Rock climbing at Cat Ba and Lan Ha bay

Curated by BuffaloTripMay 11, 2015 Viewed: 1967

Thailand’s Krabi has a long established reputation among climbers as a Mecca for their sport, but over in Vietnam, Cat Ba Island and the surrounding karsts of Lan Hay Bay have been gathering a loyal band of converts in more recent years.

Cat Ba’s main climbing area, Butterfly Valley, lies just a few kilometers from Cat Ba Town, but it feels a million miles away. Tucked away in the interior near a tiny village of just 12 dwellings, the number of climbing routes here is enough to keep climbers occupied for days on end.

Butterfly Valley is quite a draw, but the area’s trump card is “deep water soloing” – climbing one of the thousands of limestone karsts that rise from the bay with no ropes, just the chalk on your hands, and the sea below acting as a safety net. The feeling of climbing free with no restrictions is something else, and while the typical picture postcard views of Halong Bay as seen from the main tourist sites are undeniably beautiful, there is no comparison with the view that you select and achieve for yourself.

Rock-climbing attracts adventurous tourists

Also out in the bay is Moody Beach. Slo Pony Adventures brings climbers here for a broad choice of roots from the easy to the technical. The beach is also a good spot for kicking back and taking a swim. Alongside the climbing, kayaking among the karsts, diving off the boat, hiking in Cat Ba National Park and cycling around the island are all available to keep the restless traveler occupied. For those looking for something more sedate, a good book on the deck of the boat is always an option too.

There is simply no contest when it comes to where to stay out here – chartering and sleeping on board a boat off Cat Ba Island is an unmissable experience. Sunset and sunrise out in the calm of the Bay are unforgettable and, what’s more, there are far fewer boats here than in the heart of Halong Bay, so the peace is magnified ten-fold.

Try it

For Lan Ha Bay rock climbing tour:

For Cat Ba Island Tour: