Decided to get out of Chiang Mai for a while and check out the southern part of Thailand. My goal was to visit a few islands down south for some quality beach time and even a bit of climbing if possible. The first stop on the trip was Bangkok for a day. I spent most of the day doing very touristy things like visiting the Grand Palace, going to a few wats, and observing the craziness that is Khao San road.
|After 6 hours of flight delays to get to Bangkok I was tired|
|Standard garb for all farang: Shirt with Thai Beer logo on it.|
|The most obnoxious road ever?|
After spending the day in Bangkok I hopped a night train south to Trang, the industrial hub of the south, before catching a long tail boat to Lao Liang. The island is actually part of a natural park, however there is an eco-resort on the island. The maximum capacity is around 30 people, all set up in tents on the beach. Besides the obvious beach bumming I was able to do some kayaking and climbing. Most of the routes have only been put up in the last few years and with minimal traffic hasn't become super polished like the routes in Krabi. Needless to say I was sad to leave, but onward and upward.
|The other part of Lao Liang|
|We were grossly out matched|
So, no one really describes the layout of Krabi very well, and its sort of big deal to have that knowledge before you get there, as such it took a solid day to work out the kinks. For starters Krabi isn't even where the climbing is. Krabi is a geographical region in Thailand, and its capital is Krabi Town, which is situated inland a bit and not very spectacular. Ao Nang, where I ended up staying for no apparent reason, is the beach west of Krabi Town that is built up for tourists and provides long tail boat taxis to a small peninsula. The aforementioned peninsula is further broken down into areas including Tonsai, Railay East, Railay West, and a number of other beaches and islands. Regardless its really confusing if you have never been there or cannot find a map of the area anywhere.
My first day there consisted of checking out all the beaches and climbing crags. I had heard that most of the crags are overrun with climbers constantly, especially during this time of the year, however I was surprised to find very little activity in any one location. Unfortunately when I went back the next day with rope in hand it was swarming with climbers. It was sort of horror show but between the waves of newbies I got a few routes in at Muay Thai wall and Escher Wall. Also, I have never seen such scary anchors and threads in my life. Most of the threads were damn near cut through with wear and most of the anchor rings were worn almost all the way through. Scary shit. Haha my favorite was the first thread on this easy 5 over at Muay Thai wall. Imagine a root the size of your wrist wrapped with a thread about 10 ft off the deck, and below the small belay stance a steep slope. Really bright route setting there. Regardless, I checked out the hype and climbed a bit so I was happy.
Originally I had planned to head out to Ko Tao, a small island in the Gulf of Thailand that is supposed to have good scuba diving, but I sort of got talked into going to Ko Pha Ngan. If anyone is unfamiliar with this infamous island it is the location of the Full Moon Party. Essentially its a bunch of Europeans (and some North Americans) getting drunk, drinking mushroom shakes, listening to techno, and being dumb. This idiocracy involves playing with fire in various forms, including my personal favorite double dutch fire jump ropes. Lots of burn victims. As appealing as all this sounds I reluctantly went and proceeded to have a very horrible time, but whatever I saw it for what it was. Apart from the Hat Rin, the beach where the party is held, the island actually has some quite white sand beaches. This is where I spent most of my time while on the island.
|Party paints and Roy Bans|
That pretty much wraps up the trip in a nutshell.
p.s. this kid