Canyoning in Dalat

Do something that scares you: Canyoning in Dalat

I would call myself an adventurous person. I crave that adrenaline rush, whether it’s from riding a ridiculous 10-loop rollercoaster, swimming side-by-side with terrifying-looking sea creatures or speeding on the back of a motorbike. But when I agreed to go ‘canyoning’ with my friends whilst travelling through Dalat, a central highland city in Vietnam, I must admit I was pretty damn nervous. The name alone sounded alarming and I could visualize myself falling into jagged rocks pushed by huge, uncontrollable spurts of water and plummeting dramatically to my peril. The fact that we had met a girl a few days previous of our canyoning outing in Mui Ne who had passed out whilst canyoning and suffered from a rather worrying leg injury certainly didn’t help my concern.

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Si Phan Don's Four Thousand Islands

What is there to do in Four Thousand Islands?

After successfully completing the Laos Thakhek bike loop, some of the group decided to head down South for some chill time in Si Phan Don, more commonly known as ‘Four thousand islands’. We stayed on one of the more popular islands, Don Det, which is still a tiny little place very much backpacker orientated with a cool hippy vibe. We were there for four nights but again like in Pai in Northern Thailand, when I look back at our time spent there I struggle to pinpoint exactly what we got up to! It is very much a place to hammock-dwell with little planned. Many travellers we met said they had ended up spending a lot longer there than anticipated, simply enjoying the sunshine and having a chance to relax without rushing around doing activities and excursions.

So, what exactly did we do?

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The Thakhèk bike loop

Tackling the Laos Motorbike Loop

We had been told about the legendary Laos Motorbiking Loop from friends we had made back in Pai, but for some reason had brushed the idea aside. However when we met a group of like-minded travellers whilst tubing in Vang Vieng, we were very easily persuaded to shake up our original plans and embark on a 5-day detour partaking in ‘the loop’. The famous round trip lasts approximately 500km, and most riders tend to visit many of the sights along the way and stop off at tiny local villages overnight. We were a large group with a couple of less experienced drivers so had decided to spend a leisurely 5 days journeying the loop, although many finish it in 4 or even 3 days.

I wasn’t driving myself and instead was lucky enough to be able to hop on the back of my best friend Sophie’s bike. For that reason, my expertise on how difficult or extreme the actual driving route is quite limited, but I’ll give my thoughts on the ride and will mention some of the lovely sights we saw on our trip. Below I’ve included a copy of the map we were given of our route when renting our bikes.

The Thakhèk Motorbike loop map

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The Kuang Si Waterfalls

The incredible Kuang Si waterfalls in Luang Prabang

After spending a good few weeks in Thailand it was time to enter Laos, and I was pretty excited to say the least. I had looked forward to beautiful landscapes, learning about a new culture and getting involved in the vast amount of activities on offer (including the infamous tubing in Vang Vieng!)

After a two day slow boat journey through Laos, we finally ended up in Luang Prabang. The cultured city is renowned for its world class French food, its atmospheric night markets and the gorgeous Kuang Si waterfalls. On our second day in Luang Prabang, we decided to visit said waterfalls. I had seen friends’ photos of the falls and had seen posters of them plastered all over the town, but I was absolutely blown away as soon as I set eyes upon them.

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