Visit This Stunning Southeast Asia Beach For Incredible Rock-Climbing Adventures

Thailand's coastline is surrounded by stunning limestone karst formations, some of which, besides looking incredible in pictures, can also be climbed. The country's most famous climbable cliffs can be found at Railay West Beach, often called simply Railay Beach, in the Krabi province — a destination that has been described as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. But many people come here not just to see the undoubtedly stunning sights, but because it's been called one of the best destinations for rock climbing in Southeast Asia. 

Thailand has something for everyone, and a visit to Railay Beach can be combined with other islands like Koh Samui, or from cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai if you take an internal flight to Krabi airport. The cliffs that make Railay so unmissable are located at the sides of the beach, and you don't need to be a climbing expert to have a go. Only reachable by boat, the views from the top make it well worth the picturesque journey to get here.

How to rock climb at Railay Beach

Railay West Beach has various rock-climbing instructors who know the cliffs well and can help you improve your skills with a short training course. It is possible to try bouldering (climbing at a low height without ropes) at the bottom of the Railay cliffs, but since they are quite steep, they are much better suited to experienced rock climbers. You can also try bouldering in nearby Tonsai Beach, as there are craggier caves there more suitable for holding onto without ropes.

For safety reasons, Thai limestone requires special titanium bolts, which are glued in place and don't rust off as quickly as steel does in a tropical coastal location like this. This is why a guide can help you navigate your climb by showing you a safe route. Rain can also make the rocks harder to climb, so the best time to climb is in Thailand's dry season, from November to March. No matter your level of experience or how far you get up the karst, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Krabi peninsula.

How to get to Railay Beach

As there are no roads out of Railay, the only way to get there is by boat. The closest place to get a boat from is neighboring Ao Nang. The trip takes 10-15 minutes and there are lovely views of the limestone cliffs along the way. As the Krabi region is popular with tourists, it is easy to book transfers or tours taking you around its most stunning areas. There are regular speedboats from the island of Phuket straight to Railay Beach, or you can visit on a day trip or tour.

These tours usually include the town of Krabi, the Koh Panyi floating village, Wat Suwan Kuha cave temple, and Phang Nga Bay, with its famous "James Bond island" from "The Man with the Golden Gun." Railay West Beach can also be combined with snorkeling trips around the nearby islands, one during the day and one after dark so you can see the bioluminescent plankton. If your interest is in climbing, it may be better to stay overnight in Railay as you will need your energy to scale those cliffs. There are plenty of hotels and resorts that cater to climbers. No matter your level, you're bound to be welcomed by this adventure-loving community.