With its short approach and fine bathroom facilities and lunch huts, Chiang Mai’s crag may not feel like its in the middle of the wilderness. But the bugs and accompanying wildlife are a fine reminder that you are in an exotic location.
Be aware of the following creatures that you might meet out at the crag:
Asian Giant Honeybee (Apis Dorsata)
There are occasionally large bustling beehives filled with hoards of scary looking bees nesting under overhangs. This bee is a defensive bee and over the past couple of years has been involved in some scary bee attacks.
Though the hives have been present since we began climbing here, we believe the increase in climbing traffic may be upsetting them. Even when there are bees there is still plenty of climbing in the area.
It is highly recommended that you do not climb near these hives. Stay at least five meters away and be aware of where your rope will be when you descend.
Occasionally you will see the hive ripple like a crowd wave at a sporting event. Be aware that this is a sign that the bees are feeling threatened and it is a good indicator to move away. If you are allergic to bee stings, carry along benadryl and/or an epi-pen as a precaution.
The hives come and go throughout the year and usually do not stay very long. The hives are typically under the large roofs at the crag in the following areas:
- The Junkyard – Destiny (6B, near second bolt)
- Crazy Horse Buttress – A Wild Ride on a Crazy Horse
- Crazy Horse Buttress – Love, Blood and Steel at a small roof half way up the route.
- Crazy Horse Buttress – Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth at a small roof below the anchors.
- The Anthill – Intensify
- The Anthill – Flushed
- Anxiety State Crisis Cave – Anxiety State Crisis Pitch 2
- Anxiety State Crisis Cave – Space Manoeuvres Pitch 3
It is possible other areas may have hives as well. Please ask in the shop for the most current updates.
Yes, these buggers are annoying. The tiny insect-like bees build wax tunnels into the rock. They are harmless and want nothing more than a few innocent drops of your sweat. If you need to get away from them, light an insect coil or build a small fire – the smoke will drive them away.
Be sure to bring some repellent and coils to keep these bitty blood suckers at bay. Generally not a huge hassle at the crag, some of the shady crags are a gathering place for mosquitoes in the afternoon. They are worst between May and October.
They are sometimes present during the rainy season, tending to enjoy big pockets that are protected from the rain. Watch out in The Archway between May and October. Luckily, there aren’t too many of them and while getting stung hurts, there aren’t other harmful effects.
Watch out for the hairy tamarinds! Ma Mui is a very itchy plant that looks like tamarind but with little white hairs that itch beyond belief if they rub against your skin. If you happen to have an encounter with this plant, there’s not much you can do. Don’t scratch: scratching will make the whole situation much worse. Some locals suggest rubbing dirt or chalk on the affected area for immediate relief.
Often around in copious amounts at the edge of trails after the rainy season, socks and shoes will protect your legs from these thorny plants. We recommend that you wear closed toe shoes for walking and taking along a pair of flip flops to wear at the base of the crag.
Keep an eye out for these creepy crawlers. They are quite large and easy to spot during the rainy season. There are also snakes in the area, though few people have ever spotted a live one. Centipedes can also hurt if they bite so try to be aware!
Unless you want some ants in your pants, or in your bag, be sure not to sit or place your stuff in a pile of ants. They can be quite annoying.
These primates are starting to make more contact, especially at some of the higher areas. Do not feed the monkeys. If you have been to Rai Lay or Koh Phi Phi, you will understand why this is a bad practice.