Elevation: 220 ft
GPS: 10.096, 99.835 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Brian Ways on Jan 9, 2014 with updates from Kris Henderson
Admins: Brian Boyd, Nate Ball
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Access Issue: Warning! Stainless steel bolts are suspect near the coast! Details
Access Issue: Details

Koh Tao

Koh Tao aka Turtle Island is part of the chain of Islands in the gulf of thailand close to the islands Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. The island is giant granite boulder field (over 200 boulders), its is easily world class in terms of bouldering opportunity.

Most of the crags and boulders are underdeveloped (Although Koh Tao has over 80 bolted sport routes). A very notable bouldering area is the secret garden (behind sairee beach) which has routes as hard as V11 (James and the Giant Peach). There are potential for hard problems, but they haven't be established yet. Some of the most popular sport route crags on the island are Meks Mountain, Golden View and Lang Kai.

There is also an indoor bouldering wall on the island. It has relocated and is open as of Jan 2018.

There are many shops that offer climbing lessons, rentals, and advice!

Perfect place to be able to climb, scuba dive, free dive, relax or party, and eat amazing food from all cultures of the world, while on a budget!

Getting There

There are many ways to get to the island:

From Bangkok: Use the lomprayah ferry service in Khao San Road to book a bus ride (7 hours) to the Chumphon and take the ferry (1 hour) There is a night ferry service available too.

Koh Samui which is an hour and half ferry ride away (You can fly from BKK to Samui).

You can fly from DMK (Bangkok) to URT (Surat Thani, then take the ferry.

You Can fly from DMK (Bangkok) to Chumphon, then take the ferry.

You can take the night train from Bangkok to Chumphon or Surat Thani, then take the ferry.

Check out islandtravelkohtao.com/ for more ways to get there and for booking if needed.

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mc kaiser
Lander, Wy
mc kaiser   Lander, Wy
It probably goes without saying, but this is a much better place to come to snorkel and dive.
There is a climbing guide published and downloadable for free from the generous folks at Good Time Adventures while this site gets reorganized. Ko Tao Climbing Guide You can also rent crash pads there for like 300 THB/24hours there, but the pad I rented was pretty worn and wouldn't have served well to protect any high or bad landings.
I have not spent an extensive amount of time here (5ish days), but what I encountered were mostly boulders. The rock is largely sharp and many of the problems that I saw have not seen ascents for some time (over grown with plants). The rock is sharp, but it does have nice friction. If you're interested in rope climbing, this is not a destination (IMHO), though it maybe the only place in Thailand where you could climb granitic trad. Definitely better if you're looking for > 5.10+ climbs, top roping, or are mostly in to bouldering.
There was at one time an indoor bouldering wall, but it has been taken down to be replaced by a hostel.
A final thought is that a few bouldering areas near to town are covered with trash, burning garbage, and cut down trees (ie. 'Secret Garden'), which look far different from the photos of the guidebook linked above. Since all the land is private, the sweet boulder you were hoping to hop on might now be a supporting structure for Ko Tao's most recent bungalow. It seems like there is a small community of people who are really psyched on this island for it's climbing, and so I hope that this doesn't sound like a downer. I certainly did not see nearly all of what Ko Tao had to offer climbing-wise, but what I observed did not make me want to come back here. Sep 10, 2016
Just looks like a better choice than Krabi during monsoon season! We are currently planning a few days in Chang Mai and then planning on heading down to Railey beach someone suggested this might be better that time of year but they were not a climber. We are flying home out of Bangkok so this seems to make sense for that reason but wondering if it's also beautiful? Less crowded maybe?

OK after reading this maybe not. Are there any other claiming areas which are maybe better than railay beach which sounds like a horrible tourist trap May 24, 2017
Brian Ways
Brian Ways   SLC, UT
The Koh Tao area is constantly changing, but sometimes slowly being updated. Sport routes and new first ascents of boulders are happening almost on a weekly basis. If you need the extension help or advice. Message me directly or toss me an email at briways@gmail.com, as I manage this area. Cheers! Brian

Ps. Feel free to donate any titanium bolts, as we are always in need! Jan 8, 2018