Saturday, 1 March 2014

Koh Lao Liang

Boat captain to the island
Koh Lao Liang sunrise

A few hours south of Krabi, just past Trang, is a small cluster of houses with a jetty on a river estuary where the long-tail boats leave for the island of Koh Lao Liang. The long-tail took us an hour or two and with choppy seas and a headwind we were soaked in sea spray by the time we arrived. We were lucky to be travelling out at the same time as a few other groups who we got to know on the journey to the island. We spent six nights here in total; doing a lot of relaxing, some climbing, reading, snorkelling and eating tasty food. 

Welcome to Lao Liang
The bar

After arriving and finding our ‘seaview’ tent, which is about 3 meters from the sea at high tide, we decided to follow others’ example and check out the climbing. We’d been climbing the morning before and also every day before that for about the last two weeks and this was supposed to be a rest day, but we couldn’t resist checking out this new area. We found more awesome tufas and dripping stalactites and rock that is much less well travelling than at Tonsai. 

The crew
Climbing areas
The climbing is really nice, with some amazing features, but the routes often lack any kind of ‘line’ and sometimes felt a bit contrived. The grades range from about 6a to 7b+. Bangkok Coconut Mafia and The Golden Triangle are the stand out routes in our opinion, graded 6c+ and 6c, the latter is a contender for the best pitch of the holiday. Tides and long rope ladders to access some of the climbs make the climbing a bit more exciting. We were wading into the sea and belaying at the top of the ladders on our last day to get a bit more climbing done. After working on her climbing confidence with some falling practice at Tonsai, Cat was climbing really well on Lao Liang. She did the Coconut Mafia on the first go, Golden Triangle after a couple of tries and a cool 7a which climbed a huge flake before making a wild bridge onto a hanging stalactite!

Cat cruising Bangkok Coconut Mafia
Byron in a hole
Mila and Rob, we never made it to the top of the island in the end! Our projects on the beach kept us busy. There is apparently a multi-pitch climb that leads to a cave that you can follow to an opening near the summit of the island that you can poke your head out of. Then, we imagined that you’d find a gang of angry rock crabs snapping at you. Other than this I think it’s impossible to get off the beach at all, the island is so steep, craggy and densely vegetated.

What turned out to be a very hard move..
John on Golden Triangle
Hermit crabs were the favourite part for me. These guys find really fancy shells to scuttle about in and take over the beach at night. They get a bit irate if you pick them up and come out of their shells to attack. We had a lot of fun watching them. There’s a reef just off the beach and the snorkelling is really good. The neighbouring island that is a short kayak away has another amazing beach and more great snorkelling. Lao Liang was the closest thing to an island paradise that I’ve seen. This was a great week and we left feeling very relaxed. We were also really lucky to be able to spend our time there with such a great bunch of people, hope to see you again in the States/Canada.

Crag scene
Cat on Golden Triangle

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