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"Commute" from Tonsai to other nearby climbing spots?


Original Post
Simon W · · Nowhere Land · Joined May 2013 · Points: 70

Looking into booking one place to stay in Tonsai, and wondering what I'm looking at timewise getting to some of the other nearby climbing?  (Climbing around 7a / 5.12-)


What's the trail situation?


Is there a Tonsai rush hour?  Are there seasonal Japanese workers who push people into the long boats wearing white gloves?

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

Are you talking about just getting to Railay? You can get a longboat pretty much every 15 minutes or easy walk over at low tide. Tonsai rush hour? lolololololol. FYI there's a lot to keep you busy on the beach at that grade - Café Andaman, Tonsai Playboy, La Bab, Babes in Thailand

Simon W · · Nowhere Land · Joined May 2013 · Points: 70
Jon Frisby wrote:

Are you talking about just getting to Railay? You can get a longboat pretty much every 15 minutes or easy walk over at low tide. Tonsai rush hour? lolololololol. FYI there's a lot to keep you busy on the beach at that grade - Café Andaman, Tonsai Playboy, La Bab, Babes in Thailand

Yeah Railay and anything else worth doing.  There was a nice looking crag stacked with 11+/12- somewhere that was a short drive and I would probably spend at least four or five days there

However Tonsai seems like a nice place to stay.

I guess this is really a Railay vs Tonsai thread.  I gather that Railay is more crowded and seems more expensive unless you stay in a dump and generally speaking further from climbing BUT less isolated 

Honestly though I'm not really going to be on a schedule so I should probably welcome the long boat to somewhere 

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100
Simon W wrote:

Yeah Railay and anything else worth doing.  There was a nice looking crag stacked with 11+/12- somewhere that was a short drive and I would probably spend at least four or five days there

However Tonsai seems like a nice place to stay.

I guess this is really a Railay vs Tonsai thread.  I gather that Railay is more crowded and seems more expensive unless you stay in a dump and generally speaking further from climbing BUT less isolated 

Honestly though I'm not really going to be on a schedule so I should probably welcome the long boat to somewhere 

Doesn't really need to be Railay vs Tonsai. They're about as hard to commute between as Manhattan and Brooklyn. Railay is nicer and has more shops and is more touristy. But Tonsai is also completely tourists (just climbing and hippygurl tourism moreso than middle aged folks). I didn't end up climbing at Railay because I was content with what Tonsai had to offer. For getting back to Krabi (which I'm guessing would be necessary to drive to the other crag you're talking about) it doesn't make a difference which of Tonsai/Railay you're on 

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

Getting a longtail boat to go back and forth between Railay and Tonsai was much easier than I thought it would be. Morning and evening are pretty quick, you might have to wait a bit longer midday. Plan to not get stuck in a place you don't want to be after dark, the boats stop going out when it gets dark, and while there is a good path through the jungle between Tonsai and Railay, I wouldn't want to walk it in the dark, either. 

I hope you were joking about white gloved people helping you into the boats. Lol! No. Plan on getting your feet wet. And muddy. And wet. And sandy. On Railay side you get on and off the boat pretty close to the beach, both at high and at low tide. On Tonsai side though, there is a big shallow area, so at low tide you might be getting off the boat half a mile away from the high-tide "shore", and then wading to the dry land. 

Simon W · · Nowhere Land · Joined May 2013 · Points: 70
Lena chita wrote:

I hope you were joking about white gloved people helping you into the boats. Lol! No.

"Helping" is one way of putting it :p  Was a reference to this:

Thanks for the info all!

General consensus - in your opinion would staying at Tonsai for three plus weeks get old?

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250
Simon W wrote:

"Helping" is one way of putting it :p  Was a reference to this:

Thanks for the info all!

General consensus - in your opinion would staying at Tonsai for three plus weeks get old?

I was there for only 2 weeks, but I could have happily stayed longer. If you are there longer, and get bored with Tonsai, you could take a trip to Koh Phi Phi for couple days.( I think you'd have to go back to Ao Nang via longtail boat, and then take a ferry from there to Phi Phi Don.) But there is enough climbing in Tonsai/Railay to keep you busy for 3 weeks.

I suppose if your plus sign on the 3+ weeks is really long, you could plan to spend time in Northern Thailand for couple weeks, (Chiang Mai?) an then make your way down to Tonsai. But I would stay in one place, personally.

JonasMR · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 8

It is also worth mentioning that Tonsai has the better food, IMHO.  I could only find tourist food in Railay.

And the trail commutes between the two are littered with climbs.  If you're ready for a sweat, take the more inland trail and get some crags potentially all to yourself.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

nah you won't get bored. You'll probably lose 2-5 days to Tonsai Tummy anyway. I had two weeks and wished I had a little more time after adapting to the food and heat/humidity.

Simon W · · Nowhere Land · Joined May 2013 · Points: 70

Cool thanks all.

Maybe the selection of routes listed on MP isn't a good representation but seems like Tonsai has shorter steeper routes and Railay side has some mega routes like Lord of the Thais.  (I'm for both but prefer the mega routes.)

If I do at least half of my climbing in Tonsai then staying in Tonsai is well worth it.


Better food is a huge plus!  What are prices like on that?

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100
Simon W wrote:

Cool thanks all.

Maybe the selection of routes listed on MP isn't a good representation but seems like Tonsai has shorter steeper routes and Railay side has some mega routes like Lord of the Thais.  (I'm for both but prefer the mega routes.)

If I do at least half of my climbing in Tonsai then staying in Tonsai is well worth it.

Better food is a huge plus!  What are prices like on that?

That's correct. The (Edit) Thaiwand is on Railay, which is the location for the good big stuff. Meals can be had for $5-10 or you can go crazy and get two meals and beer for under $20. It's fucking cheap

Jan Bruffaerts · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 61

the "nice looking crag stacked with 11+/12 routes a short drive nearby" is probably Chong Pli, 5miles outside Ao Nang.

i have just updated the page on Chong Pli here on the mountainproject site. we run the little bungalow resort at the base of the crag. you can contact me (private message) to book some nights, or visit airbnb, booking.com. If not booking with me directly, use the discount code WILDLING 

Tonsai & Railay are just a 20 min longtailboat ride away. our place is getting more popular because people keep getting "Tonsai tummy" (really a form of Norovirus that gives you fever & diarrhea) when eating there & staying overnight.


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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