Friday, March 4, 2016

Canyoning in Dalat, Vietnam

Dalat has become somewhat famous for canyoning in recent years, where you climb down cliffs and waterfalls, cliff jump, and usually zipline but we didn't do that the day I went.

40m down a slippery rushing waterfall
It was a bit of a bittersweet activity, because the day before I arrived, three British backpackers died on a waterfall. They weren't canyoning, didn't have the right equipment, had an unauthorized guide and snuck in the area without paying the entrance fee, but still. Very sad. This article explains it pretty well:
The waterfall splits and if you're not careful and don't straddle it wide enough you'll be swept away. Or at least off your feet which is terrifying because you have to take your hands off the rope which you feel is the only thing holding you there (it is, on your rope, but there's also another safety rope the guide has)
The first thing I heard when I got off the bus in Dalat was all canyoning had been stopped. Of course this was by a motorcycle driver that wanted to take me on a tour around the area, but I was a bit disappointed because I was looking forward to it. The next day however, the wonderful woman who ran my hostel let us know that trips were still happening in another area.

It was a lot of fun! And harder than I expected, especially the first waterfall we did, even though it was the shortest. The worst part was they gave me a lifejacket meant for someone who weighs 90kg (~200lbs) and a large helmet. I didn't think much of it at first but I couldn't really see up or down, and we did a lot of scrambling up and down banks where you needed to use your hands to help you climb. But I survived, I just looked like a giant orange marshmallow. Just look at these pictures
I can't see!!
The giant abseiling orange marshmallow
I definitely hit my butt on a rock when I landed. Shoulda had all that excess padding down there instead of around my face