Ao Nang
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Deep Water Soloing in Southern Thailand
Perhaps one of the most unique experiences in the world, deep water soloing in Southern Thailand is a crazy adventure. Much of Southern Thailand's coastline contains soaring karst cliffs that jut straight out of the azure water. It's a rock climber's paradise, with hundreds of routes in a stunning location. Several friends and I took a longtail boat from Tonsai Beach out to Chicken Island, where ropes dangle into the sea. The idea is to climb these ropes to get to the actual overhanging rock. Once climbing, you ascend without a rope as high as you feel comfortable, and then let go and drop into the inviting water. To top it all off, this adventure gives you the chance to do a little snorkeling on the side, if you bring your own gear. I took this photo with my GoPro while swimming below my friend taking on an extremely overhanging traverse above me. The fisheye lens on this camera adds cool perspective, and the rock formations were nothing short of incredible. If you are in the area, give this unique sport a shot.
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Oceanside Climbing in Tonsai
Tonsai Beach in Southern Thailand is a climber's paradise. Karst limestone formations jut out of azure seas. Curving white-sand beaches give way to lush jungles. This is a definitely a climber's beach. On any given day, dozens of people head in different directions, ready to tackle several of the hundreds of classic routes in the area. The food and accommodations are relatively inexpensive and the stunning waters of the Andaman Sea are often a few steps away. Some friends and I hiked from Tonsai Beach to Phranang Beach where we made a less known journey into the Ao Nang Tower. A series of passageways lead from the beach all the way through this massive rock pillar. Once you are through to the other side, you find yourself 60 feet up a vertical cliff face. From there, we rappelled to the base where we proceeded to ascend several climbing routes. It's a fantastic location that works for both climbers and those who are less inclined. I shot this photo as the sun was going down right on Tonsai Beach. This particular overhanging formation rises directly off of the beach and was constantly being tested by various climbers. Ao Nang Tower looms in the distance, and I particularly liked the lighting and framing of this picture.
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