Dangling from a rope on Railay Beach.

After a very relaxing first day in Ao Nang, our second day promised to be more adventurous.

Before we started the trip we had agreed to meet up with Kevin and Vanessa in Krabi. (The fact that we had already seen them in Hoi An was actually just the result of fortuitous timing as we passed through the same town.)

Railay Beach is a 10 minute longtail ride from Ao Nang and is world famous for rock climbing. We arranged to spend the afternoon climbing with Kevin and Vanessa who were staying in Railay.

They didn’t actually arrive at Railay until around noon, they were coming from another island, so Katy and I headed over early to laze about on the beach. It wasn’t quite as nice as our private patch of sand on Poda but we managed to enjoy ourselves nonetheless.

Standing on Railay Beach.

After some lunch we walked over to meet Kevin and Vanessa at King Climbers. We had booked a four hour beginner climbing trip and it turned out to be just the four of us with our two guides. Well, us and the dozen other climbers of various levels who were all climbing at the same location.

Kevin, Vanessa, Katy and me at Railay Beach

After getting set up with our gear, we walked over to see just exactly what we would be climbing. The spot they took us to could hardly have been more picturesque and I will readily admit that the first route they chose looked a little more advanced than “beginner”. After a quick rope tying and belaying lesson, we were off.

Now, Katy had never been climbing before and my only try was a decade ago indoors. Somehow doing it on real rocks makes it seem more…real. Maybe it’s the fact that there aren’t any holds designed for that purpose, or the fact that the ground isn’t padded, but I definitely experienced a little trepidation as we got started. Actually, belaying Katy made me far more nervous than climbing myself. As Kevin put it, having just been in a similar situation with Vanessa, “there is something nerve wracking about literally holding your wife’s life at the end of a rope”.

Katy climbing at Railay Beach.
Katy reaching for a hold.

If it were a couples competition, I would have to admit that Kevin and Vanessa definitely won. I take some solace in the fact that they have more experience than Katy and I. Competition aside, I can safely say that we all had a great time and left talking about doing it again at home, even if only indoors. Everyone did really well and probably climbed higher than anticipated. I definitely got higher than I expected and my forearms are not used to that kind of exercise, it still hurts a bit to type this post. If there was one thing I might be able to claim I was best at, it was descending. It seems I’m good at being lowered down like a limp rag doll.

Climbing at Railay Beach, Thailand.
I'm getting higher...

Some credit for our success definitely goes to our guide who had an excellent ability to instruct and motivate from the ground. Conveniently, he also had a peculiar hearing problem that seemed to kick in anytime someone said they felt they had done well enough and were ready to quit and come down. Oddly it cleared right up as soon as one reached the top of the chosen route.

Climbing at Railay Beach.
Believe it or not, that's what we were climbing. If you look closely you can see someone on the face.

After climbing we definitely needed to clean up, so we left Kevin and Vanessa to head to their hotel while we took a boat back to our hotel. Feeling fairly proud of ourselves, I rewarded myself with a beer on the beach and Katy and I hit the pool for the first time.

Later in the evening Kevin and Vanessa came over to Ao Nang to meet up for dinner. As you would expect from a tourist beach town, Ao Nang has lots of restaurants to choose between. The thing I noticed was the weird combinations of food styles, e.g. Swiss & Thai, or Swedish & Thai. The only explanation is that people from these countries came to Thailand and couldn’t bring themselves to leave. Eventually the money ran out so they opened restaurants with a little of their home country flavour. All that to say that when Vanessa said she felt like Indian or Thai for dinner, the obvious choice was the Indian/Thai restaurant.

It was great to be able to meet up with Vanessa and Kevin, not once but twice on this trip. I’m definitely jealous of their two month adventure and hope we can pull off something similar someday.

I can see what led all of those restaurant owners to settle down on the beach. It would be great to be able to have days like this one permanently. Unfortunately for us we only have one more day on the beach and then it’s back to cold reality.

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