By J. E. Hinners, MD MPH
Looking to get in some cardiovascular, toning, and strength training a little bit more adventurously than at the local gym?
Southeast Asia is home to numerous limestone cliffs among spectacular scenery and is worth exploring if you’re a climber at heart. The general consensus on best timing for climbing these sites seems to be somewhere between December and February, as all these sites are in similar geographical regions with rather similar climate patterns.
Depending on where you’re headed, here are 6 world-famous sites that deserve some attention for checking out further and perhaps adding to your bucket list:
1. Krabi, Thailand
One of the most popular climbing sites in Southeast Asia is near Railay beach in Krabi, Thailand. White sand beaches and limestone cliffs set against turquoise waters make it hard to beat the scenery here.
Several local climbing schools make it easy for beginners and advanced climbers alike–by offering courses, climbing guides, and rental equipment.
Some have noted, however, that both beginners and advanced climbers may need to take special caution if they choose to visit this site. Bolts that are not made of titanium may be more susceptible to erosion from sea spray and unsafe to climb. Even advanced climbers may face risks from neighboring climbers who may not know what they’re doing.
Best time to go: December-March, the dry season
Climber reviews: Here
2. Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai, Thailand
A bit more away from crowds and tourists are Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand, which host several scenic climbing routes for both beginners as well as those with more experience. Crazy Horse Buttress is one of the more well-known climbing destinations in Northern Thailand.
Best time to go: December through February, the dry and cool season
3. Vang Vieng & Luang Prabang, Laos
Best time to go: November through February, dry season
4. Halong Bay & Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam
Best time to go: May-June & September-December
5. Yangshuo, China
Surely you’ve seen the beautiful and unusual sharp-peaked hills near this region in photos and in artwork before. Climbing routes here range from beginner (5.6) to advanced (5.13 and 5.14b–set by famous climbers Todd Skinner and Chris Sharma).
Best time to go: April & October
6. Taipan’s Wall, Victoria, Australia
Taipan’s wall is really a climbing destination for the most advanced climbers. While other climbing sites in Victoria offer easier climbs, Taipan wall’s easiest route up the main wall is said to be a 5.12a climb. But for some, the challenge of this wall is precisely the appeal.
Best time to go: January & October
More information & reviews: Here
Have you climbed any of these sites or do you have other places in Southeast Asia you recommend for climbing? Let us know!