Best Rock Climbing Areas near Chiang Rai
Northernmost Thailand, an hour's drive from borders with Burma and Laos. Chiang Rai is also a 3 hour drive north of Chiang Mai, and a one hour plane trip from Bangkok.
Above is a map of rock climbing areas near the northern Thai town of Chiang Rai. The river shown is called the Mae Kok, and flows from west to east (left to right on the map). All the climbing areas are within a few Km of downtown, and are all northwest of town. Most are currently undeveloped, though two sites are set up with top rope anchors. Details:
>>>> Tam Pra Hill, which is on Soi 5 (road 5) 1.5 Km west from Ban Nam Lat. On the map, it's shown at the middle right. Climbing areas never been climbed, completely undeveloped. The best potential climb area is on the west face. If exploring, ask permission from the monk at the tiny Buddha cave on the hill's south side, which is also along the road.
>>>> Doi Kong Kao (Rice Box Hill, because of its shape), is in the lower left of the map. It's the only hill on this map which is south of the river. Some of the crags have been climbed, though there are currently no protective bolts or anchors there. The south face is clear straight up limestone, ideal for aid climbing. However, there's a police box at its base, and they don't take kindly to climbers. On the east side of the hill, there are several climbing crags, some can be done without aid. However, the temple grounds are also on the east side, but if you're stealthy, you don't need to ask permission to free climb up the east faces. Finding a starting point is challenging, so a guide is recommended. Doi Kong Kao also has a steep brick steps going up its west side - up to the top and its standing Buddha statue. A great work-out for the whole family.
>>>> Lion Hill, in the center of the map, has immense potential for rock climbers. Very little climbing has been done there thus far. There are about 10 crags to explore, though most are currently vine covered. The SE corner of the hill has exposed rock, whereas the NE corner is vine covered. The entire south side of the half mile long hill faces the broad river, and halfway along that south side is a fine potential climbing crag. It's located right by the largest red fig tree you'll ever see. The west side of the hill could be great climbing, but it's been taken by a 'Buddha Cave', so it's off limits for climbing - though a nice place to visit for its own merits (or your own merit-making). There's another larger cave which goes right through the hill, from south to north. You'll need a guide to find it, and one can be found at nearby Boomerang Park. Upkeep on the north and south trails accessing the cave is voluntarily done by the staff at Boomerang. Close-up map of Lion Hill showing the planned paths to enhance it as a public park.
>>>> Boomerang Rock Climbing and Adventure Park is indicated at upper middle of the map. It's the most developed spot for climbers, with 20 routes having stout anchors for top roping. Climbing gear is available there for rent. Added info
>>>> Last but not least, there's Rim Rock at the top middle of the map. It's located 2.5 Km west on Soi 11 (road 11), which takes off left from the main road that goes through Ban Nam Lat. It's a private space, so you'll have to contact the people there before dropping by. It has some small crags, though its main appeal is as a secluded camping spot, as well as a place to study/practice meditation and yoga. Added info.
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