Khao Sok limestone mountains and lakeMountain Climbing Tours in Southern Thailand

What is it about a mountain that make a person want to endeavor to get to the top? Is it the likelihood of an awe-inspiring view that awaits? Is it the feeling of accomplishment at doing something that not just anyone can do? Perhaps it's a combination of the two, along with a realization that few, if any, have treaded this route before.

Mountains harbor the last bastion of old-growth and primary jungle in tropical Thailand and across the globe. Almost everything in nature that is beyond easy reach is still there in its pristine state. That is the bottom line. Unfortunately, humans across the world have altered nearly everything that was alterable. Nonetheless, pure nature can be yours. You can see the unaltered realm. In tropical Southern Thailand, the ground is supposed to be covered with greenery, big trees, water and rocks. Much of it still is.

Limestone karst formations preserve hidden valleys and lagoons. It is within this territory that pristine life exists. No one sees it; no one hears about it, until now.

The Top

There's a feeling of tremendous excitement as you approach a summit. It doesn't really matter whether you've climbed for two hours or eight; that feeling is there. Of course, if you've achieved a summit that you knew would push your personal envelope of physical fitness, there is a pride that also accompanies you to the top.

Each of us has goals in our lives. For some, a laid-back approach to life is fine; we can cruise by without ever really pushing the fragile wrapper at all. For the rest of us, there is that burning desire to do something that make us feel satisfied, feel satisfied that we have done something that few, if anyone, has done before. This is what Paddle Asia is offering you.

Thailand waterfallsDifficulty Levels

Paddle Asia offers tropical mountain climbing trips of varying degrees of difficulty. For those who are fit and wish to accomplish a great feat of endurance and strength, we offer lengthy climbs with a lot of elevation change. You tell us what you are capable of and we'll design a trip with that in mind. Like-minded and fit group trips are also available.

For those who want an easy climb up a gentle slope, we have plenty of trials that qualify. It's not always about the push.

The Thailand Mountain Climbing rating system is at the bottom of this page.


Khao Sok National Park has been our long-time favorite travel destination in Southern Thailand. Khao Sok covers an area of 740 square kilometers. The vast park shares borders with other smaller national parks like Sri Phang Nga National Park. Klong Saeng, Kaeng Krung and Klong Kakha wildlife sanctuaries share borders as well. The result is the largest area of protected land in Southern Thailand. Consequence, this is a vast enough area to give refuge to large mammals such as wild elephants, gaur (a wild cow), tapirs, bears, and big cats.

Just imagine a land where the Great Hornbill is one of the most common birds seen. This massive tropical airborne beauty hosts a two-meter wingspan. Seeing it fly overhead is a treat; seeing it from above is magical! Envision a land where gibbons, a small ape with a cuddly nature, swing freely in towering trees. Their acrobatic skills exceed those of the best Olympic athletes by leaps and bounds.

Gibbons also have this misfortune, they are cute when young. The result is the babies are often captured for the illegal animal trade. That aside, very large numbers of White-handed Gibbons survive in the wilds of Southern Thailand. Orchids are abundant in remote parts of Thailand. They are poached relentlessly across the globe. The only places where you'll find them in the proper abundance is in areas that are hard to reach, i.e., at elevated heights. In other words, if you want to see nature in her purest state, you've got to earn it. The degree to which you 'earn' it, is up to you. Paddle Asia offers all levels.

Phang Nga Province offers old-growth jungle that is as good as it gets! The jungle here rivals that of Khao Sok with the added benefit of being very close to Phuket, thus maximizing your time in the fun zone... and costs significantly less. Additionally, our local guides are very interested in showing you around their turf. They are very proud of how well their community takes care of the jungle.

Khao Sok mountain climbingBeing so close to Phuket, it is possible to run a hiking day trip there, though you will certainly want to stay longer.

Each trip is customized. There are routes that are extremely flat and easy as well as extremely challenging routes. Multi-day expeditions can be a mixture of easy and hard routes if you so desire.

Besides hiking, this is an area where we offer jungle survival and bushcraft courses. Contact us and let us know what interests you.

Tropical Mountain ClimbingThailand mountain trekking

Mountain climbing is often associated with cold weather, frostbite and breathing difficulties. Tropical mountain climbing is very rewarding and there is very little suffering. Of course, hardships are a bit of what genuine mountain climbing is about. If it was dead easy, everyone would do it.

The mountain climbing gear needed to climb tropical mountains is much less bulky. The limestone karst formations that make up the majority of mountains in Thailand are often sharp and brittle. Most of the technical rock climbing tour operators in Southern Thailand choose to bolt climbing routes as a result. There are ethics involved in this as some climbers feel that bolting a route alters the natural look of the rock. That aside, our goal is to reach the summits. The method is not as much a concern as the end result. We often utilize trees for both holds and in the case of vertical sections on more strenuous mountain climbing routes we offer, we use trees for roped protection. Read more about Tropical Mountaineering Trips.

Click here to go to our main Thailand mountain climbing & ecotourism website to see complete information on our mountain climbing tours, pricing, and much more information.


Thailand Mountain Climbing Rating SystemKhao Sok viewpoint mountain climbing

Hiking - The route steepness varies and there is a trail. There could be some use of hands. This is suitable for most fitness levels.

Scramble - This is an easy to moderate climb often requiring hand-holds and proper foot placement is necessary. Ropes and gear may be required.

Basic Climbing - Requires moderate fitness and some climbing skills. Ropes and protection is needed to safely reach the summit. There is likely going to be some vertical climbing, though the vertical sections won't be lengthy.

Technical Climbing - Requires a phyical fitness level that is higher than the basic climbing level. Experience is often needed, but not an absolute must. Physically fit persons can participate on certain routes. Some routes require technical rock climbing skills in addition to being fit. Evacuation could be difficult if an injury occurs.

Mountain Climbing Expedition - These are multi-day trips requiring jungle camping and some hardship. Participants need to be fit enough to carry a backpack over long and steep distances. There could be very technical section or not. Evacuation is difficult due to the remoteness of the climb. Expeditions are, arguably, the most rewarding form of climbing.

If you are an experienced climber and would like to know the American Rating System rating or the IFAS rating of any particular route, simply contact us.

Certification in Paddlesports and First Aid

Dave is a British Canoe Union Level 2 Coach (trained to Level 3) and is the most experienced paddler in all of Southern Thailand.

Dave is an Emergency First Response Instructor and a certified rescue technician through the Rescue 3 International organization. Dave is also a certified Life Guard through the British Canoe Union. View certifications. Paddle Asia guides are EFR certified in CPR, First Aid, and basic life guard training.

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18/58 Thanon Rasdanusorn, T, Rasada, Ban Kuku, Phuket 83000
Tel/fax: +66 76 241519
Dave's mobile: 081 8936558
Moo's mobile: 081 7974855

Tourism Authority of Thailand License Number 31/0204
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