Koh Tao is rising in popularity as a prime bouldering destination in Thailand. Although the area is featured in various guidebooks and is hugely popular among backpackers and scuba divers, Koh Tao sees very few climbers each year in comparison to the sport climbing mecca that is Krabi. For those who prefer to land on pads, Koh Tao is more than worth the time and effort.
Dan McClure climbing the Egg Boulder
During our 5 nights on Koh Tao, we stayed with the good folks at Koh Tao Climbing Project, also known as, the Golden View restaurant and bar. Dan, Neil, and Nini had just opened their new camp and restaurant a couple of weeks prior. Although they just started, the property is extremely well done, really organized, and the we are more than impressed by the quality and amenities inside the tent. The tent included real beds (which were better beds than we got in any other hostels during our whole trip), outlets for charging your phones, blankets and pillows, a couple of lamps and a fan. It was definitely glamping.
Inside the tents and sexy climbers
Nini and her amazing ribs for dinner
Amazing Koh Tao sunset from the Golden View restaurant
Within a couple of minutes of walking from the camp, there's a great slabby sport climbing wall. It is short and has got 5 routes on it and 1 hard 6c+ route. If you walk all the way up the hill, there's anther fantastic sport wall.
crushing this 6A slab!
BB8 getting on the wall
While bouldering on Koh Tao is established and there are lot of problems to repeat, the place gets overgrown quickly, so it still offers this sense of adventure when you still kind of have to bush wack and second guessing whether you're in the right place.
Having neil and Dan to show us around for a couple of days were definitely helpful. They showed us some of the best climbs around and boulders to try. It's actually quite unfortunate because I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should because I was having way too much fun climbing.
Mark trying hard on this V5 traverse
Smoothies every meal every day
New best pal
The only downer here is how sharp the rock is. Koh Tao doesn't get a lot of traffic, and the rocks remain unpolished, which is both good and bad. Although it provides a lot of friction, it's rather painful to hold on to. That made it really difficult for my gym fingers to handle. On the first day, I only had 5 or 6 go's because my skin hurt too much to climb. Good thing that we were there for 5 days!
One good thing to know about Koh Tao is that it's quite difficult to get around. Unlike Tonsai and Railey, it's more necessary to get a motorcycle here to get yourself and friends to the bouldering area. I highly suggest that you learn to bike before hitting up Koh Tao.
Luckily, Dan and Neil gave us lifts to towns and boulder areas during our stay since none of us knew how to bike.
On our rest day, we hit up Lang Khai, which is this awesome Joshua Tree meets ocean kind of place. Giant granite walls and massive boulders scattered everywhere. Too bad the landing was either too scary or the boulder is way too hard, so we didn't get to try anything. However, we all still had a ton of fun just swimming and snorkeling. This is a great cliff jumping spot as well.
Mr. Crab is taking a bath in this boiling hot water
Koh Tao is now on my map for top climbing places not only for its quality rocks and bouldering, but it's overall a great place to be. Away from the busy Sairee beach, Koh Tao is quite calm and offers a lot of natural beauty and opportunities for exploration.
Lang Khai, Koh Tao
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