I’m back!!!! After a month with no reliable internet connection, I’m now in the best possible position to start updating you all on all that you’ve missed! 🙂 I hope you are fantastic!
We met Yonas in Chiang Mai. He’s a friendly guy Nico climbed with a few times at the Crazy Horse Buttress (the relatively well-known climbing crag in northern Thailand). I also managed to join them for a solid day’s worth of climbing during our last day. 6 consecutive successful climbs – including a long and hard 6a – after finally recovering from my diving injury at Koh Phi Phi.
I couldn’t have felt more motivated about rock climbing.
Nico and I had planned to spend a significant amount of time climbing in Vang Vieng. We had hoped to replace any possible disappointment from tubing with satisfaction from climbing. However, Yonas had just returned to Thailand from Laos, raving about the climbing scene in a virtually unknown town called Thakhek. Comparatively, he hardly hesitated to advise us to skip climbing in Vang Vieng altogether, and recommended we allocate more time in Thakhek instead.
We reduced our intended climbs in Vang Vieng to two days, and extended our cumulative time spent in Laos by about a week to add another town to our itinerary.
Thakhek town is pretty basic… with little charm and not much to do or see. However, what the town lacks, the climbing crag compensates. The scenery, countryside and isolation are simply remarkable. Unlike many climbing destinations, accommodation is available on the crag.
About 2-3 minutes from our gorgeous bungalow are the majority of routes. The belaying surface is generally flat. There’s no need to walk or trek or climb or kayak extensively in order to get to a good wall (as is the case in Tonsai, for example).
There’s a lovely restaurant on site that serves various dishes (highly recommended are the Western style chicken salad and the mint and yoghurt shake). The German owners – Tanya and Uli – are hardcore climbers (having bolted many of the routes themselves), super friendly and managing their site in conjunction with Green Discovery Laos – the only sustainable eco-tourism company available in Laos.
What makes our experience even more spectacular is that the site is brand new! Only open in Dec 2011, not only were the facilities sparkly clean and shiny, but we managed to enjoy the new climbing scene with few people actually knowing about it.
A wonderfully quiet, active and relaxing way to spend 8 days. Living in a bamboo hut at the foot of cliffs. Climbing. Eating. Siesta… Climbing. Eating. Sleeping. Then the same cycle all over again. No traffic. No noise. No internet. No phones. The nearest town – Thakhek – 12 kilometres away.
But hurry – a representative from a travel guide visited Green Climber’s Home in January. Lonely Planet will soon be next. As details will be published in the next edition, I worry that much of what I’ve written above may no longer be true. If you are long overdue a climbing trip, and are looking for your next destination, try Thakhek. Sooner rather than later.
- Rock climbing in Tonsai and Railay, Thailand: Being a good “climber’s girlfriend” (thirdkulturekidparis.wordpress.com)
- Tonsai in Krabi Province, Thailand: To go crazy or not to go crazy? (thirdkulturekidparis.wordpress.com)