Having picked up rock climbing just over 5 years now, this crazy outdoor sport has brought me places I have never thought would be possible. Whether you are a novice rock climber or a beginner who has just gotten your level 2 rock climbing certificate, here’s compiling the Best Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations that are affordable, popular and most importantly, great for climbing.
Asia Outdoor Rock Climbing Destinations – Top 21
1. Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves, the nearest destination from Singapore just 45 minutes away by flight, this stunning cave nest in Bukit Tukun KL is not just popular for the Grand Hindu cave temple, it is also a hot spot for some great granite rock climbing. There are 3 very popular spots for climbing here, Damai Wall, Nanyang Wall
Look out for the occasional monkey with white panda eyes, always curious to see us ‘monkey-like’ humans scaling his grounds.
2. Bukit Takun, Malaysia
Bukit Takun has an impressive limestone formation, measuring about 300 meters in height, that is located just a half hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. You’ll find both single and multi-pitch routes, most of which are bolted, and range from beginner to expert difficulty. Bukit Takun is also located conveniently close to Batu Caves, so you can definitely visit both in the same trip.
3. Bukit Keteri, Malaysia
Located in Perlis, about a 4-5 hour drive outside of Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Keteri is a climbing area that the climbing routes was bolted by members of the Mammut and Camp 5 team bolting expedition. Offering about 50 routes, this area is less-frequented compared to the other popular spots, so you should be aware of old rusty bolts or unmaintained routes.
4. Krabi Railey Island, Thailand
The most popular rock climbing in Southeast Asia is here in Krabi Thailand. What makes this location so popular with both Asians, as well as international climbers all around the world, is due to a perfect match between amazing climbing routes and lovely island lifestyle – gorgeous beaches, beautiful snorkelling sites and great Thai food.
Krabi has endless climbing spots, but the ones that most people start off with are ABC Wall and Thaiwand Wall, good warming up spots to prepare you for the next few days of climbing.
Krabi is also known for deep water solo, a must try for all adrenaline junkies who have a knack for ..craziness. I tried it with a group of 5 friends and it was by far the craziest activity I have ever attempted so far.
Deep water solo needs to be accompanied by a tour group, and safety of deep water solo spots needs to adhere to. For rock climbing class bookings and half day/ full day tours, you can always book there directly, either on Railay, Ton Sai or Ko Phi Phi.
If you are interested in taking climbing to the next level and pick up Multi Pitch climbing, it is available here in Thailand)
5. Crazy Horse in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Crazy Horse is probably the most notorious route in Chiang Mai. This popular climbing area has great ‘air condition’ temperature cooling weather at certain times of the year to attract those who do not fancy the sweltering heat of Krabi, Thailand. Be surrounded by a cool bamboo forest, soak in hot springs and even take a scooter ride to explore the surrounding hills on your rest days.
The Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Association (CMRCA) has US trained guides for those who are more inexperienced and would feel safer to be accompanied by a certified climbing guide. To get to Chiang Mai, there are many affordable budget flights from Bangkok as low as US$25 one way, or if you are coming from Singapore, there are direct flights with budget and full fright airlines.
6. Long Dong, Taiwan
Known for its stunning coastal views and sandstone rock formations, the next place featured for the Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations is none other than Long Dong Taiwan. This spot is extremely beautiful, especially for people who love the sea breeze and hear the crashing waves.
So far, this climbing spot commands the most beautiful photos, and looking back it still wows me occasionally. To get there, it requires a long train ride followed by a bus to get from Taiwan to Long Dong, Jiufen. Situated at the northern part of Taiwan, this rustic coastal area is still rather remote and not too touristy yet, so the people here aren’t exactly able to speak some basic English.
However climbing here was lovely. So many areas to explore, and to get to these climbing spots require a bit of traversing, hiking and small climbing. Quite an adventure I must say.
Warning, make sure you go in the correct season and not typhoon season, you can potentially get stranded at the climbing area when the storm suddenly comes.
7. Rehai, Near Taipei
Considered to be the best climbing area around Taipei, Rehai is primarily a sport-climbing crag offering beginner and intermediate routes. The crag offers a variety of slab and overhanging routes on volcanic andesite rock, just be aware that it’s much easier to access if you have a car. Though it’s located pretty close to Taipei, it doesn’t receive much traffic, so hopefully you will be able to enjoy some peaceful climbing.
8. Shou Shan Mountain, Khaosiung City
Located on the island’s southwest coast in Shoushan Nature Park, this crag offers a collection of high-quality limestone sport routes that could make it comparable to Crazy Horse in Thailand. You’ll find mainly intermediate routes on interesting, drippy features, along with some quality crimpy face climbing. It is located near the entrance to the visitor centre. However, do note that rock climbing in Khaosiung is prohibited now due to more frequent rock fall that area, and they have attempted to fence off the area, but people still secretly find ways to do so.
Don’t forget to check out the incredible hot pot restaurant right at the bottom of the hill after a good day of climbing.
9. Cat Ba Island, Vietnam
Have not set foot on Vietnam yet, but when I get the chance, this Cat Ba Island is on my list. Vietnam, known for its stunning cliff formations, rivers and Padi mountainous field, am not surprised why this country doesn’t have the right climate, rock formations and scenic draw factors to attract climbers from its surrounding neighbouring countries.
One thing that many has tried is also deep water solo at Halong Bay, a major tourist attraction in Vietnam, where many tourists experience live onboard cruise experience as they visit all these lovely cliffy spots, looking so tempting to a climber’s keen eye.
10. Huu Lung, Near Hanoi
Located north of Hanoi, Huu Lung is a beautiful, peaceful climbing area with both single and multi-pitch climbing routes. The routes are pretty newly bolted by VietClimb, and you can enjoy long, picturesque routes. Be sure to bring sufficient quickdraws for each climb and count how many you require before you start climbing!
11. Halong Bay, Vietnam
Cat Ba Island isn’t the only sport climbing that Vietnam’s Halong Bay has to offer. Crags such as Tiger Beach and the Amphitheatre offer routes ranging from 4+ to 8a (5.8-5.13) so climbers of all abilities can enjoy Vietnam’s spectacular limestone rock in this area.
12. Yangshuo, China
The pictures people took at this destination is enough to make you burn with desire to go. Here’s the next Asia outdoor rock climbing destinations – Yangshuo in China.
The notorious wall is situated at The Moon Hill ( Yue Liang Shan), one of the major scenic and iconic climbing spot in Yangshuo. We have heard that there is even glass bottle of alcohol places in cracks along the climb as a reward for those who have scaled that high…
A Must Do – wake up early to catch the sunrise, with a stunning view of the mountains covered in a sea of mist. Sure to leave you spellbound.
13. White River, Near Beijing
Considered by many to be the birthplace of rock climbing in China, White River is located right outside of the Beijing suburbs. Consisting mainly of granite single-pitch sport routes, the crag is a large area offering mainly sport routes in the intermediate range. You can find the most detailed guide here.
14. Si Du, Near Beijing
Also located right outside of Beijing, Si Du is a relaxed climbing area on the tranquil Juma River. Offering mainly beginner and intermediate routes, Si Du is a popular area for amateur climbers. White River and Si Du could be great crag options if you’re looking to combine a climbing trip with a trip to check out China’s capital city of Beijing!
Many have asked, are there any rock climbing near me? In Singapore?
15. Dairy Farm Climbing Reserve/ Quarry in Singapore
There is a natural rock climbing wall in Singapore? Who would have thought?
But yes, especially shouting out to Singaporeans, you can check Dairy Farm at Bukit Timah Road area, the nearest situated mall is the Rail Mail. This place is popular for bikers, hikers alike, families with young ones given the natural abundant trails and rich forestry.
Just take note to be careful to check your routes before you embark on a Dairy Farm climb, there is ongoing rock movements due to the climate here in Singapore ( rain and shine all year round), so loose rock is a common occurence.
16. Thakhek, Laos
Though climbing in Laos has less than 20 years of history, the country has quite a bit to offer. The largest climbing area in Laos, Thakhek is located in the southern part of the country, not as frequent by travellers to Laos. One of the most incredible places to climb in southeast area, you can be guaranteed pristine seclusion away from the traffic, tourists and tour groups. The entire climbing area is deeper in away from the main road and just made up of incredible crags, lush forests, rivers, beautiful butterflies and the occasional climber around the corner.
Some of the best crags for climbers in the grade of 5c to 6a would be Swiss Oldies, Tree Canyon, World’s End and G-Spot. One of the best routes Cez and I have ever tried in our lived are here as it has a good mix between awesome jugs, balancy moves, cracks, roofs, tufas, good footholds and really fun bridging. Routes are long and trains endurance, so you’re almost guaranteed to need an 80-meter rope. You can check out the Green Climbers Home for crag information and accommodation in the area! We were at Thakhek in May and it was just the tail end of the spring season, before the monsoon season hits and climbing area plus Green Climbers Home close for the season and reopen in September or October.
17. Vang Vieng, Laos
Located just a 3-hour bus ride from Vientiane, the capital of Laos, Vang Vieng is a beautiful climbing area that used to be a partier’s paradise. However, nowadays, the party crowd has died off and what it currently is has become a miniature version of Korea town. Aside from the city area which Cez and I were not a big fan of, take a tuk-tuk out to the climbing spots with a picturesque crag with views of the Nam Song River.
There are quite a few climbing areas, but we went to Sleeping Wall for a day climb, which is located across a little river. The area offers about 200 routes between the 5a-8a (5.9-5.13) grades, so you’ll be sure to find something perfect for your abilities. You can hear the occasional screams from people across the river doing some ziplining. This climbing place was also Cez’s first time trying outdoor rock climbing and that is how he fell in love with it. Local outdoor adventure companies like Adam’s Climbing School offer options for day rock climbing courses, guided trips or transportation to the crag in the area if you’d like an expert local climbing guide to show you around the crag. Some of these guides we chatted with are so good that they can climb a 6b route barefooted or in slippers (I would strongly NOT encourage anyone else to consider that)
18. Mount Katsu, in Okinawa
Located in Katsuyama, on the isolated island of Okinawa, this is one of Japan’s best sport climbing areas. The crag offers a wide variety of climbing, from crimps to slopers to jugs, along with routes for both beginners and experts alike. The area has over 60 climbs, and you can find logistical information, such as how to reach the area and where the climbs are located, on Mountain Project. It’s quite the journey to make it all the way over to Mount Katsu, but you’ll be sure to have an adventure.
19. Ogawayama, Near Tokyo
You will find Ogawayama only about a 3-hour drive from the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, making it an easily accesible crag that is certainly worth the visit. Upon arriving you’ll find cliffs and boulders spread throughout a beautiful, tranquil valley. The easiest way to access is with a car, but once you’re there, you’ll find hundreds of beautiful granite routes, most of which are slab climbs, with some crack and even roof climbing as well. Aside from sport climbing, you’ll also find some of the best outdoor bouldering in Asia in Japan, and Ogawayama is a great place to go if you’re looking to get some bouldering in.
20. Grampians, in Melbourne
If you’re looking to do some rock climbing in Melbourne, the Grampians is your best bet. Offering some of the best sandstone routes in the world, this climbing area is perfect for anyone with a visit to Melbourne in mind. With thousands of routes and boulders, here you can find some of the best outdoor bouldering as well as sport climbing. Visitors should be aware of recent climbing restrictions in the park, but not to fear, as there are still many high-quality routes that can still be climbed. Grampians National Park is located just northwest of Melbourne, on the southeast part of the continent.
21. Blue Mountains, at Sydney
Just a short drive, less than 2 hours, west of Sydney you will find some of Australia’s best and most varied sport climbing. You should keep in mind that this area is better suited to intermediate and advanced climbers, as many of the beginner routes tend to be choosy and sketchy, but the more experienced climber will find themselves in a sandstone paradise. However, beginners can head over to Mt. Victoria for climbs that suit their level. The climbing style mainly consists of face climbing on crimps with a slight overhang, though you can find slab and steep overhangs as well.
So satisfied with the list of 21 best climbing destinations in Asia Pacific?
Have I missed out any new and upcoming spots to climb in Asia?