fingery technical overhanging and ultra hard higher up. There are an almost infinite number of problems and variations on this piece of rock. I love bouldering here and over the years have left gallons of sweat skin and fingernails on it. Whenever I come back it is always the first spot I come to test my strength against the days when I thought I was strong. It never rains here as the towering rock above provides a permanent roof. It is the favorite spot of the Thai's who have got the thing so wired that they can now just float across it. These days it is so polished that shoes are kinda optional....

Railay Bouldering

The basic right to left traverse is about a V2 with a V4 crux. If you go from right to left I reckon it's about a V3 with a V4/5 crux, but then that may be because you are already pumped from going the first way. I like to continue this one as far as you can go, right around the big bulge of choss, towards the little caves, finishing on along a sort of upward sloping crack/ break which ends in a little knob of a stalactite. (admire the chalk marks beyond). There is a high traverse of about V3/4 easier if you are shorter.... There is also a classic stalactite boulder problem, off the deck, onto the stalactite, up over to the wall and down- around V3 but a little more scary. Then there are lots of little problems to tweak yourself on from V1 to V10. Some I've tried for years and given up as impossible, only to watch some unfeasibly strong kid style up it. Some I've thought beyond impossible and watched some of the worlds strongest making heroic attempts at.

Around the corner are some low shallow beach caves. These have some great hard problems in them. You can see the obvious chalk marks, and as it never rains in there, you can see the chalk marks of the best, spiraling above your head, taunting you with the unobtainable heights past masters have reached....

123 Area Bouldering

This is completely different from Phranang beach, and is a more or less continuous overhanging pump fest. There are some technical options, but this tends to be used more as an exercise in endurance masochism. More of a long low traverse then actual boulder problems, you can start from Chicken head if you like and just keep on going left as far as you can possibly go. The more interesting bits tend to be around Nights in White Satin. The only problem with this area is that it is the traditional beginners area, so that all the Climbing schools guide here, and it tends to be absolutely packed....

Other Bouldering

If you want to boulder boulders, then Koh Tao is a good place to go. There is a great site on it here.. I have shamelessly provided their PDF of all the climbs here, as things tend to get lost on the internet and this guide is too good to lose! Please go to their site to get the latest version.

One of my favorite Bouldering sites is Pils, another Tonsai lifer. He now spends most of his time in Hampi and has a great web site of pics and stories of madness.....