So you just renewed your passport, and began planning your next climbing adventure.
First of all, go you! Look at you living your best damn life!
If you are looking to go where the natural beauty is stunning, not totally overrun by tourists (just a few super strong and friendly climbers from around the world), and one of the best climbing locations in Southeast Asia— I have a special place I want to share with you.
The Green Climbers Home: a limestone climbing dream located in the lush, green hills of Thakhek, Laos.
Laos, you know, that country sandwiched in between Thailand and Vietnam that is kind of shaped like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.
If you are planning a trip around Southeast Asia, it’s definitely worth checking out. Especially, if you are hungry for some great climbing.
Climbing: Rock climbing in the country of Laos just started in 2002 which means tons of untouched (or lightly touched) rock *cue the old school Madonna jam*. There’s definitely potential for Laos to be a future climbing mecca.
Sport climbing: The stoke is real. Located all around the Green Climbers Home is everything from 4a (great for learning to lead climb) to 8b+’s with rad names like DOOM and banana pancake. Whuddup dyno finish?! I see you! Plus few 9a projects… think you could be the first to send? Most of the routes fall in the 5’s and 6’s.
Tufa roofs. Slight overhangs. Stalactites that look like evil dragons and make you feel like you may have had some magical mushroom tea when you stare just a little too long (but what’s really in that Laos coffee?). A handful of multi-pitch climbs. Tons of shade from trees. Vertical face climbs. Massive roof climbs with permanent quickdraws so you can focus on getting after those tough lines without the pressure to clean up after.
A few recommended climbs from the community:
- Chinese New Year. There may or may not be a bottle of Laos whiskey at the top. But no promises it’s still there!
- Lion King
Bouldering: There are around 60 bouldering problems that range from V1 to V8. There are some bouldering problems right next to sport routes and others that are off in there own happy boulder world. All of the sections I hit up were fully shaded by the big, luscious greenery. Hope you brought your hand balm because they are going to be jacked by the end of the day.
Approaches: As close as 5 minutes to 20 minutes. Most approaches are a quick 5-10 minute jaunt away. The furthest approaches are a chill 30 minute walk.
Things to do: Slacklining? Check. Hammocks? Everywhere. Ultimate frisbee and beach volleyball? Yes and YES! Yoga? Lucky you. There’s a dope little yoga “studio” on the property in between the two camps. Training gym? Campus board and a small, basic training gym on deck. Vegan or vegetarian? They know what vegan is here (not always the case I found while traveling) and there is a menu for you. We all gotta stay strong! Know what I’m saying? You could also rent a motorbike or bicycle to go explore the markets in town.
Explore caves: Less than five minutes from my bungalow was one of the most beautiful caves I have ever seen! Also, the budduh caves (which are exactly as they sounds like, caves with lots of little buddha’s inside) are close by.
Swim: Located about a 30 minutes walking distance from the hostel, you can go swimming in the Cha Falang river. Jump in, cool down, canon ball into crocodile-free waters. Bonus points if you set up a slack line across the river!
There was a movie night my second night here where they screened The Dawn Wall. It was awesome sitting around with rad, strong climbers from all over the world as we silently watched Tommy crank and obsess over the seemingly impossible send. The smell of cool jungle air and stank climber feet dances around the room at the Kneebar.
Food: While we are talking about food and being strong. Can we talk coffee for a hot minute?
Every morning, I sipped on a hot mug of Lao Coffee. Loa coffee is 60% coffee, 40% tamarind. You can order it with milk, sweet milk, or honey. I had my suspicions, but it was actually delicious! One cup of Loa coffee is 6.000 kip ($0.70 USD).
Gear. Check our their site for gear rentals and prices.
If you bring your own gear, here is the suggested recommendation according to the guide book: 15 quickdraws and a 15mm rope. For longer routes, 20 quickdraws and an 80m rope.
Responsible Travel: Every climber who comes through pays a 20.000 kip Village Donation once per season. It goes to the locals, as this now climber’s paradise was once land they hunted on.
Accommodation: There’s something for every budget. From tents, to dorms, to private bungalows with hammocks on the deck. Prices vary with high versus low season. Check out their options here.
Safety:Be sure to always take your passport when climbing. God forbid you were to have an accident, you would need to cross the border into Thailand. Even if your head fell off, they would not let you through without your passport.
Currency: The Green Climbers Home is in Laos. The national currency here is Kip. They accept Laos Kip, Thai Baht, Euros, and American Dollars. Here is currency conversion as of December 2018.
This is definitely a place I will be returning to. So until next time, GCH!
Have you been to Green Climbers Home or Laos before? I’d love to hear about your experience there, climbs, swims, your adventures with the language (Sabadiiii!) and food. Put it in the comments below! 🙂