Outdoor Adventures in Cat Ba island & Lan Ha bay

(Updated: 4/4/2021 11:16:56 AM)

A useful guide to Rock Climbing, Deep water soloing and Parasailing in Halong Bay, Lan Ha bay and Cat Ba Island

In Vietnam, the adventure tourism industry is still in its infancy stages. You may have to look around a little to find something, but there are some people and companies out there who are offering activities that appeal to adventure and thrill seekers. Whilst on a Halong Bay cruise you can always take part in kayaking and explore a little, but you can never stray too far from the pack as you have to get back to the boat in time to move onto the next planned activity.

If organized tours, cruises and trips aren’t your thing, you can choose to explore Halong Bay at your own pace. There are countless caves, jungle, lagoons and islands to be explored and doing so independently only requires a little more planning. In Halong Bay there are some available activities like scuba diving and parasailing but the number one activity for adventure seekers in Halong Bay has to be rock climbing. Usually rock climbing in Halong Bay goes hand in hand with kayaking as you have to use the kayak to reach a lot of the climbing routes.

When you go rock climbing in Vietnam always make sure to thoroughly research your trip. A good way of getting familiar with rock climbing in Vietnam is to get in contact with Blue Swimmer Outdoors, the local climbing organization.

Rock Climbing in Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island
Halong Bay, with its thousands of limestone islands, is perfect for climbing. This fun activity is getting more and more popular and there is a company based in Hanoi that organize rock climbing trips in Halong Bay. Even though some companies provide equipment, it is strongly advised that when you come to Halong Bay to do rock climbing you do bring your own gear and equipment where possible.

An abundance of climbing routes can be found in Halong Bay. You can find over 100 routes on 10 different cliffs (crags). The climbing grades range from 4a to 8a+ in Halong Bay and Cat Ba island

There are also over 230 solo lines over deep water found on 24 different cliffs. The climbing grades for these DWS lines range for 4a to 7c+.

Where are the Best Places to Climb?

Some of the most beautiful and the best climbing locations (50+ routes) in Halong Bay are:

  • Luy Tam Biet (4 routes, grade: 6b+ to 7b)
  • Cerro Torre (13 routes, 6a to 8a+)
  • Laughing Dog Wall (22 routes, 6a to 7c+)
  • La Plage des Pirates (15 routes, 6a to 8a+)

There are 300+ climbing routes in Cat Ba island, however, below are some of our recommendations:

  • You Enjoy Myself (6b, 20m)
  • Test Pilot (7a, 22m)
  • Big Brown B-Hole (7b, 19m)
  • Quinn (6b, 20m)
  • Eternal squanch (6c, 35m)

Of course there are more places to go climbing, but these are generally regarded as the best routes by both locals and tourists. One location that is considered absolutely magnificent and not to be missed is ‘The Face’. It’s a bit hard to get to, but that’s part of the adventure experience! You’ll need to take a private boat to get there and, depending on where you are in Halong Bay, it’ll take 90 to 120 minutes.

It’s a great feeling to do some solo climbing with the cool refreshing ocean right beneath you acting as a safety net. The following are some of the best DWS (deep water soloing) locations Halong Bay has to offer.

  • Streak of Lightning (7c+, 12m)
  • Hawaii 5-0 (7b)
  • Dinner at sea (6a+)
  • Leap Frog (5c+)
  • Loco Mexican (4c, 14m)

Climbing Tours And Price
There are some 3-day cruises that include rock climbing on the itinerary. Be sure to confirm if rock climbing is included. As said before, it is strongly advised to take your own gear and equipment when you go on an organized tour. The costs of a cruise including climbing can range from $150 USD to $310 USD.

If you go rock climbing without a cruise a full day of climbing should cost around 50 USD with 30 USD for half a day. 

Best Time To Go Rock Climbing
The best time to visit Halong Bay to go rock climbing depends a lot on the weather as some months have much less rainfall: Usually late spring from May to June and the final months of the year (September to December ) are the best months to go climbing in Halong Bay. There’s not too much rain and the temperatures tend to be agreeable.

The summer months ( July and August) bring the most rain and the weather can be very unstable. However, some of the climbs are sheltered so it would be possible to go climbing even in bad weather. Winter (January to April ) can get a bit chilly. Just make sure to really give it your all to stay warm when you decide to go climbing in the winter!

Top Tips:

  • To go rock climbing independently you may need an access pass from Blue Swimmer Outdoors before you climb. Make sure you research this thoroughly before you go.
  • Only go rock climbing alone if you are a confident and experienced rock climber.

Halong Bay has more to offer than just rock climbing. Since a few years tourists are able to go parasailing. Parasailing is when they harness you in a parachute and tie you to a speedboat. You’ll be flying high behind the boat and you can see what Halong Bay is like from a bird’s perspective.

Sails of Indochina Outdoors

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