Travel is an adventure. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, often dropping you in the middle of a world that is both similar and oh-so-different from the one you left.
And while that adventure is thrilling, sometimes it’s fun to add on another layer. Whether it be skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef, white water rafting in Costa Rica, or taking a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey, there are many ways to get an added adrenaline boost while on the road.
If you find yourself in Kampot, Cambodia, for example, you could go on a Discovery Tour with Climbodia. This half day outing is a taste test of adventure, including rock climbing, via ferratas, caving, abseiling, and top rope climbing.
If you’re new to any of these activities or aren’t sure how you feel about them, this is a great tour. None of the activities are overly extreme, but are just enough to give you a thrill. You’ll be high, but not insanely high. The cave is a tight fit, but only for 30 seconds. The safety line is reassuring, but the rock face is wide enough that you probably won’t find yourself testing its ability to save you from a fall.
Because several activities are packed into just a few hours, each one lasts for a relatively short period of time, so if you find it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll be moving on soon. If you really like it though, you may find yourself wishing for more.
Here’s the breakdown:
The Preliminary Stuff – After getting picked up in town, you ride out to the climbing site in a tuk-tuk, meet your guides for the day, and get suited up in harnesses and helmets.
Rock Climbing – Start out with a scramble up a 35m rock face. This is a pretty easy climb, but you’re connected to a guide belaying you (controlling the safety rope that would stop you from falling if you slip) from the top.
Via Ferrata – This was my first via ferrata, which was exciting. It was also, however, an extremely easy one (as in, I’ve climbed in more dangerous places without a safety line). The general premise of a via ferrata is that you are climbing around the outside of a rock face (as opposed to rock climbing, where you go up a rock face) while your safety line is connected to a steel cable. Think of the cable as a handrail that you ‘hold on to’ with the safety lines that are connected to your harness.
Abseil (aka Rappel) – After covering about 100m or so by via ferrata, you abseil through an opening in the rocks back to a spot near where you started. Abseiling is one of my favorite adventure activities and I was a bit disappointed that the tour included only one (although when you do the rock climbing later you get the same basic experience when you are lowered back to the ground). For this abseil, you begin with your feet against the rock face but part way down the rock cuts inward, leaving you in a suspended rappel.
Caving – This isn’t very adventurey caving, as you’re almost never out of view of daylight. You check out a few interesting bits, including masses of roots from the trees above and the remnants of a cave temple, before beginning the ‘cave via ferratas.’ These safety lines are really just to make sure you don’t slip, as you really aren’t even off the ground during this part of the tour.
Rock Climbing – The day ends with each participant having the chance to rock climb a variety of routes, ranging in difficulty from 4c to 7a+. The guides provide a reassuring (tight) belay and are good at calling out instructions from below as to where the best hand/foot placements are. If you’re into rock climbing, this will almost definitely be the highlight of the tour. I, however, have finally accepted after many attempts that I do not like rock climbing. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why, but I’m now 100% sure it’s not for me. I did struggle through two climbs though because I wanted the view from the top and the ‘rappel’ back down.
A Climbodia tour is a fun way to inject a bit more adventure into your Cambodian travels without committing too much time or money. It’s suitable for all experience levels and is a great way to try out a variety of activities in one go. There is a strong emphasis on safety and the guides are very fun and encouraging, handing out high fives and words of support from beginning to end.
Location – Kampot, Cambodia
Length – Four hours
Price – $40 + $5 for transportation
Extras – $5 to rent climbing shoes (optional); tips for guides