Tag Archives: Krabi

Rock Climbing in Krabi

From what we’ve heard, Krabi is a rock climbing mecca. I had done a little research and read stuff like this on www.railay.com:

The rock is all limestone and is part of the worlds largest coral reef, stretching from China down to Papua New Guinea. The routes are all bolted sport climbing routes. The French grading system is used. With over 700 routes ranging from beginner 5a’s to classic multipitch 6a’s right up to the extremes of 8c there’s enough here to keep any climber busy for years.

But that meant nothing to me. I’ve seen many photos of climbers scrambling around on the karst formations jutting up out of the water, and it looked like fun.

When we realized that our friends, Dean and Elaine Voge, would also be here in Krabi at the same time, we decided to spend a day climbing together. Unfortunately, many of the climbing schools were fully booked. One lady said, “Hmmm… we already have a full group, but we could take you if I can find some more instructors.” I pictured her recruiting a couple tuk tuk drivers and opted out. I called Elaine and said we would have to come up with an alternate plan. Kayaking? Beach time?

I was eating breakfast at my hotel yesterday when I got a call at 7:45 a.m. “We’re ready to pick you up for climbing.” It was a climbing school I had contacted online the day before, but when I didn’t hear back right away, I assumed we didn’t get a reservation. I told the woman on the phone that we weren’t ready to go, so she offered to pick us up later. Perfect!

King Climbers drove us to a long-tailed boat for the ride to Railay Beach, where we met the Voges and their kids at the climbing shop. From there, we walked to the rock wall. The instructors showed us how to tie the figure-eight knot, but otherwise we got no instructions on what to do. They even had us take turns with the belay device! So maybe it wasn’t the safest operation ever, but we had fun.

Wading from the long-tailed boat to the shore. Some people were checking in to hotels at Railay Beach and had to lug their suitcases through the water.


Tony learns how to tie the knot.


Owen Voge (aka Mountain Goat) helps me tie my knot.


OMG, I had no idea what I was doing and some poor Swiss guy’s life was in my hands.


Tony on the rock.


Me at the top of my second climb. I thought my arms would fall off.


The Dents and the Voges – we “rock”!!


Are You for Scuba?

I have a confession to make: It’s been two years since our last dive, and I haven’t cracked a PADI book or given much thought to scuba since then. So when we boarded our dive boat yesterday morning at Ao Nang Beach here in Thailand, I experienced a sudden onset of jitters.
Divemaster Maoro from Italy told me to hook up my regulator to the tank, and I sputtered, “I forgot how!”
He stared at me in disgust and said, “You are a PADI-certified diver! You must take responsibility for the equipment.”
“I know, I know, but it’s been two years, and I just forgot,” I whined.
Patiently, he lectured about the importance of re-reading my manuals or taking an occasional refresher course. “Yeah, right, of course, but today will you just do it for me?” I asked.
Big Italian sigh. Mauro calmly showed me how to set up all my equipment and then pointed out that I had put on my wetsuit backwards. Oops. Zipper goes in the back, duh.
Anyway, despite all the millions of things that can go wrong when a ding dong like me grabs an oxygen tank and sets off for a deepwater swim, I’m happy to report that nothing did. In fact, Mauro led us on two uneventful dives off the coast of the Phi Phi Islands. The other couple in our group was from Germany – Oliver, who is a certified rescue diver, and Sandra, who had only done six previous dives. We always have to dive with a buddy, so I asked Sandra if she wanted to trade. “I’m a tad nervous,” I told her. “I would really like a rescue diver for a buddy.” She declined.

Our day started with a ride on the dive shop’s “bus” to the beach.


Then we boarded a longboat for the ride out to the dive boat.


Finally, we went aboard the dive boat and took off.


Tony suits up.


Our beautiful boat!


We did two fairly shallow dives (around 15 meters) at two different sites off the coast of the Phi Phi Islands – Hin Bida and Bida Nok.

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On the first dive, we were welcomed into a school of yellow fish, which surrounded us and showed us around the reef. A blue moray eel smacked his lips menacingly, and Marou picked up a jellyfish about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey. It swished away with translucent gracefulness. At one point, thousands of fish streamed toward us, so we quickly sought out the source of their fear – a leopard shark. It makes me wonder at the intelligence of my species when we seek out the predators instead of fleeing them with the rest of the marine life.

Our second dive was even better with more colorful coral – purple barrels, orange fans, effervescent green balls, rainbows of branches clinging to the underwater cliff – and uncountable fish. In some nooks, a solid column of little fish swirled from the sea floor to the surface. At times, we were so engulfed in the clouds of fish that we could barely see each other. A school of barracuda swam overhead; a small grey ray with blue polka dots scooted over the sand below us. We spotted another moray, which Marou later told us was a rare zebra eel.

Ao Nang Divers deserves a great big pat on the back for a safe and well-organized day. We appreciated the clean, comfortable boat, equipment that was clearly in good condition, tasty lunch of beef curry and fresh fruit, and excellent divemasters. We have definitely experienced dives with NONE of those things, so we know a good thing when we find it!

P.S. “Are you for scuba?” is a quote from the movie Along Came Polly, and we crack ourselves up saying it every time we get ready to dive.

A Krabi Christmas Carol – Let it Snow

Oh, the weather in Krabi’s sunny
And I’m swimming with my honey.
Take a break for a mojito …
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (somewhere else).


Well, we haven’t got time for sunscreen.
We’re busy people watching.
Burnt from our scalps to our toes …
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (somewhere else).


When the longboat turns back toward town,
How I’ll hate saying ‘bye to the beach.
But with three days left to look ‘round,
Paradise won’t be too far from reach!


Overlooking Phranang Bay’s sunset,
I know I’ll never forget.
Christmas curry and beer to go …
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow (somewhere else).


Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Krabi Christmas Eve

Tony and I celebrated Christmas Eve here in Krabi, Thailand. It’s stunning – towering karst formations, powdery sand, long-tailed boats, mouth-watering food and more. We’re scheduled to go scuba diving on Saturday, and we hope to try our hand at rock climbing while we’re here.



After checking into our hotel this afternoon, we were told, “We make some Christmas barbecue!” They don’t celebrate the holiday here, but they know it’s an important day for many of their guests. Our hotel set up elegant tables around the pool and grilled seafood kebabs, tiger prawns, steak, pork and chicken, as well as corn on the cob and potatoes. A little salad, a little soup, a couple glasses of sparkling wine, a lot of BBQ, and then we ladeled some Thai dessert into a bowl. Fried bananas in a coconut milk “broth.” Mmmm.

The photo’s a bit blurry, but the buffet was sweet!



It doesn’t feel very Christmas-y, though. In fact, when the owner of a scuba diving shop told me she was opening late tomorrow, I had to ask why. As we walked from our hotel to the beach, we sang along to the holiday tunes jingling from souvenir shops, massage spas and restaurants (except the Lady Boy Show theatre, which was blaring “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor).

When I Skyped with my family back in the U.S., my nephew, Nico, sang “Jingle Bells.” I could hear the chaos in the background. My heart ached to be with them … just not enough to fly for two days back to the States, where we would likely would have gotten trapped in some airport till the snowstorm passed and wasted half our vacation trying to overcome jetlag.

So I hope Santa knows where we are!