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Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of the adventurous activities for those who love challenge, excitement and outdoor sports. At the beginning, rock climbers are mostly foreigners who travel to Thailand, especially at Ao Railay in Krabi. Railay Bay is home to beautiful white sandy beaches, blue sea with stunning limestone cliffs towering into clear blue sky.

Although it is considered as a dangerous activity, rock climbing is increasingly popular among international and domestic tourists. As a result, many more travel agencies have added rock-climbing activities in their tour programmes, and some have also included rappelling, jungle and waterfall trekking, as well as cave exploration in the trip.

Many new rock-climbing sites have been introduced; each has its own uniqueness and beauty. There is an annual international rock-climbing competition.

Types of Rock Climbing

BOULDERING is the form of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and for the height of around 3-5 metres. Instead of ascending and descending from the cliff, bouldering usually involves sideways traversing. The purpose is to enhance your physical strength, endurance and climbing technique. If climbers regularly practice bouldering, their rock-climbing skill will be quickly developed.

FREE SOLO is a type of rock climbing where the climber does not use ropes. Despite its similarity with bouldering, free solo is vertical climbing to a greater height like a mountain’s peak while bouldering is sideway traversing. No ropes, harnesses and protective gear are used. The climber relies on his/her physical strength, climbing skill and psychological fortitude only.

FREE CLIMBING is the style of rock climbing, which requires a high level of climbing technique, experience, physical strength and psychological fortitude. Though ropes and other forms of climbing protection are employed to prevent falls, they do not guarantee the safety. Free climbing usually involves conquering a mountain’s peak or high cliff.

SPORTS CLIMBING is the type of rock climbing which requires similar climbing equipment to Free Climbing but has a higher level of safety. The climbing route is already prepared, and permanent anchors and bolts are already fixed to the rock. Sports Climbing has received increasing popularity due to its safety. The climber can quickly develop his/her skill.

Abseiling or Rappelling is another popular adventurous activity, which is the controlled descent down a rock using a rope, climbing gear, personal skills and many rappelling techniques. Mostly, rappelling is considered as a safe activity.

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Thailand Tourism Standard

Thailand Tourism Standards for Rock Climbing

To ensure the safety of tourists who choose to participate in Rock Climbing, the Department of Tourism has issued the Thailand Tourism Standards for Rock Climbing operators and sites to provide guidelines on the sport with emphasis on safety for participants.
For more information, visit

Safety Measures & Precautions

  • Rock climbing and rappelling have a higher risk than white-water rafting and paddling. Therefore, the climber should be fully prepared, including warming up.
  • An amateur rock climber should always have an experienced and skilled belayer assisting him/her. Both climber and belayer should pay full attention to each other and always look for signals from the other party for the climber’s safety.
  • Figure Eight Loop is a very important rock-climbing knot. The climber should know how to tie this type of knot.
  • Always wear climbing shoes, specially designed for rock climbing only.
  • If feeling tired during the ascent, the climber should take a break. No need to rush to the finish point.
  • Do not look down to the ground. Focus on the anchors, bolts or gripping points only.
  • Do not let go of your brake hand.
  • Do not step on ropes or any climbing gear.

Rock Climbing Areas in Thailand

  Place Province Season to Visit Type Height
36 Spirit Well Cave
Mae Hong Son
Nov - Apr Abseiling 140 m.
37 Crazy Horse Cliff Chiang Mai Nov - Apr Climbing/Bouldering 15-60 m.
38 Kio Lom Dam Lampang Nov - Apr Climbing/
10-20 m.
39 Namtok Wang Tum Phetchabun Jun - Feb Abseiling 40 m.
40 Namtok Than Rattana Nakhon Nayok Jun - Feb Abseiling 18-70 m.
41 Railay Bay Krabi Nov - Apr Climbing/Bouldering 10-75 m.