Friday, March 21, 2014

Tonsai Beach Thailand, an extreme adventure paradise

Okay, I am excited to write about this place, it is an Adventurers paradise, literally. Imagine your typical day of rock climbing high up in the air, over looking the ocean, and then jumping off the rock face and doing a back flip into the ocean. At night you watch the sunset on the beach with your favorite meal and drink in hand, watching people juggle, dance, and 3 or 4 people Base jump from the highest mountain and land on the beach in front of you (This really happens every night). After the sun goes down you head to one of the beach bars, and watch the King Cobra show, or local teenagers do fire tricks you didn't even think possible, head to your bungalow or tent a little after midnight, and then do it all again the next day.
Scenery on the boat ride over to Tonsai from Krabi

King Cobra Show Tonsai

Tonsai beach is a relatively recently created town designed for tourists. It used to be an empty beach with no one living there, until people discovered it has world class rock climbing. The are no roads here, and no police. You have to take a boat to get here. I like rock climbing, although I don't live for it. Tonsai is world famous for deep water soloing, which is rock climbing above the ocean, and you are not attached to ropes. When you feel you have gone high enough, you jump into the ocean below where there is a boat waiting to pick you up. I came here to do this specifically.
Deep water soloing

The first day I got to Tonsai, I took a long tail boat from Krabi. Upon arriving in Tonsai, most of the rooms were full or a little bit pricey (around $20 a night). I brought my army sleeping bag and foamy all the way from Canada, so I thought it was time to test it out, and decided to camp on the beach that night.

In the afternoon I signed up for single pitch rock climbing. There were a lot of people doing it so a little busy, but it was a lot of fun and had fun talking to people from around the world. I then met a friend for dinner and chilling on the beach. The night didn't actually end for me until about 1am after the King Cobra show. I didn't set up my camp yet, so headed to the end of the beach, and set up near this other tent.
Top rope rock climbing

It honestly was cool to try camping under the stars beside the beach but really sucked because I didn't realize how many $%$#in bugs there were . I barely got any sleep as my body was always slightly exposed to the elements, or I was way to over heated in my sleeping bag. I woke up at about 6am to the sounds of two early risers already starting to climb. It looked like I was 17 again, with red dots all over my arm and face from bug bites. Oh well its a cool story, and it made me thankful for a bungalow the next night.
View from my sleeping bag
waking up in the morning, at about 6am!

The deep water solo trip got canceled that day, but I met these two guys from Vancouver and they wanted to explore this secret lagoon there friend had told them about, and they invited me to join. It ended up taking half a day but was one of the best adventures of the trip. You have to go down this small trail, and then up this mountain, and then way down into the lagoon. It was pretty much rock climbing the whole way into the lagoon. The lagoon looked like something out of Jurassic park. There was a cave to explore on one end (filled with mud and a lake that goes who knows where into the ground), and you could swim in this pool. I didn't bring my camera as I knew I was going to get muddy and wet, but if you go to Tonsai or Riley beach, I would highly suggest going out of your way to find and explore the Secret Lagoon.
One time I counted 20 wild monkeys in the morning walking from my bungalow to the beach, there almost scary jumping over your head and such!

The next day all three of us and a bunch of others signed up to do the deep water soloing course. The night before though, I spent it shivering and puking, so I had to cancel. (Food poisoning is common in Tonsai because there is no regulations due to it not being an official town) I had an Albino frog in my room on my curtain to keep me company and take care of me for the day, and it was good to just relax until I felt better.
The bungalow where I stayed at had a very friendly community. My neighbors included a German girl and British guy. The British guy liked to hang out on the porch for hours, and when I had a few beers with him, he was on his 14th of the day at about 4pm. My neighbors had really inspiring stories, and we had many hours of great conversation over my time there.
View of Riley beach

Riley Beach from the sunset view

The next day I did go deep water soloing. The first part of the day we went to this place where there were tons of routes to climb, and it was fun and relatively easy, and jumping from about 10 meters high was great. For lunch we stopped on a beach and also had time to snorkel. The second half of the day, is another story. There was only one route and you had to reach it by swimming to a ladder, and then climb the ladder about 5 meters high, and then start climbing. If I had known how hard the climb was I would not have done it, but when you travel or live “never try, never know”. Once I got up on the rock, I started to climb. I got to this part on the rock where it was a really sketchy hold for my skill level and being tired from the climbing earlier. At this point going down wasn't an option, and jumping wasn't either as I couldn't turn around to face the water, and I was about 10 meters above the water so I didn't want to go backwards in case I didn't land feet first. After about 5 minutes, I prayed for life and made the hold, and made it! I was about 15 meters high when there was a ledge to turn around  and face the ocean to jump into the ocean once I finally caught my breath. This is probably the most dangerous thing I have done this year, and although it's a cool story and was fun, it could have turned out bad, but that's the thing about Thailand, you decide for yourself your limits, instead of having a bunch of rules ;)
Crazy skilled climber from Alaska

Where to go next?

Almost as high as I got before jumping
This guy did the impossible climbing all the way there from the same ladder

My friend Simon from Koh Phanghan met up with me in Tonsai again, and our next destination was the island of Koh Pipi, ranked by many to be the most beautiful island in the world.

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