/ Tonsai - Polished?

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papashango - on 10 Apr 2013
I have heard mixed opinions about the climbing in Tonsai, some have said it's paradise, others have said it's dirty and polished...

Has anyone been recently? Where did you climb?

There are lots of new routes being put up on the mainland near Ao Nang, anyone climbed here?

I am going in July and am trying to plan where to go to make the most out of the trip.

Cheers!
john arran - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

Because there are relatively few easy routes (5s and low 6s) they tend to be more polished and busier than most of the harder ones. Most people complaining of queuing I think are chasing the few (very good but very popular) 6a's

I think it's a great place and I've been many times from about '97 with the last visit only last year. It's changed a lot and isn't the secluded paradise venue it once was, but considering its popularity (mainly among non-climbers) it's remarkable how it's managed to stay a great climbing destination.
papashango - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to john arran:

Thanks John, just what I wanted to hear, very reassuring! Hopefully it won't be too busy as we're going in low season.
PeakDJ on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

Hi - I can offer some up to date info as I am there right now.

Yes, there is plenty of polish on some routes in Tonsai - mostly the really accessible lower grade routes. Even in Tonsai, it's possible to escape the polish and the crowds by heading to the less accessible places, especially if you're willing to do a bit of wading (eg to the Keep or Eagle Wall etc). The multi-pitch routes of 6c and harder are usually amazing and most don't have any polish after the first pitch.

We are staying in a small village called Chong Pli, about 15 minutes scooter ride from Ao Nang. There is a newly developed crag (spirit mountain) here with enough pitches to keep most people busy for a good few days. It's in one of the new guidebooks, but, in a nutshell, it's a great crag. Slightly different from some of the other Krabi area venues in that it offers a great variety of routes from techy slabs, through wall climbs, to steep tufa, pockets and jug-pulling. There are bungalows right under the crag at about 400 Baht a night. We stayed there for a few days before renting a house and they're highly recommended! Run by a really nice local family who will drive you into Ao Nang if you need them to to collect a moped.

There are also some other new areas undergoing development accessible by moped - all within a 20 minute scooter ride.

Tonsai is still quite busy at the moment and there is a lot of rubbish around. From what I have heard, there has been a massive problem with food poisoning this year and alot of people have been quite ill. We haven't been staying there, and we haven't had any problems. We have been going over there once a week to climb - just taking a boat from Ao Nang.

There are a lot of advantages of not staying in Tonsai. It is ALOT cheaper outside of Tonsai/Railay. The food is generally safer, and it's very easy to escape tourism. Just 10-20 mins up the coast from Ao Nang it's possible to find deserted beaches or crystal clear rivers to swim in on rest days.

Overall, if you want a bit of a party scene and don't mind being surrounded by rubbish, stay in Tonsai. If not, consider staying in one of the out of town places close to Krabi or Ao Nang, renting a moped and hitting a mixture of "mainland" and Tonsai/Railay crags. This also gives the option of visiting Ko Yao Noi, which has some excellent climbing. It's possible to ride there on the moped from Ao Nang - it takes about half an hour to the pier in Ao Thalane, then get some help lifting the bike onto the "ferry" (basically a big longtail boat). Once there, there are a few crags to visit - enough to keep busy for at least a week.

PeakDJ on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=17390

Also have a look at a place called "the bat cave" - accessible from Ao Nammao, Naga and the various crags on Koh Yao Noi
papashango - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Hey man, thanks for all that info. Awesome!

Do you know a guy called Michael? I've been in touch with him and he's been bolting routes in Chong Pli etc...
PeakDJ on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

Yes...I know Mike fairly well. He lives fairly close to our place. Definitely a great person to show you around. He knows the climbing around here as well as anyone. I will probably be helping Mike out with some other new crags over the next few weeks.

You'll have a great trip. The climbing here is awesome,and there are some great adventures to be had. Make sure you do the multi-touch route on Ao Nang tower (access by kayak) and some of the stuff on the monitor and Thaiwand walls. I am here for another two months so won't be here when you are, but if you need any info drop me an email as some other friends of ours will still be around.

It may be worth contacting the people who own the house we are renting in Chong Pli. It's a great place...real luxury...air con, hot shower, Sat tv, WiFi etc. We pay 12000 baht per month but they will do shorter stays and it'll probably be cheaper as it gets more into the low season. Let me know if you're interested and will send you their number.

I
rmt - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango: I went for two weeks just before Christmas. I had a great time. I climb throughout the 6's. If you choose to not to walk very far and climb on the beach then yes, some of the routes are very polished, though that still makes for interesting climbing. The routes that are a bit of a trek away are waay better in my opinion - as mentioned elsewhere on the thread The Keep is excellent. The multipitch climbing is great (4 25+ m pitches) at 6a/6b level. The bolting is generally pretty good. Tonsai itself is quite dirty, but not in a way that detracted from my holiday. I wouldn't want to go there regularly but I'm glad I've been once and I want to go back (have unfinished business on a couple of climbs!!). I don't think you'll be disappointed.
staceyjg - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

We're off to Thailand in November for our honeymoon and plan on doing some climbing, kayaking etc. We're already doing the honeymoon thing by having a really nice hotel as our base on a private resort and then commuting from there, but the suggestions on here have been great, I may contact you personally to see how your trip went papashango, and also peakdj and to get additional information if you don't mind?
PeakDJ on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to staceyjg:
> (In reply to papashango)
>
> We're off to Thailand in November for our honeymoon and plan on doing some climbing, kayaking etc. We're already doing the honeymoon thing by having a really nice hotel as our base on a private resort and then commuting from there, but the suggestions on here have been great, I may contact you personally to see how your trip went papashango, and also peakdj and to get additional information if you don't mind?

That's fine...

Kemics - on 11 Apr 2013
I think off season is a great time to visit. If you get really hit by the rains it'll make life a little harder, but something always stays dry. The biggest advantage imo is that the community is way tighter as it's much smaller. So you'll get to know loads of people.

Humanility is one of the best single climbs I've ever done (maybe the best?) at goes at 6b i think? An absolute must tick for Tonsai :)

Chiang Mai is also definitely merits a stop if you're heading that way.
papashango - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to staceyjg:

yep no problem!
papashango - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Kemics, rmt -

Cheers guys! Will search Humanility out ;)
papashango - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Cool! I might try and meet up with him when I'm out there. Is that the 6c+ 3 pitch one? I've heard it's awesome!! Have you done Thai-tanium and the one above the bar with the tree climb to start?

It would need to be a fair bit cheaper as we're trying to live off 100 quid a week or so. There are 6 of us, would we fit in the house? If so yeah I'd love the details.

C
Kemics - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

100 quid a week is very possible if you hunker down somewhere. Get a little base set up, eat, shop local etc. Learn thai! Probably the most encouraging nation of other people trying to learn their language. (It'll be a seriously rad experience)

however, if you want to move around a lot and do things 100 quid a week is a pretty tight budget. Doable I guess but you'll have to be very disciplined. A lot places require renting mopeds (Koh Yao Noi has some awesome climbing) which will hit the budget hard :)
papashango - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Kemics:

We've got 3 weeks in Thailand, 10 days or so in Vietnam (Ha Long) then 5 weeks in China. We'll save in China so I'm not too bothered about being really strict with the budget in Thailand... I'll certainly be going out to Yao Noi regardless of the cost ;)

Did you stay overnight on Yao Noi or travel there daily?

C
Short&Savage - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Hi there, do you know what the conditions are like in May? I heard its the hottest month - but to be honest I've been in Tonsai in July and the heat/humidity didn't really bother me that much but not sure how different May will be.

Also, have you got much info on the DWS there by any chance?

Ta
PeakDJ on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Short&Savage:

It can be hot anytime. For example, last week was almost unbearably hot but this week has been a lot cooler, with a good breeze. May should be as good a time as any in low season if you climb early mornings to avoid the rains (usually in afternoons) and worst of the heat.

There is limitless DWS potential,but only a limited amount documented in guidebooks. It's best to explore by longtail boat or kayak. Hotspots are Poda island and the smaller surrounding islands. Also check out Ko Hong and the islands close to Koh Yao Noi. The only problem in May could be that the sea can, at times, get pretty choppy during low season.

Also...it could be expensive in low season to go out DWSing by long tail. There are less people around in places like Tonsai to share the boat hire charges. During the high season place like base camp tonsai do almost daily organised DWS trips,but these are probably very irregular (at best) in May. It would still be possible to go by kayak with a couple of mates but be careful with the sea state changing quickly at times.
PeakDJ on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:
> (In reply to PeakDJ)
>
> Cool! I might try and meet up with him when I'm out there. Is that the 6c+ 3 pitch one? I've heard it's awesome!! Have you done Thai-tanium and the one above the bar with the tree climb to start?

Yes...That's the one. Called Bristol fashion or orange chandeliers depending which book you look at. Humanality is awesome...but don't start up the tree. I think that stopped a few years ago as it was upsetting the locals (it's a banyan tree, which is kind of special to some locals).
>
> It would need to be a fair bit cheaper as we're trying to live off 100 quid a week or so. There are 6 of us, would we fit in the house? If so yeah I'd love the details.
>
You wouldn't fit 6 in the house. You may be best to stay in one of the places on the road into ao nang (Marina place or similar) for that sort of price...

papashango - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Cool, cheers! Ah that's Humanility... Can't wait!
PeakDJ on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

Not really feasible to go out to Koh Yao Noi on a daily basis as there can be a bit of waiting around for boats etc. The crags on the island also require a bit of a ride on the moped plus a walk, or alternatively a boat. Best to go over there for at least a few days. Mike will be able to help you with logistics tips etc once you're here...
Kemics - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:
> (In reply to Kemics)
>

> Did you stay overnight on Yao Noi or travel there daily?
>


We stayed out there and rented a house/mopeds. Stayed about 2 weeks in the end. But there's enough stunning quality climbing to keep you busy for a long time. Feels way more remote/adventurous too when you're out there.
DanielJ - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Kemics: Aha. This sounds interesting. House, size, standard and price?

We where out there nov--dec-11 but stayed on Railey East. (We needed decent standard with 24h AC, our then 5-month baby daughter couldnt sleep othetwise)
Ive heard so much good about ko yao noi but it seemed little bit of hassle to get there and find decent ackommodation without bursting your wallet.
Kemics - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to DanielJ:

It was actually an amazing set up. We couldn't find any accommodation either, we'd been staying on Tonsai for a few months talking about a trip over and one of the girls working in the restaurant was going back to visit her family on Yao noi. Some of her family were away (I think it was her uncle) so we stayed/sub letted their house, it was very cheap..but we did have to feed the cat :)
staceyjg - on 12 Apr 2013
In reply to Kemics:

We're stopping just south of Ao Nang, is it worth hiring a couple of kayaks for DWS or does it need to be longtail? (sorry for hijacking your thread :-))
PeakDJ on 13 Apr 2013
In reply to staceyjg:

You'll need a longtail really, although there are DWS possibilities accessible by kayak. Try paddling around the coast and see what you find. There are some possibilities between Ao Nang and Tonsai and around Phra Nang, so kayaks in either of those areas can be good for a few hours of exploring. To make the most of what's there on some of the islands though, much better to go by longtail boat. Also best to find a boatman who knows the best spots. For some areas, tides are a consideration, so do your research. Send me an e-mail through here and I'll give you details of someone here who will be able to help.

If you're staying down towards Ao Nammao and climb mostly in the 6s there is a great little sport crag in a lovely secluded little spot. It's called the Bat Cave (I think!) and it isn't in any of the guides (yet!).

Get onto the road between Ao Nammao and Ao Nang. When you reach the yellow sign for the resort on the "coast" side of the road (can't remember what the resort is called), take that road to the end and take a little dirt track down the hill to the beach. Leave the bike there, and walk around the coast towards Railay East (best at low-tide, but possible to wade at mid-tide) for 10-15 minutes until you come to a small, secluded beach (beautiful spot!). In the jungle behind the RHS of the beach (looking in) there are about 4-5 routes, all in the 6s. Great rock - steep and juggy. Look out for the huge monitor lizards -amazing creatures. You probably wont encounter other climbers there and it's a really lovely spot. It should also stay dry if it rains as there is a capping roof. Take a mat for the rope as the base of the crag is quite dusty.
papashango - on 13 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Sounds great!
PeakDJ on 17 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

We went back there yesterday an it's even better than I remembered. The routes (from l-r) go about 6c, 6b, 6b, 6b. All super steep for the grade and huge holds...except the 6c crux.

We got the tides wrong so ended up wading/swimming back to Ao Nammao.

Also...while you are at the crag check out the cave. Again...on the rhs of the beach walk back into the jungle along the base of the crag until you see a dusty cave entrance at about 4m. Scramble/solo up into the cave and it's possible to follow a series of small tubes and tunnels until you're right on top of the crag. Take ropes and rappel or reverse back down the cave system. There is some soloing required inside the cave, by it's all fairly steady.

The resort you park next to is called Arawan resort. Enjoy.
papashango - on 18 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Sweeet!
cwarby - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ: Have just spent a day at KYN and would agree its a trip. I came from Phuket - 1hr to Bang Rong by car, 30 min speedboat to Manoh (Speedboats go to Ao Nang from here), 15 min tuk tuk to Tha Khao and then a 15 min boat trip to grateful wall!! But boy was it worth it and the whole trip was fun. Grateful wall is in shade all day and I needed it. The upside after the travel is having a crag to yourself that seemed rarely climbed on.
Recommended.
PS
I went with Dut from themountainshop.org; solid belayer.
ads.ukclimbing.com
PeakDJ on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to cwarby:

We also just got back from 2 days on koh yao noi....climbed at the mitt. Took the scooter over on the ferry from thalane pier (40 mins ride from Ao Nang). Around 250-300 baht each way for one person plus scooter. Having the scooter made it cheaper to get to Ao thalane and easy to get around on the island, although it's possible to rent one once you're there.

Most crags don't really need boat access. Possible to ride to paradise resort and walk from there to a lot of the crags. Also possible to kayak from there to grateful wall if there isn't a boat going (quite possible in low season).

Not sure why previous posters found it hard to find accommodation. Just turn up...ride south from thakao pier and there are 3 or 4 fairly cheap bungalow places within a couple of kms. We stayed at thakao seaview bungalows: 700 baht for a bungalow that would comfortably sleep 3 people.

Agree that the location and climbing are amazing. It's developed loads since I was last there...now at least a few weeks worth of climbing for most people. The mitt is mega steep with endurance the main factor. Some of the routes, even in the 6s are unfeasibly steep and long.

Great island to explore on rest days too, so I'd definitely recommend a moped or scooter. Very unspoilt in places and be sure to check out had Yao beach...pretty close to paradise as a spot for resting tired arms. Also possible to camp/bivy there discretely, but take a mosquito net!
papashango - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

All this info is fanstastic, cheers man!

How much are you paying for long term scooter hire (from Ao Nang?) if you don't mind me asking?
PeakDJ on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

We pay 2000 baht per month - it can work out much better to rent for a month, even if you only need the bike for 2-3 weeks. If you rent for 2 weeks they'll charge you about 150 per day, so you end up paying 2000 anyway. If you're around for 3 weeks definitely just rent for a month and take it back early. I can recommend Noui motorbike hire, down by the beach (opposite the Irish Rover). Mike recommended to us and they seem to have been great sorting out any problems etc.
papashango - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to PeakDJ:

Awesome, can't thank you enough for all the info bud!
Bertbee - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

I got back from Tonsai last week. It IS paradise - completely fell in love with it, and will be going back.

Be prepared to listen to Jack Johnson and Bob Marley on infinite loop.
PeakDJ on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to papashango:

No worries. Just let me know if you need anything else. We are here in Thailand for another 6 weeks...

When you're out here allow plenty of time for koh yao noi.

Enjoy.

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