If you’re looking for a fun, adventure filled day while travelling Vietnam, canyoning in Da Lat is the place to go.
Set in the picturesque Central Highlands of Vietnam, Da Lat is home to numerous waterfalls and beautiful landscapes. This makes it the ideal location for any adventurous traveller looking to try canyoning.
What is canyoning?
Canyoning is a series of activities that take place while making your way down a gorge river system. These can include abseiling, rappelling, cliff jumping, zip lining and natural water sliding.
Da Lat attracts tourists from around the world looking to participate in canyoning as one of the only places in Vietnam to offer the sport.
There are several companies that run day trips in the area. We decided to go with Highland Sport Travel on recommendation from our hostel.
Is it safe?
Safety is an obvious question when it comes to a potentially dangerous activity. Asia is not known for its stringent health and safety measures so apprehension is understandable.
It’s no secret that some accidents have taken place over the years however, they are not directly linked to lack of safety procedures provided by the companies.
From our experience, Highland Sport Travel put safety first throughout the day. At no point did we feel in any particular danger. Of course there are risks involved such as slipping, but safety ropes and advice are always in place to support you if you fall.
Our experience with Highland Sport Travel
The day began at around 8am with a warm welcome from our new instructors who came to pick us up from our hotel. We picked up four others on the way to Base Camp where we were given a health check (blood pressure test). We were then provided with safety equipment consisting of a tight fitting hard hat, short sleeved wet suit, life jacket and a harness.
Vincent proceeded by demonstrating the correct techniques of abseiling and general safety while canyoning. We each had three attempts on the practice wall to ensure we understood before setting off.
The day consisted of trekking, a zip line, sliding forwards and backwards down a natural waterslide, a seven metre cliff jump and three abseils, the tallest of which was a 25 metre waterfall.
After the activities we were provided with a huge picnic which we all enjoyed together. After lunch we made the final trek to the pick up location, finishing the day at around 3pm.
The positive energy we felt from our instructors Ken, David and Vincent at the start of the day made me feel a lot more at ease.
I felt nervous but as the day progressed, I realised that safety was their main priority. If I ever had a question they would make sure I understood before partaking in any activity.
I felt that our guides were extremely professional but also friendly with great senses of humour. “Ken” was mainly in charge of the photography, taking multiple photos of each activity included in the price. Singing was also his passion, keeping us entertained throughout the day.
“Vincent” was always at hand with the safety rope making me feel secure. “Don’t worry, chicken curry” was his catch phrase, along with “Don’t be lazy, let’s go crazy”.
“David” was an extra support to all of us and generally led the way of the treks between main activities. He carried our buffet lunch on his back which was appreciated at the end of a tough course.
Initially apprehensive, I found the day extremely enjoyable. The weather in Da Lat was crisp so I was mainly scared of being cold all day. The wetsuits definitely saved the day and each streak of sun we got was welcome.
Having had some limited experience with canyoning based activities in the past, I was not so fearful of the experience. Although challenging at times, everything was achievable for any level of experience or fitness.
A highlight for me was of course the 25 metre abseil down a water fall. The rock was slippery and the constant flow of water crashing against your body made for an exhilarating decent. Five metres from the bottom you are instructed to simply let go of your ropes and fall backwards into the pool below. When every bone in your body is telling you to do otherwise, this made for a thrilling leap of faith but one I shall not forget.
The guides really were fantastic, chatting and joking with us all day. Even giving us tips on cool places to grab some dinner later in the day. Although, when I saw David making himself a peanut butter, cream cheese, tofu and tomato Banh Mi I did begin to question his taste!
As at the time of our tour in January 2019 the price was $72 US each (roughly 1,692,000 Vietnamese Dong). This cost included pickup and drop off from our hotel, three guides, all safety equipment, bottled water and lunch.
We would recommend canyoning in Da Lat with Highland Sport Travel for an adrenaline kick and the chance to see the beautiful Datanla waterfalls from an alternative perspective.