Our adventure at Datanla waterfalls

5 Dec

Recently I read a quote which resonates how the adrenaline rush made us feel good after the whole experience.

Joy. When you do something which others say you can’t. Perhaps even you did not believe you could do it but you did.

I think my level of bravery has dropped over the years or I just went way past what I would have allowed myself to do for the adrenaline rush.

Canyoning for the very first and perhaps the last time in my life

Early Thursday morning, the jeep came to pick us up at our hotel and we headed to the nearby Datanla waterfalls, just a short 20 minutes drive away.

The group constitutes 2 Viernamese guides, us, a could from Denmark and a guy from Canada.

First we headed where most tourists go , the base of the waterfall where we saw the cascading waters. Posed for some photos and headed on up to where we first tried our hand at abseiling.

I’ve abseiled before and in my mind it’s a piece of cake. I like doing things like that. BUT my experiences were in Singapore where we do it down walls or perfectly made artificial rock walls not real formed rocks.

First level abseiling was pretty ok. It wasn’t a piece of cake but manageable still. We learnt to walk down and then to jump so we go faster. Pretty fun actually.


One part of the Datanla waterfalls 🙂 doesnt look too magnificient and fierce here but oh if you abseiled down one you’d know how fierce it can be


All of us preparing for the first abseil (dry). Geared up and ready!


And so we took turns and abseiled down thrice


That’s Mr Q! I think his helmet is too big. So was mine. Even our harnesses were too big! haha


Thats me, the polka dotted skirt which is joined to my swimming attire and my track pants.



Secondly, we walked through the forest and headed to the next spot to abseil down a higher wall. It was terrifying as the wall was much higher and right at the bottom was the river. I was the last to go. Still manageable actually if you walk and not jump because there is a risk of hitting the wall if you don’t catch yourself. The water was freezing cold! We had to swim a little to the platform. The Denmark guy was injured during this abseil. Poor guy, his wound was pretty serious yet he was still the more sporting one.

It was challenging to swim because of the freezing waters and huge rocks we might step on or bump into.


That is Mr Q.


Abseiling down dry rocks into freezing cold waters!


Mr Q still abseiling. Look at the menacing rocks! Someone got injured during this abseil and it was a nasty injury.


Thats me! hehe


Like katak (frog) like that, i think i lost footing of the wall so i had to kick back.


Thats me!


Mr Q!


Dense forest where we trekked to get to the various sites to abseil down waterfalls.

Thirdly, we had the first free 4 meter jump! Into freezing waters. I was scared because we had to jump 1 meter away from the point of the jump as there were huge rocks there and I’m terrible at standing broad jump. I stood there for a while and Mr Q was urging me to jump, I was the last again. The Canadian came to jump again so I asked him how to jump far? He said just look ahead and push yourself far as you jump. Three seconds later I was off the rock and on my way to the water. I’m a terrible swimmer which made it even harder to swim towards the falls. We took our time and soon our feet could touch the rocks and we walked towards the falls which massaged our backs. I think we are quite skinny so it was pushing us away instead of massaging us.


Mr Q jumping in!


Thats me! phew i was relieved i didnt hit the rocks 🙂 Alhamdulilah.


The five of us and one of the guides, after our ‘massage’ at the waterfalls.

Fourthly, we headed to the third abseil down an even higher rock formation into the waters. Abseiling was getting to be manageable by my standards.

At different times I contemplated within myself preferring abseiling to free jump or swimming in the water. The water was too cold and after hitting water we continue to shiver as our clothes were still wet. So I thought abseiling was better. Not for long though.



Thats me (spot polka dots)


Mr Q.


The waterfall looks small but it was bigger. Anyway that wasnt the waterfall we abseiled down.

After this, the fifth part came as a surprise to me as I thought we were supposed to abseil and jump only.

We swam/ walked/ waddled in the shallow waters for a bit before we were asked to swim to the rapids which was scary. I screamed I think. It’s like I wasn’t even ready but the water won’t wait it’ll jut drag you along with it. At the bottom, i plunged into medium deep waters and struggled to catch my breath. After which we had to swim to the other side away from the gushing waters. We did the rapids twice, the second with a twist.


That is me, still unsure what was going on but just followed instructions


Me: huh? how what am i supposed to do? What? No dont let go of my life jacket! No!!!

Guide: just cross your arms across your chest (he let go of my me)

… and off i went tumbling down the rapids.



Mr Q’s turn!


Haha i didnt even know what was going on and before i know it, it was over. Pretty fun until we hit the waters and plunge in. Water enters our eyes, easrs, nose, mouth, everywhere and we start shivering.

Lastly, the finale which came after lunch by the waterfall. We has banana and bread with cheese for lunch. A group from another tour company was doing the jumps and it really scared me, I kept asking myself if this was what we has to do and just couldn’t stomach it. It looked too dangerous.

We were supposed to moon walk down the waterfall cliff. The guide would give us instructions if we went off the course or not using the correct posture.

After watching around 10 people go through it. It was our groups’ turn at the falls, I went second last this time. Mr Q was last.

This was what the beginning of the 25 meters abseil look like from the top. This person is from another group and he it might look easy but it wasnt.


Some scenery at the top where its hot and the sun is scorching hot but i shiver every few seconds when the cold wind blow through my wet clothes.


Taking an afternoon nap and warming himself up before the final abseil.


The amazing sun!


These were the ropes which will be connected to our harnesses and the guide’s harness.


I wasn’t sure I could do it even before I walked towards the guide who was standing at the top of the 25 meters waterfall. I wasn’t sure even while my legs was moving off the edge of the cliff. The safety rope which was holding me to the guide and a safety hook did not seem safe anymore. I was trembling and my teeth were chattering as the freezing water was gushing at my legs threatening to push me off the very unbalanced position I was in. My lips never stopped chanting the name of the only higher Being I believe can protect me, Allah.

That is me going down!


Slowly and carefully I moon walked as much as I knew how, my feet barely leaving the wet rocky surface of the cliff. Less than 1 minute later, my foot slipped beneath me and I fell against the rock.

I panicked but did not let go of the rope, my only lifeline. I looked up for instructions on what to do but could not see the instructor. My view was blocked by the water gushing towards my face.

I could feel the harness biting into my flesh at my sides. My right hand which was holding on to the excess rope was getting tired holding myself against the rock. We were taught to bring ourselves up and continue abseiling after falling down but it definitely looked easier than when the water was gushing and hitting you hard and the rock surface was so slippery. I wanted to give up but I couldn’t as I was still so high up. It would be crazy to free fall at 20 meters!


I tried as i might to push myself against the rock but i kept slipping so i gave up. I started sliding down as i slowly lowered myself to the rocky area where the rocks jutted out so it provided me with the opportunity to stand up and continue abseiling down.


Resumed moon walking ever so slowly. Did not want to fall again as the memory of falling is too terrible i cant imagine it happening again. Yet it did, once more. Water was gushing towards my face, i tried to look at the guide a the bottom but again it wasnt possible. I pushed myself and eventually got to my knees and foot on the rocky surface again.

With trembling legs and the water hitting hard on my already feeble legs, tired hands holding onto the rope which is keeping me above water, i moon walked down ever so slowly.

We were supposed to jump and free fall at 4 meters from the water surface. I managed to get there and waited for the guide to count to 3 as i felt my legs slipping again and my body hit the rock yet again. Ouch! I didnt want to give up, not when i’ve come so far. I told myself i must free fall and for that to happen i must get to my feet again. I did. 1,2,3 i let go and allowed my tired injured limbs to fall free of the ropes and plunged into the deep freezing water.


After a short 1 minute swim towards the horizontal dry rocks where the other guide was waiting, i sat down heavily and realised i was panting. The guide asked me to take deep breaths but i couldnt. I took off my helmet and gloves as i felt suffocated.

I started to cry. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I felt so powerless, clueless and fearful.

I looked up from where i was to watch as Mr Q abseiled down and i prayed hard for i hoped very much that he wouldnt fall as i did. But he did.




He made it, safe and sound 🙂 Alhamdulilah.

There was another free fall of 11 meters but we gave it a miss. I think it was too much for us. It wasnt the end though, we had to climb all the way back up to the main road. Its 10 times worse than bukit timah hill. There were no steps, we just climbed where there was a step like area and i grabbed tree branches, leaves, tree trunks as i pulled my way up. I wanted to give up but couldnt because there was no other way out and we climbed all the way through the steep terrain towards the traffic where we waited for a taxi to bring us back to Dalat.

Overall, a truly trying and tiring day where we challenged our boundaries and discovered our weaknesses and fears.





2 Responses to “Our adventure at Datanla waterfalls”

  1. Ad December 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    It’s from Reyas. Good bravery and daring. Gd try also. It’s is very deep when u jump down I am worst swimmer also

    • parv~.~ December 7, 2011 at 7:50 am #

      Haha! Thanks for the comment Reyas 🙂 i was so enthusiastic about canyoning before it all started. So was Iqbal. After that more scared :$

      Hope your holiday was as enjoyable or even more so as Hanoi and sapa are special places.

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