[Rock Climbing with Asia Outdoors]
Unlike most travellers, I decided to skip the typical touristy cruise option to Halong Bay, which often turns into somewhat of a booze cruise. Despite my injuries, there was no doubt in my mind that I still wanted to rock climb and deep water solo in Vietnam. Deep water soloing is essentially bouldering (climbing without rope) on rock faces and free falling into the water. Imagine climbing up beautiful limestone karsts and dropping into the waters of Halong Bay!
Although it would be a great experience to spend a few days cruising around this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, the idea of being seasick for that long makes me nauseous just thinking about it. The unfortunate sacrifices I have to make due to motion sickness. So I skipped the cruise entirely and took the bus, express boat, and shuttle to Cat Ba town.
An island in Halong Bay, Cat Ba is a popular stopover for those on a multi-day cruise. So one would imagine that a beautiful island would have a decent looking town? Truth be told, Cat Ba town is ugly. Plain and simple. It looks drab, dreadful, and completely rundown. It’s no wonder it feels like a ghost town. Apart from the hotels on the waterfront, everything up the street appears to be closed. The rainy grey sky doesn’t help either. The only “bright” trait this town possesses is the excessive amount of flashing neon lights EVERYWHERE. I’m talking signs, trees, streets..it’s everywhere you look. Every time you sit down for a drink or to eat, you feel like you are either at a rave or having a seizure
Nevertheless, I ended up booking a full day rock climbing and kayaking tour with Asia Outdoors (formerly Slo Pony). Deep water soloing wasn’t an option because of the low tide. Just think of this town as a pit stop to experiencing Halong Bay in a non-touristy and adventurous way!
“Those who restrain their desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained” –William Blake