This budget beach houses southeast Asia’s densest population of rock-climbers, and is the Railay peninsula's budget hotel centre. If you don’t climb then you won’t enjoy staying here, as the climbers never talk about anything except climbing and many of them look down their noses at non-climbers and anyone over the age of twenty-five. The density of the budget accommodation here has led to one of the worst sanitary environments in Thailand. Many Ton Sai residents stay for months at a time and most of them at some stage in their visit get food-poisoning, which can be serious, with hospital evacuations not uncommon. Jane, 31, from Australia writes:
“Before I had even finished eating the salad I felt sick and had to rush to the toilet to vomit. My boyfriend, who managed to keep his food down and only started to throw up the next day, subsequently suffered more than me, as the food had had longer to poison him than it had had to poison me.”
Visitors who want to walk over to Tonsai from West Railay in order to watch the climbers for an hour or two are advised to do it on a full stomach, in order to avoid the need to patronize the Ton Sai restaurants. A short visit to Ton Sai is recommended, as it is a unique opportunity to watch, up-close, the antics of some of the world’s best rock climbers, whose gravity-defying gymnastics are simply amazing. Don’t be surprised if, when sitting at the Freedom Bar watching the action, a climber abseils into the chair next to you, stretches a bit, then orders a beer.
Tonsai Beach is part of the Railay Peninsula, which is located a 15 minutes boat ride from Ao Nang.
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