Koh Tao is known as a diving paradise but did you know that it is a rock climber’s heaven too? Explore some of the best rock climbing in Koh Tao in this article.
Are you looking for the best rock climbing spots in Koh Tao? If you are scouting for an adrenaline adventure in Thailand’s secluded islands, you are in the right place!
Koh Tao is known as a global diving paradise to many. But did you know that this popular destination is also one of Thailand’s best outdoor climbing locations? With over 200 boulders and 80 bolted climbing routes (and more on the way), there is plenty to explore in Koh Tao, both above and under the sea.
When you decide on your island-hopping trip – you may wonder what is the best place for climbing: Koh Tao, Koh Samui or Koh Phangan? Here is our take on it: Rock climbing in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan is known to be less developed in comparison but you will find a good handful of uncharted large-sized boulders along the coastline that are worthy of a challenge.
Is there rock climbing in Koh Samui?
Yes, there is rock climbing in Koh Samui. Along the Chaweng and Lamai beaches, you will find a variety of 8 to 40-meter walls available for rock climbing, with difficulty levels ranging from beginner to advanced. There are some bouldering rocks as well. Get to the top for a great view of Koh Samui!
Is there rock climbing in Koh Phangan?
Yes, there is rock climbing in Koh Phangan, although most of it is unchartered territory. There are a couple of bouldering problems along Haad Yao beach, but you will find many limestone formations along other parts of the beach as well that are worth a try. Go at your own risk!
Now let’s get to our favorite climbing place, Koh Tao. Here are our cherry-picked locations:
Top locations for climbing on Koh Tao
1. Lang Khai
Lang Khai is located on the east side of Koh Tao. It has some of the most beautiful coastlines and is popular for trad and sport climbing. There are also coastal rocks suitable for bouldering.
The best time to climb is in the afternoon. It is also less crowded here as it is less accessible compared to other locations (you will need to hop across multiple boulders and traverse low into this area)
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced (French 5a to 7b routes)
2. Mek’s Mountain
Mek’s Mountain is Koh Tao’s main climbing area and the most established in terms of bolted routes. There are 18 sport climbing routes available, with 14 top-rope permanent anchors.
Mek’s Mountain is extremely popular as a training ground as they have plenty of well-shaded routes at different times of the day. There are also beginner-friendly routes starting from 4a which is a good entry point for first-timer outdoor climbers.
Some of Mek’s Mountain’s signature routes include Good Morning Koh Ta (5A), Devine Intervention (6a), and Return of the Ent Wife (5c)
Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced (French grade 4 to 7+)
Price: 100 THB ($3) -payable to Good Time Adventures
3. Jansom Bay Cliffs
Jansom Bay is one place you should not miss out. Located on the southwest side of Koh Tao, this pristine white beach is a perfect beach getaway, with its low current and clear waters.
This location is more suitable for intermediate climbers as they have top-roped routes graded 6a and above. Come in the morning for the best shade as it gets extremely hot by noon.
Jansom Bay is also a privately-owned beach so a small fee is required upfront.
Difficulty: Intermediate (French grade 6a+)
Price: 200 Baht/day ($6/day)
4. Secret Garden
Behind Sairee beach, there is the Secret Garden for bouldering in Koh Tao. You will find a plethora of palm trees surrounding this grassland, keeping the place cool and zen-like while you climb.
There are over 20 different boulder rocks scattered around this land with over 60 different bouldering problems so crowd control will not be an issue.
Some notable bouldering problems include Pancake Ninja (V6) and James and The Giant Peach (V11)
Difficulty: Beginner – Advanced (VB to V11)
5. The Bunker – Indoor Rock Climbing Gym
The Bunker is Koh Tao’s latest rock climbing installation. It is the one and only indoor rock climbing gym on this island, with plenty of bouldering routes set for all ranges of climbers.
This gym just launched in 2022 so you will find new climbing holds that are waiting to be chalked up! Grades are determined by a color tag.
If you are looking to grab a drink with some rest in between climbing projects, the Bunker offers some delicious smoothies and a clean and affordable hostel for you to relax.
Difficulty: Beginner – Advanced
Operating hours: 9 am – 8 pm daily
Price: 250 Baht ($7)
6. Other rock climbing spots around Koh Tao you can check out:
- Golden View (It is the highest crag on the island with a 360-degree panoramic view of the island)
- Laem Thian (Laem Thiam has two places to climb: the Coast and the Jungle. It is best to go with a guide for the jungle section as it is difficult to access)
- Sairee Beach (Multiple boulder problems and sport climbing routes in this commercialized area)
- Shark Island (As scary as it sounds, only for the brave who are into trad climbing)
- Tanote Bay (A notable place for multi-pitch climbing)
FAQ on Rock Climbing in Koh Tao
How do I get to the climbing spots in Koh Tao?
While there are truck taxis available around the island, the easiest way to get around the crags is by renting a motorbike for around 250 baht/day ($ 7/day) for flexible traveling.
Can I climb on my own or do I need a local guide?
Koh Tao has many established routes but it is always good to go with a guide who is more familiar with the terrain and access to the walls, especially deep in the jungle.
Watch out for animals
Part of the outdoor thrill is the fauna that you will find on the trails. There may not be monkeys but you may encounter snakes (non-venomous ones), squirrels, and monitor lizards. And do bring a mosquito repellent – Tropical islands are not only a divers’ and climbers’ heaven, but it’s a paradise for mosquitoes too.
There you have it, the list of rock climbing in Koh Tao for you to get moving and revving up. Always make sure to stay hydrated during your climbs as the heat can be pretty unforgiving in this tropical climate.
If there are places you have tried on this list, do share your experience in the comments below. Do you have a recommendation of a new bouldering problem or climbing route that deserves a mention? Comment below and let’s discuss!