Krabi

Krabi is the most beautiful beach area I have seen to date in Southeast Asia. Beach preference is really a matter of personal taste, I get that. But, scenically, it’s going to be hard to beat the view of the rock islands and the three football field lengths of white sand that surfaces on our beach when the tide drops evening evening in time for sunset. Unlike most of the other destinations- Phuket, Phi Phi, Samui, Bali- Krabi is part of the mainland. A coastline lined with cliffs, beaches, rocks, a varied but gorgeous geology.

My highlight, as if all that wasn’t enough, was rock climbing. Having dabbled with some indoor climbing, I was finally pushed to give outdoor a go. My initial concern about safety in Thai standards were waves away by many avid climbers who said they were impressed by the professionalism and expertise of the climbing companies in Krabi, especially King Climbers.

What a huge difference it is between indoor and outdoor climbing. Indoor climbing routes have colored grips screwed on. It wasn’t a matter of where to reach for but how. In the outdoor, everything looks like to me. When I made the comparison the one of our instructors, he quipped “just follow the white.” Groan. The limestone wall is white, silly.

I thank our good instructors. Each of us had, at multiple points, called it quits. Too tired. No strength. Baffled on strategy. And the instructors, we would later find out, have their counter-strategy. They first would pretend to be busy talking, smoking, not paying attention. Then acknowledge our request to be let down and sympathetically call out “Go ahead and rest first.” After we hang for a few minutes to rest, they would then order us to give it another try. Because of their subtle and not so subtle pushing, I finished all three routes.

Each climb was a cacophony of shouting from the various instructors belaying all the climbers. Left! Right! Right foot left! Left hand higher on left! Guiding us where to find our next foot or handholds, and how to position ourselves for our next move. Somehow, I managed to hone in on our instructors’ voices amidst all the yelling and the echos. I almost burst out laughing at times. The instructors were all Thai.. and each had a different variation of an accent in their English, dependent on where and how they learned their English. All were very fluent, enough to make and understand nuanced jokes. And some even knew phrases and directions in other languages for the European visitors.

My third climb took me over the trees. And up to get an unobstructed wide view of the entire expanse of the cove. I so am sorry that I was not able to bring a camera up. My skill was too basic to risk damaging the camera. What a beautiful view. Postcard perfect. The beautiful beach, the wooden boats lined up near the shore, the lush green trees offsetting the towering limestone cliffs.  Did I mention this place now tops the list of favorite beaches?

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