Must Do: Canyoning Down Waterfalls in Dalat
As I leaned over the edge of a 60-foot waterfall, the last thing I wanted to do was let go of the rope preventing me from falling down. “Let go,” is exactly what Dragon, the tour guide, told me to do. I shook my head no and held on in total fear. After a few moments, he eventually coaxed me into it and I held up my hands awkwardly for Dragon to take a photo. Of course, the backup rope held up and I didn’t fall to my death.
Canyoning in Dalat is a must-do in Vietnam. It’s one of the favorite things I did in the country and it took place just 15 minutes outside my favorite town. The most memorable part of the experience of the tour is the abseiling/rappelling. This is essentially rock climbing, but instead of climbing up you’re only going down. Things get a little exciting when waterfalls are involved and the footing is slippery.
A number of tour companies run the same route outside the city of Dalat. I did the tour through Dalat Passion Tours for just $25 and was glad to do so, as we had a small group of only five people. Larger groups had to wait forever to go down some of the rocks due to bottlenecks in traffic.
There were three different places to abseiling, including a 60-foot waterfall, a dry wall of rock,s and the “washing machine” where you climb down a dry wall and then drop into a raging river. Between the abseils, there are two waterfalls to slide down, a cliff jumping area of either 21 or 33 feet and a moderate amount of hiking.
Since our group was so small and we moved so quickly, we got to spend a little extra time cliff jumping and sliding down the falls. The whole thing took less than three hours but could take up to six if you’re stuck in a large group. The tour was the perfect length, as I was exhausted from being terrified by the end of the journey.
Dalat is about six hours from Ho Chi Minh City by bus. The city is extremely popular with Vietnamese tourists but the place is often skipped by Western tourists, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful place with some amazing food. It also has some of the best coffee in Vietnam and the finest strawberries I’ve had in Asia. I stayed a a dorm at the Dalat Backpackers Intercontinentel Hostel for $4 (privates are about $8). They’re affiliated with Dalat Passion Tours so you can book your canyoning tour through them.
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