Dalat, located in southern Vietnam’s Central Highlands, is known as being a destination for two different types of travelers: couples and adventurers. I spent two days in Dalat over the weekend and was a traveler in the latter category! I went to Dalat on a whim, knowing full well that there was the possibility of rain all weekend. And as you may have read on my recap of Around The World In 7 Days last week, I had a surprise long weekend from work. I was most excited about exploring the various waterfalls throughout the countryside and the best way to do that is via canyoning in Dalat with Phat Tire Ventures.

Canyoning involves navigating your way through a canyon. In this case, it also means navigating your way around waterfalls. I did the short tour option that was about 4 hours long, instead of the long option which is 5 hours. I joined a group of 3 and we had two local guides, both of whom spoke good English. The day began with a tutorial from the guide about safety, exactly what we would be doing that day, and a dry run of certain skills we needed.

After the tutorial, we walked downhill about 15 minutes. This was the only part of the day that was busy with a lot of people. It’s busy because you can easily walk down to one larger waterfall without needing hiking shoes or getting wet. It seemed like a large portion of Dalat was spending the afternoon here! We ventured just a few minutes past the crowds and were gifted this amazing view…

We hiked to the top of the waterfall and clipped ourselves into the ropes. This was our first obstacle! We abseiled down the side of the waterfall and into the pool below. It was chilly in Dalat so I was prepared for the water to be rather cold but it was refreshing instead!

When we weren’t maneuvering ourselves down and around waterfalls, we either swam down the river {where it was safe to do so}, or we hiked along the edge of the river to reach the next obstacle. At parts, it was a bit of a hike, and at other times it was a scenic walk.

The second obstacle is the water slide! The rock formations are such that all you have to do it lay down and the water pushes you down. It really did remind me of going on hotel water slide growing up! It may look treacherous but our guides told us the exact position to lay in so we didn’t hit our backs or heads against the rocks.

Other sections of the day were rather leisurely: lay back, relax, and let the river carry you.

The third obstacle is a free jump into a big pool. At roughly 7 meters high {23 feet}, it’s high enough to give you an adrenaline rush but low enough to not be terrifying! After a few jumps, it’s time to continue to the final obstacle…

The Washing Machine is the fourth and final obstacle of the day. It may not looks as treacherous as it actually is! You have to experience it to really get it. Begin at the top and to the side of the waterfall and abseil down. About mid-way down, you encounter the waterfall, which is so strong that it begins to spin you around, just like a washing  machine. Keep abseiling down through the water, which will push you under the pool and out of the narrow passageway!

All-in-all, it was an awesome day! Canyoning in Dalat with Phat Tire Ventures is extremely organized, fun and safe. I also really enjoyed that I was a part of such a small group. At the very beginning, another tour came behind us and they easily had 15 or more people in their group. That would mean a lot of waiting around while everyone does the obstacles individually. Instead, we were able to do each obstacle a couple of times! We were also alone the entire day once we got past the first obstacle. Having the canyon to ourselves was amazing. The scenery is half of what makes the experience so amazing to begin with. The small group really enabled us to take it all in.