Located near Krabi, Ton Sai is a Thai beach that’s especially popular with rock climbers and backpackers. It’s not your typical beach paradise. Ton Sai has tons of great features and a lot to offer. Here are just a few ideas of what to do and see while visiting Ton Sai Beach.
See the sights.
While Ton Sai is mostly visited by people looking for an active vacation, there are a few sights worth seeing while you’re there. It’s about a 30-minute walk to the Phra Nang Shrine, where many women come to increase their fertility. Just be aware that there are quite a lot of wooden phalluses in the shrine’s decor!
On the way to Phra Nang, stop off at the lagoon. The path up there is steep and rocky, so be careful, but the lagoon is totally worth it and surrounded on all sides by stunning cliffs. Just make sure you visit at high tide, as the lagoon empties completely when the tide goes out.
Tucked away at the top of Phra Nang is a cave that offers stunning views of Ton Sai and nearby West Rai Leh. It’s a bit of a climb. You’ll need to ascend four bamboo ladders, but it’s straightforward, and the view is breathtaking.
Ton Sai is a little more rustic than its neighbors Rai Leh and Ao Nang. It can be very rocky when the tide is low, so avoid swimming, and it’s not the cleanest beach in the world. Make sure to use antiseptic if you cut or graze yourself. There’s also no power at all during the day. Electricity is only on between 6 pm and 6 am, and most of the accommodation options don’t have hot water. There’s also no ATM, so you’ll need to make sure you pick up cash before you arrive.
You can reach Rai Leh through different ways – by walking (at low tide), through the forest (may involve wading through knee-deep water if the tide is really high), or a longer trail that takes you through the jungle. None of these routes are particularly easy, especially if it has recently rained, and you’ll need a flashlight at night. The other alternative is to hire a kayak and simply paddle around to get there.
Climbing is Ton Sai’s primary activity, and the reason why many people visit. The area is home to a number of climbing schools, or you can climb independently if you prefer. Most places will have gear for you to rent, or you can bring your own.
Ton Sai climbing is mostly limestone, but its proximity to the water means that a lot of the older bolts are rusted through. Stick to newer or recently-refurbished routes for safety. The harder climbs are located along the beach, where there are also bouldering routes with soft sandy landings.
As well as climbing, Ton Sai also has a scuba diving center, and the nearby Chicken Island has great snorkeling. There are also slacklines in all the bars, so have a go if you’re feeling bold!