We are in Da Lat and we are loving it so far! The climate, the nature and the food is amazing. Da Lat is located 1500-2000 meters above sea level, and is surrounded by (among other things) lakes and waterfalls. This makes it a perfect place for water sports, for example canyoning. The first time I ever heard of canyoning was through another blog. They had posted a video of them doing it. There and then I decided that I had to try it! Before we arrived in Da Lat, we did some research about what to do here and we found out that canyoning is a big thing here. Obviously, we had to do it.
Since it’s a popular thing to do, naturally there’s a lot of companies offering to take you on this adventure. If you don’t know what canyoning is, Google it. It involves swimming in currents and rappelling, sliding and jumping down waterfalls. It’s not a risk-free thing to do. Hence, it’s important to go with a good company, with guides who knows what they’re doing. Make sure to do your research before you decide which company to go with.
After reading reviews after reviews, we decided to go canyoning with Da Lat Adventure Tours. We were very happy with our choice and we would love to share our first canyoning-experience with you!
DISCLAIMER: All photos in this article, are taken and provided by Da Lat Adventure Tours.
Canyoning With Da Lat Adventure Tours
Rappelling down an 18m high dry cliff
After a relatively thorough safety review, it was time to hit the waters. The first obstacle was an eighteen meters high drop along a dry cliff. We would be rappelling all the way down. Quickly one of our guides, Nally, explained how we should do it and then he told Pajam to go first. I was really surprised that Pajam did it without any hesitation, since he’s usually scared of heights. I guess he felt safe with Nally securing him. From the top of the waterfall, Nally guided all of us all the way down, cheering and encouraging.
Once all of us were down safe and sound, we trekked through the jungle to the next challenge. On our way to the second stop, our guides Nally and BB told us to get into the water and swim and stand in front of a big waterfall – it was time for our first group photo. The water was crazy cold. My body was chocked every time I entered the water and later during the day I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes. Nevertheless, it kept us awake and it was a bit refreshing.
Rappelling down a 16m high dry cliff
The next stop was a sixteen meters drop. This one was way steeper. We were rappelling down this one as well. After the first cliff, everyone was a bit warmed up and this went way smoother. After all of us had done it, it was Nallys turn. He secured himself onto a tree and with BB. He placed himself correctly and then he made one jump and was at the foot of the drop. All of us had walked with tiny steps all the way down, and he makes one jump… Crazy!
Sliding Down a Waterfall
The next obstacle was the most fun, if you ask me. After swimming and floating through streams and currents and trekking through the jungle, we reached a small waterfall (it was so small it feels wrong to call it a waterfall).
Nally explained that we would slide down the “waterfall”. He told us to sit in a queue and wait for our turn. Then he grabbed the first person by the floating vest and moved her to the middle of the “waterfall”. He told her to lay down, cross her arms over her chest and keep her head down. Then he let go. She slid down with such speed it looked as if she’d get hurt. Seconds later she was looking back at us, laughing. We all got to go twice – once with feet first and once with head first. It was so much fun!
Cliff jumping: 7m and 11m
We kept on walking , swimming and floating through streams and currents until we reached the next stop. This was the stop I had feared the most. It was time for cliff jumping. I never do this. I don’t get why anyone does. It’s scary, it’s dangerous and it’s simply crazy. However, I had already decided that I had to do at least the 7-meters jump (which was the lowest). After some hesitation and dithering back and forth, I jumped. And it was a lot of fun.
So, for some idiotic reason I decided to do the 11-meters as well. The thing with the 11-meters is that you have to stand back, run straight to the end of the cliff and jump outwards. If you hesitate or don’t have enough speed to push you away from the cliff, things might get ugly. Anyways, I went back up, measured from where I should start my run and then I ran. Once I had taken my leap and was in the air I changed my mind. A little too late though. So I continued to fall into the water and I crashed my face straight into the water surface. Aouch. I had focused too much on pushing myself away from the cliff, and totally forgotten about how I should land. Well well, things happen. I survived.
“The Washing Machine”
Once everyone had jumped as much as we wanted, we started our trek through the jungle towards the last obstacle. This one was called “the washing machine”. I could only imagine why. We stopped by a pretty high waterfall and Nally started preparing the ropes and the securing. Once he was done, he told us quickly, but in detail, what to do.
“Rappel yourselves down for about 4-5 meters, there the cliff-wall will start going inwards. When this happens, let go and hang. The water will hit you and the force of the waterfall will push you downwards and you will spin around and around. Continue rappelling yourself towards the stream. When you reach the bottom of the waterfall, swim away from the waterfall and go sit on the cliffs in the water.” Okay. Easy peasy.
It wasn’t. Looking down was super scary, so I only did that once. As soon as the waterfall hit me I started spinning around and quickly lost track of where I was. I kept on rappelling myself down, having no clue how far I had left. Then I hit the stream and I was pushed down under the surface by the force of the waterfall above me. I tried to locate myself and swim towards where I thought was away from the fall. After some panic and confusion I could see the rest of the group sitting (completely calm, whilst I one second earlier had thought I would die) on one of the cliffs and I moved towards them. In the aftermath, it was lots of fun!
After everyone had done the washing machine and Pajam had walked down the cliff (he didn’t want to do it so he just skipped), we made our way to the minivan. We trekked, swam, floated and climbed. Once we reached the car we were exhausted. We got to borrow towels to dry ourselves with and change to dry clothes. We got into the car and the banana we had been handed earlier that day, tasted better than any other banana I’ve ever eaten. They dropped us of at our guesthouse and we went straight to bed to nap.
It was scary, it was freezing cold and it was unlike anything we’ve ever done before. But we had lots of fun. Especially in the beginning when we could still feel our fingers and toes. Had the temperature in the water been a bit higher, it would’ve been even more fun. This however, is obviously not something Da Lat Adventure Tours can do anything about.
Our guides were encouraging and didn’t push anyone to do anything we didn’t want to. But they did cheer on everyone completing the obstacles, which encouraged at least me to push myself a little more. They also made sure that everyone was okay at all times. They never left anyone behind, one guide was walking in the front and one in the back. Also, we felt very secure with the equipment we used. We all got wetsuits, helmets, floating vests and helmets. It would’ve been nice to have knee pads as well because our knees got a bit bruised during the day.
The obstacles were fun and we got to try out several different types of obstacles. However, I had expected it to be a few more. Again, this is not something Da Lat Adventure Tours can do anything about. They work with what they have in their surroundings. I’m quite certain we hadn’t gotten a better canyoning experience with any other company.
The best thing about going canyoning with Da Lat Adventure Tours is that they leave at 11.15am, instead of around 9am like the majority of the other companies does. This way you don’t have to share the waterfalls and streams with several other groups. During our session, the only other group we saw was one that left as we arrived. We didn’t have to wait for anybody except the people in our own group, which was really nice.
About Da Lat Adventure Tours
Da Lat Adventure Tours offers several different tours in Da Lat. Among other things, they offer canyoning (obviously), water rafting, Easy Riders tours (motorcycle tours) and trekking. They provide high-quality equipment necessary for each specific tour and professional, English-speaking guides. To read more about what they offer, check out their website.
The reason we chose Da Lat Adventure Tours was their good reviews on Tripadvisor. Close to 900 reviews and 5-stars in average is quite impressive.
Price for Canyoning
The canyoning is 50usd per person, which I believe is quite reasonable for canyoning. I’m not saying it’s cheap, it’s quite a lot of money. But from my understanding, canyoning isn’t cheap no matter where in the world you are. To be honest though, I think I’m happy with having tried it once. If I ever try it again, it will be in warmer waters.
Included in the Price
For 50usd you don’t only get the canyoning. The price also includes:
- Pick up and drop off
- Lunch at a local family’s house
- Bananas for after the canyoning
- All equipment needed for the canyoning (except for shoes)
- Two English-speaking guides
- Photos and videos of you canyoning
Just a little side note: we had informed the company before hand that we’re vegetarian. Once we arrived at the house where we would be eating, the table was set with chicken, rice, soup, spring rolls, salad and some kind of fried eggs. We told our guide that we were vegetarian and he said that everything except for the chicken is vegetarian. We tried the food and we’re suspecting there were some chicken powder and meat broth in the other dishes as well. Of course, we can’t know this for sure though. If you’re vegetarian and want to be completely safe, we suggest you eat before hand and settle with rice, a banana and tea during lunch.
DISCLAIMER: We were welcomed as guests by Da Lat Adventure Tours. As always, all opinions and views remain our own.