Koh Phi Phi

Deep Water Solo

See what we experienced on the Fantastic 3 in 1 tour organized by IBEX Climbing and Tours??? Then you know we signed up for Deep Water Solo with them for sure!

I think I need to tell you guys something before going more in depth about our experience. Han and I love rock climbing. We both have a good amount of rock climbing experience by working out at a rock climbing gym in Shanghai regularly. But that was a year ago though…

Worn-out Rock Climbing Shoes

But rock climbing at the gym is very different from rock climbing on a real rock which is actually easier since you can just grab whatever you feel comfortable with instead of following the fixed holds on the wall. I am talking about regular climbing here with ropes, with harnesses, with rock climbing shoes, with carabiners, with rappel devices and even climbing chalks!

However, when it comes to be without ropes, without harnesses, without any sort of climbing gears except for rock climbing shoes, then we are talking about the most natural way of climbing and we don’t have any experience of that but would like to try! With that said, my friend, in terms of Deep Water Solo, we are total NEWBIES! Please don’t laugh at us if you happen to be an experienced rock climber and cliff jumper! :-P

Within this post, there are going to be lots and lots of pictures documenting each of our climbing process and jumping process as well. We didn’t take any videos but we did somehow catch some of the funniest moments EVER without consciously realizing what we were doing. Feel free to LYAO! You ready? Okay, let’s go!

Heading straight to the place to climb on the same boat as we took the day before

Heading to climb

It took about 20 minutes to get to the climbing routes. But you don’t really care about the time when boating on the ocean around gorgeous Phi Phi islands in such a nice weather. Just as we ordered, our lunch was tuna and chicken sandwiches provided by IBEX. Kit, our rock climbing guide brought the lunch to the boat with a bunch of bananas. Captain Art was with us too. I don’t remember what we ate for breakfast but I know we ate a lot just for the amount of workout we were about to do – swimming, climbing and jumping…

Super excited! You know what’s the best part? We were the only two people who signed up for Deep Water Solo for that day and two is their minimum to make this trip. In other words, we were VIPs! haha…

Wrapping fingers with tapes – to protect fingers from being cut by rocks


All set! Kit jumped into the water from the boat and swam towards the first route. He demonstrated the easiest the route to us by quickly climbing up from the ocean and pointed out at a tree where is about 15 meters high. That’s supposed to be the jumping point.

OK. That looked totally doable. Han went first. Here’s how he climbed up, absolutely in control -

Then there was a pause – long pause… Han was holding on to that tree (the jumping point) for like a decade before he finally jumped. It’s about 15 meters high away from the ocean. I mean the Olympic diving board is only 10 meters high (highest one). He had a good reason to be mentally prepared and my pause was even longer than his…

hold on

Art was on the boat telling him how to jump correctly. Kit was holding on a life jacket waiting for him in the water and I was on the boat with Art holding the camera to make sure that I don’t miss his first jump of Deep Water Solo… So here’s how it goes -

I swear that it’s not how Art told him to do, especially to put his arms together over his head and opened them when he’s falling down like he was flying…After all, he did fine.

My turn of climbing now. Half way through it when I was at about 10 meters high, Art suggested that I jump from there but I was so into the climbing part and wanted to go higher up.

After I reached that tree, I turned around… “Shit, what have I got myself into???”

There’s no return! The only way out was to jump unless I climbed down which was probably not going to end up well since it’s possible that I would fall into the ocean in some weird random position and get hurt by the water. I went through all the possibilities in my head and tried to imagine what I should do during the jump…

no return

15 meters, I jumped. It was NOT an elegant jump at all. As a matter of fact, my jumps were never elegant, not even after Art spent a long time to teach us how to jump from the cliff with his own demonstration. But I got the concept and climbed up to a lower point to practice jumping…

Yea, I know! Don’t learn from my forms if you would like to try cliff jumping at some point. Learn from Art. Here are a few tips from Art -

  • Bend over your knees a little bit when you are at the jumping point ready for the jump;
  • Use your leg muscles to push your body out of the cliff when you jump and open your body as much as possible. Remember to keep your eyes open looking down at the water;
  • Swing your arms to keep balance if it’s a higher up jump. Your eyes should remain open as you are in the air falling;
  • As soon as you see you almost hit the water, quickly close your legs and your arms, straighten your body and close your eyes. That’s how you hit the water. SAFE!

After learning all the tricks, Han climbed up to jump again and this time, he did it perfectly, exactly as what Art told us to do except for THIS -

"perfect jumping"

When a man is in an extreme situation, instinctively, there is one thing to protect – BALLS!

Han claimed that he did not realize what he was doing at that moment at all. All he was thinking about was the jumping steps. Do you believe him? haha…

Climbing up and jumping down on the same route for 3 times took us a lot of energy. Kit showed us the second route which is slightly more difficult but we hardly make it out of the water…

Sweet Jesus! What am I going to do with these sea urchins right there?

Sweet Jesus

For the rest of the time, we enjoyed watching Kit and Art climbing. See how these pros climb and jump -

On the way back Art was driving the boat

on the way back

Thanks to Art and Kit for this amazing experience!

Art, Han and Kit

Activities like Deep Water Solo and cliff jumping are certainly not for everyone. However, there are lots of other fun stuff to do on Phi Phi island like shark watching, diving, island hopping, etc. We will have more recommendations soon. Hope you enjoyed our hilarious Deep Water Solo experience. Be back soon!

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