The Thrill (and Terror) of Canyoning in DaLat, Vietnam

Canyoning in DaLat is one of the most thrilling things I did in Vietnam. It’s also the most terrifying, especially considering I’m a self-professed wimp with little to no hand-eye coordination.

However, physical terrors aside, Canyoning in DaLat was an incredible experience. If you’re traveling through Vietnam, I highly recommend you stop by the mountain town of DaLat and try canyoning.

While I was in DaLat, I stayed at this charming hostel called Mooka’s Home. It had some of the cleanest and nicest dorms I’ve had so far. Furthermore, the family that runs the hostel set up barbecue nights every alternate day. It’s a great way to meet other backpackers to eventually share your DaLat canyoning experience with.

The host of the hostel was also nice enough to arrange a group Canyoning in DaLat tour for us. And they even lent me shoes! I’d lost mine earlier in Ho Chi Minh’s Bui Vien Backpacker Street, but that’s another story.

Read: Top 5 Things to do in DaLat

About Canyoning in DaLat

Canyoning in DaLat is one of the most touted activities amongst backpackers traveling through Vietnam.

I hadn’t initially planned on going Canyoning in DaLat. Jumping off cliffs doesn’t generally fall within the purview of things I do. But I’d heard so much about it that I figured my Vietnam travels wouldn’t really be complete without Canyoning in DaLat.

Canyoning in DaLat comprises a series of activities such as abseiling, rappelling, cliff jumping, and the washing machine. The latter involves… well, you’ll find out soon enough.

It can get pretty slippery there so you should be really careful and listen to the instructions carefully. You can book a DaLat Canyoning Group Tour for $70. They’ll pick you up from your hostel at 8.30 AM and take you through all the activities.

Before starting, they’ll also make you sign contracts freeing them from any and all liability. Basically, it’s a legal document to prevent lawsuits should you smash your head, break your knees, or even die. It’s fairly standard stuff… I guess? But going through a list of ALL the things that can go wrong is more than a little unnerving.

Anyway, as long as you’re careful, you won’t get crippled or die. If that’s any comfort.

Plus, the tour guides will also give you a very comprehensive lesson before starting off. They’ll show you how to wear the harness and how to descend down the waterfalls. Following that, there will also be a dry abseiling session.

It gets pretty crowded here so you might have to wait a while for your turn. But once the lessons are done, you’re ready to start Canyoning in DaLat!

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Forcing a smile for the camera… hiiieee!

Abseiling

Abseiling is the main activity when you’re canyoning in DaLat. It involves climbing down a cliff face with the help of ropes and harnesses.

To do it right you need to master the correct hand and leg movements. For an average person, it shouldn’t pose much of a difficulty. But if you’re someone like me, i.e., someone whose limbs have difficulty communicating with each other, it might be a challenge.

There are two dry cliffs that you have to go rappelling down. One of them is 18 meters, and the other is 30 meters.

While abseiling in the first, I smashed my knees. While abseiling down the second, I smashed my head against the jagged rocks. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my helmet was well fastened.

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Abseiling in Dalat… don’t zoom in, I look constipated in terror.

Getting Swept Away…

After abseiling twice, we came by a little current of water.

The tour guide asked us to cross our arms and descend into the current. Meanwhile, he held on to our legs while we positioned ourselves against the current. Once we were well positioned, he let go of our legs so we could get swept away by the current. Basically, you have to just surrender your body here until you reach a clearing.

Getting swept away by the current poses its own terrors. However, it came as a welcome relief after the abseiling. Primarily because I was just a passenger in my own body and I didn’t have to worry about doing anything.

Just let the tour guide do what he wants with your body, lol.

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Cross your arms and hope for the best…

Jumping off a Cliff

Next, we were taken up to a cliff for a little meal. The meal comprises some Bahn Mi and tropical fruits. Delicious!

Following that, we were asked to jump off into the water below. No harnesses. No ropes. Just you and your floatation device.

You can make the jump from a 7-meter height or an 11-meter height. The latter involves taking a running start so that you can get past the rocks below. Oh yes, you should also be careful not to slip on the moss and lichen at the edge of the cliff. Yeah, no thanks. I think I prefer my head intact.

I made the jump from the 7-meter position. No accidents.

The other group members went for seconds and thirds. I was pretty happy with my one baby jump.

Cliff jumping? Tick.

Next!

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Jumping off cliffs all badass an’ whatnot…

The Washing Machine

Now, this is the most twisted (literally) part of Canyoning in DaLat.

It starts off pretty basic. You have to go abseiling down a cliff face. We’d done it twice already No biggie.

But as you reach the halfway point, you enter the waterfall. Literally, you enter the waterfall. It starts beating down on your head with all the force of gravity.

At this point, we’re not supposed to either bend backward or lower our heads. The former could lead to a spinal injury, and the latter could lead to… decapitation? Just kidding, not decapitation, but it’s still pretty risky.

You’re supposed to leave the rope at this point and simply fall into the water as fast as possible. Once you do, you get turned round and round and round… like a washing machine you see!

Allow the current to carry you towards the boulders, where your group members will haul you up.

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The dreaded washing machine.

So… do you see why I called Canyoning in DaLat both a thrill and a terror? But momentary terror aside, I’m really glad I did this. It’s quite an experience. Besides, barring my ego, I came out of the experience relatively unscathed!

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With my Canyoning group in Dalat. That’s me on the right!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences! If you’ve already tried Canyoning in DaLat, do comment and let me know what it was like for you!

Was it as terrifying? Or do you think I’m just being a precious snowflake?

If you want to find out anything else about Vietnam, you can read my Comprehensive Vietnam Travel Guide for First Timers as well. In it, I tell you about all the other amazing things you can do in this beautiful country!

canyoning in dalat vietnam