Gazing up at the cliffs on Railay Beach in Thailand a lump catches in my throat. Rock climbing in Krabi with its soft sand beaches and jaw dropping cliffs was the first adventure to make the dream list. Yet there had always been valid reasons to not make the trip to Thailand over the past twenty years. Political unrest, lack of funds, family commitments, the excuses piled up like peaks on a mountain range.
After fifteen years of rock climbing in North America our climbing ropes were hung up for the last time. With it the Thailand climbing dream fell from its once top spot to a sad addendum on the bottom of the page.
Cycling would finally bring us here to Thailand, often referred to as the land of smiles. I can with some confidence say no smile larger than mine this day. Rock climbing at Krabi had been a last minute decision in the final days leading to departure. All kinds of excuses why not to climb in Thailand spewed forth from doubtful me.
“I haven’t climbed in years.”
“I’m not strong enough.”
“I should have done it years ago when I was more confident!”
It would be a nudge of encouragement from our daughter in law that sent us researching climbing guides at the famed destination at Krabi.
“Are you going to go rock climbing when you are in Thailand?” The photos of her smiling on the limestone cliffs from her own climbing trip to Thailand years earlier popped into my memory.
“Climbing at Krabi was the first thing on my bucket list” I sighed back to her with the tone of regret heavy in my voice.
“Well you should do it then!”
So with a flurry of research, thanks to my husband, the private lesson with an experienced guide was booked.
Picked up from our hotel in Ao Nang and transported by longboat to Railay beach, we make an unusual pair. The others headed for a day of climbing appearing twenty to thirty years our junior. Our guess is they hoped their day of rock climbing in Krabi did not include hanging on ropes with the grandparents.
So how was the rock climbing in Krabi?
Where once I would have coached others where to place their hands and feet our Thai guide did the same for us. Like a rusty bicycle covered in cobwebs the moves came in slow lurches and lunges. Sweating hands and churning stomachs gradually settled under the gentle guidance. With each climb the rust and spider webs gave way to memories of one’s body moving with some sense of rhythm.
Were we as strong rock climbing in Thailand as we had been in our glory days a decade prior? Absolutely not. My hands and forearms so useless following our Thailand climbing I required assistance to open doors for days.
At the top of each climb I would hear our Thai rock climbing guide from below.
“Sit back and look how beautiful it is. Take your time.”
It had taken a great deal of time to arrive. The beauty of those cliffs at Railay Beach and the chance to climb them will forever etched in my magical memories.
This post is not sponsored and we paid for our own experience. We would highly recommend Krabi Rock Climbing should you want to fulfill your own dream of a lifetime.