Halong Bay and Cat Ba Rock Climbing

Last updated: March 15, 2021 /102 Views

Vietnam, home to numerous rugged cliffs and mountains, is considered one of the best rock climbing destinations in Asia. If you have a thirst for this kind of challenging activity, then Halong Bay climbing will please your knees.

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Halong Bay is a paradise for those who love adventure. There are countless caves, jungles, lagoons, and islands to be explored. Among activities like scuba diving, parasailing, kayaking, rock climbing is the number one activity for adventure seekers. An abundance of climbing routes in Halong Bay, also in the neighbor - Cat Ba Island, makes this place one of the best sites for rock climbing. The below article is all about Halong Bay and Cat Ba rock climbing, the best places for climbing, and some pro tips before your adventure.

Rock climbing in Halong Bay

Rock climbing in Halong Bay

Overview of Halong Bay rock climbing

Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most majestic climbing areas in the world. There are over 3,000 limestone islands, including some 1,600 limestone karst islands featuring steep walls emerging directly from the sea surface. The Bay has some places for rock climbing. All professional climbers coming to Halong agree that this wonderland is a paradise for adventurous mountain climbers. From the high, you can see an overview of the bay over the emerald waters. There is also a chance for experienced climbers to deep water solo in some areas, especially Cat Ba climbing.

There are some operators arranging rock climbing tours in Halong Bay. They will guide some base skills and notices during the climbing time, provide you with safe and comfortable certified UIAA harnesses, shoes, and helmets. Don't worry about the first-time touching the limestone as the instructive guide will help you out.

Halong Bay climbing

View on the top in Halong Bay

Best places to do rock climbing in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is home to various well-bolted crags with different climbing styles on limestone. Cat Ba Island, the largest island in complexity, is the best area for rock climbing. You will find Cat Ba climbing dead venturesome in the places like Butterfly Valley, Buddha Cave, Hidden Valley, Ben Beo Harbour, and Deep Water Solo. They are easily accessed by a scooter which you can hire at the hotel. Below are the names of the 5 best places to join rock climbing in Halong Bay.

1. Butterfly Valley

It is the largest and the most popular crag in Cat Ba, about 35 mins from Cat ba town by scooter. It is surrounded by local farms and green mountains, making it a true escape from the chaos of big cities. The rock here is quality, clean and the climbing is limestone with a lot of pockets and cracks to use for holds. The best time to climb Butterfly Valley is during summertime when there are a lot of butterflies.

Halong Bay climbing

Rock climbing in Butterfly Valley 


2. Hidden Valley

It is the second biggest crag to do Cat Ba climbing. This has a nice range of climbing from vertical to pretty steep, making it suitable for everyone from beginner and advanced climbers. To climb here, you need to get an access pass from the climbing shops on the island Cat Ba. Remember to bring bug repellent because there are a lot of mosquitos in Hidden Valley, especially after a rainstorm.

Halong Bay rock climbing

Conquer the rock in Hidden valley


3. Ben Beo Harbour

Another place for Halong Bay climbing has a beautiful limestone face with a burly overhang near the top. The rock is polished, the view overlooks Ben Beo harbor, and really cool for taking pictures. Some local people can stop and look at you when you are climb. This area gets the sunshine in the morning and shade after the late morning. If you come there in the heavy rains, remember it needs time to dry.


4. The Cave

The Cave is a small crag, so you can probably try most of the routes in one day. It is great when you climb on a rainy day because the routes are protected. To climb the Cave, you need to pay the landowner 0.5 USD, he will point you in the direction to climb. There is a Buddhist meditation area in the cave, please show your respect and only climb in designated areas.


5. Deep Water Solo

Without protective equipment, Deep Water Solo (DWS) perfectly fits advanced climbers who are eager for dead thrilling experiences of Halong Bay rock climbing. There are very few tour operators providing this kind of activity in Cat Ba Island, Lan Ha Bay. You can follow a private guide or explore on your own after getting an access pass to the beaches. Many cliffs ranging from 4a to 7c+ with more than 230 deepwater solo lines await to be conquered.

Deep Water Soloing In Halong

Deep Water Soloing In Halong Bay

Rock climbing tips & experience

Below is an essential gear for climbing in Halong Bay

  • Travel Insurance: DON'T forget to buy travel insurance for the trip to Vietnam. Double-check if it covers adventurous activities like rock climbing.
  • Vietnam Climbing Guidebook: Remember to read the Vietnam Climbing guidebook before going for a climb. It has all helpful tips and guidelines for you.
  • Bug Repellent: In many places in SE Asia, particularly Cat Ba island, there are many mosquitos borne diseases. Dengue Fever is an example. So bring bug repellent with you.
  • 60m Rope: Bring a durable rope with double-dry technology to resist the harsh salt and tropical conditions of Cat Ba. 60m rope is enough because the length of all the routes at Cat Ba is less than that.
  • Belay Device: Bring a GriGri 2 belay device would be or some other type of sport climbing specific gear because all of the routes at Cat Ba are single pitch sport climbs.
  • Helmet: Some rocks in Cat Ba are loose and dirty. Bring a helmet because there is a potential for falling rock. The helmet should be comfortable, and adjustable to fit just about any head shape.

Halong Bay from the top

Halong Bay from the top

Halong Bay has more than rock climbing to offer. If you are looking for more outdoor activities like snorkeling, kayaking… it is also a great place to join.

Jenny Tran

Image sources: Internet

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