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It’s been raining every day here, which makes rock climbing difficult. You need (mostly) dry rock to climb. However, there are so many routes to choose from in this area that some are protected even in the most horrific downpours. The cliffs here are so high and the rock formations so spectacular that it’s really not difficult to find a crevice out of the rain.

Tonsai is only part of the network of good rock to climb in this area. If you hike for ten minutes through the jungle and the sea (depending on the tides) you reach West Railay; walk another ten and you reach East Railay. From there it’s five minutes to Phra Nang with its network of roof overhangs and its beautiful beach. When there’s a storm approaching, this comes in handy.

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IMG_0476I am just emerging from the safety of a cave near Phra Nang with four climbing partners to find some lunch when it starts dumping. We have different ways of dealing with this: I suggest going into the ocean and thereby rendering the rain moot, while the older couple I’ve been climbing with finds a rattan mat to huddle under with several tourists. The ocean is much warmer than the rain, bathwater warm, and I sit in it for awhile, squinting against the water pelting my face. Then I remember lunch, so I fish out some money and buy pad thai from a boat bobbing in the water, standing knee-deep in the turquoise sea, the rain beating against my scalp. I eat it out of its Styrofoam box with a plastic fork, still standing there in the rain and the sea, the freshly-cooked noodles so hot they nearly burn me. Then we all troop back to the cave for more climbing.

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