Rock Climbing on Phi Phi Islands Thailand
Phi Phi Update 2020
There is much confusion as to if climbing has been banned in Phi Phi and really it is very unclear what the situation is. Certainly they have cracked down on guiding there, so to the best of my knowledge no one is operating a climbing school which is a shame. However the general consensus is that climbing itself is not banned. If you want to go over there and climb yourself- go for it- you will have the place to yourself! Many people I know have climbed there without any problems this year.
The multipitch climbing there is amazing- the only downside is that you have to stay on Phi Phi- which for me personally is a deal breaker. If you can cope with all night disco, over priced accommodation and giant boat loads of tourists you will get the crags to yourself.
Now I am also pretty sure that since Shamick, there has been no rebolting and very little route maintenance- So if you go, bring enough slings to back up any anchors (guessing the old ones are at least 13 years old). Also any threads are gonna be sketchy- bring lots of slings! Only climb the routes that have been rebolted with Titanium. You will most likely snap anything steel, just by hanging on it....
I've put all Shamicks updates here so you can see what has definitely be done in titanium. Thanks Shamick- we love and miss you forever...
Mini 2007 Update from Shamick-
Shamick is over there right now, rebolting like a mad man. He's torn some shoulder tendons in the process, which is very unfair and likely to slow him down- so any help would be much appreciated...
Shamick working hard on Pilee Wall on Phi Phi Island
90% 0f threads are now 6years old, we
need climbers to replace old threads- carry with you material for thread
and anchor replacement: You need sharp knife, lighter
and some basic skills. We use a double fisherman knot and always 2 rings on the anchor.
I will leave the rope for threads with Tip at his climbing store by Garlic restaurant.
New bungalows opening Feb 2007- Tonsai Tower- around 600baht
I will scout some places on my next trip…many
new good restaurants, for example, all you can eat sushi for
220 baht, and the real Thai Moslem market.
For climbers trying to escape high season bungalow prices there is new place located
under tonsay tower. This is going to open the first week of Feb 2007. It is far from the crowds and noise, and will be about 600baht per little bungalow. You can
call Daa at 0847447665.
If you have a tent you can pitch it on their beach fpr 100 baht (use
of shower included).
Brief Dan update:
Stayed there last year- tiny basic huts, hard coy mattress- great location, probably your best PP option- still pricy though- The ones with toilets are more expensive- 600baht get's you no toilet and a very very small room (probably gone up by now)- Thought the Sushi was average, but the market Thai food is fantastic... As for the routes- well what can I say except thanks Shamick!
Rebolting Phi Phi- Shamicks 2006 Updates
This is a comprehensive update from Shamick. Someone who has worked tirelessly for no other reason then the fact he wants to make one of the worlds greatest playgrounds safe for all the players out there. If you can, help and support him...
Thanks Shamick, we all owe you one!
There are 7 major walls in Phi Phi, all equipped with glue-in bolts. Some of the best easier grade multi-pitch climbs in Thailand are to be found here, most of which are done over a mesmerizing blue sea. For a beginner, Tonsai Tower on it’s own offers about 20 routes grade 5 to 6b+ all in a row. All glue-in bolts. All ring anchors.
Most guidebooks seem to bypass this fantastic climbing
area. What follows is our attempt to fill in their
blanks. This is a supplement only. You should have a
guide book with topos.
Climbing on Phi Phi was started in the late 80’s mostly by Dutch and French expeditions, by the mid 90s climbing
practically ceased to exist here due to the well-known
problem of bolt corrosion. Yet Phi Phi offers some of the
best walls in Thailand with walls of steep limestone
overlooking pristine beaches. The following update is to put an end to all the rumors that still persist two years after the tsunami.
There is now a lot of accommodation and restaurants for all budgets. Some of us have camped at the bottom of drinking wall as well as the beach below Tonsai tower. There are ATM machines and all other necessities located in the centre of the island, yet a few minutes away you will find yourself completely alone on stunning beaches where redevelopment has not yet taken place.
All rumors aside, Phi Phi island offers climbing with no crowds, (once outside of touristy area) good rebolted routes and beautiful settings over a lush tropical seascape. It is just someplace you must experience.
A steep hike but worth it. Karem has placed signs
along the main path following the beach. You can see
this wall when facing Tonsai tower and looking right
and high up into the jungle.
Started rebolting this fantastic wall in 2000. At
first we used stainless steel staples and white glue.
By April 2005, on the left side of the wall we used
titanium staples/ red glue. The only route here not
rebolted is Jun-pi-pi (7a+), the far left climb around the corner.
This is a must do wall. Anything from grades 5 to 7c.
The wall is in shade after 11am.
All routes here are excellent. During rainy season watch out for snakes.
Ozapft ( 6b) has potentially bad falls if you hit the stalactite.
The 7c on the left still bit dirty at the bottom.
The top part of Luis Trinker ( 6c) is a bit run out but a must do………
Softdrink (6c+) needs new anchor slings and new threads. It's pumpy at the beginning and balancy on top.
Located at end of Tonsay beach. Look for a steep trail behind a huge tree touching the water. This wall offers close to 25 routes graded from 5 to 7a for single and multi-pitch climbs. This is the only climbing area in Thailand with such a fantastic concentration of easy climbs. This wall is a must. Our present project here is installing titanium anchors throughout the crag.
A Word of warning:
Some of the multi pitch climbing here is steep and unless you know how to back-clip on rappel you can easily get stuck dangling way into the dark. On PP there are few climbers and the climbing shops do not have the expertise to help you out. You are on your own here so take care. In January again, a party got into bad trouble.
Ao Ling Wall
In January\Feb the wall is in the shade from 9am and
stays in the shade all day.
Prominent buttress on the left of Tonsai Tower. At low tide
it's accesible with a 15 minute walk. At high tide it's 5
mins by boat. Cathy and myself have rebolted the 3
most left routes:
Ligne De Vie, La main de Buddha, and Vd Resort.
These three routes, after their second pitch, join together and lead to the summit. Easy but very exposed climbing. Do not rap from the right-most anchor in the cleft of rock. Instead, rap from a hanging belay on the left (2 ropes), or traverse farther left where we have installed a short rap anchor (20m) that takes you behind the tower into the gully where you can walk-off.
Warning: The green guidebook describes a rap
anchor half-way on the wall- DO NOT use this anchor,
it has expansion bolts from 1987!! Make sure you use
one of the
glue-in anchors with stainless steel rings. If you don’t see
large stainless steel rings on an anchor anywhere in
southern Thailand be warned that it is most probably unsafe.
Any anchor system with binners is to be not trusted.
Hin Tak Wall
Brief Update Jan 2007-
We paid 300baht for the boat to drop us off and come
back. All boatman now have mobile/cell phones so we called
ours from the top of Happy Banana and he touched the
beach as we where coiling our ropes. Jan 2007- monkeys
this time where few and not aggressive, we have
changed treads on all the HB anchors.
It's hard to get on happy banana at very high tide.
A short boat ride away from the main beach. Pay the boatmen when he picks you up in the evening on your return. 100-160 baht per person. There are 3 major climbing walls in this area. Monkeys are a major problem here. Arrive “monkey-proof,” i.e. no visible food or water or plastic bags. We used to throw rocks at the monkeys, and now throw rocks at the stupid tourists who feed the monkeys.
On the center of the beach there is a separate leaning tower (‘Travels with my aunt’ 6a+). There is an anchor half way up the climb for teaching multi-pitch. A 60m rope will get you back to the beach from the top of the tower.
Happy Banana (6b with one 6c move) is a must do multi-
Solo up the large boulder off the beach to a ledge
beneath corner crack system (pitch one).
At the top of the pitch belay in a notch behind the tower.
The second pitch is a delicate traverse going left across the face and up to a visible hanging belay anchor (6b).
For the third pitch, climb right and up the crack system passing the huge roof on the left. Crux is at the end of the
crack before the exit onto a large belay ledge.
Nancy on Happy Banana
The 4th pitch is the easiest but most intimidating. The 6a+ pulls
through huge roof, when you lower of its hanging
anchor you are dangling in space 60m over the
beach. Your partner can throw you a bite of rope
to pull you back onto large ledge. The second usually
topropes and cleans the pitch. The hanging anchor is
not recommended for belaying the second.
All glue ins and s/s rings, rebolted by Soley, Cathy and Shamick in 2000/2001.
On the right side of the beach and up 10 meters is a striking wall with a nice spectrum of grades from 6b on the very left, up to 7b on right. Karem Marlon, Christine and Shamick spent a day here
and got 7a+ and 7b (same start and same finish) rebolted with red glue and titanium staples.
Hua-Ling (Monkey Head)
20 mins by boat from Charlie beach. The boatman will pick you up in the evening; 400-600Baht for the day. Tell the boatman you want to go to Ao-nui bay. In fact, any boatman who sees your climbing ropes will know what you’re up to.
We have rebolted two stunning multi-pitches here.
Difficult landing for the boat at low-tide; have your climbing shoes on and be ready to jump off the boat. Solo for three metres to the ledge.
Djamuuk-Ling (6b) goes straight up past two sets of glue-in bolts
to a ring anchor, traverses left ‘via ferrata’ fixed
line style to an anchor on a large but sloping ledge.
To get across clip your daisy-chain or quickdraws
onto the fixed line and get belayed across. The next
three pitches follow the arête of the overhanging
wall. Make sure you've got water as at times you will be
climbing in the sun. You could combine the two last
pitches and avoid a hanging belay. A double rope 60m
free-hanging rap into the boat ….very wild. NOTE: If
you want to wait for your boat on a nice comfortable
ledge after you finish climbing then fix
your trail line before doing the last three pitches. That
way you will be able to rap down and pull yourself onto the
ledge. Very airy and exposed climb.
Fantastic pic of Shamick high on Djamuuk-Ling
Monsun (7a) the second multi-pitch, starts on the same pillar you arrive at by boat. This time, go left and clip the first bolt, which is hidden behind the pillar. Difficult stemming takes you straight up and left to the same anchor as the second pitch of Djamuuk-Ling. Large belay ledge.
Naitaa-Ling (multipitch 6b and 6c -Monkey Eye) is the route going right and up. It is dramatically overhanging and finishes 5m below the top anchor of Djamuuk-ling. This is another classic not to be missed.
Both routes were rebolted in 2003 by David Kaszlikowski and Shamick. Thanks to David for practically soloing this tower to fix our working ropes. David has done some other solo-s up the different buildings in Europe which is why I got his help here. A year later Karem, Fuji Rob and Shamick went back and added more bolts to this amazing intimidating multipitch.
As of early 2006 lots of fixed lines have been fixed and left on the right side of the cliff. Don’t trust any of them.
The beach across is awesome and don’t miss great snorkeling under the tower itself....
Monsoon 7a route on Monkey Head (David Climbing, Shamick Belaying)
Ko Phi Phi Leh
Ao Pilay Wall
20 min by boat from pier at Koh Phi Phi Don. Located in a small bay 10 minutes left of Viking bird nest cave, this wall is located over a small beach on the right side as you go in. This area is in the shade after 12pm. At low tide watch out for sea urchins. At very high tide a big part of the beach is under water. 6a to 7a+ routes.
Sam’s guidebook has sometimes inaccurate info when it
comes to PP….
Falcon Mama is 30M route and not 25m. We have had a few accidents where the climber gets
droped 8-10m, this is no joke. Always tie a knot at the end of the rope and always take extra draws. As elsewhere in thailand, you need gear to safety yourself when threading the anchor.
The 35m ‘4beers of singha’ (6a+) is
the most spectacular route. On the left side of the
beach there is a right facing corner with a huge roof
called ‘Black tip shark’ (6c).
Warning: Left of this climb is the only route in the area (‘Phi Phi trip 6c’) which has not been rebolted (dangerous expansion bolt).
Falcon Mama 6A+ was rebolted with titanium and stainless steel anchor rings by Karem. This is actually a 30 meter route.
Warning: 200 metres into the bay on the right side you will find two dangerous routes with expansion bolts- Calypso (7b) and Le Sourire Des Crabes (7a+).
Most rebolting took place in 2001-2003 by Karem, Kent,
David, Magnus and Shamick. Stainless steel and
titanium glue-ins and ring-anchors.
North Face wall
This climbing wall is on the predominant vertical wall on the right side of Phi Phi Leh facing north-west. There are a few multipitch routes here that are badly in need of rebolting. Our efforts in 2002 to rebolt ‘The French Route’ (6c) has been shut down due to theft of our rebolting gear that year by some shit wannabe's.
Both Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh offer fantastic potential for future route development. It is absolutely essential that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. When putting up new routes we absolutely MUST use titanium glue in bolts and Hiltty Epoxy Re-500 glue. Anything else quickly becomes a dangerous liability.
Please help us put climbing in Phi Phi back on the map!
In the year 2000 Soley Onbut, Cathey Beloeil and Shamick Byszewski started rebolting the climbs on the island. The premise of this effort was that the reopening of this area would attract climbing businesses that would support the continuation of bolt replacement on the well-known classics.
However, the competition between various climbing shops has made a co-operative rebolting effort extremely difficult. The dilemma of how to fund the restoration of this area is still not solved. Unlike Railay and Tonsai, Phi Phi does not have a local climbing community who in turn support rebolting efforts.
Even though there has been money donated to climbing shops on Phi Phi Island in the past 3 years, none of it has gone towards the actual rebolting of this area. So if you are a visiting climber who wants to help us rebolt this place, you should make a careful assessment of who actually does the work.
Thanks to Karem and Christine, for their rebolting efforts over the last 3 years
I'm making an effort to make topos for these areas available on
All of the rebolting so far has been done by a few individuals who are in great need of financial and
physical support. Our small group has been responsible for 95% of rebolted routes on this island. If you would like to help in any way please contact me personally (Shamick firstname.lastname@example.org mobile o870002930).
P. S. PP islands are mostly known for it’s beaches and reefs, You should not miss the great diving here. When you do, talk to John at PP Scuba, the folks here have helped us with the rebolting of this area for many years now. There are many diving shops here but please gave your baht to those that made a difference.
Enjoy your climbing here
Getting to Phi Phi:
From Tonsai/Railay area the ferryboat leaves at 9am for Baht 350 and takes about an hour and a half. There are also boats from Krabi town pier and Phuket (Ratsada pier). See our getting to Railay page for more information and maps.