0 In Is it worth it?

Is it worth it?

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being “Hell No!” and 10 being “Obviously!”)

I would say 8/10.

Cost: 1,530,000 VND/69 USD* (half day) or 1,930,000 VND/86 USD* (full day w/kayaking) 

 *There is a 3% charge when using a credit card regardless of international fees/currency exchange

Website: Asia Outdoors

My Experience with Asia Outdoors

If anyone ever gets the chance to go rock climbing while on Cát Bá Island, you should seriously do it. I thought that getting to the island would be a challenge, but it was so unbelievably easy. My hostel had tours leaving daily for Halong Bay so I asked them if I could join in on the transportation there and it was no problem. Even if you’re not staying at Hanoi Rocks Hostel, you should still be able to have your trip to and from Halong Bay/Cát Bá Isand organized since every hostel is doing tours in Halong Bay.

I thought that getting to the island would be a challenge, but it was so unbelievably easy.

I ended up taking the same bus as the the people going to Halong Bay, but we split ways at the end and I took another bus to get to Cát Bá Island while everyone else took a boat to start their cruise tour. I left Hanoi around 7h00 and arrived at my destination around 13h00 and the rock climbing tour starts at 8h00, so you need to make sure you plan your tour ahead of time with Asia Outdoors. Simply requesting a booking on their website will do.When I got to Cát Bá, I immediately felt relaxed since there weren’t motorbikes riding on my heels as I walking on the sidewalk, which was drastically different from Hanoi. Another pleasant surprise was the sidewalk that ran parallel to the sea, which provided a great route for running. I went to the Asia Outdoors office, which is located above a restaurant called “The Noble House” that is across from the bus stop and the large orange archway that welcomes you to Cát Bá. Needless to say, locating the office was a breeze. After checking in with the staff, I had to put down a deposit for my rock climbing tour, which was the day after. So rock climbing on Cát Bá does take some planning if you are looking to do a tour with Asia Outdoors.

You need to make sure you plan your tour ahead of time with Asia Outdoors and simply requesting a booking on their website will do.

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On our way to Moody Beach

The morning of the tour, we all met at 8h00 at the office and then headed out to a bus to take us to a boat. Once we were on the boat, we went out a little and then got on a small boat, which took us all to Moody beach where we would be doing the climbs for the day.

Moody Beach

First three climbs on Moody Beach being set up

 

Our guide Jennifer got the climbs set up for us by free climbing to the bolts and then attaching the ropes, which was very impressive and beyond any of my climbing abilities. Then at about 9h30, we were able to start climbing! Asia Outdoors provided the shoes, helmets and harnesses but you are expected to wear your own appropriate attire. I wore a light sweater and workout leggings and was very comfortable when climbing. Our guide told us that in February, it is ideal climbing weather since the rocks don’t get too hot and also since your hands don’t get too sweaty… from the heat that is. So remember to dress accordingly. Additionally, the rocks can be SHARP! So be careful.

How difficult were the climbs?

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“Do it for Billy Joel”

On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being “All aboard the struggle bus heading for Nopeville” and 1 being “I can do this without the rope“, these are my ratings. 

  1. The first climb I did was called “Mao de” and it was a 5A with 22m in height. Difficulty: 2.5/5
  2. Second, there was “Khong co go”, which was a 4+ and only 15m off the ground. Difficulty: 2/5
  3. Next, I did a 5A called “Do it for Billy Joel” and it was a 21m climb in height. Difficulty: 3/5
  4. Then, we had a 6A called “Routine Heaven” with 23m in height. Difficulty: 3.5/5
  5. Last but not least, “Honeymooner’s Delight” was what almost killed my tired little fingers being a 5C, but only 12m off the ground. Difficulty: 4/5 (Mainly because the end was really difficult!)

I only had two other girls with me on the rock climbing tour so we finished earlier than most tours (around 12h00). Afterwards, we were given lunch, which consisted of: fried spring rolls, tofu and vegetables, potatoes with carrots and tomatoes, fish with onions, white rice and pears for dessert. It was a satisfying and delicious lunch. Asia Outdoors caters do specific diets, so if you have allergies/dietary restrictions, let them know ahead of time.

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Eating lunch after climbing

Asia Outdoors caters do specific diets, so if you have allergies/dietary restrictions, let them know ahead of time.

Thanks again Asia Outdoors for giving me another view of Cát Bá and getting me interested in rock climbing again!

Note for independent/experienced climbers:

  • You can rent equipment from Asia Outdoors and also find climbing buddies through them
  • They offer a book that outlines all the climbs on Cát Bá Island

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This handy little book will help you navigate around Cát Bá

  • Deep water soloing can also be made possible by booking a boat through Asia Outdoors and they can also help you get to “Butterfly Valley”, which I am told is a climbing hotspot
  • Deep water soloing is dependent on the weather, so keep the temperature and weather conditions when planning a trip to Cát Bá Island

Thanks again Asia Outdoors for giving me another view of Cát Bá and getting me interested in rock climbing again!

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