Canyoning in Dalat’s Mountains
Thailand can have it’s full moon parties. Laos is famous for it’s tubing and the gibbon experience. But no other South East Asian country has Vietnam’s canyoning in Dalat. Sadly and for some unknown reason to me, it’s not greatly advertised and many people don’t know what they’re missing out on when they skip out on Dalat and head for Nha Trang’s party scene instead. I’m here to say, “Don’t do it! Go to Dalat!”
We spent the day with two amazing tour guides abseiling down cliffs, waterfalls, floating in a lazy river, and cliff jumping. Our day of canyoning in Dalat was easily one of our BEST days in South East Asia in the past two years.
I’ve only been rock climbing a couple times, so my abseiling skills were pretty much non existent– not to fear, our guides were there helping us through every step of the way! We started the day off with a very small practice abseil where we learned the technique, and the do’s and don’ts. We gradually built our confidence with two larger abseils down cliffs that were roughly 30 feet high, and then we jumped into the real fun– canyoning down the middle of powerful waterfalls!
Talk about adrenaline pumping! The water rushing around you, pounding down on your face, shoulders, and legs as you slowly manoeuvre your way down the slippery rock face of the waterfall. The first waterfall was 75 feet long! The last 12 feet you release your self from the rope and drop 12 feet into the pool of water at the bottom. What a rush! The second waterfall was coined “The Washing Machine” and I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to ask where it got the name. Cuong (our tour guide) happily told us water pounds down on you hitting your body from every angle, spinning you around, until the bottom of the falls were you have to take a big a breath in as the falls pushes you under and out into the open. My mouth dropped open and I was speechless!
We had to abseil down the firs 15 feet of the washing machine waterfall before we were left abseiling down freely on our own. We were dropped right into the middle of water surge and I didn’t know what way to turn! Water was blasting down on me everywhere, all I could do was take a big breath and trust the guides explanation that in a few seconds the water pushes you out into the pool at the bottom. It was so exciting and we both had adrenaline pumping the whole time!
In between the abseils and canyoning, we floated our way down the river. There is a natural waterslide in the river where the water has worn the rocks smooth and makes for an exciting ride. We went down head first, feet first, backwards, and together with our legs intertwined. We were like two little kids as soon as we got down the slide screaming, we’d run straight back to the top to do it again. There is also a great cliff jump including in the day’s events. There were two levels I opted for the shorter 20 foot jump, while Rhys clambered up to the top of the cliff and jumped in from 35 feet up!
We finished our day with a big feast and laughed about the days abseils and my yells while dropping down into the heart of the washing machine. Rhys and I got really lucky and were the only two people in our tour group. Because it was just the two of us we paid $26/person for everything. If 4 people went it would have been $23/person. It’s a really great deal considering all of the equipment is included (and imported from Europe), 4 abseils, lunch, cliff jumping, and the water slide.
I HIGHLY recommend using Green Horizon Tours. Both of our guides were extremely nice and very professional. Cuong (the main guide) has been guiding canyoning trips for 12 years! They were there every step of the way telling us exactly what we were doing wrong, guiding us where to put our feet when we were in the falls, and were just fun to be around, full of smiles and stories. We were behind a different canyoning group and saw first hand what happens when you go with tour guides that don’t have much experience, proper gear, and they left their group to figure it out themselves. Everyone in their group fell down multiple times while canyoning down the 75 foot waterfall. Their guides never directed them or told them what to do to avoid falling, and once they fell down they didn’t help them get back up with the water pounding down on them. Many groups also don’t dare go towards the Washing Machine Waterfall. They don’t have the equipment or the expertise to take tour groups there. The guys at Green Horizon Tours our first class. That night as were walking past their shop from dinner we stopped in and had a few drinks and laughs over Beer Hoi.
It was an incredible experience and a must-do for travelers in Vietnam!
Green Horizon Tours
37 Truong Cong Dinh Street