Ton Sai

Ton Sai is a beach in Krabi Province, Thailand, offering a combination of inexpensive accommodation and great rock climbing routes that make it popular with both backpackers and climbers alike. Compared to neighbouring Rai Leh and Ao Nang it's relatively rough around on the edges; in particular, the beach gets unsuitable for swimming and becomes quite rocky as the tide goes out. But this only happens for about ten days every moon period. The rest of the time the beach is suitable for swimming.

Get in

There's no easy overland access to Ton Sai, so all visitors arrive by boat. There are however a difficult trek that will take 1.5 hours from Ao Nang, but its not recommended when you are carrying luggage, and people using this route are regularly attacked by gangs of wild monkeys. There is a half-hour trail from East Rai Leh, also not recommended when carrying luggage, and without gangs of wild monkeys to worry about. At low tide, there is a somewhat difficult scramble between the north end of West Rail Leh Beach through to Ton Sai's easternmost stretch of beach. Rai Leh is a five minute longtail ride, necessary at high tide, while longtails from Ao Nang to Rai Leh will also stop at Ton Sai. Boats between Ton Sai and Rai Leh generally don't run at night.

If you're arriving from Krabi bus station you will need to get a taxi or tuk-tuk to Ao Nang Beach. The price should be around 60 baht. Expect the tuk-tuk to drive around a bit and pick up more people if its not full. From there, share or charter a boat to Ton Sai. Boats run frequently from Ao Nang Beach to Ton Sai. But only when enough people have gathered and the boat is full with 10-12 persons. In high season it takes around 20 minutes to fill a boat depending on the time of the day. In low season it usually takes longer. Tickets cost 100 baht at the ticket-stand at the south end of Ao Nang Beach. The price almost doubles after 18:00.

Alternatively, chart a boat and make a deal with the boatman. Expect to pay the price of 10 tickets if you want the boat all by yourself.

The boat ride from Ao Nang Beach to Ton Sai takes 8–10 minutes and is very scenic.

There are three ways to reach Rai Leh on foot:

1) At low tide you can walk around the rocky outcrop which separates Ton Sai from Rai Leh (20 min).

2) At high tide, go to the south end of Ton Sai Beach, walk the obvious path at the end of the beach, through the forest, up and over the rocky outcrop. You'll pop out on the north side of Rai Leh West (20 min).

3) The least-used option is a longer trail through the jungle. Walk away from the Ton Sai Beach along the road where all the bungalows and resorts are. When you get to Wee's Climbing School turn (east) and continue on the road up hill. Eventually you'll pass all the bungalows. Continue on the path and you will eventually pop out on Rai Leh East near the Diamond Cave area (50 min). Although longer, this trail is smoother and easier to walk than the shorter one.

None of these options is possible at night without a flashlight/torch, and the jungle paths can be slippery and treacherous after the rain.

Alternatively hire a kayak and sail around (10 min).

Get around

The only way to get around Ton Sai is on foot. The beach and the main road act as the primary thoroughfares for the area. It may take five minutes or less to cover the entire area. During heavy rains, the dirt road becomes muddy and treacherous.

See

Do

Rock climbing

The primary draw for visitors, with Ton Sai offering as many routes as Rai Leh, and hosting a number of climbing schools and guide companies.

Scuba diving

Buy

There are very few shops in Ton Sai, and they are pricey (by Thai standards) as everything is brought in by boat. It's probably best to bring everything with you or make a trip to Krabi, which is a much larger town with better choice. However there are a few mini-marts selling cold drinks, snacks, phone credits, and some tacky clothes, similar to the ones at Rai Leh.

Eat

There are several restaurants and bars on the beach and most bungalow operators have restaurants as well. Many do not have electricity during the day, meaning that unless they are careful with food storage you'll end up with a nasty case of food poisoning. Normally there is electricity from 18:00-06:00 during low- and mid-season. During high-season there is electricity for most of the businesses.

The street vendors make fantastic authentic Thai food. Try the mango with sticky rice or som tam (papaya salad). Cheap too!!

Drink

There are several bars on the beach, several of which (oddly enough) feature non-stop reggae music. You can even chill out with a "special" coffee or tea. A popular climber's hang out is Ton Sai Roof, at the east end of the beach, where the routes begin at the foot of Freedom Bar, another hot spot with glorious views of both the rock and the whole bay.

Also be sure to check out Small World Bar, right in the middle of the loop, where there is amazing nightly fire and slackline entertainment and a super relaxed atmosphere with great staff.

Sleep

All accommodation is set off of the beach and tends to be of the bamboo bungalow variety, and a little more rustic (and certainly more affordable though prices have more than tripled over the past five years) than at Rai Leh. Rubbish piles and noisy generators are common nuisances, but as Ton Sai has no mains electricity it is a necessary nuisance.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.