Climbing on Ko Tao

Although diving is by far and away the most popular activity that attracts tourists to Koh Tao, the two land-based sports of climbing and bouldering have also become very popular in recent years. The key difference between these two sports is that rock climbing typically requires the use of climbing ropes and harnesses, whereas bouldering involves climbing boulders of up to 6 metres, without ropes or harnesses. Practitioners of bouldering usually just have good climbing shoes, some chalk to keep their hands dry and maybe a crash mat to cushion their fall. It was originally devised as a precursor to rock climbing but has since become a sport in its own right. Here on Koh Tao, there are excellent facilities to learn and practice both of these sports, as the island is blessed with large granite boulders and rocky protuberances scattered throughout the island. The rock climbs are also on volcanic granite that has been eroded over the aeons to provide small handholds. Unless you are an experienced rock climber or 'bouldering' enthusiast, you will need to undergo a degree of training - how much and how long depends on your abilities and goals. If you decide to venture out alone, please remember that some land is privately owned and you should check first with one of the companies we have recommended below, who will be happy to advise you. Goodtime Thailand are the main commercial players in Koh Tao as far as rock climbing and bouldering are concerned. They offer a range of courses for both sports and have developed more than 70 routes in three main areas of the island for rock climbing, as well as several exciting bouldering locations. If you wish to go it alone, you can download a map from their website which contains full details of boulders which have been marked and graded. You are also welcome to pop into their HQ and get some free advice. Goodtime rock climbing courses commence at around 10:30am, starting with learning the basics on the ground: the knots, ropes and techniques, with a bit of practice. After lunch, you then head up the mountain to put what you’ve learned into action with a few different climbs to practice different techniques. You should then be sufficiently proficient to try out similar level climbs by yourself. A taster with Goodtime Adventures will cost 2,200B, a beginner’s course 3,100, while a guide for the day will cost 1,400B, excluding gear, which can be rented with or without a guide. Email: Tel: +66 872753604 Address: 3/40-43 Moo 1, South Sairee beach. Website: Another reputable bouldering and rock climbing outfit is Koh Tao Climbing Project. They have a complex with a restaurant, bar and campsite built in the interior of the island, staying there has a nice jungle feel, and you're closer to the rock! They also offer lessons at similar rates and boast an indoor gym-type Bouldering Wall, which is perfect for beginners - or just to enjoy a day's fun - which will cost you 200B for the day. They offer accommodation in a private or shared tents, with packages combined with courses in rock climbing and bouldering. Check out their website for further info. Email: Tel: +66 839671318 Address: Koh Tao Climbing Project, Sairee Beach. Website:

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