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Why I Loved Canyoning in Da Lat

Coming to Da Lat after a short visit in Ho Chi Minh was incredibly refreshing. We were super stoked to get some fresh air and nature in our veins. We had heard that people come to Da Lat for their canyoning experience. This was going to be my first time and it’s the perfect place for beginners and adventurous spirits. 

We organized a day trip with Phat Tire. I just need to say that the team here is absolutely incredible, professional, and SAFE. It’s so important that safety is a priority over price. You’d rather save $30 and risk your life with poor equipment and zero certification from the staff? I don’t understand that at all. If you are going to book this experience, I recommend Phat Tire 100% - I literally bet my life on it. 

Now, if you don’t like to get wet and you’re INSANELY afraid of heights, perhaps this is not the best adventure experience. However, I will admit that I am that person who doesn’t really like to be wet for 4 hours and I am definitely afraid of heights - and I still did it and love it. I think this just goes to show that you might surprise yourself if you try something new. But I felt it was necessary to preface that for those who have certain fears and at the same time, I am happy to respect you and your fears.

With Phat Tire, they pick you up at your hotel and make the small trip to Dantanla Descent. Here, we do a small practice course before rapelling down 4 waterfalls, one cliff jump, and one natural waterslide. The most amazing thing is that the natural wonderland builds from beginner descent and increases in difficulty as you make your way downstream. Talk about a natural jungle gym. You can see the itinerary below for specifics. 

  1. 15m Small Waterfall descent
  2. Tyrolean Traverse - basically a zip line from the waterfall into the water
  3. Natural Waterslide
  4. 20m Waterfall descent
  5. 7m Cliff Jump
  6. Washing Machine

If you’re checking out the list and you’re wondering what the “Washing Machine” is, this is a term in canyoning describing a specific canyon set up. Essentially, there is a waterfall in between two canyons that create a very narrow exit at the bottom. It’s like you drop yourself into a swirling, unknown abyss and pray that the current takes you out. They save it for last because mentally it’s the most challenging. While it’s not the most physically demanding abseil, it’s definitely the scariest because you really have to trust that you will make it out when you drop yourself into it. 

This leads into why I fell in love with canyoning. Have you ever watched the movie, “Inside Out?” I live my life in so much fear constantly, which can get pretty exhausting. With canyoning, you have to toss fear out the door. Not only because you paid money to jump off cliffs but because physically, you will not be able to properly descend without potentially hurting certain muscles or body parts. I would take a deep breath, tell myself to smile as hard as possible, and go down while trusting these total strangers that they will save me if anything happens. 

After 6 hours, I came back to basecamp a totally different person. I felt more accomplished than ever. I’ve presented Holiday Outerwear and Jackets in front of SVPs, Head of Design, and the President of a global company and 60 other people all by myself. I killed it at that meeting but canyoning was so much more fulfilling than overcoming my fear of public speaking and public humiliation. 

We couldn’t recommend doing this more and I can’t wait to do more canyoning around the world. If you have any suggestions, comment below and let’s go together!

Catherine JoeiComment