Cliff diving in Ton Sai

cliff diving

This is perhaps the primarily reason I went to Krabi. We went from Ao Nang to Railey and took a boat to the Phi Phi Islands as our route. Cliff diving is only available in Ton Sai, which is a short longboat ride away from Phi Phi Don.

Cliff diving is a very unregulated sport – basically, you do it at your own risk. You’ll have to place full trust on the guide too coz he’s not jumping and you’re sure you’ve seen rocks underneath the cliff.

cliff diving swimming

What cliff diving is all about:

1. Chartering a longboat to take you to Ton Sai
2. Finding a suitable cliff and swimming from the longboat to the cliff
3. Climb up the razor sharp rock face to the jump off point
4. Leap off the cliff into the water below
5. Swim back to the longboat (unless you see a pool of red slowly spreading, then don’t bother, coz you’ve jumped into rocks smirk)

The first one we did was 10 meters. The longboat stopped and I swam to the cliffs with the guide who showed me where to jump. I didn’t bring my digicam along coz I figured it won’t survive the 10 meter plunge.

cliff diving climbing

I really, really wish I did coz the cliff that you have to climb is fucking dangerous. It’s not rocks, it’s more like razor sharp outcroppings – millions of them – which is where I cut my hands too. There is no path per se, so if you slip you’ll be impaled by the sharp rocks. It looks like this:

cliff razor sharp

No joke.

I was a bit wary coz the guide was pulling my (third) leg about injuries to the family jewels. He claimed his balls hit the water hard at a 10 meter jump and insisted I protect it. 🙁

The 10 meter cliff dive was from an outcropping of rock and the view down is fantastic. You get a thrill from looking down, not knowing if there’s rocks underneath and then jumping.

I urged my travel companion to try it as well and she did, much to my surprise. Kudos! She figures she can only do “crazy shit” like this with me so she might as well do it while she’s there. smirk

I wanted more so I asked the guide to bring me to the 30 meter point, and off we went!

It followed the same routine of swimming from the long boat -> climbing up a jagged razor sharp cliff that I swear will cause serious injury if you misstep -> the jump into water. I was at the 20 meter point and wanted to climb further up.

My guide won’t go. He said it was too dangerous and despite me insisting on going on and paying him more money, he still won’t do the precarious climb to 30 meters. I offered him 500 baht extra (RM 50). It’s a no. He pointed to the jump site. It was a 20 meter jump off a branch of a tree.

This is one of the MOST ill conceived on-the-spot, “Hey, let’s make something up” seat-of-the-pants shit I’ve ever seen. I looked at my guide incredulously. He was dead serious. I was going to climb out off a cliff at 20 meters to a branch of unknown integrity and jump from it.

Call it a leap of faith. smirk

I did it, landed badly (if you see the video, you’ll notice it took me a while to resurface coz it knocked the breath out of me). I still have chest pains to this very day. Crap.

I still insisted on going for the 30 meter jump though but the guide was vehemently against it.

The reason?

cliff diving guide

He’ll get into trouble if I die.

(and I thought we had chartered an unlicensed longboat that would agree on anything)

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109 thoughts on “Cliff diving in Ton Sai”

  1. Oh dear, don’t ever do this again.
    I had a bad experience in St.Tropez. The water was so clear and tempting, but I didn’t know how close or depth of the corals or rocks to the surface of the water. I injured my shins and to this day, I have fear diving.I have witnessed someone injured his head with blood red running on the blue waters.
    Anyway, it’s good that you have tried. At least you are still in one piece to blog about your experience. Great day to you. 😉

    Reply
  2. kimberlycun: Yeah, that is why my chest still hurts. 🙂
    The foliage blocked my jump. I don’t know WTF is up with the guide.
    To go to the 30 meter place, you have to go around the tree and more precarious rocks.
    From Wiki:
    Hitting the water flat from 10 m brings the diver to rest in about 1 ft. The extreme deceleration causes severe bruising both internal and external, strains to connective tissue securing the organs and possible minor hemorrhage to lungs and other tissue. Very painful and distressing, but not life-threatening.

    Reply
  3. Yvonne: It’s not that bad actually. It’s just a bit of a new sport in Ton Sai. 🙂
    I’m sorry to hear that you injured your shins. 🙁
    Yeah, it’s a lot of fun, and despite the fact that I think there’s something broken (X Rays says nothing is). I hurt when I inhale too hard, laugh or cough. 🙂
    But it’s all in good fun and like you said, I’m still here. =D
    Have a great week ahead Yvonne!

    Reply
  4. Dylan: It’s very fun! Not exactly 100% safe (but nothing ever is). You should check it out if you’re in Phi Phi Islands. Ton Sai cliff diving. Awesome. 🙂
    KY: I also had a bad experience from lower heights. It really incapacitates you. Luckily I didn’t hit my balls or I won’t resurface. 😉

    Reply
  5. hahahahahahahahaha *points at MS Paint drawing of cliffs* hahahahahahahaha *wheeze*
    looks like a really picturesque place to be doing such a dangerous activity 😛

    Reply
  6. fresh: Heh! I was in a rush could have done it much better Allie Brosh style. 😉
    I wanted to add a 🙂 to the Hi I’m friendly and pink!
    Yup, it’s really fun, you should go cliff diving someday Fresh! =D

    Reply
  7. “Very painful and distressing, but not life-threatening” – at least it’s ur thing ya..*smirks
    and btw,it’s f@Cking awesome!!!those videos rocks!!

    Reply
  8. “Very painful and distressing, but not life-threatening” – at least it’s ur thing ya..*smirks
    and btw,it’s f@Cking awesome!!!those videos rocks!!

    Reply
  9. “Very painful and distressing, but not life-threatening” – at least it’s ur thing ya..*smirks
    and btw,it’s f@Cking awesome!!!those videos rocks!!

    Reply
  10. Nick: Heh! I’m not sure what the cut off point of being “life threatening” is. I was discussing that with my friend. 60 meters? 120 meters? How far can a human with no training dive into a water without getting killed? =D
    You know how those US Coast Guard people can jump out of choppers into water right? I wonder what is the maximum height for them too. Hmm…
    Thanks! =D
    We wanted to take longer videos but the battery was running low. 🙁
    ah nel: It is! 🙂
    It’s an awesome adrenaline rush. The climb up is not half bad either, holding on to sharp rocks with drops leading to more sharp rocks. Exciting! 🙂
    eiling: Heh! I think a lot of Aries are like me, but I’m just a bit more extreme. Novelty seeking, risk taker. 🙂
    It’s a lot of fun! You should try if you have the chance. 🙂

    Reply
  11. “Very painful and distressing, but not life-threatening” – at least it’s sixthseal style..*smirks
    and btw,it’s f@Cking awesome!!!those videos rocks!!

    Reply
  12. Nick: Hey no worries mate! I think my server is getting overloaded, your comment gets through despite that. Lemme check and fix ya. 🙂
    Yup I watched that movie! Awesome stuff. 🙂

    Reply
  13. dont be doing that again. kinda like me, I guess. hell, its like intertubing down the nantahala river. through the falls. twice. back then I didnt think twice. it was fun.like parasailing. now am an old man. not so old. 50. and I understand. God help me. but you gotta remember… it is scary for those on the bank watching… cause you know whats gonna happen… maybe not… at least keep your feet and toes up heading downstream…. well… thank God… then the bank falls away…Its about to get intresting… real quick… remember toes up. go with God, hb…

    Reply
  14. Hey Huai Bin, ur one lucky bastard!!
    During my college years, my frens went diving trip at this rainforest and he too, mischievious like you leapt from 20m and now he is a quadriplegics.
    His head hit some rocks (underneath that u cant see) but the weird thing is they scanned thru the area & even checked for rocks underwater but cant find any!… and he injured his spinal cord, guess what they say is true, there are serious shit such as haunted spirit /ghosts in every forest??
    Worst, he is the only child, the only son. You can imagine how many times his mom broke down and passed out in the hospital.
    But u live to tell it all! Better dont do it again cos ur giving me heart attack wtf

    Reply
  15. tom robinson: Great advice my friend. Toes up indeed. I can’t help myself, I love trying new things and feeding the adrenaline junkie. 🙁
    I’m like you buddy. 🙂
    Juliana Ann: Fuck, apologize for the expletive but I’m so sorry to hear that. 🙁
    Yeah rocks can be dangerous, you really need to be sure there’s none underneath and you can’t be sure. It’s kinda like a leap of faith.
    Sorry about your friend again.
    My thoughts are with him. 🙁

    Reply
  16. mate, what’s the go with 30m jump? if you take off your jocks and jump in the nutter, your nuts will hurt just as much as a 30m jump.
    There you go, learn something new today.

    Reply
  17. debbie: Hello Debbie! Well, our digicam was running out of battery so we bought a disposable underwater camera.
    It turned out to be worse than crap. 🙁
    The photos from the disposable cam are horrible! :S
    rocket: Haha! That’s not the point bro, the point is you’ve done a 30 m jump. 🙂

    Reply
  18. jualkeretasaya: Thanks! 🙂
    ciki: HAHAHA!
    Seriously, it was dangerous, the climb up. The cliffs look smooth on the outside but the inside is filled with jagged razor sharp formations which you have to climb over.
    Yup, gotta get the adrenaline rush going. 😉

    Reply
  19. so how can we get a 30m jump experience from a 20m cliff wall? tie a rock around your neck, jump in the nutter, add couple of rocks and sharks to the rockpool, couple of ladies boys too.
    Surely that does the job.

    Reply
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