While Halong Bay’s serene beauty is perfect for relaxing getaways, you can also come here to seek adventures. Thousands of limestone karsts hanging over turquoise waters are just the dream of rock climbers, beginners and professionals alike. Read on to find out everything you need to know to have a marvellous Halong Bay climbing experience.
1. Rock Climbing in Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island
The tourism industry in Halong Bay has been flourishing in recent years, resulting in better climbing tour packages. While it’s safer to opt for a tour operator and let them arrange everything for you, it’s also impossible to jump on a boat and go island hopping. The great variety of limestone islands, caves, jungles and lagoons will allow you to feed your thirst for adrenaline to the fullest.
The most popular activities in Halong Bay include rock climbing and deep-water soloing (DWS). Over 100 routes on 10 different cliffs, whose grades range from 4a to 8a+ can be found in Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island. For DWS lovers, you can find 230 lines on 24 cliffs, whose grades range from 4a to 7c+. While it’s possible to climb and solo in Halong Bay, you are advised to choose the less touristy Lan Ha Bay, which hosts Cat Ba Island. It’s a quieter area with fewer crowds and no large boats. It’s the ultimate spot to get up close and personal with nature.
2. What to Prepare for Climbing in Halong Bay
The stuff you need to prepare depends on your climbing experience and expertise. High-skilled climbers only need a pair of good shoes.
If you’re not quite an experienced climber, you’d better prepare for good health, as the cliffs in Halong Bay are considerably more challenging than others. You’re also recommended to use the gears to enhance safety. The gears can be self-provided or rented, including pointed climbing shoes, belts, cords, helmets and hooks.
Some complain that the bolts in Cat Ba have been slightly damaged, thus you’re recommended not to climb alone and unequipped. Generally speaking, if you’re with someone (preferably a guide) and you can swim well, there’s not much to worry about. However, calculate the depth of water before you jump; it can be risky to jump from a spot too high. 30-meter height is the ideal height for training and recreation purposes; get equipped if you want to climb higher.
3. Best Places for Halong Bay Climbing
Our recommended locations for climbing in Halong Bay are:
- Luy Tam Biet
- Cerro Torre
- La Plage des Pirates
Some of the best climbing routes in Cat Ba Island are:
- You Enjoy Myself (6b, 20m)
- Test Pilot (7a, 22m)
- Big Brown B-Hole (7b, 19m)
- Eternal squanch (6c, 35m)
- Deep-water soloing is recommended in these locations:
- Streak of Lightning (7c+, 12m)
- Hawaii 5-0 (7b)
- Dinner at sea (6a+)
- Leap Frog (5c+)
- Loco Mexican (4c, 14m)
4. Best Time for Climbing in Halong Bay
It’s impossible to climb at any time of the year. The weather is nice and pleasant; it hardly ever gets too hot to bear. Autumn and early spring work best for Westerners, when it’s nice and dry.
May to June and September to December are the best two periods to climb. It’s nice and dry, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures. From January to April, it can get chilling sometimes, with a lot of fog in the early morning and late afternoon. If you don’t mind poor visibility and the cold, these months are still okay for climbing.
It’s the rainy season in Halong Bay from July to August. Storms in Halong Bay typically last for a short period of time, so you can check out the nearby attractions while waiting for the storm to pass. Some crags are sheltered, making it possible to climb even in bad weather.
5. Tips on Climbing in Halong Bay
While it’s generally safe to go rock climbing, you’re advised to bear in mind these top tips for a perfect experience:
- Only go alone if you’re a high-skilled climber. Most of the time you should be accompanied by a local guide.
- To reach the cliffs you will be taking boats. For a seamless, stress-free experience, check out a local tour operator to arrange everything for you. A half-day tour will cost $30, while a full-day one will cost $50.
- Rock climbing can be combined with kayaking. It’s fun to discover caves, grottoes and islands on your own.
Reaching the peak and having a birds-eye view over Halong Bay complex is a stunning experience. While it will surely cost some sweat, you will be duly rewarded. Count a Halong Bay climbing tour on your next Vietnam trip and see this heavenly gem for yourself.