Climbers the world over who have had the chance to climb in Halong confirm that it is a veritable paradise for rock climbing enthusiasts – packed with fun and adventure. Because Halong contains thousands of limestone karsts, islets and hundreds of climbing points, there is a great diversity of climbs ranging from beginner to professional grades.
While you can climb all across Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island in particular is the most well known destination for climbers. What is particularly good about Halong is that the sea and plentiful supply of safe karsts, means that you can free climb without ropes, hooks and heavy equipment. A simple pair of hiking shoes, and you can try to scale the formations safe in the knowledge that any fall is just a short drop into the blue waters below. You can also take advantage of some water activities by kayaking to your rock of choice
Enthusiasts can be seen across the bay, expertly scaling the high walls followed by an acrobatic leap back into the sea once completed. As a sporting activity, it is quite safe, as long as the climber has basic swimming skills, and climbs in a group of people. You should never try to climb too high because it is dangerous to jump into the water from great heights. The climbers here usually scale to maximum of 30 meters above the sea. If you want to climb any higher than that, then full safety equipment and harnesses are necessary to ensure your safety.
Rock climbing in the bay is in its infancy, but rules and guidelines are being established to ensure that all climbers are safe and climb responsibly. The leading climbing company is Asia Outdoors (www.asiaoutdoors.com.vn), whose highly trained staff will arrange the logistics to get to and from the climbing site, obtain permits, and provide the necessary climbing equipment.
The main locations on Cat Ba Island are Butterfly Valley and Ben Beo Wall. There are also some great spots on smaller islands in Lan Ha Bay including Moody Beach, Tiger Beach, Screw Loose and The Face. Climbs here are suitable for intermediate and experienced climbers and clients have to complete a skills test before being allowed to climb.
Halong Bay is gradually becoming one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia for serious rock climbers and there is a budding industry being built around it. Perhaps you wish to try it for yourself? If so, book a Halong tour and ask at your travel agent for information on rock climbing tours available.