Rock Climbing Ton Sai
Thailand... Are we nuts?! Nah: The airport trouble is over, and while politicians keep bickering in Bangkok, the rest of the country is ripe for exploration. Claire Duffett just spent two weeks in southwest Thailand sailing the Andaman Sea from Krabi to Phuket.
Just a 20-minute boat ride from Krabi town is Railay, a peninsula surrounded by limestone cliffs with three distinctly different beaches. East Railay is perforated by mangroves, making swimming impossible and accommodations cheaper. Since it’s the site of the port, however, foot traffic and boat noise is heavy. Further along, gated, swanky resorts emerge, alongside honeymooners riding around in golf carts. A few too many tourists find this wide stretch of beach inviting, though the sand is powdery and white, the water turquoise and the accommodations luxe.
Where you really want to go is Ton Sai. Long-tail boats take travelers across the small bay for 50 Baht, or $1.50, and the minor difficulty in accessing this beach makes it that much better with fewer people, cheaper accommodations and clearer beaches. The sand is darker and the rooms a touch rougher, but the rock climbing here is unparalleled. Small pockets dot the vertical volcanic rocks, ready for hands and feet to wedge their ways in. Even novices can clamber up to perches offering impressive views of the bay.
Rock climbing is, however, the only strenuous activity available on Ton Sai. Other popular diversions include indulging in cheap massages, exploring the winding dirt roads, gazing at monkeys and eating. There’s even a delicious Indian restaurant that serves palak paneer to kill for. The place is called, quite simply, Ton Sai Indian. A plethora of signs lead to the restaurant, hidden down a long, bungalow-strewn dirt road. Of course there’s always the option to, ahem, indulge in appetite-inducing herbal hors d'oeuvres--but I saw "Brokedown Palace" at a far too impressionable age to get involved in any of that.
· Andaman Sea Field Trip [Jaunted]