Written by Daryl-Leigh Preuss
Have you travelled to Thailand yet? If not here is my experience and recommendation for you to travel there.
After two days of travelling, we finally arrived in Thailand. From the busy beach of Aunang, we took a long-tail boat to the secluded beach of Tonsai Bay. As you arrive and walk up the stairs, you are greeted by the friendly staff of the Freedom Bar; a small bar just off the beach with wooden decks, music and 200m high limestone cliffs towering above you.
After a mandatory drink at the bar, we settled into our accommodation at the Dream Valley Resort. (This is the only resort in Tonsai with a swimming pool. A must, considering the extreme heat and humidity!)
Small bars, restaurants and shops are all connected by one long street. Every local greeting you with a smile as you walk past. The thick forest made the every day hikes an adventure. The adventure was spiced up even more with the snakes on the trails or bathrooms; monkeys stealing your nuts and a giant squirrel (I’m convinced I saw it!).
Climbing in Thailand is definitely different from what we have here in South Africa. Big moves between good holds made it out to be quite a sweaty and challenging experience. The slippery, overhanging limestone, with giant toofers on it, made it obvious that I need to do some pull-ups. Although the climb was challenging, there was always a 5 star view waiting for me at the top, making it all worth it.
On our rest-days, we used the time to try out the other activities Tonsai had to offer. These included kayaking through the eroded cliffs; snorkeling; as well as stand up paddle boarding.
My favourite part about my Thailand trip was meeting other climbers from around the world.
Sharing drinks and talking war-stories from the day’s adventures. Everyone knew and got to love the “South African group”. We made more friends than I could ever imagine. The local and travelling community really made the trip all the more special.
I’m already missing our Tonsai family. I can’t wait to go back, fitter, stronger and ready to tackle those beautiful limestone cliffs.