The Dalat Washing Machine

The Dalat Washing Machine

While most tourists explore Vietnam by travelling along the coast, it's worth going off course and dip inland to the town of Dalat. Located in the province of Lam Dong, Dalat will give you a break from the country's tropical hot weather and will welcome you into a town blessed with spring weather and is dotted with elegant French-colonial villas rather than stark socialist architecture.

It's not Dalat's interesting History nor its colourful European-style buildings, dreamy lake and beautiful farms thick with strawberries and flowers what attracts visitors from far and wide, but the fact that the town is home to Vietnam's biggest Washing Machine. This is not about laundry service but about the opportunity of a lifetime to have a crack at canyoning.

Safety first

When you choose a tour company to embark on this adventure, make sure they look legit. Remember that in Vietnam they are a bit loose when it comes to safety rules and although canyoning might be good fun, it can also be very dangerous.

They usually take you in groups, and only good companies will have tour guides that will look after every member of the group. Just remember that sometimes more is less or the other way around. Just because one company offers a tour package that is more experience than another, it doesn't mean that they are offering a better service. Instead, you should always try to negotiate and ask around. Read reviews of the companies online, ask fellow travellers who have done this experience before if they can advise you and how much they paid. All in all, you need to be informed and prepared before you book a tour.

Just because you want to be safe it doesn't mean you have to be anxious or nervous. On the contrary, if you are apprehensive, your instincts will prompt you into grippin the rope like there's no tomorrow when you are on the edge of the cliff. If you don't relax and let the rope slip through your fingers, you won't be able to rappel down the cliff face. Therefore, you must need to be confident while canyoning.

The first rappel

After walking for a few minutes, you come across the first abseil which is an 18-metre rappel down a dry vertical rock face with a fast flowing waterfall cascading next to it. At the bottom, you have jump into the chilly river. Then you'll have to paddle and swim before reaching a small patch of rapids. Water slides and slippery rocks will then propel you into the bottom pool. Although it might be unnerving to water slide, it is actually pretty safe, but you must follow the guide's instructions to avoid any potential hazards.

While nerve-racking for those who have never done natural water sliding, the activity is actually quite safe and as long as you follow the guide's instructions you will avoid any hidden dangers.

Then another exciting 16-metre dry rappel follows, and you have to jump as high as possible into the abyss.

The abyss in Dalat

You won't get much time to catch your breath after slithering down slides before you come face to face with the biggest challenge of the them all, abseiling down Dalat's 25-metre high waterfall. Although this is a thrilling experience, it is also terrifying. Apart from the fact that abseiling down a cliff is already a difficult task, add a waterfall to that and it gets tricky. To start with, it's slippery and you are trying to remain steady and avoid small crops of rocks while you have water ploughing into your face.

The real challenge, however, is when you reach the point when the rope is not long enough for you to reach the floor and the only option is to push off the rock and jump.

The Dalat Washing Machine

After falling into a pool and swimming you reach the infamous Dalat Washing Machine. You abseil down the cliff while jets of water hit you from every direction. You hang and then are swept into a whispool that drags you under and the water spins you around like a washing machine, hence the name.