Ha Long Bay which is made up of approximately 1,600 limestone karats towers lies on the northern coastline of Vietnam. These craggy islands boast a stunning mix of rock blanketed in the jungle and steep faces whereas there is an overwhelming abundance of magnificent climbable faces that stand over uninhabited sandy beaches.
There are more than 120 climbing routes on 13 crags, from 4a to 8a on Cat Ba Island and the beaches of Ha Long Bay. More than 230 deep water solo lines on 24 cliffs, from 4a to 7c+ are waiting for you in the bay. To explore climbing, you will need a basket boat with a driver and the access passes for the beaches. Both can be easily organized at the Asia Outdoors shop.
If you are interested in conquering walls that rise directly from the water, the easiest option is to join one of the Asia Outdoors day trips. Going on your own with an unlicensed basket boat driver can be dangerous because it is not easy to find the right crags and you cannot start climbing out of the water. Moreover, you need intimate knowledge of the cliffs to avoid climbing at too low or hitting one of the underwater rocks. If you are a group of experienced climbers, Asia Outdoors will be happy to organize trips for you.
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the first climbers to visit Ha Long Bay are Lynn Hill, Todd Skinner, Scott Milton, Paul Piana, Greg Child, and Arnaud Petit. Greg Child and Andy Parkin established early traditional multi-pitch lines in the bay. Thanks to these pioneers, climbing in Vietnam and Ha Long Bay is growing fast in terms of development and popularity in the eyes of international climbers. Vietnam has become a popular and inexpensive destination for travelers to explore and experience Southeast Asia through climbing.
It is accessed by most climbers from Cat Ba Town via a boat tour scheduled through SloPony. The boat trip into the bay costs at least $20 per person if 8 people are signed up to go out. Also, Asia Outdoors is located in Cat Ba Town where you can get the access passes for individual climbing or join one of their climbing trips. If you want to experience climbing in Ha Long Bay for few days with friends, you should rent a junk boat and take a tour through the bay. That is great to spend as much time as you want on the crags, even the ones farther away, and pass the night in an isolated cove.
There are two main factors to consider when planning a climbing trip to Ha Long Bay. First, the temperatures vary significantly in the course of a year. The winter months are ideal for climbing when the temperatures are cool (15-20 degrees Celsius) and there is only moderate precipitation (5-25 mm a month). The downsides of the summer months are the hot and humid weather as well as higher percentage of rainy days.
The ideal time to have fun on Ha Long Bay’s sport climbing cliffs is the spring (April – May) and autumn months (September – November) when the weather is quite good. It is recommended to send an email to Asia Outdoors to inquire about the temperature and current tides to plan your trip.
If you are a climbing-lover, put Ha Long Bay on your list as the next destination to conquer this autumn!