THAKHEK, Laos // The heat and mosquitos neutralized the amazing rock climbing in Thakhek. The routes and scenery were incredible, but the bugs and humidity made us not even want to be outside. There was no escape either. Green Climbers Home is about 20 minutes from the city center of Thakhek by tuk tuk. This is the only place to stay if you want to climb and not commute to the cliffs every day.
With almost 300 routes, most within a 5 minute walk of the bungalows, there were climbs of all grades. The routes were perfect distances of 20 to 30 meters, the bolts were in good condition, and the rock wasn’t as polished as it was in Tonsai or Railay. We did about 8 climbs in the 4 days there.
There is a sense of community feel to the place that we really enjoyed. The food was a mix of western and Lao, and there is a central space where everyone congregates to eat after the day of climbing is over that was really fun. However, the accommodation is all rustic bungalows. They are well maintained and really unique, but there was no air condition in the incredibly humid Laos countryside. Mosquitos and moths relentlessly attacked you.
While climbing you had the choice // climb with a shirt on and get completely soaking wet with sweat from the humidity but avoid mosquito bites, or climb shirtless with a tank top and be comfortable but get mosquito bites everywhere.
Another aspect of the situation was Thakhek is a very small town, with no hospital or medical facility. It took us about 10 hours by bus from Don Det, where we seemed to be stopping every mile or so to pick up people or large bags of food and packages. We were an additional 20 minutes from this town, with no internet service, meaning that if we got injured climbing, there is no one to help you. This had me questioning how much I really wanted to push myself here. I stuck mostly to routes graded well within my comfort level, had a great time, and enjoyed climbing in the jungle.
Routes completed in Thakhek:
- Trollhohlenweg, 29 meters, 11 bolts, 5b // 5.8
- Dancing Butterflies, 18 meters, 9 bolts, 5c // 5.9
- Full Metal Jacket, 17 meters, 7 bolts, 6a // 5.10a
- Rambo Girl, 15 meters, 6 bolts, 5b // 5.8
- Husband, 23 meters, 9 bolts, 5c // 5.9
- Eight Ball, 15 meters, 6 bolts, 5b // 5.8
- Sissi, 18 meters, 8 bolts, 5b // 5.8
- Priapismus, 23 meters, 7 bolts, 6a // 5.10a