Located in the highlands of Vietnam, Dalat is a small city which was originally built up as a resort getaway for the French colonists. The cooler weather is a good break from the rather scorching heat that Vietnam is otherwise known for. Between its cool climate and rather lush vegetation, we headed to Dalat excited to take part in its many adventurous activities and we quickly were told to go canyoning. If you ask anyone what to do in Dalat, Canyoning will be the first thing they say.
We were staying in a place called Dalat Family Hostel which was run by Mama and her two daughters, crazy and sexy (I swear, I’m not making this up!). Although the accommodations were pretty rough, the hostel made up for it in vibe! Every evening, mama would cook a massive meal and lay it out on the floor. We would all then gather around, eat dinner as a family then have drinking games at night. Pretty awesome right? We booked our canyoning trip with Viet Challenge through our hostel and ended up having the best time.
We put on our game face and fought through our banging hangovers as we drove for about 30 minutes into the forest. We knew that we were in for a full day of rappelling, sliding down waterfalls, water abseiling, and cliff jumping. Soon, the safety briefing began and next thing you know, we were being geared up with harnesses and helmets. At the time we went, there were a lot of people from different tour companies so we had to wait for a bit before we could begin heading down.
Read: Where to Stay in Dalat
What to Bring for a Day of Canyoning in Dalat?
- Waterproof camera
- Aqua shoes or sports sandals (I used my trainers and they were WRECKED afterwards!)
- Swim clothes
- Tank top and boardshorts
We began our assault by abseiling down an 18m vertical cliff. Although it seemed very daunting, it was seriously so much fun! Initially, my heart was racing as I jumped my way down this high cliff. As most of you know, I am not very graceful so naturally, during one of my last jumps, I ended up banging my knee on one of the rocks. Although it was a mere scrape, this wound ended up getting badly infected a couple of weeks later! As soon as we got down, we reached the river where there were two small waterfall slides. We braced ourselves as we slid backwards with our heads going first. Because the rocks were so slippery, we reached the bottom pools with a splash.
Related: Best Rock Climbing in Southeast Asia
We walked along the river until we reached our next obstacle which was to abseil down this large 25m waterfall. Since we went right after a big rainfall, the water was brown and muddy due to the soil eroding. Imagine abseiling down a huge waterfall with water gushing down at you. It was SUCH a thrilling experience. To make things more exciting, you don’t actually abseil all the way down as you end up letting go of the rope and detaching yourself for a 3m jump down the falls.
We stopped for a short lunch which was made up of homemade Bahn Mi sandwiches which we had while perched on top of yet another waterfall. Just being around nature and all the exhilarating activities got us all pumped up. Armed with Bahn Mi in our bellies and a lot of adrenaline, we all geared up for the cliff jumping challenges of the day.
First up is a whooping 11m free fall into a pool. There was a tiny rock ledge below it which you had to clear which was why you had to run first in order to get as much distance from the rock. Sounded good, but man, it was pretty scary! Now I am one of those people that will do anything. I’ve done upside down pendulum swings down cayons, gone sky diving, heck, I’ve even gone swimming with sharks but one thing which still gets to me is staring down a cliff I’m supposed to jump. I always end up doing it, but it does take me a while to work up the courage to do so. With the rest of my group cheering me on, I stepped back a couple of meters and started running towards the cliff. Then it happened. As I took my last leap, my soggy trainers slipped causing me to lose my balance. I BARELY cleared the ledge below me as I fell into the water. I heard a collective sigh of relief as I bopped my head from the water. I swear I saw leaves brushing my face as I went down. I was THAT close to the cliff. YIKES! The next jump was a 7m one which wasn’t as intimidating as the first jump.
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The Washing Machine
The last abseil challenge of the day would be a 16m abseil. It sounded like a piece of cake, after all, we have been jumping out of cliffs and abseiling down them all day. This one however, was pretty special. The washing machine was just like every other rock we abseiled down from except at one point, you reach the bottom of the rope and you hit a big gush of water, causing you to twirl, spin, and turn around-simulating a washing machine. As soon as you hit the water, you lose your orientation and just have to trust that when you let go, you will hit the water-and not the jagged rocks around you.
It was a huge sense of relief that I made it out of the whole canyoning in Dalat experience alive. It was definitely an amazing, adrenaline filled experience which we highly recommend to people heading to Dalat.
Canyoning in Dalat Tour Details:
Viet Challenge runs two tours: 6:30 am – 11:30 am & 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm but it would be best to check their website for more details.
- Roundtrip transportation
- All safety equipment
- Lunch and refreshments
You can head on over to Viet Challenge Website to get an updated pricelist on Canyoning. We booked through our hostel which gave us a discounted group rate.
Although it was a lot of fun doing it with a large group, on hind site, we would have preferred a much smaller group so that you have your guides full attention for safety reasons. Also be sure to double check your safety equipment before using them.
Want to read more about Vietnam? Check out our other articles below
- Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Vietnam
- Reasons Why Not to Visit Vietnam
- 20 Unbelievable Photos of Vietnam: Go Now